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Olympus Breaks AF Speed Barrier, Announces New Lenses



CENTER VALLEY, Pa., October 2007 –Olympus announced the new Olympus E-3, which is the flagship of its digital SLR line and provides the high-precision performance demanded by professional and enthusiasts. Now, the new E-3 raises the performance bar with the fastest autofocus in the world. Body-Integrated Mechanical Image Stabilization to stabilize every lens, a 10-megapixel Live MOS image sensor to capture beautiful images, and a magnesium alloy body for dust-proof and splash-proof durability join the impressive innovations developed for the E-3, including:

Speed: When coupled with three new ZUIKO DIGITAL Supersonic Wave Drive™ Lenses (SWD) announced today, like the ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 (24-120mm equivalent), the E-3 offers unmatched AF speeds, and the fastest AF speed in the world with that lens. It employs a newly-developed high speed 11-point biaxial cross type AF system, 5 frames-per-second continuous shooting, and 1/8000 second top shutter speed for the quickness required in any shooting situation.

Superior Image Quality: In-Body Mechanical Image Stabilization with Supersonic Wave Drive technology ensures blur-free images for all lenses attached to the E-3, so now even low-light telephoto shots are clear and sharp when holding the camera in shaky hands. Its 10-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor delivers high-resolution images for large format print sizes, and TruePic III™ digital processing engine ensures high-speed image processing, accurate color and improved detail with low noise. The camera's interior components combined with digital-specific lenses offer the edge-to-edge crystal clarity that only 100 percent digital optics can provide.

Swivel Live View LCD: A dual-axis swivel 2.5-inch Live View LCD covers all the viewing angles from low to high and side to side, to assure accurate composition. Real-time image monitoring of white balance and exposure enables greater creative control of settings to secure the best possible photograph.

Reliability: The E-3's large optical viewfinder provides a 100 percent accurate view and its 1.15x magnification makes it one of the largest and most accurate viewfinders for reliable composition. The proven effective built-in Dust Reduction System with the Supersonic Wave Filter eliminates spots from photos. A durable shutter mechanism with the lifespan of 150,000 exposures meets the demands of serious photographers. Also, the E-3's sealed magnesium alloy chassis is completely splash-proof and dust-proof for use with pro lenses on expeditions to the most extreme environments on the planet.

"Olympus was the first to bring body-integrated Dust Reduction, 100 percent digital-specific lenses and 'Full Time Live View' to the digital SLR market," said John Knaur, senior marketing manager, Digital SLR, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "Olympus continues to innovate by producing cameras of the highest quality with breakthrough technology. The new E-3 will satisfy the pro-level needs of our customers with incredible AF speed, superior image quality due, in part, to In-body Mechanical Image Stabilization that stabilizes all lenses attached to the camera, and a durable body to capture it all."

World's Fastest Autofocus

When it comes to measuring camera speed, autofocus is a key factor. If a camera's AF system does not meet photographers' demands and lock focus accurately and quickly, they will miss shots regardless of the camera's shot-to-shot speed or start-up time. The E-3's new AF system is the world's fastest in combination with the ZUIKO DIGITAL SWD ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens, to ensure fast focus for clear, sharp photos. Additionally, every lens attached to the E-3 benefits from faster AF, not just the SWD lenses, so the E-3 can lock focus on a fast-moving subject and capture that once-in-a-lifetime shot.

The secret to the camera's high-speed focusing is a unique Twin cross type (fully biaxial) 11 point AF sensor, based on proprietary Olympus micro-sensing technologies, that achieves equally effective performance on both the vertical and horizontal axis. With most biaxial sensors, performance on the vertical and horizontal axes is not equal, and there is often a perceived difference in response time when using different lenses. However, unlike systems that respond at nominally lower f-stop values simply by boosting sensitivity, the E-3's AF sensor features a totally redesigned hounds tooth-pattern phase detection sensor layout that uses micro-lamination technologies to achieve superior real-world performance.

AF accuracy is further ensured by precise alignment of the optical axis from the lens to the AF phase detection sensors, and accurate mounting of the sensors within the AF unit. The AF unit used in the E-3 is made of high-tensile engineering plastic, which is further protected by the camera's high-rigidity magnesium body. In addition, data from a dedicated temperature sensor is used to compensate for changes in operating temperature.

The 11 AF target points on the E-3 can be selected to work individually or dynamically in combination with adjacent target points. Once a photographer knows the general direction of a moving subject - a Formula One racecar zooming around a track for example - the AF area can be selected based on the anticipated motion to maintain accuracy.

The newly developed Olympus Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD) lenses on the E-3 enable auto focusing at ultra-high speed with precise and quiet operation. Quietness is essential when shooting in a situation where silence is truly golden, such as photographing exotic birds up close in the wild or musicians at a classical music quartet.

But this technology truly shines in combination with three new Olympus ZUIKO DIGITAL SWD lenses that employ Supersonic Wave Drive motor technology inside: the ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD (24-120mm equivalent); ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD (100-400mm equivalent), and the ED 14-35mm f2.0 SWD (28-70mm equivalent). The new ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD lens focuses twice as fast as the previous ZUIKO DIGITAL lens with that focal length, and the new ED 14-35mm f2.0 joins the existing 35-100mm f2.0 (70-200mm equivalant) as the brightest lenses in their class. Mechanical focusing is also available for easy and accurate manual focusing by hand.

The E-3 can capture images at the highest image-quality setting at a rate of 5 frames per second. With shutter speeds of up 1/8000 second, it is possible to freeze action when photographing a cheetah in fast pursuit across the plain, or a fastball before it connects with the bat.

Superior Image Quality: Steady As It Goes

To prevent image blur caused by camera shake, which can occur in dim lighting or with longer telephoto lenses, the E-3 employs In-body Mechanical Image Stabilization, which compensates for camera movement up to 5 steps EV and delivers blur-free images taken with any of the ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses available for the camera. Moreover, built-in SWD Image Stabilization offers the advantage of image stabilization for every lens attached to the camera body, so there is no need to purchase image stabilized lenses at a premium price.

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