March 5, 2008: Olympus has released details of the E-420, which is claimed as the world’s smallest and thinnest interchangeable-lens DSLR camera and is due for release in May.
A substantial upgrade to the E-410 model it replaces, the E-410 is targeted at photographers who wish to upgrade from a compact digicam to a digital SLR and offers numerous ease-of-use and picture quality enhancements. It sports a new 10-megapixel Live MOS sensor and improved TruePic III image processing engine, which features an advanced processing algorithm to improve imaging performance, gradation expression and colour reproduction. Olympus’s tried-and-proven SSWF dust reduction system is also provided.
The E-420 body with the new Zuiko Digital 25mm f2.8 lens.
Rear view showing the colour-coded button controls.
The camera body has been redesigned to present a slightly larger, more comfortable grip and control buttons have been labelled to make them easier for colour-blind users to identify. A new Super Control Panel displays shooting and adjustment data on the LCD and features a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for quick, intuitive operation using cross-cursor and OK buttons. Settings are easy to make and easy to check, minimising mistakes and confusion.
Top and side views of the new E-420.
A larger, 2.7-inch HyperCrystal II LCD screen on the E-420 supports live view shooting capability. The screen offers a viewing angle of 176 degrees in all directions and has improved viewing contrast and features an expanded colour reproduction gamut. An anti-reflection multi-coating and colour temperature adjustment that works the same way as a traditional brightness adjustment control provide improvements to image playback.
The E-420’s new AF Live View function is an improved version of the original Live View Technology, which was launched with the E-330 model in early 2006. It is also the first to support autofocusing based on contrast detection (rather than phase-difference detection). The new “High Speed Imager AF” system is activated when the shutter button is pressed halfway down in Live View shooting. Then, contrast values are detected at the image sensor and focusing is adjusted at the peak contrast position. The new AF Live View system lets users shoot in the same way as they would with a digicam.
Another new feature is the addition of Face Detect and Shadow Adjust Technology. The face detection system, which is supported in Live View mode, can distinguish up to eight faces in a frame. It will automatically adjust focus and exposure to provide an optimal balance of brightness and sharpness, even for backlit shots. Users can also take advantage of a new Perfect Shot Preview function, which displays four images with different compensation, white balance and picture mode adjustments on the LCD monitor. The preferred image can then be selected for saving.
The E-420 supports a sequential shooting speed of 3.5 frames/second. Its built-in flash includes the same a commander function as offered on the E-3 model for wireless flash support. When the FL-50R and/or FL-36R external flashes are used, multiple flashes can be controlled without either connection cables or an external commander. Settings (including flash mode and intensity) for up to 3 groups of remote flashes can be adjusted on the LCD panel on the back of the camera.
Local pricing for the E-420 is yet to be announced. For more information, visit www.olympus.com.au.
(Camera specifications and additional product images will be added to this posting whne we receive them.)
Image sensor: 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS sensor with approx. 11.8 million photosites (10 megapixels effective)
Lens mount: FourThirds mount
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Image formats: RAW (12-bit), JPEG (4 compression ratios), RAW+JPEG
Image Sizes: 3648×2736, 3200×2400, 2560×1920, 1600×1200, 1280×960, 1024×768, 640×480
Image Stabilisation: Body-integrated CCD-shift type
Dust removal: SuperSonic Wave Filter
Shutter speed range: Auto mode: 2 – 1/4000 sec. (depends on settings), P(Ps), S, A, M