Pre-PMA 2007: Exciting news today from Olympus in the shape of the E-410 and E-510 dampened slightly by a lack of solid information on a successor to the professional E-1 digital SLR. Olympus has today issued another coming soon press release which simply says that the E-1 successor will 'debut later this year' and that it will have Live View. In addition Olympus has outlined four new lenses and a new teleconverter.

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Press Release:

Olympus Expands “Olympus E-System” Lineup
With the development of New Digital SLR Cameras,
And Interchangeable Lenses

Olympus Outlines the Next Chapter of its Professional DSLR and Family of Lenses

Olympus Imaging Corporation (President: Masaharu Okubo) is pleased to announce the plans to significantly expand the Olympus E-System, its industry-leading lineup of interchangeable-lens digital SLRs compliant with the Four Thirds System standard. Two new cameras are being announced today — the E-410, an ultra-compact, ultra-lightweight go-anywhere camera, and the E-510, a versatile, high-performance camera with advanced functions including new Mechanical Image sensor shift image stabilization A third, the eagerly anticipated successor to the revolutionary E-1 designed for professional use and destined to take over as flagship of the Olympus lineup, will make its debut this year.

All three models incorporate the Fulltime Live View function, an enhanced rear panel LCD monitor that can be used to compose images while shooting, making these cameras suitable for both newcomers and professionals. These same capabilities, together with a wealth of professional level features and functions, will form the basis of the forthcoming successor to the E-1. As befitting a camera that will serve as the flagship of the Olympus lineup, the E-1’s successor will boast tremendous improvements in both performance and functionality, taking the excellent picture quality, mobility and reliability of the E-1 to new and unprecedented levels.

To support the new cameras, Olympus is also developing four interchangeable lenses. All will be fully compliant with the Four Thirds System standard, and three will incorporate the newly developed SWD (Supersonic Wave Drive) autofocusing system. Olympus also announces that it would be introducing a 2x teleconverter. These lens products are expected to be available from this year.

The products under development will be exhibited as reference products at the PMA 2007 International Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, USA from March 8 to 11, and at Photo-Imaging Expo 2007 (PIE2007) from March 22 to 25 at the Tokyo Big Site, Japan.

The first chapter in the Olympus E-System story began in the fall of 2003 with the launch of the award-winning E-1. This not only marked Olympus's entry into the digital SLR camera market, it heralded the arrival of the world's first fully digital SLR camera system based on the Four Thirds System standard. Since then, the “designed for digital” Olympus E-System has continued to set new benchmarks for professional image quality, performance, mobility, and reliability thanks to compact, lightweight designs supported by innovative features like our advanced Dust Reduction System.

Today, the Olympus E-System has grown to include 17 ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses, and a wide range of accessories including a teleconverter lens and an extension tube, with sales of more than one million units worldwide.

In Cologne, Germany in the fall of 2006 — three years after the E-1 made its debut — Olympus boldly proclaimed at Photokina 2006 that, “Chapter Two (in the history of Olympus E-System) will begin in 2007, we will continue to develop revolutionary features that extend the frontiers of DSLR photography, and to strengthen the Olympus E-System body, lens, and accessory lineup. A successor to our current E-1 flagship will also be introduced in 2007. We will continue to develop Olympus E-System bodies, lenses, and accessories for a wide range of genres, so that even more people are able to take photographs that could never be taken before.”

One of the main elements distinguishing the products in Chapter Two from those in Chapter One is the incorporation of the Fulltime Live View function, In combination with the 100% Dedicated Digital Design and the Dust Reduction System that form the foundation of the Olympus E-System, the Fulltime Live View function brings a new level of usability to digital SLR photography. With the introduction of the ultra-compact, ultra-light E-410 for go-anywhere mobility, the versatile E-510 with enhanced features such as Mechanical Image sensor shift image stabilization and the in-development successor to the E-1 which will offer the high reliability required for professional use, Olympus hopes to offer a comprehensive camera lineup that will appeal to a wide range of uses and unlock the full potential of digital SLR photography. The excellent visibility and shooting versatility made possible by the "Live View" LCD screen not only make shooting as easy and simple as with a compact camera, they facilitate the creation of dramatically new photographic art with images shot from new and unique angles.

At the core of the lineup in Chapter Two will be the successor to the E-1, scheduled for release this year. Inheriting all the superb features that made the E-1 the reference point for digital SLR cameras, the new camera's performance has been enhanced with the addition of powerful new functions, a rugged design to withstand heavy-duty professional use, improved specifications and greater system extendibility.

In addition, the interchangeable lenses announced today also incorporate advanced new features such as the revolutionary SWD (Supersonic Wave Drive) which makes possible the world's fastest-class auto focusing, the enhanced super telescopic zoom capability that is one of the biggest advantages of the Four Thirds System standard. Olympus will continue to develop new products that will help users ”to take photographs that could never be taken before” the Olympus E-System.

Main Features of Individual Products

  • Flagship of interchangeable-lens DSLR camera - E-1 successor model
    (Name undecided)
    An interchangeable-lens, Four Thirds System Standard-compliant DSLR camera designed for professional use, incorporating the Fulltime Live View function. Detailed specifications for this product will be announced this year.
     
  • Three new lenses with high-speed SWD (Supersonic Wave Drive) AF
    The newly developed, original SWD system enables automatic focusing at ultra-high speed with ultra-high precision and silence. When combined with the forthcoming E-1 successor model, these lenses will achieve the world's fastest-class autofocusing. A mechanical manual focusing mechanism is also provided for comfortable manual focusing with accurate response.
     
    • ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm (24-120mm) F2.8-4.0 SWD
      An HG (High-Grade) series 5x telephoto zoom lens with wide angle equivalent to a 24 mm lens on 35 mm film camera. With a maximum aperture of F2.8 at the widest angle of 12 mm, this lens boasts brightness that's at the top of the class among zoom lenses covering such a wide angle.
       
    • ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm (100-400mm) F2.8-3.5 SWD
      An advanced, high-performance 4x telephoto zoom lens also belonging to the HG series. While improving the color blur property of the current ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 lens and incorporating the new SWD mechanism in the AF drive, this new lens maintains the same high image quality with excellent resolution and contrast throughout the zoom range.
       
    • ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-35mm (28-70mm)F2.0 SWD
      The world's first standard zoom lens to feature a wide aperture of F2.0 throughout the zoom range, this lens also boasts the top-level image quality and operability unique to the SHG (Super High Grade) series. This lens completes the series of Zuiko Digital zoom lenses with fixed F-stop that cover ultra wide-angle to super-telephoto photographing together with the ED 7-14mm F4.0, ED 35-100mm F2.0 and ED 90-250mm F2.8.
       
  • Telephoto zoom lens - ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 70-300mm (140-600mm) F4.0-5.6
    A 4.3x telephoto zoom lens that covers the super-telephoto area equivalent to a 600 mm lens for 35 mm film cameras. Boasting excellent cost efficiency, this lens will be released as part of the Standard series.
     
  • 2x teleconverter - ZUIKO DIGITAL 2.0x Teleconverter EC-20
    A teleconverter that doubles the focal length of the master lens

* Figures inside parentheses ( ) indicate the equivalent focal length of a 35 mm film camera