The Olympus E-3: An all-round professional masterpiece
FTU's E-3 launch coverage so far:
- Hands-on with our own E-3 sample camera
- Comparing the Olympus E-3 to its competitors
- Official pictures of the Olympus E-3
- Olympus announce E-3
- Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R
- Olympus bolsters E-System with new ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses
London, 17 October 2007 – It’s here: The new flagship of the Four Thirds Standard-based Olympus E-System. The E-3 gives photographers a high-performance tool that is primed for any assignment and satisfies the most stringent demands for D-SLR photography. It represents the ultimate choice for the professional photographer and provides the highest levels of speed and image quality as well as Live View capabilities and the ultimate in reliability.
The E-3 features the world’s fastest* auto-focusing speeds thanks to an advanced AF system and new ZUIKO DIGITAL SWD (Supersonic Wave Drive) lenses. Matched with shutter speeds of up to 1/8000th sec. and 5fps sequential shooting (with a 19 image RAW buffer in burst mode), the E-3 gives photographers a crucial edge to help capture that decisive shot.
Ensuring the best image quality in the widest range of situations, this new professional model also incorporates a powerful built-in image stabilisation system which is capable of compensating against the effects of camera shake to the equivalent of up to 5 EV steps. This is complemented by a 10 Megapixel High Speed Live MOS sensor and Olympus’ TruePic III image processing engine. Together with the ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses – which are custom-made for the needs of D-SLR photography – photographers can rely on optimal results each time.
Meanwhile, the camera’s capabilities provide the freedom to shoot with more versatility: Whether wanting to keep eye-contact with the subject or shooting above the head or close to the ground, compositions can be framed with ease on the 2.5”/6.4cm multi-angle HyperCrystal LCD, which also faithfully displays the effect of camera adjustments in real time.
In addition to Live View, photographers can also choose to use the camera’s large viewfinder which provides 100% coverage. Like all Olympus E-System cameras, the E-3 incorporates the most effective dust reduction system available – the Supersonic Wave Filter. Reliability of the camera system is further heightened under all types of shooting conditions thanks to dust and splashproof protection of both body and most E-System lenses. Moreover, a shutter life of 150,000 operations guarantees that the E-3 will tolerate the treatment of even the most active photographer with ease.
The Olympus E-3 will be available from the end of November 2007. The body only will be available for approximately £1099, the kit with the 14-54mm lens for approximately £1499 and the kit with the new 12-60mm lens for approximately £1699. For further information visit www.olympus.co.uk.
Speed – never miss an opportunity
The E-3 boasts the world’s quickest* autofocus system. It is based on a fully-biaxial high-speed 11-point AF system with both horizontal and vertical sensor lines to give a total of 44 different data points from which the correct focus is accurately calculated. In addition, pixel multiplication technologies are used to boost performance in low light (-2EV at ISO 100). Meanwhile, fast shutter speeds of up to 1/8000th sec. provide the ability to freeze action dead in its tracks – no matter its pace. And giving users an advantage over the clock when every second counts, shooting speeds of up to 5fps in full Megapixel mode are possible (with 19 image RAW buffer in burst mode).
Image quality – picture perfect performance
To counteract the effects of image blur caused by shakes, the Olympus E-3 incorporates a highly advanced, built-in image stabilisation system. It is extremely effective and utilises the breakthrough Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD). This means sharper shots every time – no matter which lens is used – and less need to use a tripod as compensation up to 5 EV steps is provided. The IS system features two modes: One for shakes along both the x and y axes, while another stabilises only the y axis – which is ideal for following moving subjects during sports photography.
Significantly contributing to the camera’s excellent imaging performance is the 10 Megapixel High Speed Live MOS sensor. Its attributes for delivering high image quality are boosted even further thanks to integration of the advanced TruePic III image processor which improves noise suppression, enhances colour reproduction and enables faster processing speeds. And together with lenses from the award-winning ZUIKO DIGITAL range, the camera returns nothing less than perfect depictions.
Live View – unprecedented control
The E-3 provides photographers with the convenience of a continuous Live View on its multi-angle, 2.5”/6.4cm HyperCrystal LCD. This allows for truly unique shots from the most unusual perspectives, as it enables experimentation with completely new shooting styles. Photographers can do and see more as they needn’t stay glued to the viewfinder. Thanks to the option of LCD magnification of 5x, 7x and 10x, accurate focusing during macro shooting is also made easy. In addition, the effects of Shadow Adjustment Technology (SAT), White Balance and Exposure Compensation can be viewed directly on the LCD in real time: So, what you see is really what you get.
Reliability – exceptional durability
The E-3 also takes viewfinder performance up a notch. Full professional level coverage of 100% plus 1.15x magnification enhances framing ease even when using the eyepiece.
Since the development of the world’s first dust protection system in 2003, Olympus has continuously improved on it so that it still remains the most effective solution available today. The critically acclaimed Supersonic Wave Filter ingeniously protects the High Speed Live MOS sensor from dust and other foreign particles that could otherwise compromise image quality and serves as a symbol of Olympus’ long-standing commitment to imaging excellence.
Its magnesium alloy construction combined with dust and splashproof protection lets the E-3 go wherever the action is: No matter at a rainy football game or on the dusty plains of the Serengeti. The power grip and a wide selection of lenses are equally protected against the elements, thereby considerably reducing the risk of downtime as the E-3 is always ready for the next assignment no matter the conditions. And with a shutter life of 150,000 operations, professionals will really come to appreciate this model’s extreme reliability.
Naturally, low light doesn’t put an end to shooting opportunities. In addition to the built-in flash (GN13), the E-3 allows wireless control of flash units, such as the new Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R, in up to three groups – enhancing lighting options dramatically.
In addition, the E-3 boasts flawless automatic white balance. This is due to a hybrid detection system which employs a dedicated white balance sensor in conjunction with the image sensor. The combination of colour data from two different sources results in stunningly faithful colour reproduction.
A complete D-SLR system
Adhering to the Four Thirds Standard, the E-3 is optimised for the special demands of digital photography and provides photographers with a superior level of flexibility and freedom. Cross-manufacturer compatibility ensures a future-proof investment that users can rely on. 32 lenses and three lens converters are available to date, including many from the award-winning ZUIKO DIGITAL range, which is designed for the specific demands of digital SLR photography. Furthermore, Four Thirds enables a smaller, lighter lens construction which means photographers benefit from more mobility and control, thus increasing the likelihood of magnificent imaging results.
In addition to the many lenses which include the recently-introduced ZUIKO DIGITAL SWD models for attaining the world’s fastest* autofocus speeds, a wide and exciting range of E-System accessories await professionals looking to customise their photographic experience with the E-3. For flash control without the need for cables, Olympus offers the FL-50R and FL-36R wireless flash units. And for assignments that go into overtime, the Power Grip HLD-4 provides long-lasting battery power and conveniently includes a shutter release button on its side to make the quick capture of shots in portrait format just as simple as landscapes. Two new eye-cups (DE-P3 and DE-N3) are also available to broaden the camera’s dioptre correction adjustment capabilities. Shifting the dioptre either up or down by 3m-1, an expansive total range spanning -6m-1 to +4m-1 is possible. Moreover, the optional FS-3 Focusing Screen provides a grid matte screen in the viewfinder on which the image area is divided into 4 x 6 sections to assist in framing (purchase & installation via Olympus Service Dept. only).
With the E-3, Olympus answers the demand for uncompromising endurance, speed and image quality. This professional D-SLR will commence sales at the end of November 2007.
* Among interchangeable lenses for D-SLR cameras. In combination with the new Olympus ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm, 1:2.8-4.0 SWD and E-3, as of October 17 2007, according to survey by Olympus.
For further technical information, see also:
- Built-in image stabilisation: www.olympus-europa.com/consumer/dslr_16742.htm
- Live View: www.olympus-europa.com/consumer/dslr_12806.htm
- Supersonic Wave Filter: www.olympus-europa.com/consumer/dslr_7051.htm
- Four Thirds Standard: www.four-thirds.org
The Olympus E-3 – main features:
- World's fastest autofocus* for quick and precise image capture
- Fully-biaxial high-speed 11-point AF system
- 1/8000th sec. high-speed and high-precision shutter control, X: 1/250
- 5fps sequential shooting with 19 image RAW buffer
- High-performance built-in image stabiliser to stabilise all lenses
(up to 5 EV steps) with two modes
- High Speed 10 Megapixel Live MOS sensor
- Qualified image processing with new TruePic III
- High image quality with a variety of bright dedicated-to-digital ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses
- 2.5”/6.4cm multi-angle HyperCrystal LCD for greatest flexibility
- Real-time effect monitoring
- Pre-control over white balance and exposure compensation
- Preview of Shadow Adjustment Technology (SAT)
- 5x/7x/10x magnified view for precise focusing – especially for macro shots
- Large viewfinder with professional-level coverage of 100% and 1.15x magnification for accurate image control
- Spotless photography with most effective dust reduction system (Supersonic Wave Filter)
- Splashproof body and lens system
- Professional quality shutter life of 150K operations
Additional features of the Olympus E-3:
- Based on the Four Thirds Standard
- Ergonomic design of body, control buttons and GUI for easy operation
- AE/AF lock functionality for individual customisation
- Second display for Super Control Panel
- ISO 100-3200 for wide-ranging sensitivity
- Accurate white balance with two sensors
- Built-in flash (GN13) and wireless flash control directly from the camera body.
- Wireless flash control in up to 3 groups (separate press release available for Olympus FL-50R and FL-36R flash units)
- High-speed USB 2.0 interface
- High-speed data writing and lossless RAW compression for quick processing
- Simultaneous writing of RAW and JPEG
- Dual memory slot for CompactFlash and xD-Picture Cards (incl. support for UDMA High-Speed CF cards and Microdrive)
New accessories for the Olympus E-3:
- Power Grip HLD-4 for ideal portrait shooting and long battery life
- Wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R
- Soft rubber dioptre-correcting Eye-cups DE-P3 (+3m-1)
and DE-N3 (+3m-1)
- Focusing Screen FS-3 grid matte screen dividing image area in 4 x 6 sections. (Purchase & installation via Olympus Service Dept. only)
Built-in image stabiliser
A type of image stabiliser that is built directly into the camera. This enables the photo-enhancing effects of image stabilisation to be enjoyed irrespective of the attached lens. In Olympus E-System cameras with built-in image stabilisation, a gyro sensor detects the precise direction of the shake. Using the on-board SWD, the shake is then compensated for by shifting the image sensor according to the movement data. For quick response at long focal lengths, cameras are equipped with two dedicated microprocessors: One to control the two supersonic motors that shift the unit vertically and horizontally, and one to provide high-precision control.
High Speed Live MOS Sensor
A high-performance image sensor that enables Live View capabilities fast sequential shooting for D-SLR cameras. It combines the advanced specifications of a Full Frame Transfer (FFT) CCD with the low power requirement of a CMOS. Photodiodes are deeply embedded in the sensor to suppress image noise. The faithful reproduction of subject details with rich tones and natural, vibrant colours characterise this type of sensor.
A semi-transmissive technology used in LCDs, which employs an additional layer at the bottom of the LCD to reflect light from external light sources. This enhances the brightness of the LCD, so even in direct sunlight images are displayed sharply and with three times the contrast of conventional displays. Also, it provides for viewing angles of up to 176° without glare or shadow, so images can be framed from a variety of angles and viewed by several people at once.
Provides an alternative to framing shots through the viewfinder on a digital SLR camera. The image sent through the lens to the image sensor is displayed directly on the camera’s LCD. Whereas most compact digital cameras have been equipped with Live View functionality for many years, this feature has only recently become available on D-SLRs. The world’s first D-SLR to feature continuous Live View capabilities was the Olympus E-330.
RC Wireless Flash Control
The user can control wireless flash units remotely – eliminating the need for extra cables – by using the built-in flash as the system’s master unit. Control options include the ability to independently regulate flash mode and compensation settings for up to three groups of flashes, four channel settings to avoid interference as well as a wide range of brightness levels.
Shadow Adjustment Technology
A technology designed to improve exposure for pictures with dark areas. Using a sensor that works much like the human eye, dark parts of a composition (e.g. a shadow under a tree) are identified and the camera then adjusts the exposure settings accordingly for those areas. The result is a more realistic and detailed picture.
Super Control Panel
In addition to the LCD on the Olympus E-3, a second display is incorporated that is dedicated to providing details of all camera settings with outstanding legibility, flexibility and operating convenience. An intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) allows shooting information to be confirmed at a glance, and enables adjustments to each of the various parameters to be easily and directly accessed.
Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD)
A combination of two high-output compact motors providing an unprecedented level of precision, speed and control. In Olympus E-System cameras, the SWD is used in three main ways. 1. Together with the gyro-sensor, image sensor and other built-in components it works to effectively eliminate blur caused by camera shake. 2. In combination with SWD lenses, the SWD works with an ultra-compact encoder to provide ultra-fast, precise and smooth autofocusing. 3. The SWD is also used to drive the Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system.
Supersonic Wave Filter
Dust entering digital SLRs, for example during lens changes, can cause damage to photos – unless it is removed. With the Supersonic Wave Filter, the potential for dust to ruin photos is eliminated. A transparent filter is located between the camera’s shutter and sensor. It makes sure no dust is able to land on the sensor. Instead, the particles settle on the filter and are then shaken off by a series of ultrasonic vibrations generated by the filter when activated. Olympus was the first manufacturer to incorporate dust protection in D-SLRs.
TruePic III image processor
Olympus’ latest-generation image processing engine. It automatically enhances important aspects of image quality including: Colour reproduction (colour range, saturation and brightness), picture sharpness (reduced image noise, improved edge reproduction), as well as providing faster processing speeds.
UDMA High-Speed CF Card Support
Compatibility with UDMA High-Speed CompactFlash (CF) cards. These ultra-fast memory cards significantly improve the data transfer speed between card and camera.
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