New Four Thirds digital standard allows for interchangeable lenses
Olympus has announced more details on their first all-digital SLR system, the E-1 professional model, which includes interchangeable lenses designed specifically for digital photography. Expected to start shipping in October, the camera system incorporates new Four Thirds Digital Standards that will make it possible for photographers to mount digital lenses made by one camera manufacturer onto digital camera bodies made by other manufacturers.
When conventional 35 mm film lenses are used with digital cameras, insufficient light at the edges of the image sensor can result in reduced color definition--particularly when shooting with wide-angle lenses. According to Olympus America's John Knaur, "The Olympus Digital SLR System is the ultimate light-mastering digital camera system, offering professional photographers powerful advantages in terms of image quality, camera and lens size, durability, and speed."
Initially, five Zuiko Digital Specific Lenses will be offered: 300 mm, f2.8 (600 mm equivalent), 14-54 mm, f2.8-f3.5 zoom (28-108 mm equivalent), 50 mm macro, f2.0 (100 mm equivalent), 50-200 mm, f2.8-f3.5 zoom (100-400 mm equivalent), and a TC14 1.4X Telconverter.
The E-1 uses Kodak's new 5-MPxl Super Latitude Full Frame Transfer CCD which provides an improved dynamic range, better color and less noise compared to previous-generation sensors. Olympus claims that because of the quality of the pixels this CCD captures, the camera outperforms models that have higher megapixel specs. Other technical features include newly developed noise filter technology and a Supersonic Wave Filter? to reduce the chances of dust settling on the CCD and blocking pixels.
The SDRAM camera control and buffer is coupled with a parallel data processing ASIC digital processor engine to overcome many of the bottlenecks in image processing and camera operations. The E-1 can capture images at three frames per second for a burst of 12 frames. And new capture software allows the direct capture of data to a computer.
The suggested retail price of the E1 is $2199. Over time, Olympus plans to introduce additional bodies, lenses and accessories for the its digital SLR. A consumer digital SLR camera is planned for 2004. (Olympus America: www.olympusamerica.com/e-1)