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September 28, 2004
Olympus Introduces Affordable 8-Megapixel E-300
Interchangeable Lens Type Digital SLR Camera
Olympus E-System SLR camera for consumer/photoenthusiast market
Innovative new compact, low-profile body design
8-megapixel imaging for outstanding image quality
E-300 : FRONT E-300 : BACK
The information contained in this news release applies only to the Japanese market.
Olympus Corporation (President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa) is pleased to announce the introduction of the Olympus E-300 digital SLR camera. The E-300 is an affordable new addition to the Four Thirds System standard-compliant "designed for digital" Olympus E-System that makes it easy to enjoy high quality digital shooting.
In October of last year, Olympus introduced the Olympus E-System and E-1 interchangeable-lens-type digital SLR camera. Offering the high image quality, high mobility, and high reliability that professional users demand, the E-1 has been widely acclaimed for its image quality and reliability.
Now, based on the technology that has earned the E-1 such high praise, Olympus is introducing the E-300, a camera designed to make the unique benefits of interchangeable lens type digital SLR photography easy even for first-time digital SLR users to enjoy.
Offering the highest image quality available in a consumer-oriented digital SLR, the E-300 features a full frame transfer 4/3-type CCD with a broad dynamic range and an effective pixel count of 8 megapixels, as well as dedicated digital ZUIKO DIGITAL interchangeable lenses that maximize the performance of the CCD's high-resolution sensor elements, and a high-performance TruePic TURBO image processor.
In addition, it is equipped with the widely acclaimed Dust Reduction System featured on the E-1. The system significantly alleviates the problem of image degradation caused by dust contamination of the CCD sensor elements and low pass filter, which can be caused by dust entering the camera when changing lenses, or by particulate matter produced by shutter assembly or other internal mechanical component wear. Thanks to this system, users are spared the trouble of cleaning and maintaining the image sensor, a task that is in any case extremely difficult for the average owner to perform. In addition, a high level of reliability is further assured by the use of high-rigidity metal body components.
As it is not bound by the conventions of SLR film camera design, the E-300 has also been given a radical new body shape that eliminates the bulky pentaprism from the top of the camera, resulting in outstanding portability and a low overall height of just 85mm.
The E-300 also offers fast, responsive, SLR shooting capabilities with respect to startup time, shutter release time lag, and shooting interval. As a result, users can enjoy quick, carefree shooting and fewer missed photo opportunities.
With the introduction of the E-300, Olympus has launched a new consumer-oriented digital SLR for a new digital age. In the future, the Olympus E-System lineup will continue to grow, bringing an even wider range of digital SLR camera system performance to photo enthusiasts everywhere.
Main Features
Four Thirds System standard-compliant dedicated digital design and a class-leading, full frame transfer 8-megapixel (effective) CCD for high image quality
Attractive new low-profile design with 85mm body height for outstanding portability
Dust Reduction System and metal body components for high reliability
Outstanding operating ease with fast SLR response for enjoyable shooting
A wide range of shooting functions for enhanced versatility
Development Background
Fueled primarily by demand for consumer-oriented models, the market for interchangeable lens type digital SLR cameras continues to grow rapidly, with over two million units slated for shipment in 2004, and further growth anticipated in 2005.
Olympus entered the rapidly growing market for interchangeable lens type digital SLR cameras with the October 2003 introduction of the pro-oriented E-1, which earned high praise for its dedicated digital design. E-300 development was undertaken to bring the same high standard of image quality and interchangeable lens type digital SLR shooting enjoyment to an even broader range of users. Effort was focused on developing a design that would make the camera easy even for first-time SLR owners to use and enjoy. In a break with conventional consumer-oriented digital SLRs of the past, the decision was made to eliminate the protruding pentaprism from the top of the camera and go with a compact new user-friendly body design that offers excellent portability. In addition, the Dust Reduction System acclaimed by professional users of the E-1 was also incorporated, sparing non-professional users the difficult task of cleaning and maintaining the image sensor so they can freely and easily enjoy the advantages of interchangeable lens type digital SLR photography.
Based on advanced technologies developed for the pro-oriented E-1, the E-300 is an all-new, consumer-oriented digital SLR camera for the new digital age, specifically developed to allow everyone to easily enjoy superior digital imaging performance.
Details of Main Features
1.  Four Thirds System-Compliant Dedicated Digital Design and a Class-Leading Full Frame Transfer 8-Megapixel CCD for High Image Quality
A Designed-for-Digital Lens System
  The use of a designed-for-digital lens system assures high resolving power at the periphery of the image area, something that has always been difficult to achieve with interchangeable lenses designed to meet the optical performance requirements of film cameras. The lenses are designed to ensure that the light strikes the image sensor head-on, minimizing the loss of image quality and brightness at the periphery even when using wide-angle lenses, and maximizing sensor performance to ensure excellent imaging characteristics. To coincide with the introduction of the E-300, a range of new lenses that offers high cost-performance and wide-angle to telephoto coverage has been readied.
High-Resolution, 8-Megapixel, Full Frame Transfer, Still-Image CCD
  A 4/3-type, 8-megapixel (effective) CCD maximizes the performance characteristics of ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses to produce outstanding high-definition images. The CCD is the same type of full frame transfer, dedicated still image sensor that has been widely acclaimed on the E-1. In comparison with the interline CCDs used in most conventional digital cameras, the surface area and sensitivity of each individual photo-sensing element are greater, allowing a greater range of grayscale expression.
High-Performance TruePic TURBO Image Processor
  A TruePic TURBO image processor, newly optimized for digital SLR use, is included to boost image quality and image processing speed. The result is higher image definition and low noise for clear, natural images.
2.  Attractive New Low-Profile Design with 85mm Body Height for Outstanding Portability
Highly Portable, User-Friendly New Design
  The E-300 differs from conventional SLR cameras in that it uses a porro system and a side swing mirror to achieve a highly portable new design with low overall height and no protruding pentaprism. Easy to use, the attractive and compact body has a user-friendly appearance that helps put subjects at ease.
New Sliding Pop-Up Flash Mechanism
  A new flash mechanism that slides forward as it pops up assures an adequate angle of illumination while contributing to the camera's low-profile body design. The flash offers broad, even coverage with minimal illumination drop-off at the periphery. In addition, the new design allows a dedicated external flash to be used in tandem with the built-in flash.
3.  Dust Reduction System and Metal Body Components for High Reliability
Dust Reduction System with the World's First Supersonic Wave Filter
  The E-300 is equipped with the same proprietary Olympus Dust Reduction System featured on the E-1. The system significantly reduces the problem of image degradation that results from contamination of the image sensor or low pass filter by dust entering the camera when changing lenses, or by particulate matter produced by shutter assembly or other internal mechanical component wear. As a result, users are spared the trouble of cleaning and maintaining the image sensor, a task which is in any case extremely difficult for the average owner to perform. The system features a Supersonic Wave Filter mounted between the shutter and the low pass filter on the front of the image sensor. When activated, ultrasound causes the filter to vibrate over 350,000 times per second, instantly removing any dust and particulate matter that have adhered to it. In addition, the image sensor assembly is isolated from the Supersonic Wave Filter by an airtight seal that prevents dust and particulate matter from reaching the image sensor and low pass filter.
Aluminum Top Cover and Die-Cast Aluminum Chassis
  An aluminum top cover and a die-cast aluminum chassis assure outstanding rigidity.
4.  Outstanding Operating Ease with Fast SLR Response for Enjoyable Shooting
Easy-to-Hold Design and Intelligent Control Layout
  The easy-to-hold body fits comfortably in the user's hands, and all shooting mode buttons are located on the back of the camera in an intelligent layout that assures quick visual recognition and easy operation.
Quick Shooting Response (TruePic TURBO Image Processor)
  An exclusive Olympus TruePic TURBO image processor, optimized for SLR use, assures fast image processing. Recording and playback processing times have been reduced, startup is fast, and a short shutter release time lag ensures responsive, stress-free shooting.
High-Speed, High-Precision Autofocus
  A new TTL phase difference detecting autofocus system developed specifically for Four Thirds System cameras provides faster and more precise focusing. 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. In addition, the currently active target zone can be confirmed via a superimposed display in the viewfinder.
Scene Program and Scene Select Program Modes
  Five Scene Program modes and more than 10 Scene Select Program modes are provided. Offered in addition to the regular shooting modes, they provide optimized shutter speed and aperture settings that make it easy for users to get the results they want in a wide range of situations.
Bright, Easy-to-View Focusing Screen
  The newly developed Neo Lumi Micron Matte focusing screen featured in the E-1 has been further refined for the E-300. Featuring a hexagonal-variant microlens, it assures a bright view and easy focusing, with minimal moir? effect for natural blurring of out-of-focus elements.
Super Control Panel
  Image quality modes, shooting modes, aperture, shutter speed ISO sensitivity, and all other shooting information is displayed in a large size, in color, on the LCD monitor.
High-Visibility LCD Monitor
  A new Hyper Crystal LCD monitor offers high contrast, a wide viewing angle, and excellent visibility in bright outdoor light. It offers 3 times the contrast and 1.5 times the horizontal and vertical viewing angle of conventional LCD monitors, ensuring excellent visibility and beautiful image quality with vivid color. Images on the monitor can also be enlarged up to 10 times, with a convenient guide display frame that indicates the area being enlarged.
5. Wide Range of Shooting Functions
Wide-Ranging Exposure Control
  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, selectable in 1/3EV, 1/2EV, or 1EV steps. In addition, the camera's Program AE modes include a choice of Scene Program modes to ensure optimum results with maximum ease in a wide variety of shooting situations. With a wide range of exposure modes to choose from, users can select the one that best suits their needs and skill level.
Auto Exposure Bracketing
  Three-frame auto exposure bracketing is possible in 1/3EV, 1/2EV, or 1EV steps, allowing photographers to obtain correct exposures in situations that require fine exposure control.
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 calculates the best light values 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.
Built-In Flash, Plus External Flash Support
  A built-in flash with Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Synchro (front and rear curtain), and Fill-In modes is provided. Flash compensation can be set over a range of ±2EV in 1/3EV, 1/2EV, or 1EV steps. Manual flash activation is also possible, allowing fine control of flash brightness. In addition, optional external flash units can be used in tandem with the built-in flash to further extend flash shooting capabilities.
Wide ISO Sensitivity Range
  ISO sensitivity settings include Auto, 100, 200, and 400. In addition, there is an ISO Boost function with 800 and 1600 settings that can be used when shooting at fast shutter speeds or in very low light.
White Balance
  White balance settings from 3000K to 7500K can be set in 8 steps using button and dial controls, with ±7-step fine-tuning available for all settings. In addition, there are 4 custom Kelvin color temperature settings and a one-touch white balance setting.
Auto White Balance Bracketing
  Auto white balance bracketing saves a single frame of image data at three different white balance settings. Auto bracketing step incrementation can set to any of three levels, making it easy to obtain optimum color balance in lighting conditions that make it difficult to determine which white balance setting to use.
Noise Reduction
  The noise reduction function uses a proprietary Olympus algorithm to detect and eliminate the random noise that can appear on long-exposure images.
A Choice of Two Color Space Settings
  Users can choose from two color space settings according to their needs: sRGB, which is the standard for Windows(R) environments and inkjet printer output, and Adobe(R) RGB, which is widely used for commercial applications.
Contrast, Sharpness and Tone Curve Controls
  Contrast and sharpness can be set to any of five levels. So whether users want pro-quality tonal fidelity or sharp vibrant colors, they can customize each image to suit their preference. In addition, High Key and Low Key mode settings allow users to create striking images that emphasize bright or dark areas. Monochrome and Sepia modes are also provided.
Simultaneous RAW and JPEG Image Data Recording
  A choice of three data recording formats is offered: RAW, TIFF, and JPEG. If desired, image data can be simultaneously recorded in both RAW and JPEG formats.
Monochrome & Resize Functions
  In addition to RAW image editing, monochrome and resize editing can be performed on JPEG images.
Other Features
Histogram and Shooting Information Display
When reviewing images, users can press the Information Display button to view histograms that help identify overexposed or underexposed areas, or to highlight overexposed areas for quick identification. In addition, shooting information such as focal length, exposure mode, exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO sensitivity can also be displayed.
Support for High-Capacity Memory Media
CompactFlash(TM) Type I and II cards and MicroDrive memory media are supported. xD-Picture Cards can also be used by employing a CompactFlash card adapter.
Selftimer and Remote Control
The built-in selftimer 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 can also be used by attaching it to the optional HLD-3 power battery holder.
PictBridge Support for Direct Camera-to-Printer Output
PictBridge support allows direct printing to any PictBridge-enabled printer without using a computer.
OLYMPUS MASTER image editing and file management software is included with the camera, and allows both novice and experienced computer users to enjoy the full power of digital imaging. A user-friendly interface makes it easy to download images to a computer, as well as edit and organize them. It also features a wide range of printing functions and RAW data conversion. A calendar function that organizes and displays images in a calendar format according to the date they were taken makes it especially easy to manage large photo libraries. By upgrading OLYMPUS Master to OLYMPUS Master Plus software, users can also record images on CD or DVD media, edit movies, create screensavers, and perform other advanced tasks.
Optional Accessories
High Cost-Performance Lenses and External Flash Unit
High cost-performance ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 and ZUIKO DIGITAL 40-150mm F3.5-4.5 lenses, as well as an FL-36 external flash unit with a guide number of 36, have been readied for the E-300's introduction.
HLD-3 Power Battery Holder
The HLD-3 is a battery pack containing two BLM-1 lithium-ion batteries like the one included with the E-300. In addition to offering double the battery power, it features a remote cable connection socket and a shutter release button positioned for vertical-format shooting.
PT-E01 Waterproof Protector
A waterproof protector for the E-300 that enables users to enjoy SLR shooting underwater at depths of up to 60 meters.
CS-3SH Semi-Hard Case
A camera case capable of holding the E-300 with either the ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 or ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm F2.8-3.5 lens attached.
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