Aptina has brought a degree of smallness to CMOS technology with their innovative new 9 megapixel sensor designed for mobile phones and compact point and shoot cameras. [Read more…]
Olympus has surprised us this morning with the announce of the new E-420 four-thirds DSLR. The E-420 is a 10 megapixel DSLR and is a follow-up to the popular E-410.
Alongside the E-420, Olympus also announced the ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm f/2.8 pancake lens, which is also available in a kit with the new E-420. For more details, read the press release below.
Olympus E-420 Reviews
The world’s smallest digital SLR does not disappoint. The Olympus E-420 packs professional features and performance into a remarkably small, lightweight and comfortable camera body. It’s obvious that Olympus’s designers thought this one through.
There’s very little to criticise in the overall specification and performance of the E-420. I like it’s size – it’s ideal for travelling and is reminiscent of my old OM4 in some aspects of its handling.
Despite its small dimensions the camera is surprisingly well specified; even more so when considering its price point. You won’t find live view and the E-420’s level of customization on other manufacturers’ entry level offerings (at least not if they’re in the same price bracket). In fact, the E-420’s spec sheet looks more like something we’d expect from a mid-range SLR.
If you want to move into the world of Digital SLRs and don’t know where to start then the Olympus EVOLT E-420 is probably one of the best cameras to choose – despite being Olympus’ “budget” digital SLR – it is not overly limited in any way like some of the other budget Digital SLRs.
So while existing owners don’t have quite a compelling enough reason to upgrade, those buying into the Olympus Four Thirds system now will get a reliable performer at a bargain price. Beginners will also relish the ease of use and the lack of bulk and weight normally associated with a DSLR.
In all, the E-420 aims big, striving for a digital SLR with mainstream accessibility and the utmost in portability, and to a large extent, it succeeds.
The extremely compact FourThirds DSLR had some help from its predecessors, however, the improvements carried out in particular to the image sensor, leave behind a positive feeling. FourThirds has proven itself in practice and it is a true joy to shoot with the Olympus E-420.
Indeed while being perfectly suitable as a primary DSLR, the E-420 and pancake lens will equally appeal to those with larger DSLRs looking for a secondary, smaller option – even if they use a different brand. These people may have been considering enthusiasts compacts like the Canon G9 or Sigma DP1, but by going only a little larger they could enjoy a fully-fledged DSLR with the power and flexibility that brings.
The Olympus EVOLT E-420 is a good choice if you are thinking of upgrading from your point-and-shoot digicam. It is compact and light and comes closest to working like a P&S: its Live View pretty much works like on your P&S digicam; and, it has AUTO mode, plus easy-to-use Scene Modes, that make it point-and-shoot easy to capture great photos.
Make no mistake about it, the E-420 didn’t cut out features or performance on its way to being small. Typical DSLR manual controls and a full suite of automatic modes, a better-than-average continuous shooting rate, live view (if you insist), a generous monitor, on-par ISO performance, and good image and color quality all combine to make this a nice little camera for folks moving into the DSLR field or more seasoned users who want or need good performance in a compact body.
Where to Buy
Olympus E-420 Sample Images
Hamburg, 5 March 2008 – The latest addition to the Olympus E-System, the E-420, represents a winning formula for both seasoned photographers and entrants to the D-SLR domain alike. Users benefit from the remarkable quality only D-SLR photography can deliver, yet also enjoy the ease of use usually only associated with a compact camera. This includes Live View depictions on the LCD, which can significantly simplify image composition. In addition, as one of the world’s smallest and lightest D-SLRs, mobility is hardly an issue. The E-420 will fit just about anywhere – from a small daypack to a lady’s handbag. This makes it a perfect companion for journalists, travellers or other adventurers who appreciate the one-of-a-kind portability, performance and value for money it delivers. The easy-to-use 10.0 Megapixel E-420 features 28 shooting modes to suit a multitude of photographic situations and is ready to use straight out of the box. It will be available in stores from late April 2008.
More performance, more ease of use
With the E-420, Olympus proves that high performance D-SLR photography can be enjoyed by everyone. Despite packing even more potential than its predecessor, this new E-System model boasts extreme user-friendliness in an amazingly light and compact take-anywhere form. Whatever the photographer’s level of experience, high-quality images are quite literally for the taking. 28 shooting modes, including automatic, semi-automatic and manual shooting options, ensure complete versatility – while retaining both ease of use and the distinct D-SLR quality advantages.
A powerful 10.0 Megapixel Live MOS sensor provides plentiful resolution for crisp, detailed shots. This is supported by the incorporation of the TruePic III image processor which enables the implementation of Shadow Adjustment Technology (SAT). It guarantees exceptionally true-to-life image reproduction while reducing noise and enhancing processing speed. Sequential shooting at up to 3.5fps in full Megapixel mode is possible with up to eight images in RAW buffer.
For state-of-the-art protection against the threat of dust, Olympus’ own Supersonic Wave Filter is the E-System’s native dust reduction system – and has positioned itself as the world’s leading solution against dust on the image sensor.
The E-420 brings even the most advanced features into a natural framework that enables virtually anyone to achieve high-level photography. With continuous Live View, users can frame compositions on the camera’s generous 2.7″/6.9cm HyperCrystal II LCD, which provides 100% coverage of scenes with the on-screen contrast, brightness and colour of depictions all being easily adjustable. Thanks to Perfect Shot Preview, the effects of exposure compensation and white balance can also be monitored in real-time directly on the LCD. Furthermore, professional depth of field previewing is possible and users can see the effects of Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology in action. In addition, the LCD enables the magnification of subjects by a factor of 7 or 10 while framing. This makes manual focusing during macro shooting, for example, considerably easier and more accurate.
Autofocus performance has also been enhanced to boost user friendliness. On top of the phase detection AF system, the E-420 now also features a contrast AF system*. It allows subjects to be focused upon more conveniently as the mirror does not need to move to the down position for measurements to be taken. And as a major additional benefit for photographers, implementation of the contrast AF system lets the effect of autofocus be seen on the Live View LCD immediately.
A built-in flash adds to this model’s flexibility. More shooting versatility is also provided due to the option of wireless flash control in up to three groups. Using the Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R flash units, multiple flash set-ups which can be controlled remotely – significantly extend lighting options. And thanks to the availability of sensitivities ranging from ISO 100 to 1600, the E-420 remains a versatile companion, even in less-than-perfect lighting conditions and in situations when a flash is not desired.
With 38 languages available, the E-420 enables ease-of-use no matter the user’s native tongue. A USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) interface guarantees fast data transfer, and with its long-life rechargeable battery, shooting sessions can easily go into overtime.
Part of the E-System family
The E-420 is compatible with virtually all Olympus E-System accessories. Adhering to the Four Thirds Standard, these various accessories open the door to an amazing range of photographic options – without compromising quality. All Four Thirds lenses, for example, feature near-telecentric construction ensuring edge-to-edge sharpness. Furthermore, the Four Thirds System enables the design of smaller camera bodies and lenses to allow for much more compact photographic set-ups. This advantage is perfectly embodied in the go-anywhere E-420, one of the world’s smallest and lightest D-SLRs. And to accentuate this fact further, a new so-called pancake lens is also being introduced. Featuring an extremely short-barrelled, lightweight design, the ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:2.8 (equivalent to 50mm on a 35mm camera) represents the perfect accompaniment for the E-420. With its overall compactness, the set-up is reminiscent of the legendary improvement to mobility that the famous Olympus OM series provided.
Adding to this model’s cool elegance, an attractive, retro-styled camera case that attaches to the base of the camera is also being introduced. Made entirely of leather, it will be available in a choice of white, brown or black.
The newest addition to the E-System family, the E-420 will hit stores from late April 2008.
The Olympus E-420 digital SLR – main features:
- Extremely easy operation – use it straight out of the box
- One of the world’s smallest and lightest D-SLRs providing the ultimate in portability
- 10 Megapixel Live MOS sensor
- Live View for easier compositions
- Perfect Shot Preview for improved depiction of camera adjustments directly on the Live View LCD
- Improved Live View with contrast AF, Face Detection, Shadow Adjustment Technology & phase detection AF system*
- TruePic III image processor
- High-contrast 2.7″/6.9cm HyperCrystal II LCD with 176° viewing angles
- The original Supersonic Wave Filter for dust protection
- 28 automatic, semi-automatic and manual shooting options (including 5 exposure, 5 creative & 18 scene select modes)
- Built-in pop-up flash (GN 10)
- Wireless flash control in up to 3 groups
- 3.5fps with up to eight images in RAW buffer
- One-touch white balance
- AE/AF-lock functionality
- ISO 100 to 1600
- Depth of field preview function
- 49-segment digital ESP
- Bracketing function (Exposure, White Balance, Focus)
- Beginner and Advanced information screens
- Detailed info screen with histogram
- Based on Four Thirds System
- Dual memory card slots (for xD-Picture Card and CompactFlash)
The Olympus E-420 is available in the following configurations:
- Olympus E-420 Lens Kit (E-420 body with ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 lens)
- Olympus E-420 Double Zoom Kit (E-420 body with ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 and ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm 1:4.0-5.6 lenses)
- Olympus E-420 Pancake Lens Kit (E-420 body with ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:2.8 lens)
- Olympus E-420 (body only)
*Full contrast AF performance is available with new Olympus lenses including the ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6, the ZUIKO DIGITAL 40-150mm 1:4.0-5.6, and the new ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:2.8 “pancake” lens. A free firmware update can be downloaded from the Olympus homepage to enable this feature for lenses that were purchased previously.
Last week’s poll asked whether you wanted to see a movie mode in your DSLR. The results from the 211 votes (not quite as passionate as the nearly 2000 votes we saw on the New DSLR poll) were pretty even, with the anti-movie mode crowd edging the proponents out by a hair.
Additional commentary is certainly welcomed if you didn’t get a chance to vote. Just drop a line in the comment field below.
The advantage of this idea is you don’t necessarily have to *be* in a particular place at a particular time – all you have to do is have your camera with you at that time. If you happen to be at your office, click away. At home? Take shots of your kids. On the bus? Take pics of the city streets.
The first TimeShoot was great – the Flickr page received pictures of moose, housecats, indoors, outdoors, lighthouses, beaches, beer, ice, at least one person in a bathtub and shots from four different continents! (via Shawn King)
The next TimeShoot is planned for March 9th at 6pm ET. Head on over to Shawn King’s page on The Digital Camera Conference for more.
UPDATE: Bryan from the PhotowalkingUtah crowd dropped me a line in response to this post. Here’s what he has to say:
Ann, Rich and myself have organized a number of photowalks in the SLC area since the first one you linked to and we’ve got lots of new photowalks planned for SLCPhotowalking. But I should let you know that we’ve changed the name of our group to PhotowalkingUtah to reflect the amazing success our group that has been drawing people from all over the Utah area. We’ve also grabbed http://www.photowalkingutah.com/ that currently links back to the Flickr group.
All of you Ute’s have no excuse not to be Photowalking. Head on over to PhotowalkingUtah to get the details on the next event.
Here’s the new ad for the Pentax K20D and K200D, which features their weather resistant qualities. Ned Bunnell, President of Pentax Imaging (USA), announced this new ad yesterday on his blog. You can get the full size .PDF from this post.
Read more about these Pentax DSLRs on Photography Bay’s Pentax K20D and K200D page.
Low-light performance was very good, with accurate colours in long exposures (up to 30 seconds) and no apparent noise in exposures up to ISO 800. Colour noise became evident at ISO 3200 but at a relatively low level, although some shadow detail was lost with this setting. Neither of the noise reduction processing settings produced visible image softening but they did provide an obvious reduction in both colour and pattern noise.
For the latest news and reviews of the A350, check out Photography Bay’s Sony A350 page.
Fortunately, a breakthrough allowed Canon to use a larger area on the sensor for each photosite, and the 40D employs the company’s excellent DIGIC III image processor, which does a much better job of handling noise. The practical upshot is that the 40D does achieve higher resolution without a noise penalty.
Get the latest news and reviews on Photography Bay’s Canon 40D page.
Canon retained its #1 spot in Europe for 2007. The increasing competition from Sony, Nikon and Pentax, which is good for all of us photographers, really tightened the group at the top of the food chain though. Will it be enough to dethrone Canon?
We’ll see, but Canon remains the king for now. [Read more…]