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Olympus and Leica Leap Into the Digital SLR Market



Dubler added that the time and expense Olympus has devoted to the E-1 "shows their serious commitment to the professional market." He noted that the model Olympus furnished him with for the shoot, Katja, is one of the top models in the business. "It's a sign that Olympus is serious. I think we're going to see them as a serious player in the pro digital market."

  • Some of the E-1's features include:
  • KAF-5101CE sensor, a 5-megapixel Super Latitude Full Frame Transfer CCD created by Kodak.
  • Olympus' TruePic technology for improved image quality.
  • Newly developed Noise Filter technology and existing Noise Reduction technology for clearer, cleaner files.
  • Newly developed Supersonic Wave Filter to reduce dust on the CCD and the resulting image and blocking pixels.
  • Lightweight, durable and splashproof magnesium alloy metal body.
  • Capture rate of three frames per second for a 12-frame burst.
  • Olympus will initially offer five Zuiko Digital Specific Lenses, one flash system and a power grip set for the E-1. They are as follows:
  • 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 (28mm-108mm equivalent for 35mm) at $599 MSRP.
  • 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 (100mm-400mm equivalent for 35mm) at $1,199 MSRP.
  • 50mm f/2.0 1:2 Macro (100mm Macro equivalent for 35mm) at $599 MSRP.
  • 300mm f/2.8 Super Telephoto (600mm equivalent for 35mm) at $7,999 MSRP.
  • TC14 1.4X Teleconverter (1.4X- 1 stop equivalent for 35mm) at $549 MSRP.
  • FL-50 Flash & Accessories at $499 MSRP.
  • Power Battery Holder Set at $549 MSRP.

While the E-1 digital system offers a seemingly impressive feature set, not all photo dealers think this is a camera that will take the pro market by storm. Michael Green, vice president of marketing at Unique Photo in New Jersey said he doesn't believe that the large number of pros who use Canon and Nikon cameras will trade in their lenses for the new Olympus system.

"I can't tell you exactly because I haven't used the product yet, but I think only a small number of my pro customers will be interested in this. I don't see them giving up the good glass they have now from Canon and Nikon for this," Green said.

He added though that the prosumer market, which is comprised of "doctors, lawyers, professionals and weekend warriors" might be attracted to the E-1. "That may be a more lucrative market for Olympus to pursue right now. And I think that's where it's going."

Overall though Green said he's reserving judgement until the E-1 can be put to the test. "If it's as good as they say it is and you can prove it in working conditions, you may have a product to be reckoned with."


   







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