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Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Olympus' E-3 DSLR announced, previewed
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(Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 18:01 EDT)

Olympus Imaging America Inc. has today announced its new E-3 digital SLR, slated to reach US shores before the end of the year - and we've just published a preview of the camera to help readers get the full story.

A replacement for the company's well-received but now rather long in the tooth E-1 digital SLR, which was officially announced a little under four and a half years ago, the Olympus E-3 looks to be a significant step forward for the company in pretty much every respect. Sensor resolution is 10.1 effective megapixels from a newly developed Live MOS image sensor which allows a live preview of the scene before shooting, and the E-3's imaging pipeline offers the speed necessary to allow five frames-per-second shooting. The live view mode is made more useful by Olympus' choice of a 2.5" tilt / swivel LCD display with 230,000 pixels, allowing for shooting at almost any unusual angle necessary to get the shot. When not shooting via the LCD display, a new optical viewfinder should also improve the experience with a 100% field of view and 1.15x magnification.

A new 11-point autofocus sensor has twin cross-type sensors at every point, and is claimed to be the world's fastest when used in concert with a newly announced Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD zoom lens. Shutter speeds range to as fast as 1/8,000 second, with flash sync at 1/250 second. The shutter mechanism is rated for a 150,000 shot lifetime. In-body image stabilization is also offered, with a dedicated processor analyzing data from a gyro sensor, to determine the image sensor movement necessary to correct for camera shake. Olympus' Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system is present to ensure images are dust-free, and the camera's magnesium alloy body also has a range of seals to ensure it is splash- and dust-proof. The camera's built-in flash is also able to function as a wireless commander for multi-flash photography, with two new wireless flash strobes announced alongside the E-3 camera body.

Storage is catered for with a UDMA-compatible Type-II CompactFlash card slot (compatible with Microdrives), and an xD-Picture card slot provides for an alternative storage medium. The Olympus E3 includes both video output and USB 2.0 high-speed computer connectivity, and draws power from a proprietary BLM-1 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery. A new HLD-4 Power Battery Holder allows two BLM-1 batteries to be used at once for extended battery life, and also offers a secondary shutter button, two control dials, and dedicated Function and AF target buttons - allowing for more comfortable portrait shooting.

The Olympus E-3 digital SLR is slated to ship from November 2007, priced at an estimated US$1,699 body only. The HLD-4 grip will have an estimated price of $199, and the updated wireless-capable FL-36R and FL-50R flash strobes should retail for about $299 and $499 respectively. Availability of these accessories is not currently known.

For more on the Olympus E-3, you can find detailed specifications, the official press release, and a variety of photos of the camera below. For hands-on insight into Olympus' new flagship, you'll want to browse our just-published Olympus E-3 preview.

Olympus E-3
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera TypePro SLR
ManufacturerOlympus
Model NumberE3
Dimensions5.6 x 4.6 x 2.9"
142.5 x 116.5 x 74.5mm
Weight810.0 g
28.3 oz
Planned Price$1699.00
Planned AvailabilityNov 2007
Image Capture
Sensor TypeFour Thirds N-MOS
11.80 megapixels (total)
10.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Focal Length Multiplier2.00
Aspect Ratio4:3
Image Dimensions3648 x 2736 (10.0 megapixels)
3200 x 2400 (7.7 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
1280 x 960 (1.2 megapixels)
1024 x 768 (0.8 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Capture SpeedContinuous: 5.0 frames per second for 16 frames
Image Quality4 levels
Image Preview / Review
ViewfinderYes, SLR type; eye-level pentaprism, 100% coverage, 1.15x maginfication, 20mm eyepoint, -3.0 to +1.0 dio.
LCD2.5", 230,000 pixels
Playback Zoom10.0x max
Lens
Lens TypeInterchangeable Lens
Lens MountFour Thirds mount
Image StabilizationYes
Focusing System11-point, all Cross-type, TTL Phase-contrast Detection with AF assist lamp
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity100 - 3200 (1/3, 1 EV steps)
Shutter Speed60 - 1/8000 second
Exposure ModesAperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes49-zone Digital ESP, Center Weighted Average, Spot (2% with Highlight/Shadow mode)
Exposure Compensation+/- 5.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Lamp, Fluorescent 1/2/3, Daylight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Customized WB, One-touch WB (4 settings), Manual
Internal FlashGuide Number: 13
Modes: Auto, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction slow sync., Slow sync at 1st curtain, Slow sync at 2nd curtain, Fill-in, Manual (1/4, 1/16, 1/64), Off.
Range: Depends on lens aperture
Flash Exposure Compensation+/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Creative
Scene ModesUnderwater program AE
Self TimerYes, 2 or 12 seconds
Storage
Recording MediumCompactFlash Type 1, CompactFlash Type 2, Microdrive, xD Picture Card
File SystemComplies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File FormatCCD-RAW, RAW (.ORF), JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
Connectivity
VideoYes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
OtherDC Input
Power
Battery TypeLithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary BLM-1
Product Bundle
Battery / Charger1 x Proprietary BLM-1 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory0.0MB
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantYes
Tripod MountYes, Metal
Remote ControlYes, RM-1 IR
Operating System CompatibilityWindows, Mac OS
More Photos
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-3 digital SLR. Copyright © 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Original Source Press Release:

OLYMPUS BREAKS THE AF SPEED BARRIER WITH THE WORLD’S FASTEST AUTOFOCUS TECHNOLOGY IN NEW DIGITAL SLR CAMERA AND LENS

E-3 Digital SLR Combined with Zuiko Digital Specific SWD 12-60mm (24-120mm Equivalent) Lens Delivers Fastest AutoFocus Technology to Photographers

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., October 16, 2007 – Olympus today announces the new Olympus E-3, which is the flagship of its Digital SLR line and provides the high-precision performance demanded by professional and enthusiastic photographers. It combines speed and weatherproof durability for capturing exceptional images in any situation. Olympus pioneered Full Time Live View and Dust Reduction technologies for digital SLR cameras, leading where others have followed. Now, the new E-3 enhances those technical innovations and raises the performance bar with the fastest autofocus in the world. Body-Integrated Mechanical Image Stabilization to stabilize every lens, a 10-megapixel Live MOS image sensor to capture beautiful images, and a magnesium alloy body for dust-proof and splash-proof durability join the impressive innovations developed for the E-3, including:

Speed: When coupled with three new ZUIKO DIGITAL Supersonic Wave Drive™ Lenses (SWD) announced today, like the ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 (24-120mm equivalent), the E-3 offers unmatched AF speeds, and the fastest AF speed in the world with that lens.1 It employs a newly-developed high speed 11-point biaxial cross type AF system, 5 frames-per-second continuous shooting, and 1/8000 second top shutter speed for the quickness required in any shooting situation.

Superior Image Quality: In-Body Mechanical Image Stabilization with Supersonic Wave Drive technology ensures blur-free images for all lenses attached to the E-3, so now even low-light telephoto shots are clear and sharp when holding the camera in shaky hands. Its 10-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor delivers high-resolution images for large format print sizes, and TruePic III™ digital processing engine ensures high-speed image processing, accurate color and improved detail with low noise. The camera’s interior components combined with digital-specific lenses offer the edge-to-edge crystal clarity that only 100 percent digital optics can provide.

Swivel Live View LCD: A dual-axis swivel 2.5-inch Live View LCD covers all the viewing angles from low to high and side to side, to assure accurate composition. Real-time image monitoring of white balance and exposure enables greater creative control of settings to secure the best possible photograph.

Reliability: The E-3’s large optical viewfinder provides a 100 percent accurate view and its 1.15x magnification makes it one of the largest and most accurate viewfinders for reliable composition. The proven effective built-in Dust Reduction System with the Supersonic Wave Filter eliminates spots from photos. A durable shutter mechanism with the lifespan of 150,000 exposures meets the demands of serious photographers. Also, the E-3’s sealed magnesium alloy chassis is completely splash-proof and dust-proof for use with pro lenses on expeditions to the most extreme environments on the planet.

“Olympus was the first to bring body-integrated Dust Reduction, 100 percent digital-specific lenses and ‘Full Time Live View’ to the digital SLR market,” said John Knaur, senior marketing manager, Digital SLR, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “Olympus continues to innovate by producing cameras of the highest quality with breakthrough technology. The new E-3 will satisfy the pro-level needs of our customers with incredible AF speed, superior image quality due, in part, to In-body Mechanical Image Stabilization that stabilizes all lenses attached to the camera, and a durable body to capture it all.”

World’s Fastest Autofocus
When it comes to measuring camera speed, autofocus is a key factor. If a camera’s AF system does not meet photographers’ demands and lock focus accurately and quickly, they will miss shots regardless of the camera’s shot-to-shot speed or start-up time. The E-3’s new AF system is the world’s fastest in combination with the ZUIKO DIGITAL SWD ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens, to ensure fast focus for clear, sharp photos. Additionally, every lens attached to the E-3 benefits from faster AF, not just the SWD lenses, so the E-3 can lock focus on a fast-moving subject and capture that once-in-a-lifetime shot. The secret to the camera’s high-speed focusing is a unique Twin cross type (fully biaxial) 11 point AF sensor, based on proprietary Olympus micro-sensing technologies, that achieves equally effective performance on both the vertical and horizontal axis. With most biaxial sensors, performance on the vertical and horizontal axes is not equal, and there is often a perceived difference in response time when using different lenses. However, unlike systems that respond at nominally lower f-stop values simply by boosting sensitivity, the E-3’s AF sensor features a totally redesigned hounds tooth-pattern phase detection sensor layout that uses micro-lamination technologies to achieve superior real-world performance.

AF accuracy is further ensured by precise alignment of the optical axis from the lens to the AF phase detection sensors, and accurate mounting of the sensors within the AF unit. The AF unit used in the E-3 is made of high-tensile engineering plastic, which is further protected by the camera’s high-rigidity magnesium body. In addition, data from a dedicated temperature sensor is used to compensate for changes in operating temperature.

The 11 AF target points on the E-3 can be selected to work individually or dynamically in combination with adjacent target points. Once a photographer knows the general direction of a moving subject – a Formula One racecar zooming around a track for example – the AF area can be selected based on the anticipated motion to maintain accuracy.

The newly developed Olympus Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD) lenses on the E-3 enable auto focusing at ultra-high speed with precise and quiet operation. Quietness is essential when shooting in a situation where silence is truly golden, such as photographing exotic birds up close in the wild or musicians at a classical music quartet. But this technology truly shines in combination with three new Olympus ZUIKO DIGITAL SWD lenses that employ Supersonic Wave Drive motor technology inside: the ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD (24-120mm equivalent); ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD (100-400mm equivalent), and the ED 14-35mm f2.0 SWD (28-70mm equivalent). The new ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD lens focuses twice as fast as the previous ZUIKO DIGITAL lens with that focal length, and the new ED 14-35mm f2.0 joins the existing 35-100mm f2.0 (70-200mm equivalant) as the brightest lenses in their class. Mechanical focusing is also available for easy and accurate manual focusing by hand.

The E-3 can capture images at the highest image-quality setting at a rate of 5 frames per second. With shutter speeds of up 1/8000 second, it is possible to freeze action when photographing a cheetah in fast pursuit across the plain, or a fastball before it connects with the bat.

Superior Image Quality: Steady As It Goes
To prevent image blur caused by camera shake, which can occur in dim lighting or with longer telephoto lenses, the E-3 employs In-body Mechanical Image Stabilization, which compensates for camera movement up to 5 steps EV and delivers blur-free images taken with any of the ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses available for the camera. Moreover, built-in SWD Image Stabilization offers the advantage of image stabilization for every lens attached to the camera body, so there is no need to purchase image stabilized lenses at a premium price.

At the heart of the built-in image stabilizer unit are the Olympus-exclusive Supersonic Wave Drive motors with excellent responsiveness and control. The motors use information about camera shake gathered by a gyro sensor that detects and analyzes hand vibrations, and move the image sensor with a piezoelectric element.

The E-3’s high-performance Live MOS image sensor delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity, and a new state-of-the-art amplifier circuit to eradicate noise and capture fine image details in both highlight and shadow areas.

The camera’s Live MOS image sensor is complemented by Olympus’ TruePic III Image Processor that produces crystal clear photos using all the pixel information for each image to provide the best digital images possible with accurate natural color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression in between. TruePic III also lowers image noise in images shot at higher ISO settings, enabling great results in low-light situations.

Swivel Live View LCD: What You See Is What You Get
Olympus Live View empowers users to easily compose their subjects live on the LCD and see precisely how the settings they select impact the image before the shutter is released and the image is captured. By altering settings like white balance and exposure, and visually confirming how these changes affect the final image, this real-time monitoring offers a level of versatility and creative control that cannot be achieved by other digital SLR cameras that only offer an optical viewfinder.

The E-3’s 100 percent accurate swivel Live View HyperCrystal™ LCD can be rotated freely so photographers can compose with the camera held overhead or down low, enabling them to take shots from angles impossible until now without feeling like a contortionist. Because Live View enables an E-3 photographer to communicate face-to-face with subjects and still have everything in the frame with the camera body out of the way, an encouraging smile or wink of the eye can be used with a shy or nervous subject to get the desired results.

Live View provides an advantage for everyone who enjoys taking extreme close up macro shots, when composing on an optical viewfinder may be awkward, because it provides a magnification of the subject right on the LCD by a factor of 5, 7 or 10 times for sharp, pinpoint focus. The E-3 will also enable photographers to see over barriers because its swiveling LCD panel keeps subjects in view even with the camera held overhead.

The bright 2.5-inch adjustable LCD displays 230,000 pixels in vivid color and includes HyperCrystal™ technology, which offers many times the contrast of conventional LCD monitors for easier viewing in both preview and playback. It also provides a wide viewing angle of 170 degrees, which ensures images can be composed from even the most obscure angles. The 2.5 inch LCD makes viewing icons and text on the camera’s menu a squint-free process.

Reliability: Built for Adventure
The E-3 employs a large, easy-to-see optical viewfinder with 1.15x magnification and 100 percent accuracy. Photographers can rely on the E-3 to capture exactly what they compose through the optical viewfinder, so they aren’t disappointed when viewing images back at the computer. This optical viewfinder also both reduces eyestrain and makes manual focusing easier.

Olympus’ proven Dust Reduction System produces spot-free photos with the exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter™. The patented ultrasonic technology physically vibrates to remove dust and other particles from the front of the image sensor, and captures the debris on a special adhesive membrane every time you turn on the camera. It can even remove dust attached by intermolecular force that cannot be removed by physical vibration or by discharging static electricity. These spot-free photos liberate users from hours spent retouching photographs at the computer or sending their cameras back to the manufacturer to remove dust trapped inside.

The E-3 is the ideal combination of strength and mass, and was built with a new casting technology to create a stronger magnesium chassis for greater durability. The camera is also sealed to make it splash-proof and dust-proof, and when used with Pro lenses it is sealed from the elements to perform in the most rugged conditions. Its classic penta-mirror design is portable enough to comfortably shoot with all day, and measures 5.59 inches (142mm) by 4.56 inches (116mm) by 2.93 inches (74.5mm), excluding protrusions, and weighs 28.2 ounces (800 grams) body only. Photographers will experience unparalleled ease of use – from menus that make sense and buttons on the body that are easy to understand and operate for total manual control, to customizable settings for every imaginable situation. Moreover, the camera’s durable shutter mechanism is rated up to 150,000 cycles, so it will withstand heavy day-to-day use.

Accepting both CompactFlash Type I & II, UDMA, Microdrives and xD-Picture Cards, the camera provides a choice of data storage options for enhanced flexibility, and it is possible to transfer image files from one card to the other right inside the camera.

Extending the Power of the E-System with New Accessories
To coincide with the launch of the E-3, Olympus is releasing several new accessories for the E-System. The HLD-4 Power Battery Holder can hold up to two Lithium Ion BLM-1 batteries to extend the performance life of the E-3 and its existing BLM-1 battery. It also enables effortless vertical shooting with its own separate shutter button, two control dials, and dedicated Function and AF target buttons. Like the E-3 body, the battery holder is splash-proof and dust-proof to endure severe climates.

The FL-50R and FL-36R are new wireless electronic flashes designed exclusively for digital photography. Their light emitting and brightness control circuitry achieve uniform illumination in the picture area and high brightness control accuracy. Both flashes have a rotary head that can be rotated in four directions. When these flashes are used in combination with the E-3, which features a commander function incorporated in its built-in flash, wireless multi-flash photography is possible without using an outside commander. The E-3 can control up to three wireless flashing groups independently, and control of multiple flashes is possible even in an environment in which both the FL-50R and FL-36R coexist. In addition, the centralized control/display system makes it possible to enter and check all of the selected items on the E-3’s Super Control Panel LCD. This ensures excellent operability and mobility.

Availability
The Olympus E-3 Digital SLR will be available in November 2007. It includes: E-3 Body, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack (BLM-1), Li-Ion Battery Charger (BCM-2), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS Master 2 Software CD-ROM, Manuals and Registration card.

U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
E-3 Body Estimated Street Price: $1,699
HLD-4 Battery Holder Estimated Street Price: $199
FL-50R Estimated Street Price: $499
FL-36R Estimated Street Price: $299

ABOUT OLYMPUS IMAGING AMERICA INC.
Olympus Imaging America Inc. is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering award-winning products for consumer and professional markets.

Olympus Imaging America Inc. works collaboratively with its customers and its ultimate parent company, Olympus Corporation, to develop breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality that enhances peoples’ lives every day. These include:

  • Digital and Film Cameras as well as related Underwater Products and Accessories
  • Professional Digital SLR Imaging Systems as well as related Underwater Products and Accessories
  • Digital and Microcassette Recorders
  • Digital Media
  • Binoculars

Olympus Imaging America Inc. is responsible for sales in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For more information, visit: www.olympusamerica.com.

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