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Olympus Boosts Optical Power in 2008 Line

Center Valley, Pa. — Olympus upped the optical zoom ante with the introduction of the first digital camera with a 20x optical zoom lens.

The firm will also roll out several new in-camera technologies for its 2008 line including “smile shot,” which uses face tracking to lock in on a face and fire off three shots in a row to capture a smile. Face detection is also harnessed in the “expression edit” mode, which lets consumers choose from up to four different facial expressions to apply to subjects in playback mode.

With the exception of the entry-level FE series and the SP-570, Olympus will bundle a microSD card adapter for use in its camera’s xD Picture Card slot.

The company introduced its first model with a 20x optical zoom lens, the SP-570. The 10-megapixel camera sports a focal length of 26mm-520mm (35mm equivalent) alongside manual controls, RAW capture, a 2.7-inch LCD, 31 shooting modes, expression edit and a hot-shoe for accessory flashes, including wireless flashes.

The SP-570 features a CCD-shifting image stabilization system, smile shot, face detection, Olympus’ shadow adjustment and perfect shot preview features.

The camera can burst at 13.5fps when shooting 3-megapixel stills. A “pre-capture” function in high speed shooting mode records action as soon as the focus is locked but before the shutter is pressed, saving up to five frames to buffer memory before shooting starts.

The SP-570 will ship in March for an estimated $499.

Olympus will also increase the number of shook- and waterproof cameras in its Stylus SW line.

Due in March is the 10.1-megapixel Stylus 1030 SW for $399. It can survive a drop of 6.6 feet and 220 pounds of pressure.

The camera can be submerged to a depth of 33 feet and includes a built-in manometer for measuring depth and four underwater scene modes, including an underwater movie mode. It also includes an LED illuminator.

The 1030 SW can function in temperatures as low as 14 degrees F and is dust-proof.

The camera will feature a 2.7-inch HyperCrystal II LCD, the second generation of the display technology, which the firm says provides a 160 percent improvement in color reproduction vs. the first generation. It also uses a new lithium-ion battery (LI-50B) that offers a two hour charge time vs. the five hour charge of its predecessor.

The 1030 SW is outfitted with a 3.6x wide-angle optical zoom (28mm-102mm, 35mm equivalent), face detection, shadow adjustment and an in-camera panorama mode capable of automatically creating a three-photo panorama when the user presses the shutter once and pans the camera.

Additional features include in-camera red-eye removal and the ability to resize images and add frames and text. A “perfect fix” feature applies multiple edits at once.

The 8-megapixel Stylus 850 SW is capable of enduring falls up to five feet and can be submerged under 10 feet of water, with a water-repellent lens and four water-based scene modes to complement its underwater capability. It is also able to withstand temperatures as low as 14 degrees F.

Additional features include a 2.5-inch LCD, perfect shot preview, face detection, digital stabilization, 28 shooting modes and VGA/30 fps movie capture. It can burst at 6.9 fps to 10 3-megapixel images.

It will ship this month in blue, yellow, pink, black and silver for an estimated $299.

In its all-weather Stylus line, the firm will ship two 10-megapixel models (1010 and 1020) with 7x optical zoom lenses in a camera body that is 1-inch thick.

The Stylus 1010 and 1020, along with the 8-megapixel Stylus 840 will offer perfect shot preview mode, face detection, illuminated buttons and CCD-shifting image stabilization.

The Stylus 1020 will include a 2.7-inch HyperCrystal II LCD, the new LI-50B battery, 27 scene modes and a 0.7 fps burst mode to seven full-resolution frames.

It will be available in March in blue, pink, black and silver for $349.

The Stylus 1010 features a 2.7-inch HyperCrystal LCD display, the new LI-50B battery, 27 scene modes and a burst mode identical to the 1020. It ships in silver, black, blue and purple in March for $299.

The Stylus 840 will offer a 5x optical zoom lens, a 2.7-inch HyperCrystal display, 24 scene modes and a 1 fps burst mode to six full-resolution frames. It ships in silver, black, blue and pink this month for $249.

Finally, Olympus will launch four new 8-megapixel models in the entry-level FE series. All ship this month.

The FE-310, FE-320, FE-340 and FE-350 will all offer face detection, digital image stabilization, Olympus’ perfect-shot preview mode and three help guides built into the camera.

The FE-310 sports a 5x optical zoom, 17 scene modes, VGA/15 fps movie recording and a 2.5-inch LCD screen for an estimated $149.

The FE-320, for $179, is a compact model measuring 0.65 inches thick. It features smile shot, 19 scene modes, expression edit, a 2.7-inch LCD, ISO 3,200 and VGA/30 fps movie recording.

The FE-340 will feature a 5x optical zoom, smile shot, expression edit, face detection, smile shot, 19 scene modes and a 2.7-inch LCD screen. It will be available in silver, red, blue, black and pink for an estimated $199.

Finally, the FE-350 includes a 4x wide angle optical zoom lens (28mm-112mm, 35mm equivalent), 17 scene modes, a 3-inch LCD screen and a $249 estimated retail.