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Olympus announces new flagship DSLR

September 15, 2010: Olympus Imaging Australia has released details (minus RRP) of its new flagship DSLR camera, the widely-anticipated E-5, which is scheduled to go on sale late next month.

Designed for professional and enthusiast photographers, the E-5 is scheduled for release in late October 2010. Local pricing has still to be determined, although a European website (LetsGoDigital) has published a body-only price of 1700 Euros ($2350), while US site Gizmodo quotes US$1700 ($1800 with the Aussie dollar @US94 cents).

Featuring a redesigned 12.3-megapixel High-Speed LiveMOS technology sensor and the latest TruePic V+ image processor, Olympus says the E-5 is expected to provide a significant image quality upgrade for existing Olympus DSLR users. But otherwise the new camera retains the solid build quality and many features of the popular E-3 model.

Key features of the new camera include:
– Dual-axis swiveling LCD monitor and a high resolution 920K HyperCrystal 3-inch LCD screen;
– Large optical viewfinder with 100 percent field of view and 1.1x magnification. The focusing screen is has a Neo Lumi-Micro Mat for bright, easy-to-adjust manual focusing. Live View shooting;
– Level gauges for the roll and pitch of the camera. The level gauge display is available in the viewfinder, on the LCD control panel and on the Live View monitor;- Magnesium-alloy chassis with dust/splash-proof construction;
– Sensor-shift image stabilisation system that works with all lenses;
– Fast and accurate autofocusing system with a fully crossed array of 11 points, each of which is composed of two horizontal and vertical lines;
– High-reliability shutter mechanism that has been tested to 150,000 operational cycles;
– Support for HD video recording with the widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio plus standard VGA at 30fps;
– Dual CompactFlash (CF Type I) and SD card (SDHC or SDXC) slots. Data can be copied between different media and a second card can be used to backup the main card used for recording;
– A maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 second, flash synchronisation at 1/250 second and up to 5 frames/second burst shooting;
– Multi-exposure support with Live View image overlay. Up to 4 exposures can be made on a single frame;
– Ten built-in Art Filters including a new ‘Dramatic Tone’ effect, which can be applied to both still images and movies, and can be used in sequential shooting;
– An extended white balance range that includes a new Underwater white balance control;
– Built-in copyright owner information input that allows the photographer’s copyright data to be automatically written in the Exif tag in all images;
– A GN13 (ISO 100) built-in flash with TTL flash control and support for wireless multi-flash control.

The new camera is compatible with the same range of accessories as its predecessor. In addition to a wide range of lens option, other accessories include a battery grip, remote controllers and flash units.

COMMENT: A $500+ price differential between the US and Europe, and local pricing yet to be announced!? Are camera manufacturers genuinely concerned about bringing the grey market under control, or rather maximising global sales of their new releases at any cost?

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