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Olympus launches E-520

By dpreview staff on May 13, 2008 at 05:02 GMT

Olympus has launched the E-520, an update of its E-510 DSLR. The E-520 represents continuity, rather than revolution within the E-System camp. This process of orderly transistion sees the arrival of contrast detection AF at the E-5XX level of camera. This feature does not represent all the camera's new talents, however, with a larger LCD and Face Detection doing their utmost to add buyer appeal.

Wireless flash and Shadow Adjustment Technology (Automatic Gradation), also make their way down from the E-3. Like the recent E-420, the buttons on the E-520 have been re-colored to make the camera easier to use by people with certain types of color-blindness. Olympus also says the dynamic range of the E-520 has increased, compared to its predecessor, and is now close to the level of the E-3.

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UK press release:

Olympus E-520 with built-in image stabilisation for razor-sharp results

London, 13 May 2008 – The perfect moment doesn’t wait. That’s why serious photographers need serious equipment so that they are ready for whatever comes. With its pro features and top image quality, the new Olympus E-520 D-SLR fits the bill perfectly. The successor to the EISA Award-winning E-500 series incorporates a built-in image stabiliser to ensure blur-free shots irrespective of the lens attached – no matter if wide-angle or ultra-tele and without the need for a tripod. Matched with the Supersonic Wave Filter dust protection system and improved Live View capabilities, the freedom to frame and take great, crystal-clear photos is virtually limitless. Based upon the forward-looking “designed for digital” Four Thirds Standard, the 10.0 Megapixel E-520 with Live View ensures uncompromising D-SLR quality. It will become available in June 2008 and retail for £479.99 for body only.

Flexibility is the name of the game
The E-520 relegates blurred photos to a thing of the past. Its built-in image stabiliser ensures subjects are captured in ultimate sharpness, shot after shot – no matter if shooting from the back of a motorbike on rough terrain or capturing a spontaneous “stolen moment” out of the hand in a market square. Because the stabiliser is located in the camera body and not in individual lenses, photographers can shoot with confidence regardless of which lens is attached: from wide-angle models like the soon-to-be-released ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 to high-performance zooms such as the new ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 70-300mm 1:4.0-5.6 (equiv. to 140-600mm in a 35mm format).

Sequential shooting at 3.5fps with up to eight images in RAW buffer captures every moment. Matched with fast processing speeds and the exceptionally low noise performance that’s attributable to the TruePic III image processor, high-speed action becomes your friend. Broad-ranging sensitivity from ISO 100-1600 adds versatility, and the bracketing function let series of shots to be taken with varying adjustments of exposure, focus or white balance, allowing the best of the shots to be selected.

For low-light shooting situations photographers can select the built-in flash or choose an optional external unit. Wireless flash control is also possible with this model, making customised lighting set ups an easy reality.

As with all cameras in the Olympus E-System line-up, the E-520 incorporates the Supersonic Wave Filter to protect against the effects of dust, which can enter the camera during lens changes or otherwise result from normal operation. Photographers therefore enjoy blemish-free pictures at all times.

Complex features – designed for easy usage
Despite being the powerhouse it is, the Four Thirds System-based E-520 remains a pleasure to use. Its ergonomic body houses the capabilities that not only advance image quality but also enrich the complete photo-taking experience. Live View has been enhanced to boost user friendliness. In addition to allowing depth of field previews, providing the facility to control exposure compensation and white balance on-screen, it is also possible to see the effects of Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology in real time on the 6.9cm/2.7” HyperCrystal II LCD. In addition, autofocus changes can now also be seen directly on the display. This has been made possible by implementing a contrast AF system* in addition to the customary phase difference detection AF system, which means that the mirror needn’t move to the down position for AF measurements to be made and previewed in Live View.

The LCD boasts viewing angles of 176° and has a field of view that covers 100% of the frame. Live View is also ideal to support the needs of macro photographers wishing to focus visually, as sections of the subject can be enlarged by a factor 7 or 10 to aid manual focus adjustments.

The E-520 includes a total of 32 user-friendly shooting modes to make shooting easy no matter the situation: whether at a candlelight dinner, taking a portrait or shooting under water. Operabilition is a cinch too: users can choose on-screen menus in up to 10 languages – and many more are also available for download. A long-life rechargeable battery ensures extended shooting. Dual CompactFlash and xD-Picture Card slots enable excellent storage flexibility, and the downloading of files is fast thanks to USB Hi-Speed 2.0.

A complete system for photographic creativity
As part of the Olympus E-System, the E-520 is compatible with virtually all system accessories. This embraces numerous flash units including the wireless FL-36R and FL-50R to take advantage of the camera’s remote flash control capabilities. More than 20 ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses – all featuring near telecentric construction – are available, covering a focal length range of 14-600mm (35mm equivalents). Among the latest ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses are the ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 (18-36mm), ED 14-35mm 1:2.0 SWD (28-70mm), ED 70-300mm 1:4.0-5.6 (140-600mm), and 25mm 1:2.8 (50mm) Pancake lens. Beyond this, thanks to the one-of-a-kind compatibility the Four Thirds System provides, photographers can also use lenses from other manufacturers adhering to the standard.

Further enhancing shooting opportunities, a special underwater case will also become available for the E-520. Waterproof to a depth of up to 40m, it opens up an entirely new realm of creative photography.

Satisfying demands for pro results and remaining surprisingly compact, the Olympus E-520 makes sure every photo comes out razor-sharp thanks to its built-in image stabiliser. It will go on sale from June 2008.

The Olympus E-520 digital SLR – main features:

  • Built-in image stabiliser for all lenses
  • Autofocus Live View
  • Excellent dust reduction system
  • 100% D-SLR quality
  • Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology
  • 6.9cm/2.7" HyperCrystal II LCD
  • 10 Megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • 3.5fps with up to 8 images in RAW buffer
  • Built-in flash and wireless flash control
  • 32 shooting modes
  • Optional underwater case available
  • Four Thirds Standard
  • Compact and ergonomic design
  • Bracketing functions
  • ISO 100-1600
  • AF/ AE lock functionality
  • Depth of field preview
  • Anti-shock (mirror lock) function
  • One-touch white balance
  • Perfect Shot Preview
  • 100% field of view via LCD
  • TruePic III image processor
  • Detailed playback info screen with histogram
  • Hi-Speed USB 2.0

Olympus E520 Specifications

Prices • E-520 body only £479.99
• E-520 + 14-42 mm lens £529
• E-520 + 14-42 mm + 40-150 mm lenses £629.99
• E-520 + 14-42 mm + 70-300 mm lenses £759.99 
Body material Plastic
Sensor • 4/3 type Live MOS sensor
• 17.3 x 13.0 mm active area
• 11.8 million total pixels
• 10.0 million effective pixels
• RGB (Primary) color filter array
• Fixed low pass filter (anti-alias filter)
Dust suppression Supersonic Wave Filter
Image processor TruePic III
Image stabilization • In-body sensor shift
• Three modes: Horizontal+Vertical, Vertical only, Horizontal only
Image sizes • 3648 x 2736
• 3200 x 2400
• 2560 x 1920
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
File formats • RAW
• RAW + JPEG
• JPEG (EXIF 2.2) - Four levels
JPEG compression • SuperFine (1/2.7)
• Fine (1/4)
• Normal (1/8)
• Basic (1/12)
Lenses • 4/3 standard lens mount
• Range of ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses available
• Multiply focal length by 2 for 35 mm equiv. FOV
Auto focus • 3-point TTL Phase Difference Detection
• Automatic or manual point selection
• 11-point TTL Contrast Detection
• EV 0 to 19 (ISO 100) detection range
Focus area selection • Automatic
• Manual
Focus modes • Single shot AF
• Single shot AF + MF
• Continuous AF (Phase detect only)
• Continuous AF + MF (Phase detect only)
• Manual focus
Manual focus Focus by wire
AF assist lamp Yes, flash strobe (flash must be raised)
Exposure modes • Auto
• Program AE (with shift)
• Aperture priority AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Manual
• Scene modes
Scene modes • Portrait
• Landscape
• Macro
• Sports
• Night Scene & Portrait
Other scene modes

• Landscape & Portrait
• Night Scene
• Children
• Sport
• High Key
• Low Key
• Digital Image Stabilization
• Nature Macro
• Candle
• Sunset
• Fireworks
• Document
• Beach & Snow
• Panorama
• Underwater Wide
• Underwater Macro

Sensitivity

• Auto (100-1600)
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600

Metering system • 49-zone multi-pattern
• Range (Digital ESP): 1 to 20 EV (50 mm F2, ISO 100)
Metering modes • Digital ESP
• Center-Weighted Average
• Spot (2%)
• Highlight based spot
• Shadow based spot
AE Lock • AE/AF lock button
• With shutter release half-press
AE Bracketing • 3 frames
• 1/3, 1/2, 0.7 or 1.0 EV steps
Exposure steps 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV
Exposure compen. • -5.0 to +5.0 EV
• 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps
Shutter speed • Auto mode: 2 - 1/4000 sec
• P, A, S or M mode: 60 - 1/4000 sec
• Bulb (up to 8 mins)
Flash X-sync speed • 1/180 sec
• 1/4000 sec (Super FP mode)
Aperture values Depends on lens: 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps
White balance • Auto
• Tungsten (3000K)
• Fluorescent 1 (4000K)
• Fluorescent 2 (4500K)
• Fluorescent 3 (6600K)
• Sunlight (5300K)
• Flash (5500K)
• Cloudy (6000K)
• Shade (7500K)
• Custom (2000 - 14000 K)
• Selectable (3000 - 7500 in 8 steps)
WB fine tuning • Red - Blue: +/- 7 steps (2 mired each)
• Green - Magenta: +/- 7 steps (2 mired each)
WB Bracketing • 3 frames
• 2, 4 or 6 mired steps
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Image parameters • Color mode (Vivid, Natural, Muted, Monotone)
• Saturation (5 levels)
• Contrast (5 levels)
• Sharpness (5 levels)
• Monochrome (B&W, Sepia, Red, Green, Blue) - filter (Ye, Or, Re, Gr)
• Graduation (Auto, High Key, Normal, Low Key)
Drive modes • Single
• Continuous
• Self-timer
• Remote control
Continuous • 3.5 fps
• RAW: 8 frames maximum
• JPEG: Up to card capacity @ Large Normal (with high speed media)
Self-timer • 2 sec
• 12 sec
Flash • Auto electronic pop-up
• TTL auto / manual
• Guide no. 12
• Sync modes: Auto, Red-eye reduction, Slow syncro with red-eye reduction,
Slow syncro, 2nd curtain slow syncro, Fill-in, Off
• Flash power: Up to +/- 2EV in 1, 1/2, or 1/3 EV steps
External flash • Hot shoe
• External wireless flash with FL-50R or FL-36R
• TTL Auto FP / TTL auto for Olympus dedicated flash (FL-20, FL-36, FL-50)
• Modes:Auto, Manual, Red-eye reduction, Slow syncro with red-eye reduction, Slow syncro, 2nd curtain slow syncro, Fill-in for exclusive flash.
• Flash power: Up to +/- 3EV in 1, 1/2, or 1/3 EV steps
Viewfinder • Eye-level TTL Optical Pentamirror
• Field of view 95%
• Magnification 0.92x with a 50mm lens and -1 dioptre
• Eye point 14 mm at -1 dioptre
• Dioptre adjustment -3 to +1 dioptre
• Focusing screen: Fixed type
• Mirror: Quick return mirror
Viewfinder information • Aperture value
• Shutter speed
• Record mode
• AF confirmation mark
• Flash
• WB
• AE lock
• Number of storable still images
• Exposure compensation value
• Metering mode
• Battery warning
• Exposure mode
• AF frame (super imposed)
• IS activating mode.
Orientation sensor Yes
LCD monitor • 2.7" TFT LCD monitor (wide viewing angle, semi-transmissive)
• 230,000 pixels
• 100% frame coverage
Playback functions • Single
• Magnify (2 - 14x)
• Index (4, 9, 16, 25, 49, 100 frames)
• Calendar view
• Rotation
• Light box view
• Slide show
• Histogram
• R,G,B Histogram (With Highlight & Shadow point warning)
• Shooting information
Editing • RAW development
• JPEG editing (B&W, Sepia, Red eye reduction, Color saturation, Resize)
Storage • Compact Flash (Type I and II) / Microdrive
• xD- Picture card
Connectivity • USB 2.0 (Hi Speed)
• Video Out (NTSC / PAL)
• IR Remote control (optional)
Power BLM-1 1500 mAh Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (supplied & charger)
Dimensions 136 x 92 x 68 mm (5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
Weight (no batt) 475 g (16.2 oz)
Box contents E-520 body, (Lens where appropriate), Li-ion battery BLM-1, BCM-2 battery charger, EP-4 Eyepice cover, USB cable, Video cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Master 2, Olympus Studio 2 Trial, Instruction manual, Warranty card.

Additional images

Glossary

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.

Face Detection Technology
A technology that searches for faces in a composition and recognises them as the main subject. It then automatically puts them in focus and optimally adjusts exposure to create an image that’s sharp in the right places and ideally exposed.

HyperCrystal
A high-grade, fully-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 improved contrast compared to that of conventional displays. Also, it provides for particularly wide viewing angles without glare or shadow, so images can be framed from a variety of angles and viewed by several people at once.

Live View
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.

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.

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