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Olympus Courts Enthusiasts With New SLR

Olympus said last week that it will ship the E-520 digital SLR to dealers in July.

The 10-megapixel E-520 replaces the E-510 and sports several enhancements, including a new CCD-shifting image-stabilization system, autofocus live view, the second generation of Olympus’ HyperCrystal display technology and face detection.

The new stabilization system will be available in three modes. One adjusts the sensor along the X and Y axes; a second mode is used to steady the camera while holding and panning horizontally, and a third is for use when holding the camera vertically while panning horizontally.

The camera can autofocus when using the live-view mode, giving consumers the ability to handle the d-SLR like a point-and-shoot.

It incorporates the firm’s shadow-adjustment technology, which kicks on in high-contrast scenes to maintain details in both shadows and highlights (it can also be applied to images after they’ve been recorded in the camera’s edit menu), alongside perfect-shot preview, which lets users preview and select white balance and exposure-compensation effects before an image is recorded.

The 2.7-inch LCD uses the company’s HyperCrystal II technology, which Olympus said offers twice the contrast and a larger color gamut than the original version. Additional features include 20 scene modes, manual controls, compatibility with the company’s FT-50R and FL-36R wireless flashes, Olympus’ TruePic III processor, a Supersonic Wave Filter dust-reduction system, a 3.5 fps burst mode, and dual memory card slots for CF and xD cards.

The camera will be sold in a bundle with the 3x optical Zuiko Digital lens (28mm- 84mm, 35mm equivalent) for a suggested $699. A body-only version will retail for $599.

Olympus also introduced a new digital lens to its Zuiko family. The 18-36mm f4.0-f5.6 super-wide-angle lens will ship in the fall for $599. Like all Olympus lenses, it is based on the 4/3 System standard.