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Dennis Hissink : September 27th 2004 - 15:00 CET

Introducing the Olympus E-300 digital SLR camera

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OlympusThe eight million pixel Olympus E-300 digital SLR immediately stands out from the crowd. It's much more lean and unconventional form, for an SLR, is the result of replacing the penta prism with a TTL Optical Porro Finder. Combined with full SLR performance, perfect handling and a very tempting price, this model is the ideal everyday companion for ambitious users. Based on the TIPA Award-winning FourThirds Standard, the Olympus E-300 incorporates a Supersonic Wave Filter that ensures dust and other foreign particles do not interfere with the captured image. So photographers have the full freedom to explore every creative avenue, this compact SLR model is compatible with a complete range of system accessories.
Introducing the Olympus E-300 digital SLR cameraThe optics feature a nearly telecentric construction to draw maximum performance from the camera's Full Frame Transfer CCD. The TruePic TURBO image processor further boosts picture quality and the processing speed. Compact, powerful, versatile and user-friendly, the Olympus E-300 comes in a kit with a 14–45mm ZUIKO DIGITAL zoom. Complemented with its great affordability, the Olympus E-300 is assured a large following of both newcomers and existing enthusiasts.

Olympus has demonstrated its talent for radically opening up the world of SLR photography before. That was in 1972 when it launched the OM-1, which back then was the world’s smallest SLR and a milestone in photographic history. Now, the company is set to bring digital SLR photography to a wider audience with its eight million pixel Olympus E-300.

The size and unusual SLR shape is the first thing everyone will notice about the new model. And the benefits can be seen immediately as well. Avid users who always like to have a camera with them, such as on a hike or city visit, will certainly welcome the lighter, more compact load. The dimensions could be reduced by replacing the penta prism - which is so characteristic of many SLRs - with a TTL Optical Porro Finder. The subsequent redesign of the housing above the lens meant there was even space for a built-in flash within its ergonomic body.

The Olympus E-300 brings the advantages of the FourThirds Standard, previously only available in professional systems, to many more photographers. FourThirds was jointly developed by Olympus and Kodak especially for digital capture and sets standards on three levels - mechanical, optical and communication - to maximise the performance of camera body, image sensor and lenses.

Dust entering SLRs when swapping lenses is virtually impossible to prevent. Even very minute particles can ruin shots if they land on the CCD. To save users the time and cost of cleaning the chip, the camera offers an ingenious solution. Developed by Olympus, the Supersonic Wave Filter generates ultra-high-speed vibrations to shake off dust and/or other particles, which are then captured on a special adhesive part. This function is invoked at each start-up of the camera but may also be manually effected.

With a full combination of photographic functions plus the user-friendly menu and controls, the Olympus E-300 lets serious amateurs give full expression to their artistic vision. For example, selecting between single AF, continuous AF and manual focus or the different exposure modes is effortless. Compatibility with a vast range of system accessories, including all Olympus E-System lenses, extends the creative possibilities even further. There are now eight interchangeable lenses available for this model. All are based on the FourThirds Standard and feature the nearly telecentric construction required by digital image sensors for perfect colour, clarity and brightness - from the centre to the periphery of the frame.

The Full Frame Transfer CCD (FFT CCD) ensures the maximum amount of image data is recorded. In comparison to its Interline Transfer counterparts, which are found in the majority of digital models, the FFT CCD has a larger pixel area, with bigger photodiodes and transfer channels. This means more electrons can be captured. A high signal/noise ratio can therefore be achieved together with a wider dynamic range. The end results benefit from more exposure latitude, greater detail and less noise. The TruePic TURBO image processor further contributes to picture quality and helps speed up the image recording process.

Affordable; compact and light enough for everyday use; equipped for full creative expression and sensational results: this is the Olympus E-300. Besides the 14-45mm ZUIKO DIGITAL lens (which is included in the Kit), new lenses including the 40-150mm ZUIKO DIGITAL will also be available, as well as the external flash unit FL-36 and power battery holder HLD-3. The Olympus E-300 is further compatible with the majority of professional photography equipment in the Olympus E-System range and is planned for release at the end of 2004.

The Olympus E-300 digital SLR - main features:
• 8.0 million pixels
• Compact design (penta prism replaced by TTL Optical Porro Finder)
• Based on TIPA Award-winning FourThirds Standard and uses high-precision interchangeable lenses with nearly telecentric design
• Supersonic Wave Filter for dust protection
• Full Frame Transfer CCD
• TruePic TURBO image processor
• User-friendly menu plus full manual operation
• Single AF, continuous AF and manual focusing
• Digital ESP, centre-weighted average and spot exposure metering
• Scene programme and scene select programme modes
• Sliding pop-up built-in flash
• Records to CompactFlash cards and Microdrives
• Olympus E-300 Kit includes ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-45mm (28-90mm) lens f3.5-5.6
• Compatible with the complete range of Olympus E-System lenses and new accessories including ZUIKO DIGITAL 40-150mm (80-300mm) lens f3.5-4.5, FL-36 external flash and HLD-3 power battery holder
• Full list of compatible lenses:
• NEW! ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-45mm (28-90mm) f3.5-5.6
(available from November 2004)
• ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm (28-108mm) f2.8-3.5
• NEW! ZUIKO DIGITAL 40-150mm (80-300mm) f3.5-4.5
(available from November 2004)
• ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm (100-400mm) f2.8-3.5
• ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50mm (100mm) f2.0 Macro
• ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 300mm (600mm) f2.8
• ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm (22-44mm) f2.8-3.5
• NEW! ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 150mm (300mm) f2.0
(available from October 2004)
• FL-36 external flash and HLD-3 power battery holder optionally available
• An underwater case will be available from beginning of 2005

   Read the special Photokina report
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