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June 24, 2003
The world's first dedicated digital SLR system
Top-of-the-line specifications for professional-grade
image-quality and performance
*The information contained in this news release applies only to the Japanese market.
Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. (President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa) is pleased to announce the introduction of the Olympus E-1 digital SLR camera. The E-1 is the first camera in the world to realize the design advantages of the new Four Thirds System for digital single lens reflex cameras and interchangeable lenses.
The Four Thirds System is a newly developed digital camera design standard that uses a 4/3-type CCD image sensor to achieve both outstanding mobility and superb image quality. The system also features dedicated interchangeable lenses whose optical design is specifically geared to match the performance requirements of digital imaging. In addition, the Four Thirds System establishes a common standard for lens mounts to ensure that lenses and bodies made by different manufacturers are truly interchangeable.

The E-1 is the world's first Four Thirds System camera, and Olympus' first interchangeable lens type digital SLR camera. Its body, lenses, flash equipment, and other accessories are all designed exclusively for digital camera use, and it offers the high image quality, high mobility, and high reliability that professional users demand.

Digital camera image quality is primarily determined by the lens, CCD image sensor, and image data processing engine. The E-1 satisfies professional photographers' demands for high image quality by teaming a 4/3-type, 5-megapixel CCD that uses full-frame data transfer to ensure a wide dynamic range, with lenses that are specifically designed to maximize the performance potential of the CCD, and an ideally matched image processing system. In addition, an exclusive new Olympus Dust Reduction System significantly reduces the problem of the image sensor being contaminated by dust when changing lenses, something which has plagued interchangeable-lens-type digital SLRs up until now.

The body is constructed of a light, rigid magnesium alloy, and despite incorporating the Dust Reduction System and other features that enable it to withstand the rigorous demands of professional use, weighs a mere 660 grams.

A variety of features ensure the quick response that professional users demand. A high-capacity on-board memory and a newly developed high-speed image processing engine enable up to 12-frame sequential shooting at a speed of up to 3 frames per second. Furthermore, a phase difference detecting auto focusing system provides fast, accurate focusing for quick, responsive shooting that pro users are sure to appreciate.

IEEE1394 and USB 2.0 interfaces are provided for high-speed transfer of image data to personal computers. Both Windows(R) and Mac OS environments are supported the included OLYMPUS Studio 1.0 software provides much faster RAW data processing than has been previously realized. In addition, a new image selection function speeds thing up even more by making it easy for users to select only the best shots for RAW data image rendering.
Top Features
Dedicated digital design for the high image quality that professional users demand [ or Dedicated digital design for professional image quality ]
Light, rigid, dust-and-water-droplet-resistant magnesium-alloy body with high-endurance shutter for high mobility and reliability
Newly developed image processing engine and high-speed, high-precision AF system for high-speed shooting and image processing
Wide array of exposure controls and function settings for versatile shooting capabilities
Supports OLYMPUS Studio 1.0 software for professional digital workflow management (trial version included)
Main Features
A Dedicated Digital Camera Lens Line-Up
Interchangeable lenses that are designed for use on both film and digital SLR cameras have always suffered from diminished resolving power at the periphery of the lens when used on digital cameras. On the E-1, this problem was solved by developing a line of lenses specifically for digital camera use. As a result, distortion is low and color fidelity is high even at the periphery of the imaging area.
Full-Frame CCD
A 4/3-type, 5.0-megapixel CCD is used for image capture. Offering 4 - 5 times the imaging area of the 1/1.8-type and 2/3-type sensors used in most compact digital cameras, the E-1's sensor delivers the image quality that professional users demand. In addition, it is the world's first dedicated still-image sensor, and offers full-frame data transfer with a wide latitude that allows shooting under a wide range of lighting conditions -- something that is impossible to achieve with the interline CCD that are used on most digital still cameras. In addition, full-frame CCDs offer higher grayscale sensitivity, ensuring better shadow and highlight detail than interline CCDs.
3 ASICs for High-Speed Shooting and Image Processing
Image processing, data transfer, and camera control can all be carried out simultaneously thanks to the use of a high-performance image processing engine and three ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits). In addition, the performance characteristics of the image processing engine, lenses, and CCD are ideally matched to ensure the very highest image quality. A high-capacity 128MB working memory are built-in to further assist high-speed shooting and image processing.
Newly Developed Focusing Screen
A bright, clear view is provided by a newly developed Neo Lumi Micron Mat focusing screen. A hexagonal microlens with a 20µm pitch assures a bright view and easy focusing, with minimal moir? effect for natural blurring of out-of-focus elements. For high-precision work, the focusing screen can easily be replaced with a separately available grid-pattern focusing screen.
100 Field of View
The pro-oriented viewfinder provides a field of view that is approximately 100% of the imaging area. An eyepiece shutter prevents light from entering the eyepiece during exposure.
Light, Rigid, Magnesium-Alloy Body
Despite the E-1's pro-grade specifications, the use of a light, yet rigid, magnesium alloy results in a low body weight of just 660 grams, which is an ideal weight for professional use.
Dust Reduction System with the World's First Ultrasonic Rounded Filter
An exclusive new Olympus-developed Supersonic Wave Filter and Dust Reduction System significantly reduce the problems that can be caused by dust that enters the camera when changing lenses, or by particulate matter generated inside the camera. Ultrasonic vibration instantly removes dirt and dust, preventing image quality deterioration and ensuring beautiful, high-quality images with every shot.
150,000-Shot High-Endurance Shutter
Designed and constructed with the needs of professional users in mind, the shutter unit is a focal plane shutter with vertical-travel metal curtains. It has undergone 150,000-shot tests* (in-house) to ensure outstanding endurance. In Anti-Shock mode, shutter release is delayed until residual vibration caused by viewfinder mirror retraction has subsided.
Outstanding Resistance to Dust and Water Droplets
Special seals protect key areas of the body and help shut out moisture and dust, ensuring that the camera meets the rigorous demands of professional use.
Superb Handling for High Mobility
The camera fits the hand perfectly from the first moment, and offers superb handling in situations that demand high mobility, with an "analog feel" to controls that are positioned precisely where the user expects them to be. Conveniently positioned main and sub dials make it easy to adjust shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, and other settings. In addition, the functions assigned to each dial can be customized to suit the photographer's preference.
High-Speed, High-Precision AF
A new TTL phase difference detecting auto focusing system developed specifically for Four Thirds System cameras provides fast, accurate focusing at 0EV to 19EV (ISO100 sensitivity). When shooting in the dark, the camera's built-in AF illuminator can be set to activate automatically when needed. In Continuous AF mode, predictive autofocusing ensures focusing accuracy even when shooting moving subjects. There are three autofocus target zones. Although the default AF mode uses automatic target zone selection, users can select one of the three zones manually if they prefer.
12-Frame Sequential Shooting at Up to 3 Frames per Second
In Sequential mode, a maximum shooting speed of up to three frames per second is offered. What's more, the E-1's 128MB buffer memory allows up to 12 frames can be taken in a single burst regardless of whether they are shot in RAW, TIFF, or JPEG mode.
Versatile Exposure Controls
Exposure control modes include Aperture-Priority AE, Shutter-Speed-Priority AE, Program AE, and Manual modes. In Program AE mode, a Program Shift function allows users to change the combination of aperture and shutter speed settings while maintaining optimum exposure. Exposure compensation is available over a wide range of +/-5EV. Compensation is incremented in 1/3EV steps by default, but can be set to 1/2EV or 1EV steps according to the user's preference.
Auto Exposure Bracketing
Three-frame or five-frame auto exposure bracketing is possible in 1/3EV, 1/2EV, or 1EV steps over a maximum range of +/-5EV, allowing photographers to obtain the results they want even in lighting conditions that make it difficult to determine the correct exposure settings.
Three Metering Systems
Users are offered a choice of Digital ESP (Electro Selective Pattern) metering, center-weighted average metering, or spot metering. Olympus' widely acclaimed proprietary Digital ESP metering measures and calculates light levels for the center and other areas of the frame separately to ensure accurate metering under complex lighting conditions. Center-weighted average metering measures light values for the entire image area, but places greater emphasis on the values recorded at the center of the frame. Spot metering measures light values for a small area at the center of the frame that represents about 2% of the total image area.
Wide ISO Sensitivity Range
ISO sensitivity settings include Auto, 100, 200, 400, and 800. In addition, there is an ISO Boost function with 1600 and 3200 settings that can be used when shooting at fast shutter speeds or in very low light.
High-Precision White Balance
The E-1's auto white balance system achieves exceptional accuracy by using information from both the CCD and a separate light sensor. Twelve preset white balance settings ranging from 3000K to 7500K can also easily be set using button and dial controls, and +/-7-step fine tuning is available for all white balance settings. A one-touch white balance function allows users to store and retrieve up to four frequently used white balance settings at the touch of a button -- a great convenience for studio work with custom lighting setups.
Auto White Balance Bracketing
Auto white balance bracketing saves a single frame of RAW data as three separate images, making it easy to obtain optimum color balance in lighting conditions that make it difficult to determine the correct white balance settings. The width of the auto bracketing steps can set in three levels.
Noise Reduction and Advanced Noise Filter Functions
The noise reduction function uses a proprietary Olympus algorithm to detect and eliminate the random noise that can appear on long-exposure images. The advanced noise filter offers improved noise discrimination at the edges of picture elements, ensuring both minimal noise and superior edge definition.
Shading Compensation
By switching on shading compensation, photographers can alleviate the loss of brightness at the image periphery that can sometimes occur, particularly when shooting at very wide angles.
High-Precision Flash Control
A wide range of flash modes is provided, including auto, red-eye reduction, slow synchro (front and rear curtain), and fill-in. Flash intensity can be controlled over a range of +/-2EV in 1/3EV, 1/2EV, or 1EV steps according to the user's preference. A variety of optional external flash units are available. Developed specifically for digital camera use, they offer photographers a wide range of flash shooting capabilities. (See separate release on Four Thirds System accessories for details.).
A Choice of Color Space Settings
Two color space settings are offered: sRGB, which is the standard for Windows(R) environments and inkjet printer output, and Adobe(R) RGB, which is used widely for professional use.Users can choose the one that best suits their creative needs.
Saturation, Contrast and Sharpness Control
Saturation and contrast can be set to any of five levels; sharpness can be set to any of seven levels. Whether they want pro-quality color fidelity or sharp vibrant colors, photographers can customize each image to suit their preference. When shooting the sky, vegetation, or human subjects, for example, they can emphasize specific colors to suit their subject.
Simultaneous RAW/JPEG Image Recording
Image data can be recorded in RAW, TIFF, or JPEG format. In addition, users can select RAW / JPEG record mode if they want to save RAW data along with JPEG SHQ, HQ, or SQ mode images.
Wide Range of Custom Settings
The E-1's pro-oriented custom settings includes seven different AF/AE lock settings, as well as four custom reset settings that can be used to restore all camera settings to a set of user-defined 'default' values. AF lock operation can be effected by pressing the shutter button halfway, or by assigning the AF lock function to the AE lock button. In addition, the manual focus ring can be set for either clockwise or counterclockwise rotation according to the user's preference.
IEEE1394 and USB 2.0 Interfaces for High-Speed Image File Transfer
The E-1 is equipped with both IEEE1394 and USB 2.0 interfaces for stress-free, high-speed image file transfer to a personal computer.
Supports Newly Developed All-In-One Digital Workflow Software
The included Olympus Studio 1.0 software features a newly developed, pro-oriented RAW data processing engine that prevents image degradation caused by compression, bit loss, and tone jumps. The new engine processes RAW data much more quickly then previous software programs, and boosts workflow productivity with an improved selection function that makes it easy to choose the best shot out of many similar images. As a result, image selection on a computer monitor is as easy as on a conventional lightbox, and photographers can rapidly narrow their field of candidate images from several hundred images to just a few. When working in a studio, the Olympus Studio software can be used to control the camera from a computer, and images can be saved directly to hard disk and viewed on the computer's monitor.
Other Features
TFT LCD Monitor
The back of the camera is equipped with a 134,000-pixel, high-resolution, 1.8-inch TFT color LCD monitor. Brightness can be set to any of 15 levels.
Histogram and Shooting Information Display
Photographers can view a wide range of information on the LCD monitor simply by pressing the information display button. They can view a histogram showing key information about the brightest highlights and darkest shadows in an image. They can also view a highlight display that makes it easy to identify overexposed areas, and they can view shooting information such as focal length, exposure mode, exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO sensitivity.
Control Panel
In addition to the essential shooting information that is displayed within the viewfinder, photographers can confirm key settings via the LCD panel on the top of the camera. A backlight is provided for easy viewing in low light.
Support for High-Capacity Media
In addition to CompactFlashTM Type I and II memory cards, the E-1 also supports MicroDrive media. xD Picture Cards can also be used with a CompactFlash adapter card.
Self-timer and Remote Control
The built-in self-timer offers a choice of 12-second or 2-second delay. An optional RM-1 remote control unit is available and can be used with the 2-second delay setting or for immediate shutter release. An optional RM-CB1 remote cable is also offered.
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*Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. was changed to OLYMPUS CORPORATION as of October 1, 2003.
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