Olympus E3 Finally Released Today
October 16, 2007
The E-3 features the world’s fastest* auto-focusing speeds thanks to an advanced AF system and new ZUIKO DIGITAL SWD (Supersonic Wave Drive) lenses. Matched with shutter speeds of up to 1/8000th sec. and 5fps sequential shooting (with a 19 image RAW buffer in burst mode), the E-3 gives photographers a crucial edge to help capture that decisive shot.
Ensuring the best image quality in the widest range of situations, this new professional model also incorporates a powerful built-in image stabilisation system which is capable of compensating against the effects of camera shake to the equivalent of up to 5 EV steps. This is complemented by a 10 Megapixel High Speed Live MOS sensor and Olympus’ TruePic III image processing engine. Together with the ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses – which are custom-made for the needs of D-SLR photography – photographers can rely on optimal results each time.
Meanwhile, the camera’s Live View capabilities provide the freedom to shoot with more versatility: Whether wanting to keep eye-contact with the subject or shooting above the head or close to the ground, compositions can be framed with ease on the 2.5”/6.4cm multi-angle HyperCrystal LCD, which also faithfully displays the effect of camera adjustments in real time.
In addition to Live View, photographers can also choose to use the camera’s large viewfinder which provides 100% coverage. Like all Olympus E-System cameras, the E-3 incorporates the most effective dust reduction system available – the Supersonic Wave Filter. Reliability of the camera system is further heightened under all types of shooting conditions thanks to dust and splashproof protection of both body and most E-System lenses. Moreover, a shutter life of 150,000 operations guarantees that the E-3 will tolerate the treatment of even the most active photographer with ease.
The Olympus E-3 will be available from the end of November 2007. The body only will be available for approximately £1099, the kit with the 14-54mm lens for approximately £1499 and the kit with the new 12-60mm lens for approximately £1699. For further information call 0800 0720070 or visit www.olympus.co.uk.
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.
A letter by Michael Hunter, VP Marketing, Olympus America regarding Olympus E-3 courtesy of Glen Smith
Moreover, a new ultra-compact, high-performance ZUIKO DIGITAL EC-20 2x Teleconverter doubles the focal lengths of any lens attached from the wide selection of FourThirds and Olympus E-System lenses, for twice the telephoto power. Now the ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD (which covers a zoom range equivalent to 100mm to 400mm on a 35mm camera lens), combined with the EC-20, will provide a huge equivalent zoom range of 200-800mm.
"With these three new SWD lenses, we’ve got outstanding glass to match the high quality performance of our flagship E-3 digital SLR," said John Knaur, senior marketing manager, Digital SLR, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "In testing, the autofocus speed of the 12-60mm has proven to be the fastest in the world, and the 14-35mm is the world’s first standard zoom lens to rival fixed focal length lens speed with a bright F2.0 aperture. The fast-focusing 50-200mm telephoto is ideal for sports and action photography, and these three lenses fulfill many of a photographer’s focal length needs."
All three SWD lenses will be manufactured at the Olympus Tatsuno Plant in Japan, which is equipped with the highest state-of-the-art production technology in the field of optical equipment.
Supersonic Wave Drive Technology
Olympus-proprietary SWD technology has enabled an ultra-fast, whisper-quiet, high-precision AF system. Two compact, high-powered SWD devices power autofocus at an ultra-high speed by exciting unique elliptical oscillations, while an ultra-compact 5.3mm x 4.3mm optical encoder detects and controls the lens drive position using direct rotation detection without reduction gear. This enables it to achieve a level of precision that’s accurate to 5 microns (5/1000 mm). When used in combination with the new E-3, which offers improved AF computation and lens-body communication rates, the SWD motors provide the fastest focusing speed of approximately 170 ms (0.17 seconds).
ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD
The ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD is a high-performance standard zoom lens, which covers a zoom range equivalent to 24mm to 120mm on a 35mm camera lens. Special optical glass elements are used to correct various types of aberrations, while the 100 percent digital design ensures high-definition performance with clear, crisp images from edge to edge. This lens also boasts impressive close-up shooting capability, allowing users to shoot from as close as 25cm throughout the zoom range.
The lens’ autofocus is powered by Olympus’ breakthrough SWD. Designed to be the world’s fastest AF system, this extraordinary autofocus drive provides both high speed and high precision while operating with lower noise than ever. Optimized for use with the new E-3, this lens enables the camera to demonstrate the full power of its high-speed capability, providing the fastest autofocus available in the world using a standard zoom lens.
ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD
The ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD is a high-performance super-telescopic zoom lens that features, for the first time, the SWD (Supersonic Wave Drive) autofocus system and covers a zoom range equivalent to 100mm to 400mm of a 35mm camera lens. ED lens elements are used extensively to correct the color blurring that can occur when telescopic lenses are extended to their maximum focal length, while the digital-dedicated design ensures high-definition performance with clear, crisp images from edge to edge. Close-up shooting capability is also superb, with a minimum shooting distance of just 1.2 meters throughout the zoom range.
Autofocus is powered by Olympus’ breakthrough SWD, enabling this lens to achieve an AF speed about two times faster2 than the previous ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 model. The ideal partner for the E-3, this lens maximizes that camera’s high-speed autofocus capability, and with its superior tracking capability, this lens is ideal for sports photography and outdoor shooting applications.
ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-35mm f2.0 SWD
The ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-35mm f2.0 SWD, which covers a zoom range equivalent to 28mm to 70mm on a 35mm camera lens is the world’s first standard zoom lens to feature a large f2.0 aperture3. Boasting industry-leading imaging performance, this lens is a worthy addition to the Olympus Super High Grade (SHG) series of lenses. Together with the ED 7-14mm f4.0, ED 35-100mm f2.0 and ED 90-250mm f2.8 lenses, this lens completes Olympus’ series of professional zoom lenses with fixed F-values.
The flagship of the ZUIKO DIGITAL series, this lens was developed to meet the requirements of the most demanding professionals. It includes reliable splash- and dust-proofing, Olympus’ exclusive SWD-driven ultra-fast AF system, a mechanically interlocked manual focusing mechanism and a large, petal-shaped hood with a polarization filter control window.
With its unique f2.0 aperture providing bright viewing with a sharp subject and a soft blurring of the background, this lens epitomizes the versatility, power and creative freedom made possible by the Four Thirds System and is ideal for almost any application – from landscapes and portraits to indoor shooting and photojournalism.
ZUIKO DIGITAL 2x Teleconverter EC-20
The ZUIKO DIGITAL 2x Teleconverter EC-20 is an ultra-compact, high-performance lens capable of doubling the focal length of the master lens. It can be mounted on any ZUIKO DIGITAL lens, dramatically extending lens performance and putting more subjects within the photographer’s range without affecting mobility or ease of use.
Complementing the already available ZUIKO DIGITAL 1.4x Teleconverter EC-14, the EC-20 adds new versatility to the ZUIKO DIGITAL line-up, providing a convenient, cost-effective solution to the demands of telescopic shooting, as well as wide-angle macro and ultra-high-magnification shooting.
The ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD will be available in November 2007.
The ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD will be available in December 2007
The ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-35mm f2.0 SWD will be available in the first quarter of 2008.
The ZUIKO DIGITAL 2x Teleconverter EC-20 will be available in December 2007.
U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD Estimated Street Price: $999.99
ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD Estimated Street Price: $1,199.99
ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-35mm f2.0 SWD Estimated Street Price: $2,299.99
ZUIKO DIGITAL 2x Teleconverter EC-20 Estimated Street Price: $479.99
After the Olympus E-510 with kit lens 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 Image Stabilization hands-on review , the half cut mock up caught my eyes. Listed there were the Olympus Zuiko 300mm F2.8, Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm professional grade lens, the new Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm F2.8-4 SWD High Grade lens, Olympus E-510 and also the Olympus P-1.
Here are the photos:
There was also an Olympus Zuiko 300mm F2.8 mounted on an E-330, below are some photos taken, impress with the depth-of-field. The Olympus Zuiko 300mm F2.8 is equivalent to Nikon’s 400mm lens in terms of focal length due to the Olympus’s 2.0x crop factor.
The Olympus Zuiko 300mm F2.8 seems to hunt a while in my few attempts to take the above sample photos. It a lot slower focuses slower than Nikon D200 coulpled with 300mm F2.8VR. Lens was mounted on tripod.
Having won the EISA “European Consumer Camera
2007-2008″Award, I was eager to know how true is what Leo said. Theoretically
speaking, having the IS system built-into the camera body, one can save a huge
amount of money on lens investment. For instance, a 70-200 F2.8 non-IS version
cost around USD1100 (RM3740) while the IS version cost around USD1700 (RN5780).
The E-510 is set to
Exposure Time = 1/30″
F Number = F5.6
Exposure Program = Manual
ISO Speed Ratings = 400
Metering Mode = Center Weighted Average
Focal Length = 42mm
White Balance = Auto white balance
I have taken 2 burst with IS off, while 1 in single mode with
IS activated. The original images are shown below and follow up with image 100%
cropped on the focused area.
Photo 1 with IS off
Photo 2 with IS off
Photo with IS on
100% cropped images
Photo 1 with IS off
Photo looks blur when taken without IS at shutter speed of 1/30 with focal length of 84mm.
Photo 2 with IS off
Photo looks better than the first shot, but camera shake is still noticable.
Photo with IS on
With IS on, the above photo is sharper than previous two.
A brief testing of the Olympus E-510’s Image Stabilization
does impress me. With the retail price of USD730 (RM2482) with kit lens, it is
well-worth buying for beginners and those who would like to travel light. With
its Live-view capabilities, the E-510 is good for underwater photography when
coupled with Gibson E-510. More info of Olympus E-510 here.