Review: Olympus E-30

Olympus has added a mid-range single-lens reflect camera to its lineup.

The E-30 is equipped with an internal Digital Level Sensor that detects the camera's pitch and roll and indicates it in the optical viewfinder, on the control panel and during Live View operation. Olympus says that his Digital Leveler is a tremendous benefit for architectural photographers who must ensure that images they take of buildings are as centered and true as the walls of the buildings themselves.

The E-30 offers two systems to quickly focus and capture the image, including a Fast Autofocus with AF Live View and Phase Detection AF. The E-30 provides nine aspect ratios including the standard 4:3, as well as 16:9 for impressive, cinematic-style images, and 6:6, which is available with medium format cameras, plus 3:2, 5:4, 7:6, 6:5, 7:5 and 3:4.

As with all Olympus E-System DSLRs, the E-30 offers Face Detection that recognizes up to eight faces; Shadow Adjustment Technology controls highlights and shadow exposure automatically; Perfect Shot Preview shows how various settings will enhance the image before actually capturing it; a wireless flash system provides control for multiple wireless flashes (FL50R or FL36R) without needing an external commander unit; a large optical viewfinder offers 98 percent field of view and 1.02 x magnification; and

The Olympus E-30 will be available in the US in January 2009 for $1,299 (around £830). The ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II lens will also be available in the US January 2009 for $599 (£380). UK pricing and availability for both has yet to be announced.

Olympus has announced the E-30, which fits into the E-System lineup above the E-520 as a mid-range advanced digital SLR, while the E-3 remains at the top as the flagship Olympus DSLR. Beyond the new Art Filters and Multiple Exposure function, the company says that the E-30 delivers the same high-precision performance and imaging quality demanded by professional photographers who use the E-3, as well as the consumer-friendly features found on the E-520, and several new offerings all its own.

As with all Olympus DSLRs, the new camera provides advanced Dust Reduction and in-body mechanical Image Stabilization so that every Four Thirds lens is stabilized. The new camera also offers TruePic III+ Image Processor and Full Time Autofocus Live View. These features are coupled with a new 12.3-megapixel high-speed Live MOS image sensor to capture breathtaking images.

Adding to the line of Four Thirds-compliant lenses, the ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II is also being announced today. It boasts high-speed Imager AF support for Live View shooting and a circular aperture mechanism for higher imaging performance.

New to the E-30 is technology that Olympus says conveniently helps photographers transform a basic image that faithfully represents the scene into an image that carries emotional impact. The new Art Filters replicating dramatic effects as you shoot using the Autofocus Live View LCD. The effects include Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, and Pin Hole.

With the new camera's Multiple Exposure function it is possible to combining images shot in different locations and moments, lending your photos another dramatic dimension. The E-30 can combine up to four images in a single photograph, overlaying various subjects to create a montage that blends all the elements together. Thanks to the new TruePic III+ Image Processor you are able to accurately compose, capture and combine your images on the fly directly on the camera's LCD.

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