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October 17, 2007

World’s fastest AF*1 using 11-Point-Full Twin Cross Sensors

Providing speed, image quality and reliability at the highest level
Lens-Interchangeable Digital SLR Camera "E-3"

E-3 on ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mmF2.8-40SWD E-3(Back)
E-3 on ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mmF2.8-40SWD E-3(Back)

Olympus Imaging Corporation (President Masaharu Okubo) is pleased to announce that the eagerly awaited "E-3," the new flagship of Olympus E-System digital SLR cameras for professionals and serious amateurs, will be released in November 23, 2007.

Main Features

  1. High-speed performance thanks to the world’s fastest AF*1 with 11-point-full twin cross sensoring, high-speed sequential shooting at 5 frames/sec., and high-speed shutter up to 1/8000 sec.
  2. Ultrahigh image quality thanks to a built-in image stabilization mechanism with a compensation range up to 5 EV steps, an advanced 10.1-megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor, and the "TruePic III" image processing engine.
  3. Expanded shooting possibilities thanks to Free-Angle Live View that uses a dual-axis flexible-angle HyperCrystal LCD monitor with free horizontal/vertical swiveling.
  4. High reliability thanks to a large optical viewfinder with 100% field of view and 1.15x magnification, a high-powered, always-on Dust Reduction System, dust- and splash-proof magnesium-alloy body that stands up to the most severe conditions, and a durable shutter design tested to more than 150,000 releases*2.

As the new flagship model of Olympus’s E Series - the world’s leading line of compact, high-performance digital interchangeable-lens SLR cameras, the E-3 has been carefully designed to offer demanding professionals the highest possible levels of picture quality, mobility and reliability. Ruggedly constructed from lightweight, rigid magnesium alloy to withstand the most severe operating conditions, the dust- and splash-proof E-3 boasts substantial improvements in performance that include the world’s fastest AF*1 with an 11-point-full twin cross AF sensor system, high-speed sequential shooting capability at 5 frames/sec., and a high-speed shutter up to 1/8000 sec.

That top-level image capturing performance is supported by an industry-leading built-in image stabilization mechanism that’s already been proven on the E-510 to effectively eliminate blur with a camera shake compensation effect of up to 5 EV steps*. Picture quality is further assured by a powerful 10.1-megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor and the high-speed "TruePic III" image processing engine, while increased data reading speed enables high-speed sequential shooting possible. Put it all together and you’ve got a camera that offers today’s highest level of digital shooting quality and performance.

The E-3 is also the first camera in its class to incorporate Olympus’s exclusive Live View function, which allows users to compose their shots on a rear-panel LCD monitor. Now made even more versatile with a dual-axis flexible-angle HyperCrystal panel that can be rotated for easier vertical shooting, Live View promises to expand the world of photographic expression into new and uncharted territory.

Traditional shooting styles are supported as well by a bigger optical viewfinder that provides a brighter, more comfortable view with a 100% field of view and 1.15x magnification. Equally importantly, the E-3 is built to withstand the rigors of professional shooting day in and day out. Made of a lightweight, rigid magnesium alloy and sealed to keep out dust and splashes, the E-3 incorporates a powerful Dust Reduction System that effectively removes any dust that gets inside the camera and a durable shutter tested to 150,000 releases*2.

*1 Among digital SLR cameras available as of October 17, 2007.When the ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD lens is used with the E-3 at a focal length of 60mm(120mm: 35mm equivalent).Based on Olympus's in-house measurement conditions.
*2 Based on Olympus in-house testing.

Release Information

Category Product Name Release Schedule
Digital SLR camera OLYMPUS E-3 Body Nov. 23, 2007

Development Background

The first chapter in the Olympus E-System story began in the fall of 2003 with the launch of the award-winning E-1. Since then, seven cameras have been released as part of the "designed for digital" Olympus E-System and the series continues to set new benchmarks for professional image quality, performance, mobility, and reliability thanks to compact, lightweight designs supported by innovative industry-first features like our advanced Dust Reduction System, a feature now indispensable for any digital SLR.

At Photokina 2006, Olympus exhibited a prototype of the successor to the E-1, declaring, "Chapter Two in the history of Olympus E-System will begin next year, we will continue to develop revolutionary features that extend the frontiers of DSLR photography, and to strengthen the Olympus E-System body, lens, and accessory lineup.... We will continue to develop Olympus E-System bodies, lenses, and accessories for a wide range of genres, so that even more people are able to take photographs that could never be taken before."

Chapter Two actually began this spring, when Olympus released two digital SLR camera models, the E-410 and E-510, and announced the upcoming release of the E-1’s successor, the E-3 announced today. While the E-410 and E-510 were targeted at a wide range of users, including entry-level users who are new to SLR photography, the new E-3 is designed to meet the needs of professionals and represents the culmination of our development efforts so far, marking a major step forward in every aspect of performance and functionality, featuring the highest-possible picture quality, excellent mobility, enhanced reliability, and a rugged design that's ready to handle the toughest conditions a professional photographer might face. The E-3 will be released in November 2007, taking its position as the flagship of the E-series and completing our line of digital SLR models — lineup that now meets the needs of all users, including beginners, advanced users and professional photographers.

In the years ahead, Olympus is determined to continue developing innovative functions that are possible only with digital technology and to expand and enhance our lineup of lenses and accessories.

Other Features

· Picture mode and record mode with various setting capabilities
· Gradation Auto for under-/over-exposure adjustment with Shadow Adjustment Technology
· Loss-less compression of raw data without image degradation
· High-precision 49-zone metering system
· Secure grip enhances mobility
· Instant-response control system
· Super Control Panel with excellent readability and controllability
· Built-in flash with commander function
· Dual slots for multiple storage media

Description of main features

  1. High-speed performances thanks to the world’s fastest AF*1 using the 11 point-full-twin cross sensors, high-speed sequential shooting of 5 frames/sec., and high-speed shutter of 1/8000 sec.

    · 11 Point-Full-Twin Cross AF Sensors
    The 11-point AF sensor incorporated in the E-3 features a fully crossed array of 11 points, each of which is composed of two horizontal and vertical lines to improve accuracy. Dual sensing arrays on both vertical and horizontal axes are arranged in a unique half-pitch shifted pattern that dramatically improves autofocusing precision, making it possible to detect contrast in both horizontal and vertical directions and prevent subject patterns from interfering with AF operation. Determination of the position of the 11 AF points was based on statistical analysis of the positions of the main objects in thousands of different photos as well as input from professional photographers.
    Thanks to a dedicated AF data processing engine that can process data from all sensors simultaneously and a sophisticated new distance-measuring algorithm, processing speed and object capturing/tracking performance have been greatly improved, resulting in the world’s fastest AF speed*1. In addition, a unique pixel addition technology is used to expand the distance-measuring brightness range from -2 to 19 EV, ensuring high-precision autofocusing performance even in low light.
    *1 Among digital SLR cameras available as of October 17, 2007.When the ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD lens is used with the E-3 at a focal length of 60mm(120mm: 35mm equivalent).Based on Olympus's in-house measurement conditions.
    · High-speed sequential shooting of 5 frames/sec., high-speed shutter of 1/8000 sec.
    The incorporation of a High-Speed Live MOS Sensor with increased read rate, together with three dedicated data processing engines - the TruePic III image processing engine with much-reduced processing time, the IS (Image Stabilization) engine for compensation of camera shake, and the AF engine for high-speed processing of data from the AF sensor, has made possible high-speed performance based on concurrent processing of large amounts of data. In combination with a high-speed, high-precision mechanical shutter, a mirror mechanism optimized to reduce transmission loss, and a mirror box made of a resin incorporating carbon with high rigidity, this makes possible high-speed sequential shooting as fast as 5 frames per second and high-speed shutter release at up to 1/8000 sec. at maximum. The shutter is also compatible with X-sync shooting at a speed of 1/250 sec. Super FP flashing at 1/8000 sec. is also possible when the FL-50R or FL-36R external flash is used. This function is powerful in sync shooting in the daytime.
  2. Ultrahigh image quality thanks to the built-in image stabilization mechanism with compensation up to 5 EV steps, advanced 10.1-megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor, and the "TruePic III" image processing engine.

    · Built-in image stabilization in the body
    The E-3 camera body incorporates an image stabilization mechanism that uses Olympus’s original SWD (Supersonic Wave Drive) to compensate for camera shake by shifting the image sensor by the equivalent of up to 5 shutter speed steps, enabling blur-free, handheld shooting even under low light or when using a telescopic lens. Camera shake is detected by an advanced, extremely accurate gyro sensor, and the SWD devices immediately shifts the image sensor unit accordingly up to a maximum of 5 EV*2 steps.
    As the E-3’s image stabilization mechanism is mounted in the camera body, the image stabilization effect can be obtained with any FourThirds lens, including a digital-dedicated ZUIKO DIGITAL lens, without compromising its optical performances.
    *2 Based on Olympus in-house test conditions.
    · 10.1-megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor, image processing engine "TruePic III"
    The newly developed 10.1-megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor faithfully reproduces the subject with high resolution, rich gradations, and natural colours, and fine details. Material and machining technologies have been improved radically based on the approved MOS signal amplification technology to simplify the sensor structure, and the associated devices are mounted together on a flexible board to reduce signal exchanges and the resistance due to wiring. The result is a compact, high-performance image sensor unit with low power consumption, heat generation and noise generation. It is thanks to this reduced power consumption that the permanent Live View capability was made possible. This new image sensor also boasts a higher read speed, enabling high-speed sequential shooting at 5 frames/sec.
    The newly developed "TruePic III" image processing engine employs the following three image processing technologies to improve the imaging, gradation expression and colour reproduction.
    (1) Advanced Noise Filter III Technology
    Accurately separates image data and noise to optimize image reproduction while minimizing noise.
    (2) Advanced Detail Reproduction Technology
    Detects and reproduces edges accurately while also eliminating false colours
    (3) Advanced Proper Gamma III Technology
    Controls luminance and chrominance signals independently to reproduce even pale colours very faithfully..
  3. Expansion of the field of shooting thanks to the Free-Angle Live View using dual-axis flexible-angle HyperCrystal LCD monitor with free horizontal/vertical swiveling.

    Live View refers to the function for shooting images while viewing the image displayed on the rear panel LCD monitor. The LCD monitor uses a 2.5-inch high-resolution HyperCrystal LCD panel with 230,000 dots and 176° viewing angles in the up-down and left-right directions, and has a dual-axis flexible-angle structure for free swiveling in the horizontal and vertical directions so that the user can shoot pictures from any angle, whether high or low, without adopting an uncomfortable posture. In portrait shooting, Live View also makes it possible to capture relaxed, natural facial expressions by freeing the subject from too much consciousness of the presence of camera.

    · Live View Magnification
    During Live View shooting, the point to be focused on can be selected and magnified by 5, 7 or 10 times on the LCD monitor screen. This is a powerful feature when fine focus adjustment is required in macro shooting or studio shooting.
    · Live View Adjustment/Compensation Check
    The effects of white balance adjustment and exposure compensation can be checked on the LCD monitor before shooting to help the user shoot an image that matches their creative vision. Being able to check the results of an effect is very convenient, especially when the Gradation Auto setting is used to adjust the under-exposed area while retaining the background brightness.
    · Live Preview
    The preview image on the optical viewfinder tends to be dark when the aperture is stopped down, but the Live View preview image allows users to confirm the depth of field while maintaining the image brightness.
    · Live View Image Display
    Three different focusing screens can be displayed on the LCD monitor - a grid, golden section, or a scale - without switching the actual physical focusing screen. In addition, a histogram for checking the exposure condition can also be displayed in Live View mode.
    · Luminance Sensor
    A sensor installed on the left upper side on the swivel LCD detects brightness of the surroundings and then adjusts the brightness of the LCD automatically. If you are outdoors under bright sunlight, the brightness and contrast are increased to improve visibility, while in a dark place or at night, brightness is decreased to reduce the glare.
  4. High reliability thanks to a large optical viewfinder with 100% field of view and 1.15x magnification, a high-power Dust Reduction System, a dust- and splash-proof magnesium-alloy body capable of withstanding the most severe conditions, and a durable shutter tested to 150,000 releases*2.

    · Large optical viewfinder with 100% field of view and 1.15x magnification,
    To enable accurate framing all the way to the corners of the image, the E-3’s large, high-precision pentaprism employs high refractive index glass, while its eyepiece optics use glass lenses. The result is a large, easy-view optical viewfinder with 100% field of view and 1.15x magnification. A highly reflective silver coating is used in the pentaprism, and all of the lenses are surface-coated to minimize optical loss, thereby ensuring bright, high-resolution viewfinder images.
    The focusing screen is equipped with a Neo Lumi-Micro Mat for bright, easy-to-adjust manual focusing.
    · Dust Reduction System with sure functioning
    If dirt or dust gets inside the body during lens replacement or if the friction powder produced inside the body by the shutter release attaches to the low-pass filter or image sensor, the particles can captured in the image and spoil the pictures. Olympus has always emphasized the critical importance of dust reduction for digital SLRs and eventually found a way to solve the problem. When the camera is turned on or Live View is activated, the SSWF (Supersonic Wave Filter) installed in front of the image sensor is activated to remove any dirt attached to the image sensor by generating supersonic vibrations. The removed dust is caught by a dust absorber. Olympus’s dust reduction system can even remove dust attached by intermolecular force that cannot be removed just by shaking off the image sensor or by discharging the static electricity.
    · Splash- and dust-proof magnesium-alloy body that withstands heavy-duty use
    The E-3 boasts a rugged camera body featuring a splash- and dust-proof construction, with all major parts, including the built-in flash, LCD monitor, and switches, sealed to keep out sand, dust, rain and splashes. When the body is combined with a similarly sealed dust- and splash-proof ZUIKO DIGITAL lens, users can shoot with confidence even under the most severe conditions.
    Made of a "thixomold" magnesium alloy with homogeneous composition, the camera body is extremely strong, durable, and lightweight. As the use of swiveling LCD monitor makes it unnecessary to make holes for the LCD monitor on the back panel, the back panel also has the rigidity and durability required to protect the delicate internal mechanisms. The camera’s interior is supported by structural members made of durable, high-precision engineering plastics and reinforced by a metallic frame.
    · Durable high-speed shutter tested to 150,000 releases*2.
    To withstand heavy-duty, professional use, the shutter unit uses a highly durable focal plane shutter with a vertical-travel metal blade mechanism that has been successfully tested to 150,000 shooting operation cycles*2.
  5. *2 Based on Olympus in-house testing.

Description of other features

• Picture mode and record mode with various setting capabilities

The colour matrix can be selected from sRGB and Adobe RGB, and the picture mode can be selected from Vivid, Natural (Default), Flat (Muted), Portrait, and Monotone. With the Vivid, Natural, Flat (Muted), and Portrait modes, the user can adjust contrast, sharpness and colour saturation in 5 steps. Even more precise setting is possible in the Monotone mode, which also allows the user to control the filter effect (Yellow, Red, Orange or Green) and the Picture tones (Neutral, Sepia, Blue, Purple and Green) of monotone images.

Image files can be saved in either RAW or JPEG formats. It is also possible to write both RAW and JPEG data simultaneously. JPEG file can be set by selecting the image size from Large, Medium or Small, and the compression rate from Super Fine, Fine, Normal and Basic.

• Gradation Auto for optimum over-/under-exposure control using the Shadow Adjustment Technology

With the Gradation set to Auto, the new Shadow Adjustment Technology optimally compensates for bright over-exposed highlights and dark under-exposed shadows providing natural-looking images that are closer to what you see with your own eyes. Other Gradation modes available include High Key, Normal (default) and Low Key.

• Loss-less compression of raw data without image degradation

High-speed raw data compression is possible without image degradation. For example, an image of about 17 MB can be compressed to about 11 MB with no loss of quality, allowing you to record more images in the same amount of storage space.

* Data obtained using Olympus in-house reference images.
• Highly accurate 49-zone metering system

The E-3 uses an active pixel method in low light and a hybrid metering system with an integrating amplifier in bright light. This assures a wide photometric dynamic range even under complex lighting conditions for fast, precise metering. A new metering algorithm is used to stabilize the metering performance especially under low-lighted or highlighted subjects. The algorithm also adopts the notion of relation between AF focused point and AF metering value to improve the accuracy of metering.

• Secure grip for high mobility

The ergonomically designed body fits comfortably into the photographer’s hands, providing a natural grip for both two-hand and one-hand shooting. The large grip on the right side is complemented by a sub-grip that forms an inverse radius to ensure stability and ease of handling even when changing lenses frequently or shooting with a large lens.

• Control system with instant response to operations

The main dial/button is located where it is easiest to control while you’re shooting, allowing you to quickly adjust shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation simply by shifting the dial, without having to visually check the dial position. All dials are positioned for easy access and each dial can be customized to control functions including aperture, shutter speed adjustment and menu transition method. For example, the function of the AEL/AFL button can be selected between AF and AE decision timing, the functions of the Fn (Function) buttons can also be selected, and even the functions of the AEL/AFL button and an Fn button can be switched. Together, these dials allow the camera to be adapted to the shooting style of each user, improving operability and facilitating quick response during shooting.

• Super Control Panel with excellent legibility and controllability

The Super Control Panel can be displayed on the rear-panel LCD monitor. Besides displaying current shooting and setting information, its intuitive GUI (Graphical User Interface) makes it easy to adjust or check settings using cross-cursor and OK buttons. An extra-large, easy-to-see LCD panel that displays the shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation value is also provided on the top of the camera body.

• Built-in flash incorporating the commander function

Wireless control of multiple flashes is possible using the optional FL-50R and/or FL-36R flashes (announced at the same time as the E-3). No external commander is required because the built-in flash incorporates the commander function. Any flash operation, including the selection of activation/deactivation of up to 3 flash groups, the selection of flashing or FP flashing and correction of the flash light intensity, can be set using the Super Control Panel on the rear-panel LCD.

• Dual slots for choice of storage media

Two slots are provided for using a CompactFlash (CF Type I or II) or MicroDrive card and an xD-Picture card. Data can be copied between different media and a second card can be used to backup the main card used for recording.


•  "OLYMPUS Studio 2.1"

OLYMPUS Studio 2.1 software has been designed specifically for use with digital cameras to support the workflow of professional photographers.
The software version will be upgraded to "2.1" following the release of the E-3.
This upgrade provides compatibility with raw exposure using unique new parameters and allows users to control new setting items on the E-3 from their PC, as well as to set wireless flashes.
A new skin (Professional) has been added to improve the ease of use of "OLYMPUS Studio 1.x", which is well-regarded for its convenient picture display and selection.
A variety of other features including editing, printing and backup provide powerful support for the professional digital workflow.

Differences from OLYMPUS Studio 2.0
•Compatibility with the E-3.
•Addition of a new skin (Professional) optimized for display and selection of pictures.
•Compatibility with the IPTC information addition function by means of image loading, raw data exposure and batch processing.
•Addition of file information pop-up display.
•Addition of status display during background processing on the status bar.
•Addition of a function for specifying the processing to be executed after file saving.
•Addition of a function for direct image classification while observing the thumbnail display.

OLYMPUS Studio 2.1 Updater
To be announced in October 2007,

* OLYMPUS Studio 2.1 Updater can be installed using the [Update Software] function.
* OLYMPUS Master 2.04 and OLYMPUS Studio 2.1 (30-day trial version) are included in the E-3 package.
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