August 23, 2006 – Olympus Imaging America, Inc. announced today the launch of four new entry-level cameras, the FE-200, FE-190, FE-180, and FE-170. All four cameras will be available in September with prices ranging from $150-$250.
In a complete overhaul of its digital camera lines, Olympus released a total of nine new cameras today. Four of these models are updates for the FE-Series point-and-shoot cameras. All the new FE cameras have a curved body design for easier handling, according to the Olympus press release. The new cameras will also feature a digital image stabilization mode, a 2.5-inch LCD, and in-camera help manuals with shooting guides and tutorials for beginners.
**The new premium entry-level camera is the FE-200. Priced at $249.99, the 6 megapixel camera is fitted with a 5x wide optical zoom, which is more than any current FE-series camera’s zoom. The metal Olympus FE-200 has a mic and speaker for audio capabilities. It is equipped with 16 shooting modes and an expected 22MB of internal memory, according to the Olympus press release. The camera takes Li-ion rechargeable batteries, which is a change from the AA batteries that current FE cameras accept.
**The Olympus FE-190, like the FE-200 and the FE-180, is a 6 megapixel camera with audio capabilities. The FE-190 is fitted with a 3x optical zoom lens and a 2.5-inch LCD, features found on the FE-180 and FE-170.
Geared towards vacationers, the Olympus FE-190 is "portable for active users," stated the company’s press release. The FE-190 measures a slim 0.73 inches in width, compared to the 1-inch thickness of the old flagship point-and-shoot FE-140. The FE-190 has 16 shooting modes, an expected 22MB of internal memory, and is also compatible with Li-ion batteries. The FE-190 retails at $199.99.
**The 6 megapixel, 3x optical zoom FE-180 camera is fitted with a 2.5-inch LCD and has audio capabilities. Marketed for travelers, this camera has a battery life of 600 shots with its included Ni-MH batteries; it can also snap 500 shots on AA batteries, according to the release. The Olympus FE-180 also has 16 shooting modes and an anticipated 22MB internal memory. The retail price of the FE-180 is $179.99.
**As the base model for the new batch of FE cameras, the Olympus FE-170 is $50 cheaper than the old premium point-and-shoot FE-140 camera. Priced at $149.99, the 6 megapixel FE-170 is fitted with a 3x optical zoom lens and a 2.5-inch LCD.
The price difference shows in the camera’s number of shooting modes and internal memory capacity. The FE-170 has 16 shooting modes compared to the FE-140’s 22 modes. The FE-170 has an expected 10MB of internal memory while the old FE-140 has 22MB. Both have digital image stabilization. While the FE-140 is compatible with AA and Ni-MH batteries, the FE-170 only takes AA batteries. The FE-170 is also compatible with an optical underwater housing unit, just like the FE-140.
The "Easy and Fun" FE cameras, as they are called, are targeted towards budget-conscious families, with the majority of the consumer base being first-time digital camera buyers, according to today’s pressrelease. With this audience, Olympus prizes the new FE models as "approachable" and possessing the "highest basic specs in each price zone," according to the release.