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Olympus' E-5 digital SLR. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Olympus E-5: Flagship DSLR with HD video previewed
(Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 02:01 EDT)

Olympus Imaging America Inc. has today unveiled its new flagship E-5 single-lens reflex digital camera, a replacement for the 2007-model Olympus E-3 -- and we've just published our hands-on Olympus E-5 preview.

Seen from the front or above, the weather-sealed magnesium alloy body of the Olympus E-5 looks very similar to its predecessor, but from other angles there are numerous changes, and these are continued on the inside. The most noticeable external change is a switch to a larger 3.0-inch tilt/swivel LCD panel whose inclusion has necessitated a rearrangement of the rear panel controls. In the process, the flash card compartment door on the right side of the body has been changed to remove the rear-panel latch mechanism, and both the Supersonic Wave Filter indicator lamp and IS button have been removed from the rear of the camera. On the left side, there's a new HDMI high-def video output port, and a 3.5mm microphone jack that hints at another big feature change -- the Olympus E-5 is the first E-series digital SLR to include video, thanks to an AVI Motion JPEG 720p high-def movie mode.

The Olympus E-5 also includes a new 12.3 megapixel Live MOS image sensor with slightly increased resolution, a lower-strength optical low-pass filter, and a new generation TruePic V+ image processor with moire and false-color removal function. Burst rate is unchanged at five fps, but the E-5 has an increaed sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 6,400 equivalents. As well as an 11-point contrast detection autofocus system, the E-5 now includes contrast detection autofocusing capability in live view mode, although curiously this is also limited to 11 fixed point locations. There's also face detection and a new guide menu feature in live view mode, and phase detection AF now includes a microadjustment feature to correct for front- or backfocus issues.

Among a variety of other newly added features, the E-5 now has a dual-axis level gauge, i-Enhance picture mode, ten art filters including a new Dramatic Tone filter, and a range of in-camera JPEG editing functionality. Support for xD-Picture Cards and Type-II CompactFlash media (including Microdrives) has been dropped, and support for Secure Digital cards added to the existing CompactFlash Type-I support. UDMA CF cards are accepted, as are both SDHC and SDXC cards. Power comes courtesy of a new BLM-1 lithium ion battery pack.

The Olympus E-5 digital camera is available from October 2010, priced at US$1,700 body-only. For more details, read our Olympus E-5 preview.

Olympus E-5
Olympus' E-5 digital SLR. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera TypePro SLR
Model NumberNorth America: E-5
Dimensions5.6 x 4.6 x 2.9 in.
(143 x 117 x 75 mm)
Weight31.5 oz (892 g)
Planned Price$1,700
Planned AvailabilityOctober 2010
Image Capture
Sensor TypeN-MOS
Four Thirds (approx. 0.85 in. diagonal)
13.10 megapixels (total)
12.30 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Focal Length Multiplier2.00
Aspect Ratio4:3
Image Dimensions4032 x 3024 (12.2 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
Image Quality4 levels
Image Preview / Review
ViewfinderYes, SLR type; eye-level pentaprism, ~100% coverage, ~1.15x mag., ~20mm eyepoint, -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
LCD3.0 in. diagonal
921,000 dots (approx. 307,000 pixels)
Playback Zoom14.0x max
Lens TypeInterchangeable Lens
Lens MountFour Thirds mount
Image StabilizationYes
Focusing SystemTTL Phase Detect: 11-point, all cross-type; Contrast Detect (Live View): 11-area, face detection
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
ISO SensitivityAuto (200 - 6400, customizable), 100 - 6400 (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 BalanceHybrid - Auto, Lamp, Fluorescent, Daylight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Customized WB, One-touch WB (4 settings), Underwater
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
Scene ModesUnderwater program AE
Self TimerYes, 2 or 12 seconds
Movie FormatAVI (Motion JPEG) with audio
Max. clip length: 420 seconds () / 840 seconds ()
Recording MediumCompactFlash Type I, SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC
File SystemFAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format12-bit RAW (.ORF), JPEG
VideoHigh definition: Yes (HDMI)
Standard definition: Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
OtherMini HDMI (type-C) Output, DC Input, Cable Remote
Battery TypeLithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary BLM-5
Product Bundle
SoftwareOLYMPUS software CD-ROM
Battery / Charger1 x Proprietary BLM-5 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantYes
Internal MicrophoneYes
Internal SpeakerYes
Tripod MountYes, Metal
Remote ControlYes, RM-1 IR or RM-CB1 Cable
NotesSensor-shift Image Stabilization, Hi-res 921Kdot Articulating LCD, 720p movies, HDMI output, Dual CF/SD card support (including SDXC), AF fine tuning.
More Photos
Olympus' E-5 digital SLR. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-5 digital SLR. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:

New Olympus E-5 DSLR For Professional Shooters Expands Legacy Of Innovation

Dustproof, Splashproof DSLR with Dual Axis Swiveling LCD Monitor Offers Sharp Image Quality, High Definition Video and In-Camera Creative Features -- Even in the Most Extreme Environments

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., September 14, 2010 – Today Olympus announces the E-5, a new digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera that builds on the company’s tradition of innovation to meet the rigorous demands of professional photographers and experienced amateurs. In recent years, Olympus has changed the DSLR marketplace by pioneering groundbreaking features, including the first 100 percent digital-specific lenses, the award-winning Supersonic Wave Filter Dust Reduction System, the first Full -Time Live View system and a completely splashproof and dustproof magnesium alloy DSLR body. Olympus continues this legacy by pairing these technologies with several new breakthrough features developed for the E-5 camera, providing further proof that Olympus lets you capture it all.

  • Superior Image Quality: The E-5 camera achieves the highest image quality of any Olympus camera by pairing a 12.3 megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor with a TruePic V+ image processing engine that boasts new “Fine Detail Processing” technology for greater detail in the photograph. Optimized to maximize the performance of the Zuiko® Digital Lenses, Fine Detail Processing takes digital photography to the next level.

  • 270 Degree Swivel LCD: A 3.0-inch dual axis swivel HyperCrystal® LCD with 920,000 dots makes it easy to frame High Definition (HD) videos and still images at any angle from low to high and side to side to ensure accurate composition.

  • Limitless Creativity: Ten in-camera Art Filters including new Dramatic Tone round out this DSLR’s impressive feature set. For the first time, photographers can use Art Filters in all shooting modes, program auto, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual modes and movies with expanded control. Both still and movie capable, the E-5 camera offers HD video in an E-System DSLR for the first time.

“The E-5 camera combines the E-System’s legendary durability, reliability and professional image quality with HD video, multi-exposure and creative art features of the PEN® series,” said John Knaur, senior marketing manager, Digital SLR, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “Wherever you’re shooting, the rugged splashproof design of this camera will capture excellent images and video and withstand any rough conditions you might encounter.”

Superior Image Quality
The E-5 camera utilizes a unique combination of cutting-edge technologies to deliver the highest image quality in the Olympus family. Together with its 12.3 megapixel High-Speed Live MOS image sensor, the Olympus TruePic V+ Image Processor produces clear and colorful photos using all the pixel information at an individual pixel level to provide the best digital images possible. The increased detail is due to the new Fine Detail Processing technology, utilizing a sophisticated algorithm to deliver all the information from each pixel for greater detail than shots taken on other cameras with the same number of pixels. The image processor is noted for accurate natural color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression; it also lowers image noise in photos shot at higher ISO settings (ISO 100 to ISO 6400), enabling great results in low-light situations.

To prevent image blur caused by camera shake, the E-5 camera employs in-body Mechanical Image Stabilization to compensate 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 Image Stabilization works with not only long focal length lenses, but with wide, ultra-wide and even fisheye lenses, permitting long exposures during low-light and night scene settings with sharp, stabilized results.

Head-Turning High Definition Video
Shooting video is as easy as ever with the new Olympus E-5 camera. The camera captures all the action in crisp 720p HD video at 30 frames per second. With more than 20 Four Thirds® lenses, people can shoot video with a selection of lenses ranging from an extreme wide-angle fisheye lens to a super telephoto lens for a variety of expressive options. Photographers can capture great stereo sound quality by plugging any microphone with a standard 3.5mm jack into the camera’s stereo microphone terminal. A built-in microphone also records clear monaural audio.

3.0-inch dual axis swivel HyperCrystal® LCD
Whether composing still images or HD video, photographers will appreciate the E-5 camera’s 270 degree dual axis swivel 3.0-inch Live View LCD because it covers all the viewing angles from low to high and side to side, ensuring accurate composition and providing opportunities for creativity. Real-time image monitoring of white balance and exposure enables greater creative control of settings. The LCD displays 920,000 dots 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 modes. It also provides a wide viewing angle ensuring that images can be composed from even the most obscure angles.

Tremendous Durability and Reliability
The E-5 camera’s sealed lightweight “thixomold” magnesium alloy chassis is completely splashproof and dustproof for optimal performance with pro lenses on expeditions to the most extreme environments on the planet. A durable shutter mechanism with the lifespan of 150,000 exposures meets the demands of serious photographers. The E-5 camera’s large optical viewfinder provides a 100 percent accurate view to ensure photographers do not miss a shot.

The E-5 camera also features an award-winning built-in Dust Reduction System that eliminates spots from photos with the exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter. This year, the system won the prestigious Asahi Shimbun Invention Prize in the 2010 Japan National Invention Awards. 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.

Unlimited Creativity
Olympus pioneered easy-to-use in-camera art filters for still images captured inside its E-System DSLRs. It was the first company to offer the ability to apply art filters to HD video recordings captured with the PEN® E-P1 camera. Now, the E-5 camera continues this tradition of innovation with 10 user controllable in-camera art filters, including one new filter: Dramatic Tone.

The Dramatic Tone art filter represents real space in a more imaginary way by applying unrealistic tones of light and darkness based on local changes in contrast. This new filter is a welcome addition to the Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Cross Process and Gentle Sepia filters previously available on the E-30, E-620 and PEN® series cameras.

For the first time, photographers can use Art Filters in all shooting modes: shutter priority, aperture priority, manual and program auto modes for expanded control. The filters can all be applied to both still shots and Standard Definition or HD movies. Whether you’re a videographer, documentarian or established director – or just want to shoot like one – Art Filters set your images and videos apart from the pack. Since they’re built into the camera, you can achieve dramatic results on the go without the need for computer or editing software.

With the E-5 camera’s Multiple Exposure function for still image capture, you are free to tell a visual story your way, whether in portrait or landscape orientation, or a combination of both. The image capture options allow you to combine four shots. Shoot one shot, then another and combine them in real time, or capture two to four shots separately and combine them in the camera later.

The E-5 camera is also equipped with an internal Digital Level Sensor that detects the camera’s pitch and roll with indicators in the optical viewfinder, on the control panel and during Live View operation. This Digital Leveler is a tremendous benefit for architectural photographers who must ensure that images they take of buildings are as centered and true as the walls of the buildings themselves. Rather than spend time rotating an image in computer software, you can use the camera’s Digital Leveler to make sure your subjects are where they should be in the frame.

Whatever you create, it will be easy to display on the big screen. When you’re ready to share your work, just plug the E-5 camera into any HD television using the camera’s HDMI output with an HDMI cable and show it off.

Great Performance
Intuitive controls and fast performance are essential for capturing the moment without missing a shot. Besides its direct access buttons for quick access to camera menus, the E-5 camera offers the fastest AF speed in the world when coupled with the ZUIKO® DIGITAL ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 (24-120mm equivalent) Supersonic Wave Drive Lens to ensure fast focus for clear, sharp photos. The E-5 camera has a Twin cross type (fully biaxial) 11-point AF sensor, based on proprietary Olympus micro-sensing technologies that achieve 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-5 camera’s AF sensor features a houndstooth pattern phase detection sensor layout that uses micro-lamination technologies to achieve superior real-world performance. The 11 AF target points on the E-5 can be selected to work individually or dynamically in combination with adjacent target points.

The E-5 camera also features five frames-per-second continuous shooting and a 1/8000 second top shutter speed required for shooting situations when you are capturing fast-moving subjects.

Wireless Flash Control
The E-5 camera is compatible with a range of optional external flashes, including the Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R. The E-5 camera can control both of these flashes wirelessly so you can dynamically control lighting as your photography skills grow. The E-5 camera features a commander function incorporated in its built-in flash, making wireless multi-flash photography possible without using an outside commander. The E-5 camera can control up to three wireless flash groups independently, and control of multiple flashes is possible even in an environment in which both the FL-50R and FL-36R are used simultaneously. In addition, the E-5 camera’s Super Control Panel display makes it possible to enter and check all of the selected items on the LCD. This ensures excellent operability and mobility.

Accepting both CompactFlash Type I UDMA and SD cards (SDHC/SDXC compatible), 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. Class 6 or higher SD cards are recommended for optimal movie shooting.

The Olympus E-5 camera will be available in October 2010. It includes the E-5 Body, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack (BLM-5), Li-Ion Battery Charger (BCM-5), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS software CD-ROM, Manuals and Registration card.

U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
E-5 Camera Body Estimated Street Price: $1,699.99

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 people’s lives every day. These include:

  • Digital Cameras

  • Professional and Interchangeable Lens System Cameras

  • 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.

  1. The autofocus speed of the E-5 camera combined with the ZUIKO® DIGITAL 12-60mm (24-120mm equivalent) f2.8-4.0 SWD lens was measured during in-house testing by Olympus and is based on similar available lenses for digital SLR cameras as of September 14, 2010.

*Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. All trademarks and registered trademarks listed herein are the property of their respective holders, in the US and/or other countries.
© 2010 Olympus Imaging America Inc.

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