Don't adjust your browser, you haven't stumbled upon the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Olympus was apparently bitten by the retro bug when conceiving its E-M5, but only in form, which resembles the original OM cameras from four decades ago. As for function, the E-M5 is the first of the new Olympus OM-D (OM Digital) Series of Micro Four Thirds cameras and it's brimming with an entirely new feature-set.
Olympus isn't quite ready to detail its upcoming compact digital camera, but from what little the company did say, we can't wait to find out more.
That's because Olympus claims to have developed the world's first digital compact camera with an integrated Zuiko lens. The new model, which doesn't have a name yet, will serve as Olympus' flagship compact cam.
The only other thing Olympus is willing to reveal at this point is that "in addition to the lens from the undisputed experts in high-quality and award-winning Zuiko system, the new camera is equipped with an accessory port and thus compatible with the accessories of the Olympus PEN-be models."
Olympus plans to launch the new camera sometime in the first quarter of 2011, and will presumably reveal a bit more about this mysterious point-n-shoot well before then.
It was bound to happen--digital cameras would be redesigned as digital devices, rather than optical devices with digital components press-ganged into service. The new Micro Four Thirds standard, created by Olympus and Kodak does just that for digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR), not only blurring the feature line between point-and-shoots and DSLRs, but also allowing for interchangeable ‘smart’ lenses. Pretty neat.
And Olympus’s new PEN E-PL1 Micro Four Thirds camera, promised for March, is now available to eager adopters. The PEN E-PL1 has a 12.3 megapixel high speed MOS sensor, with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the TruePic V Image processor. It saves images in JPEG and RAW (12-bit lossless compression) formats, in images up to 4032 x 3024 pixels. It can record video in 1280 x 720 HD, and 640 x 480 SD (with file size limited to 2GB). Images are stored to an SD or SDHC card.
Other features include high speed auto focus, image stabilization, shutter speeds from 2 to 1/2000 second (and a bulb option). The LCD is 2.7-inches and 230,000 pixels. (No optical viewfinder.) Flash is built-in. There’s also a full complement of auto features, and for the serious amateur manual control.
Amazon says it has the slate blue and champagne gold versions in stock. If you want the black it looks like you’ll have to wait. Price is $599.99, which includes a 14-42mm f/3.5-4.6 Zuiko digital zoom lens.
The tweener world between point-and-shoot and DSLRs gets more interesting all the time. Just when you think 20x zooms, advanced focusing, image stabilization, and lots of megapixels pretty much max out the potential for these cameras, along comes Nikon, Canon, or Olympus to prove you wrong. Case in point, Olympus’ SP-800UZ which comes with a 30x “superzoom”, 14 megapixels, and 720p video.
The SP-800UZ, which is the fourth installment in the SP series, has a 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor with 14 megapixels, giving a maximum resolution of 4288 x 3216. Image ratio is 4:3, but it will also shoot in 16:9. ISO rating is from 64 to 3200, with options for 6400 and 10000 with “boost”. Shutter speeds range from 1/4 second to 1/2000 second, but the shutter can be kept open as long as 4 seconds in Night mode. Wide open the lens is 28mm, and 840mm when fully extended (30x)--and that’s without the 5x digital zoom.
The SP-800UZ uses TruePic™ III Image Processor and saves images as JPEGs (movies as MP4s). Sorry, no RAW. Images are stored to either the 2GB of internal memory or an SD/SDHC card. And, as is the trend in this range, there’s no optical viewfinder. Instead, you have to rely on the 3-inch LCD.
There are 27 shooting modes, four “Magic Filters”, and a panorama mode, which should keep most amateurs busy. Manual control is also available. It also has auto focus, dual image stabilization, face detection, and automatic noise reduction. Flash is built-in. 720p video (1280 x 720) is available at 24fps. You can also capture video at 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 at 30fps or 15fps.
The SP-800UZ isn’t pocket-sized, but it is smaller, and cheaper, than the next step up. The SP-800UZ is currently on pre-order, with a suggested retail price of $349.99.
It you don’t have something singularly amazing, you might as well overwhelm with quantity. Olympus, working hard to be noticed in the CES throng, is announcing nine new point-and-shoot compact digital cameras.
The FE series (5030, 4040, 4030, and 47), have 14 megapixel sensors, 2.7-inch LCD displays, image stabilization, intelligent auto mode (i-Auto), auto focus tracking, face identification, and video recording. Optical zooms on the 4040 and 4030 are 4x, and on the 5030 and 47 are 5x. All have internal batteries, chargeable via USB, except the 47, which runs off standard AAs.
The µ series also has four models (9010, 7040, 7030, and 5010), and all have 14 megapixel sensor, the TruePic III image processor, and 2.7-inch LCD screens (except the 7040, which has a 3.0-inch LCD screen). All have 10x optical zoom, except the 5010, which has a 5x optical zoom. They all come with image stabilization, intelligent auto mode (i-Auto), auto focus tracking, and face detection. Each also has 2 GB of internal memory and are able to record HD movies (but only the 7030 is capable of sound).
The ninth camera is the µ TOUGH-3000. The TOUGH-3000 has a 12 megapixel sensor, a 3.6x optical zoom, image stabilization, a 2.7-inch LCD screen, intelligent auto mode (i-Auto), auto focus tracking, and face recognition. It also has 1 Gb of internal memory and can record HD video.
The five µ-series cameras also come with Photo Surfing and [ib] Software, which lets you browse easily through and organize images based on events, people, face detection, location, or date. All cameras come with an in-camera help guide.
Prices vary, naturally, but Olympus says all will be on store shelves in March.
Olympus’s Stylus 780 packs a 7.1 megapixel sensor, a 5x optical zoom, a crisp 2.5-inch LCD, and face-detection technology into a weatherproof camera body that is slightly larger but more stylish than the Sony DSC-W80’s.