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Olympus E-3 Digital Slr

In the four-odd years between the launch of the Olympus E-1 – the camera that heralded the first all-new SLR system for over a decade – and its successor the E-3, the DSLR landscape has changed beyond recognition, with prices dropping and capabilities soaring. The world moved on whilst the Olympus professional system stood still, looking more and more irrelevant and less and less like a serious contender to the long-standing Canon/Nikon duopoly in the pro market.

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 auto focus 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 auto focus, and the TruePic III for image processing. A UDMA-compatible Compact Flash slot promises fast write times, and the additional xD-Picture Card slot adds extra storage.

Body-based image stabilization is built into the Olympus E-3, taking advantage of the company’s Supersonic Wave Drive motor technology to drive the anti-shake system. A separate motor drives the Supersonic Wave Filter to remove dust.

The E-3 has a new Auto focus sensor from which is an 11 point array. Three dedicated processors can be found inside the camera, one for the Auto focus, one for Image stabilizing and the Trupic Turbo III for processing the images. The Compact flash slot is UDMA compatible to make use of the ultra fast cards that are starting to emerge onto the market.

The E-3 has a new 10Mp sensor which has a faster read time to help enable the 5fps continuous shooting facility and the top speed of the shutter is 1/8000 sec.

The buttons on the back of the camera consist of the Exposure and Focus lock, the Function button which is a small Menu for access to the most frequently used features. Other buttons available for wandering fingers are the Focus point selector, Playback button, the Navigation pad and Image stabiliser. These are to the right of the flip out screen and four other buttons are found beneath it. They are the Delete, Info, Menu and Display options. The Power switch can be found at the bottom as well as a release switch for the

The top of the camera has access to the White balance and ISO ratings as well as a useful reset option by pressing two buttons simultaneously. Bracketing adjust can be found just above the Shutter Release Button.

Olympus E-3 Specifications

* Sensor: 10.1Mp 4/3 Hi-speed Live MOS sensor

* Lens: Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm or 12-60mm

* Focus: TTL phase difference detection, 11 point Auto/Manual

* ISO range: ISO100-3200

* Shutter speed: 1/8000-60sec plus bulb up to 30 minutes

* Exposure: Program/AP/SP/M

* Metering: Multi Pattern/ESP/Spot/Centre-weighted

* Monitor: 2.5in hyper crystal LCD

* Storage: Compact flash, XD Picture card

* Batteries: BML-1 Lithium Ion

* Video Output: NTSC & PAL

* Size/Weight: 142.5 x 116.5 x 74.5mm/810g

* Transfer: USB 2.0

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