Olympus Announces E-30 Digital SLR

Today, Olympus announced a new D-SLR that rounds out the company’s E-System lineup and offers new features that the company expects to be particularly appealing to users who are looking for artistic gratification. The new E-30 fits in Olympus’s E-System lineup above the E-520 as a mid-range D-SLR, while remaining below the flagship E-3 model.

The E-30 offers many of the consumer-friendly features you’ll find on the E-520, while still offering high performance and imagining quality that professionals demand. The two new, and perhaps most innovative, features included with the E-30 are Art Filters and Multiple Exposure capabilities.

Many of us use Photoshop or another powerful image editing program to change our photos after we take them. By applying various filters, we create our own works of art. Now, thanks to the new Art Filters found in the E-30, you can apply similar effects in-camera. Because the effects are replicated on the Autofocus Live View LCD while you shoot, you’ll know exactly what to expect from the end photo. The new Art Filters include:
• Pop Art: Enhances colors, making them more saturated and vivid, creating high-impact pictures that express the joyful, lighthearted feeling of the Pop Art style of the 1960s.
• Soft Focus: Creates an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere that renders subjects in a heavenly light without obscuring details.
• Pale & Light Color: Encloses the foreground of an image in flat gentle light and pastel colors reminiscent of a flashback scene in a movie.
• Light Tone: Renders shade and highlight areas softly to lend an elegant air to the subject.
• Grainy Film: Evokes the feeling of documentary footage shot in monochrome with grainy, high-contrast film.
• Pin Hole: Reduces the peripheral brightness of an image as though it were shot through a pin hole, connecting the viewer intimately with the subject at the center of the picture.

The camera’s new Multiple Exposure function is pretty self-explanatory: it lets you combine images shot in different locations and movements into a single image. Film photographers have been utilizing this technique for years to create dramatic photos. Digital photographers create similar effects using image editing programs, but you don’t often see this feature available in-camera. The E-30 can combine up to four images in a single photograph.

Like other Olympus D-SLRs, the new E-30 provides Dust Reduction and in-body mechanical Image Stabilization to stabilize any attached Four Thirds lens. This 12.3-megapixel camera also offers Full Time Autofocus Live View. It also has a 270 degree swiveling 2.7-inch Live View LCD. If you’ve ever taken pictures with a camera that has a swiveling LCD, you know just how handy this feature can be in crowded areas while holding the camera above your head or in situations where you want to capture a flower or bug down low without eating grass yourself.

Olympus also announced the ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II lens, which boasts of high-speed Imager AF support for Live View shooting and a circular aperture mechanism. This 28-108mm equivalent lens will be available for an estimated street price of $599.

Both the new E-30 camera and the new ZUIKO DIGITAL lens are expected to be available in January.