Cameras

Olympus Unveils E-520 DSLR

May 13, 2008 – Olympus today announced the E-520, a 10.1-megapixel DSLR. Marketed toward the entry-level DSLR user, the E-520 features built-in image stabilization, live LCD preview, 20 automated Scene modes, and face detection technology. When rele

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May 13, 2008* – Olympus today announced the E-520, a 10.1-megapixel DSLR. Marketed toward the entry-level DSLR user, the E-520 features built-in image stabilization, live LCD preview, 20 automated Scene modes, and face detection technology. When released in July, the E-520 will retail for $599.99 for the body only and $699.99 with a ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom lens.

The E-520 closely follows the March announcement of the E-420, touted as the "world’s smallest and lightest DSLR." The E-520 is slightly larger than the E-420, measuring 5.35 x 3.60 x 2.68 inches and weighs a little more than a pound (16.76 ounces). It’s pricier, too - $100 more than the E-420.

Olympus enhances its in-body mechanical image stabilization on the E-520, offering three different settings. IS-1 is meant for general shooting, IS-2 for capturing high-speed motion, and IS-3 for sharp images of moving options. Putting the image stabilization in the camera prevents users from having to purchase lenses with image stabilization, which are often pricier.

Like several earlier models, the E-520 features Live View on its LCD, allowing users to frame their images and view white balance and exposure setting changes on the LCD before capturing an image. Olympus first introduced Live View on a DSLR with 2006’s E-330, and has continued the trend with later models. Many point-and-shooters looking to upgrade to their first DSLR are looking for this feature, which helps transition new users from point-and-shoots to DSLRs. The E-520 has a 2.7-inch LCD with 230,000 pixels and a claimed 176-degree viewing angle, which should provide a clear view at most angles.

Another feature that should be attractive to entry-level DSLR users is face detection – Olympus claims that the E-520 can recognize and track up to eight faces in a shot, automatically focusing and correcting exposure. Olympus’ Shadow Adjustment Technology also compensates for extreme contrast to maintain detail in the shadows and highlights of an image. Users can see the Shadow Adjustment Technology effects on the LCD before they capture their image, or apply the effects post capture in the Edit menu.

Perfect Shot Preview allows users to preview a number of white balance and exposure settings in thumbnails on the LCD screen. Displaying how changes in these settings will affect the images allows new users to learn about manual controls and the effect they have on their images. The E-520 offers as many Scene modes as some point-and-shoots – 20 modes which automatically set the controls for special shooting situations such as Underwater, Portrait, and Fireworks.

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The E-520 features Olympus’ TruePic III Image Processor, which they claim produces images with lower noise and clearer color. The dust reduction system uses a supersonic filter that vibrates to shake dust from the image sensor in order to prevent dust spots in images.

The E-520 runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and accepts CompactFlash type I & II, Microdrives, and xD Picture Cards. Optional accessories include the PT-E05 underwater housing, which allows for shooting up to 130 feet underwater, and the FL-50R and FL-35R wireless flash systems.

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