|Olympus E-400 digital SLR review : Olympus recently introduced its newest FourThirds system digital SLR camera during a European press conference in Hamburg. Last August we saw the introduction of the Olympus E-400, the world's smallest and lightest digital reflex camera. Almost immediately after the introduction, we received the news that the Olympus E-400 would not be available world-wide and that, for example, there was no reason for the American market to get exited about this new compact DSLR FourThirds model yet. The latest news is that the American introduction has been planned for later, under another name (EVOLT E-400). The Olympus E-400 has recently become available and with it, Olympus has managed to build up an interesting range of digital SLR cameras in a relatively short period of time.
Olympus E-400 - FourThirds system
The new Olympus E-400 has the difficult task of competing with models like the EOS 400D from Canon, the Nikon D80 and the surprisingly versatile Pentax K10D digital SLR camera. None of these cameras, however, have the light and compact features of the world's smallest SLR. The Olympus E400 is a digital SLR camera from the FourThirds system which was pioneered by Olympus. Since recently, Olympus has been joined by two other supporters of this system, and they are no small fry, but Panasonic and Leica. It is true that these companies work together very closely and so it is not so surprising that both have chosen for the same system. It still says, however, that Olympus's daring approach, in setting up the FourThirds system, was a good step technically. However, technical quality is not the only guarantee of success….
Olympus E-400 - Compact & Lightweight SLR
When we had access to a pre-production sample a few months ago, we were quickly convinced by this compact concept. The Olympus E-400 is not a SLR camera for experienced professional photographers or for the Pro who has all-round and demanding requirements of a digital SLR. This group is quickly inclined to ignore any SLR that looks 'too small'. This compact format, however, also has advantages for this group of photographers. Just think of the convenience of such a compact SLR and the possibilities for taking high quality pictures unnoticed in difficult field situations. The only pity is that Olympus still doesn't have a really professional group of photographers using the FourThirds system. Olympus is busy in the background with a high quality professional solution, so maybe they will manage to penetrate this segment.
Olympus E400 DSLR - xD picture & CompactFlash
The Olympus E-400 is compact (130x91x53 mm) and light (420 g incl. battery). With the introduction of the E400, Olympus has directly upgraded its maximum SLR resolution to 10 Megapixels. The Olympus E400 is one of the few SLR from the 10 Megapixel segment to have a double card slot; one for xD Picture card and one for CompactFlash. Although it has been available for several years, xD's share of the market just doesn't seem to want to grow. It still lags behind the Secure Digital card in regard to exchangeability and a lot will need to happen in order to put xD Picture on the map. As well as a respectable resolution of 10 Megapixels, the E400 has a Super Sonic Wave filter which keeps the image sensor free of dust.
Olympus E-400 SLR camera review
One of the advantages of the FourThirds system is that it is simpler to make a compact SLR camera. The lenses all have a crop factor of 2x. The 14 - 42mm Zuiko Digital lens that comes with the Olympus E-400 is equivalent to a 28 - 84mm lens on a 35 mm camera, in other words, it's a standard lens. The whole camera can be kept nice and compact. This only really becomes apparent when the big zoom lenses are attached to the compact body. We had access to an Olympus E-400 for a while and tried it out extensively. You can read our findings in the following Olympus E-400 digital SLR camera review.
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"With the introduction of their E400, Olympus truly show just what the FourThirds system is capable of as far as size is concerned. The Olympus E-400 proves to be remarkably compact, and will without question have a positive influence on the FourThirds system camera market share. "
Continue to read our Olympus E-400 preview including product images and a comparison chart.