Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympus E-3

Review by Shawn Barnett

Olympus has finally announced their long-awaited flagship DSLR camera, the E-3. Billed as a pure pro camera, the Olympus E-3 is really more comparable to the cameras by Olympus's competitors that we've been categorizing as semi-pro, such as the Pentax K10D, Canon 40D, and Nikon D200. Whatever you call it though, there's no question that the new E-3 represents a sizable leap forward in technology and sophistication for the Olympus SLR line.

With the E-3, Olympus introduces their first new autofocus sensor in years: an 11-point array, each point consisting of twin cross-type AF sensors. They're claiming this is the fastest AF system on the market. Combined with greater 1.15x magnification in the E-3's viewfinder, framing and focusing with this Four-Thirds camera is a lot easier than past Olympus models.

A new shutter mechanism in the Olympus E-3 delivers 1/8,000 second speed, and 1/250 flash sync, and an expected lifetime of 150,000 cycles. Mirror blackout time is also said to be low, but there are no official numbers yet. Three dedicated processors handle three separate functions: one for image stabilization, one for autofocus, and the TruePic III for image processing. A UDMA-compatible CompactFlash slot promises fast write times, and the additional xD-Picture Card slot adds extra storage.