updated 07:50 am EST, Tue November 4, 2008
Olympus today tackled the absence of a mid-range digital SLR in the E-system lineup with the E-30, a step between the entry-level E-520 and the more professional E-3. The 12.3-megapixel camera has the faster and more accurate 11-point autofocus performance of the higher-end E-3, an electronic level to ensure straight landscape shots and image stabilization built into the sensor rather than just the lens. Simultaneously, though, it also carries beginner-oriented features such as face detection and live visual effects dubbed Art Filters.
The Four Thirds-based camera shoots at a now-modest ISO 100 to 3,200 light sensitivity range but is also relatively quick to shoot with up to five frames per second for up to 12 RAW shots and up to its storage limit in JPEG; borrowing a cue from other newer DSLRs and compacts, the E-30 is more flexible than most of its rivals thanks to a swiveling LCD that lets users compose live shots without being tied to the optical viewfinder, which itself covers 98 percent of the actual shot.
Olympus' announcement comes early and won't see the E-30 ship until January, when a body-only version of the camera will sell for $1,299. An upgraded 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 Zuiko lens should follow and adds better contrast autofocus mode response as well as improved performance with both short-range images and shallow depth of field. It will ship at the same time for $599.