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Olympus Rolls Out New Digicams, d-SLR

Melville, N.Y. — Olympus rolled out several new digital cameras for its spring lineup today, including the first consumer level d-SLR offering a live preview on the LCD.

The company concentrated on bolstering the low-light capabilities of its compact cameras, rolling out a new branded technology called “Bright Capture.”

While live-view LCDs are universal on fixed-lens digital cameras, the mirror and shutter mechanism on digital SLRs blocked the ability to view images on an LCD. The 7-megapixel EVOLT E-330’s 2.5-inch HyperCrystal LCD, however, can display live images while shooting. The articulated screen can extend from the camera’s body and swivel to various angle for framing difficult shots.

The d-SLR incorporates Olympus’ supersonic wave dust-reduction system that kicks on when swapping out lenses. It features a slot for CompactFlash and xD flash memory cards. It will ship in March. A kit with a Zuiko Digital 14 – 45mm/3.2x optical zoom lens (28mm – 90mm, 35mm equivalent) will sell for an estimated $1099.99. A body-only kit will sell for approximately $999.99.

Olympus also announced the 7-megapixel SP-320, featuring a 2.5-inch LCD, 3x optical/5x digital zoom, 30 shooting modes and automatic and manual controls. The camera also offers a “reducing blur” scene mode and an ISO 800 mode for shooting in low-light environments. It will ship in the spring for an estimated $299.99.

Three new Styluses will join the ranks, continuing the all-weather line and incorporating a new “Bright Capture” technology for low light photography. The technology refers to a brighter LCD screen, an improved auto focus and several scene modes for shooting in higher ISOs and extending the flash range.

The 7-megapixel Stylus 710 shipping in February with a $349.99 suggested retail price features a 3x optical/5x digital zoom, 2.5-inch LCD, 28 shooting modes, dedicated “easy print” button, in-camera red-eye fix and a digital image stabilization mode which uses built-in gyro-sensors to correct for the effects of image blur after a photo has been snapped. The Stylus 810 builds off the 710, adding an 8-megapixel CCD. It will ship in March for an estimated $429.99

The version of the Stylus 710, the 710SW, offers the same features plus the ability to endure a five foot fall and submersion in up to 10 feet of water. It will be available in the spring for an estimated $399.99.

Finally, the entry-level FE line will see two additions in March, the $199 5-megapixel FE-130 and 6-megapixel 140 ($249.99). The cameras share most of the same feature-set, including a 3x optical/4x digital zoom, in-camera frames, 22 shooting modes and an image stabilization mode. The FE-130 features a 2-inch LCD whereas the 140 offers a 2.5-inch screen.