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Olympus Introduces Its Second Consumer Digital SLR

Olympus announced its second consumer-level digital SLR, the Evolt E-500, which will join the company’s existing E-300.

The 8-megapixel E-500 will ship in October with a 3.2x optical zoom (28-90mm/35mm equivalent) lens for an estimated $899.99 ($799.99 without lens).

The camera features Olympus’ supersonic wave filter for shaking dust off an image sensor whenever the camera is powered-on. The system wards off dust that accumulates when lenses are changed, the company said.

Additional features include a 2.5-inch HyperCrystal LCD with a 160 degree viewing area, simultaneous RAW and JPEG image capture, Olympus’ TruePic TURBO imaging processor and a 64MB image buffer for burst shooting. The camera can snap up to four TIFF or RAW files at 2.5 frames per second (fps) and an unlimited number of high quality JPEG files when using a high-speed CompactFlash memory card.

The E-500 works with the company’s Zuiko Digital Specific Lens system, which Olympus created to better align the lenses with the image sensor. SLRs from other companies work with legacy film lenses which do not always align properly with a digital image sensor, producing blurriness around the edges of the photo, Olympus said.

The camera is PictBridge-enabled and offers five metering modes; three color modes (vivid, natural and muted); and a choice of sRGB or Adobe RGB color. The camera also offers nine black-and-white shooting modes and can remove red-eye in-camera. Images can be saved to CompactFlash or xD-Picture Cards.

Complimenting the E-500’s launch, Olympus added four new Zuiko interchangeable lenses to its family of SLR lenses. The Digital 18-180mm (36-360mm/35mm equivalent) 10x optical zoom will ship in January for an estimated $499.99.

A new 35mm macro lens for detailed close-up photography can focus as close as 5.8 inches from the subject. The macro lens ships in October for an estimated $229.99

Also shipping in October, the Zuiko Digital ED 35-100 f2.0 lens (70mm-200/35mm equivalent) will sell for an estimated $2499.99. Finally, in November Olympus will ship the Zuiko Digital ED 90-250mm f2.8 lens (up to 500mm/35mm equivalent) for an estimated $5,999.99.