Pre-Photokina 2006: Olympus has today announced a new ten megapixel compact digital SLR with the retro-good-looks of past Olympus film SLR's. Other headline features are the Supersonic Wave Filter for dust reduction, a 2.5" LCD monitor, three frames per second continuous shooting and an easier to use interface. In addition there's also a new Zuiko Digital lens, the 14-42 mm F3.5-F5.6 which is set to become the E-400's kit lens. The slightly odd, sad news, for many of our readers is that this camera will not be available in North America (news I'm sure that will go down like a lead balloon on our forums). That makes it the first digital SLR not to have a worldwide release, so get ready for the grey imports.
Phil: I'm really very surprised that Olympus US aren't taking this camera, having handled it I can say it's really very nice to use, light and compact (although I can't comment on image quality yet). Digital OM-10 anyone? It really would have been the perfect "Four Thirds launch" model.
UPDATE 15/09/2006, Official Statement from Olympus USA:
Statement regarding E-400:
It is not uncommon for products to be available in select regions. In the Americas, we chose to focus on the Evolt E-500 and Evolt E-330 due to their overwhelming success. Both products have won multiple awards.
Our E-Series products were recently recognized for customer satisfaction for cameras over $600 by J.D. Power and Associates. The Evolt E-330 received Editors Choice Awards from American Photo and PC Magazine. The Evolt E-500 was also named "Best Buy" by PC World.
Another recent example of products being available in one region is the Stylus 725SW, which was recently announced in Europe. Olympus Imaging America is continuing to focus on the Stylus 720SW due to its continued success in the Americas.
The 10.0 million pixel Olympus E-400:
The world’s smallest digital SLR
Minimum dimensions – maximum performance
London, 14 September 2006 – Olympus presents the latest addition to the E-System, the world’s smallest and lightest D-SLR* camera – the E-400. The compact size and low weight of this latest Four Thirds Standard camera, allows photographers to take it virtually anywhere, while not having to do without the considerable benefits of SLR photography. This model features a new CCD with 10.0 million pixels and a state-of-the-art amplifier circuit for incredible imaging performance at super fast speed. As the design of the E-400 is based on the Four Thirds Standard, users have virtually unlimited flexibility. A wide range of high-quality, interchangeable lenses, including the EISA Award winning Olympus ZUIKO DIGITAL Top Pro lenses, plus other accessories are available for all types of needs. These are provided by Olympus and, thanks to cross-manufacturer compatibility of the standard, from other manufacturers as well. As with all
E-System cameras, the E-400 features the Supersonic Wave Filter – ensuring dust-free photography, even after changing lenses under challenging conditions.
The E-400 is expected to arrive in the UK in November, for stockist information call 0800 0720070 or visit www.olympus.co.uk.
Compact size with innovative D-SLR technology
As it is the world’s smallest and lightest D-SLR*, the E-400 is sure to never become a burden. It is the perfect travel companion, compact enough to take along on holidays or for use as a high quality back-up camera when out on the road.
Within its extraordinarily tiny frame is a treasure-trove of innovative technology. To begin with, a 10.0 million pixel CCD provides plenty of imaging power so that even the finest of details do not go to waste. This highly energy-efficient CCD features a state-of-the-art amplifier circuit that all but eradicates noise and is incredibly fast. It enables sequential shooting at up to 3fps with a five image RAW buffer in burst mode.
Like every Olympus E-System camera, the E-400 is armed with a Supersonic Wave Filter. This patented technology allows lenses to be changing – even in challenging environments – without the fear of dust contamination, giving users the brilliance of dust-free pictures every time. Developed by Olympus, the Supersonic Wave Filter generates ultra-high-speed vibrations that literally shake off dust and other particles from the CCD. These are then captured on a special adhesive membrane to prevent recontamination. For the E-400, the Supersonic Wave Filter has been optimised with smaller dimensions and a higher frequency of vibrations for even more effectiveness.
Pro features and comfortable handling
The Olympus E-400 proves that even a feature-packed D-SLR needn’t be difficult to operate. Of course it includes the full range of manual control options for boundless creativity, and complements these with 31 scene modes that cover a wide variety of shooting situations. These include Underwater, Macro, High Key and Low Key. Users also benefit from special colour modes and the possibility to apply various Black&White filters to images.
So that photographers can continue shooting as long as they wish, the E-400 is powered by a new high-power rechargeable battery. The camera also accepts both CompactFlash and xD-Picture Cards, giving a choice of data storage options for even more flexibility. And, to ensure that the versatility and quality of E-System photography is open to as many people as possible, the menus on the E-400, as well as its manuals and software, can be displayed any one of 25 languages, making the camera completely understandable in 39 European countries – something only Olympus currently offers.
Four Thirds compatibility for boundless versatility
As with all E-Series cameras, the E-400 conforms to the Four Thirds Standard. Olympus and various other manufacturers produce high-quality Four Thirds-compliant lenses and accessories that are specifically designed for digital SLR image capture. With only very few exceptions, the E-400 is compatible with virtually the complete range of Olympus E-System accessories. This includes the full line-up of the ZUIKO DIGITAL Top Pro lenses, which recently received an EISA award. Even an Underwater Case (PT-E03) will be available to let adventurous photographers capture the delights of the aquatic world in up to 40m of water.
New E-System lenses
For better results and improved handling, lenses based on the Four Thirds Standard feature near telecentric construction, which takes into account the specific technical characteristics and requirements of digital cameras. Two new Olympus Four Thirds lenses will be introduced with the E-400 at its launch: the EZ-1442 ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 (equiv. to 28-84mm on a 35mm camera), which is perfect for standard applications, and, for more magnification power there is the EZ-4015-2 ED 40-150mm 1:4.0-5.6 (equiv. to 80-300mm on a 35mm camera). Both lenses are exceptionally compact, for greater mobility and speedy use. They also offer maximum image quality at an excellent price and feature a stylish design with a blue ring in the middle – the new insignia for the Olympus E-System lens line-up.
The E-400 achieves a remarkable balancing act between being the world’s smallest and lightest D-SLR* and relinquishing nothing in terms of image quality and professional performance. It combines the size usually attributed to compact cameras with the stunningly crisp picture quality and versatility expected from an SLR. The E-400 will be available from November 2006.
* As at June 2006
The Olympus E-400 digital SLR – main features
- World’s smallest and lightest D-SLR*
- 10 million pixels
- 6.4cm/2.5” LCD
- Supersonic Wave Filter for dust protection
- Dual memory card slots (for xD-Picture Card and CompactFlash)
- 31 shooting modes (incl. 5 exposure, 7 creative & 19 scene modes)
- Built-in pop-up flash (GN 10)
- 3 fps with up to five images in RAW buffer
- One touch white balance
- TruePic TURBO image processor
- AF-lock functionality
- Depth of field preview function
- Improved 49 segment digital ESP and spot metering
- Exposure Bracketing function
- Large beginners and advanced info screen
- Detailed playback info screen with histogram
- Exceptional ease of use with intuitive GUI and buttons that provide immediate access to frequently used features
- JPEG & RAW recording
- Based on Four Thirds Standard
- Underwater Case available (PT-E03) waterproof to 40m
|Sensor|| 4/3 type CCD
17.3 x 13.0 mm active area
10.8 million total pixels
10.0 million effective pixels
RGB (Primary) color filter array
Fixed low pass filter (anti-alias filter)
Supersonic Wave Filter (dust protection)
|Image processor||TruePic Turbo|
|Image sizes|| 3648 x 2736
3200 x 2400 (3:2)
2560 x 1920
1600 x 1200
1280 x 960
1024 x 768
640 x 480
|File formats|| RAW
RAW + JPEG
JPEG (EXIF 2.2) - (1/2.7 SHQ, 1/4 HQ, 1/8 or 1/12 SQ)
|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
• Detection range: 0 to 19 EV (ISO 100)
|Focus area selection||• Automatic
|Focus modes||• Single shot AF
• Single shot AF + MF
• Continuous AF
• Manual focus
|Manual focus||Focus by wire (on lens)|
|AF assist lamp||Yes, flash strobe (flash must be raised)|
|Shooting modes||• Auto
• Program AE (with shift)
• Aperture priority AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Night Scene & Portrait
|Additional scene modes||• Beach and Snow
• High Key
• Image Stabilisation Mode
• Landscape & Portrait
• Low Key
• Nature Macro
• Night Scene
• Night Scene & Portrait
• Underwater Macro
• Underwater Wide
• Auto (ISO 100 - 1600)
|Metering system||• 49-zone multi-pattern
• Range: 1 to 20 EV (50 mm F2, ISO 100)
|Metering modes||• Digital ESP
• Center-Weighted Average
• 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 EV steps
|Shutter speed||60 - 1/4000 sec|
|White balance||• Auto
• Fluorescent 1
• Fluorescent 2
• Fluorescent 3
• Manual 'one-touch'
• Kelvin (3000 - 7500 K, 7 steps)
|WB fine tuning||• Red - Blue: +/- 7 steps (2 mired each)
• Green - Magenta: +/- 7 steps (2 mired each)
|Color space||• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
|Image parameters||• Color mode (Natural, Vivid, Muted)
• Saturation (5 levels)
• Contrast (5 levels)
• Sharpness (5 levels)
• Monochrome (B&W, Sepia, Red, Green, Blue) - filter (Ye, Or, Re, Gr)
• Graduation (High Key, Normal, Low Key)
|Drive modes||• Single
|Continuous||• 3.0 fps
• JPEG: Approx. 20 frames @ HQ 1/8
• RAW: 4 frames maximum
|Self-timer||• 2 sec
• 12 sec
• TTL auto / manual
• Guide no. 10
• 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|
|Viewfinder||• Eye-level optical single-lens
• Field of view 95%
• Magnification 0.92x with a 50mm lens and -1 dioptre
• Eye point 16 mm at -1 dioptre
• Dioptre adjustment -3 to +1 dioptre
• Focusing screen: Fixed type (Neo Lumi-Micron Mat Screen)
• Mirror: Quick return mirror
• DOF preview: press left arrow button
|Viewfinder info||• AF frame (super impose)
• AE lock
• AF confirmation mark
• Metering mode
• Exposure mode
• Shutter speed
• Aperture value
• White balance
• Exposure compensation value indicator
• Battery check
• Record mode
• Number of storable still pictures
|LCD monitor||• 2.5" TFT LCD monitor (wide viewing angle)
• 215,000 pixels
|Playback functions||• Single
• Magnify (2 - 14x)
• Index (4, 9, 16, 25 frames)
• Calendar view
• Light box view
• Slide show
• Histogram (Lum / RGB)
• Highlight & Shadow point warning
|Playback information||• Exposure mode
• Metering mode
• Shutter speed
• Aperture value
• Exposure compensation level
• Colour space
• White balance mode
• White balance compensation level
• Focal length
• Focus area
• File type
• Picture mode
• File name
• Image size
• Recorded card type
|Editing||• RAW development
• JPEG editing (B&W, Sepia, Red eye reduction, Color saturation, Resize)
|Storage||• Compact Flash (Type I and II)
• xD Picture card
|Connectivity||• USB 1.1
• Video Out (NTSC / PAL)
|Vertical / portrait grip||Unknown|
|Dimensions||130 x 91 x 53 mm (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)|
|Weight (no batt)||380 g (13.4 oz)|
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