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Olympus Camedia E-10
raises the megapixel bar
by Rick Smith (November 22, 2000)


 

Recently, at Photokina in Germany, Kodak displayed their 16 megapixel camera back for 2 1/4” photography. While that’s in the stratosphere for the most of us, what’s the most resolution you get NOW for a more reasonable price? 4 megapixels with the Olympus Camedia E-10. While its $1999 price tag isn’t going to put this digicam on everyone’s holiday shopping list, Olympus has created the world’s first 4 megapixel filmless digital SLR. Capable of producing images of 12 megabytes, this camera provides digital capabilities to the professional digital photographer and serious amateur.

This camera has a staggering array of features, the most important is that this Olympus digicam can uses both COMPACT FLASH media and SmartMedia. No longer will Olympus digicam users have to be content with only 64 megabytes of removable memory, but they can still use it if they like this thinner media. I use the Olympus 3000 3.3 megapixel camera and having the ability to use Compact Flash memory would be the most important change I would definitely make, to an otherwise near-perfect camera.

Another departure for Olympus is the use of the one-touch buttons and dials instead of layers of LCD menu commands. The Camedia E-10 has dedicated buttons to control the shooting modes, flash, white balance and media card settings. Aperture and shutter controls are also set using dials, so experienced users can set them without looking - something you can’t do with a menu choice. There are still some camera control menus, set-up choices and print menus that are displayed on the LCD screen. I know this will be great for photography professionals, although most computer professionals probably don’t mind the menu choices.

This high-resolution (114,000 pixel) TFT LCD screen, is adjustable from -20 degrees (down) to a 90 degree position (up, like a waist level viewfinder). Now you can position the camera and preview the image from a more comfortable angle and get a 100% accurate area-view of subject. No more crawling on the ground to get those dramatic shots.

To give the feel of a true SLR, Olympus has included a manual focusing ring on the lens barrel, a manual zoom ring and a traditional-style focusing screen. For those that prefer computerized picture taking, the Camedia E-10 also offers dual AutoFocus using the patented IR-active focus system for initial focus and a TTL passive focus for a finer, more accurate focus.

The E-10 camera body is all aluminum for durability and reduced weight, including the “Mirror Box” around the imaging CCD, which acts as a heat sink to dissipate heat and improve photographic quality. This all-in-one design keeps the 2/3" RGB Interlaced CCD (2240 x 1680 pixels) clean and safe from harmful environmental conditions such as dust and humidity.

The Olympus Camedia E-10 also

  • uses four AA batteries for power

  • has a 32 MB SD-RAM Buffer built in, so it can capture up to 4 pictures as fast as 3 per second in burst mode

  • can shoot a picture every 1.2 seconds without stopping.

  • has an ISO range of 80, 160 or 320. I really wish this maximum could be higher. Indoors and with sports fast action, a faster ISO is always helpful.

  • is infrared remote and remote cable capable

  • can store images in a variety of formats, qualities and resolutions. Formats include uncompressed TIFF, JPEG and a 48-bit Olympus RAW mode

  • has a shutter speed range from 8 seconds to 1/640 second

  • can display a Histogram in Playback mode on LCD. Wow, this is a feature in a $10,000+ Kodak camera and it can be handy in the field.

  • uses a 4X 9 mm to 36 mm zoom lens (in 35 mm terms, this is equivalent to a 35 mm to 140 mm zoom)

  • has a built-in Flash with several modes Low-light automatic, back-light automatic, red-eye reducing or Fill-in.

  • features NTSC video out for viewing photos on a television or capturing on a VCR.

  • weighs 37 ounces/1048 grams (without batteries). This is not a lightweight pocket cam, but the stunning resolution is worth the weight.

    Copyright © 2006 Rick Smith All rights reserved.

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