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Olympus Shows 2.5 Megapixel Camera

The first sub-$1500 2.5 megapixel digital camera is on its way. Olympus America today introduced the C-2500L SLR, the new “flagship” of its filmless digital imaging lineup.

“With the C-2500L, Olympus has clearly set the tone for the consumer imaging market,” said Ben LaMarca, group vice president of marketing for digital products. “It confirms our commitment to innovation and redefines the standard for filmless digital photography.”

On the matter of filmless digital photography, the C-2500L includes a feature that’s a first among consumer-priced digital cameras: a SmartMedia and CompactFlash dual media slot. Until now, most digital cameras that use external media have fallen into two categories — those that use SmartMedia cards and those that use CompactFlash cards. Olympus has steadily been on the SmartMedia side, claiming that SmartMedia provides faster write time and greater durability for image storage and transfer. Proponents of CompactFlash tout their cards’ greater storage capacity and tougher physical design. Olympus insists it is still committed to SmartMedia but clearly wants to woo the CompactFlash users. (The camera’s top SmartMedia capacity is 32MB. CompactFlash capacity is whatever the latest CF card is made to handle.)

The C-2500L features “TruePic” technology, which uses an Olympus ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) allowing image management within the camera for better color, contrast, and tonal gradation in the photograph. Olympus claims this process creates images with enough quality to print photo quality 8×10-inch prints. The camera also has a 3X 9.2 to 28mm aspheric glass zoom lens (36-110mm equivalency in 35mm photography), built-in flash, hot-shoe, full exposure control and other professional features.

The C-2500L is due out at retail in October with a suggested price of $1499. It will ship with a 32MB Olympus SmartMedia card, four Olympus NiMH batteries and a recharger, Camedia Master image editing and download software, Enroute QuickStitch panorama software, lens cap, strap and user manual. An optional $99 accessory kit includes a fitted leather camera case, four additional NiMH batteries, AC adapter, and Extensis Portfolio image cataloging software.

Olympus also introduced the D-450 Zoom, a 1.3 megapixel digital camera due out Sept. 1. It follows the point-and-shoot form factor of Olympus’ popular D-400 Zoom. It has 3X optical zoom, 2X digital telephoto at any focal length, five-mode pop-up intelligent flash, through-the-lens autofocus, auto white balance with 4-step manual override, video out, and direct printing to the P-330 Instant Photo Printer.

The D-450 Zoom uses SmartMedia cards for image storage and comes with an 8MB Olympus brand card. It can use up to a 32MB card.

With both new cameras, Olympus is stressing its dedication to high-quality optics and image processing. This is the company’s eightieth year of operation.