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Olympus E-450 compact DSLR Review

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Olympus has announced the E-450, an upgraded version of the E-420 compact DSLR. The new E-450 is essentially identical to the E-420 apart from the addition of 3 Art Filters, a new processor and an improved LCD display. Priced at £450 for the standard lens kit, it will start shipping from May 2009.

It’s perhaps a testament to how well specified the E-420 is that Olympus has clearly struggled for ways to improve it. For fear of treading on the toes of the recently announced E-620 (which itself stands uncomfortably close to the more expensive E-30), Olympus has engineered a model with the fewest changes over the existing version we’ve ever seen. And, despite the company’s insistence that it will continue to offer four entry-level cameras, we do not believe the E-450 is distinct enough from the E-420 that they two can sensibly co-exist.

So, to sum up, the differences between the two models extend to:

    Three Art Filters (Pop Art, Soft Focus and Pin Hole)
    TruePic III+ processor
    Increased continuous shooting buffer (8 RAW files, rather than E-420′s 6)
    Improved screen (The luminance has been improved on the existing HyperCrystal II panel)

    Accessible D-SLR quality with added creativity: Olympus E-450

    31 March 2009 – Building on the success of the popular E-420, the new E-450 is packed with features that encourage new comers to DSLR to have fun and explore their creative potential. Three in-camera Art Filters apply stylish effects to any image at the touch of a button. Image composition is simplified via Live View  on the bright LCD. Packed with features yet easy to use straight out of the box, this latest addition to the Olympus E-System range is not only one of the smallest and lightest models on the market*, it also boasts all the benefits of the Four Thirds Standard at an affordable price. The E-450 has a full range of Olympus’ innovative E-System technology on board and will be available in stores from May 2009 at a recommended retail price of around £450 for the standard lens kit.

    The Olympus E-450 digital SLR – main features:

    Usability

    Extremely easy operation – use it straight out of the box

    Functionality

    Three Art Filters
    Improved Live View with contrast AF, Face Detection, Shadow Adjustment Technology & phase difference detection AF system
    Perfect Shot Preview to enable comparison of the results of various settings adjustments before actual shooting
    TruePic III+ image processor

    Portability

    One of the world’s smallest and lightest D-SLRs providing the ultimate in portability

    E-450 Key features:

    10 Megapixel Live MOS sensor
    High-contrast 6.9cm/2.7” HyperCrystal II LCD with 176° viewing angle
    The original Supersonic Wave Filter for dust protection
    28 shooting modes (5 Exposure Modes, 5 Creative Modes, 18 Scene Select Modes)
    Built-in flash (GN12, ISO 100) with commander function for wireless off-camera flash synchronisation
    Wireless flash control in up to 3 groups (separate press release available for Olympus FL-50R and FL-36R flash units)
    3.5fps with up to eight images in RAW buffer
    One-touch white balance
    AE/AF-lock functionality
    ISO 100 to 1600 for wide-ranging sensitivity
    Depth of field preview function
    49-segment digital ESP
    Bracketing function (Exposure)
    Detailed info screen with histogram
    Based on Four Thirds Standard
    Dual memory slot for CompactFlash and xD-Picture Card

    The Olympus E-450 is available in the following configurations:

    Olympus E-450 body only
    Olympus E-450 Lens Kit
    (E-450 body with ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 lens)
    Olympus E-450 Double Zoom Kit
    (E-450 body with ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 and ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm 1:4.0-5.6 lenses)

    The E-450 will sit between the E-420 and E-520 in the UK market with all three being available until further notice. This will provide consumers with the widest choice of E-System DSLR’s yet seen – one for every pocket and one for every need.

    More Details:
    A creative powerhouse
    Developed with amateurs in mind, the easy-to-use Olympus E-450 brings a high performance D-SLR to users with unbridled imaginations. A range of Art Filters allows photographers to stretch the limits of their creativity, without complicated software or a computer. Introduced with the E-30, this function gives pictures a make-over by selecting from one of three Art Filters.

    Inspired by the kaleidoscopic colours of the pop art movement, the Pop Art effect, for example, infuses photographs with rich shades to give pictures a livelier, dynamic feel. Soft Focus, on the other hand, makes pictures seem ethereal and otherworldly, while Pin Hole gives images an air of secrecy. Framing shots perfectly is also a breeze with the generous 6.9cm/2.7” HyperCrystal II LCD with 176° viewing angle, which allows you to shoot from virtually any perspective and is even brighter than the E-420’s.

    The Live View functionality with the camera’s contrast AF** capabilities, on the other hand, allows you to comfortably judge exactly what results to expect, even before images are shot. This way, what you see is what you get, no matter what the perspective! Further guaranteeing pictures are optimally exposed, Face Detection Technology automatically detects and focuses on faces while Shadow Adjustment Technology balances out shadowy areas. 28 shooting modes, including automatic, semi-automatic and manual shooting options, ensure complete versatility. Nice pictures at the touch of a button – what more could you ask for?

    Trusted and true
    Olympus has packed the E-450 with everything an entry-level photographer needs to take high-quality pictures. It is equipped with Olympus’ proprietary dust reduction system, the Supersonic Wave Filter, which protects from the threat of dust – and has become the world’s leading solution against dust on the image sensor.

    Additionally, a powerful 10 Megapixel Live MOS sensor provides incredible resolution for crisp, detailed shots. This is supported by the incorporation of the TruePic III+ image processor: it guarantees exceptionally true-to-life image reproduction while reducing noise and enhancing processing speed. It is possible to shoot at up to 3.5fps in full Megapixel mode with up to eight images in RAW buffer. Compact and light, the E-450 boasts all the advantages of Four Thirds and Olympus state-of-the-art technology in a handy format everyone can appreciate.

    Full range of accessories
    The Olympus E-450 is compatible with nearly all E-System accessories, such as 19 lenses with a focal range of 7 – 300mm (equivalent to 14 – 600mm on a 35mm camera) and various flash systems. A perfect companion for this compact model, for example, is the short-barreled and lightweight ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:2.8 (equivalent to 50mm on a 35mm camera) Pancake lens.

    The E-System D-SLR newcomer also ensures perfect light no matter what with up to three Wireless Flash groups familiar from the professional E-3. Available are the FL-50R and FL-36R wireless flashes. And in any situation where a flash is needed, new robust Olympus Flash Brackets, such as the FL-BK04, guarantee good light and maximum flexibility. Two flashes can also be mounted on the practical FL-BKM03 Twin Flash Bracket.

    Rookie creative types will find everything they want from a digital SLR in the E-450. One easy-to-use package unites Olympus technology and incredible E-System features such as the Supersonic Wave Filter and Live View with artistic options like Art Filters. Look for the new E-450 in stores as of the end of May 2009 at a retail price of €xxx

    Art Filters
    Enables special artistic effects to be created directly in the camera. The following Art Filters are available in the Olympus E-450

    Pop Art: Enhances colours, making them stronger and more vivid to create high-impact pictures that express the happy, light-hearted feeling of the pop art style.
    Soft Focus: Creates a soft tone which gives pictures an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere. It renders pictures as though they were veiled in heavenly light, without obscuring details such as the hair or flower petals.
    Pin Hole: Reduces the peripheral brightness like an image seen through a pinhole. Added to this is a unique colour tone that results in a style that has an air of secrecy or portrays the feeling of being lost in another dimension or space.

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    Face Detection Technology
    A technology that searches for faces in a composition and recognises them as the main subject. It then automatically puts them in focus and optimally adjusts exposure to create an image that’s sharp in the right places and ideally exposed.

    HyperCrystal
    A high-grade, semi-transmissive technology used in LCDs, which employs an additional layer at the bottom of the LCD to reflect light from external light sources. This enhances the brightness of the LCD, so even in direct sunlight images are displayed sharply and with improved contrast compared to that of conventional displays. Also, it provides for particularly wide viewing angles without glare or shadow, so images can be framed from a variety of angles and viewed by several people at once.

    Live View
    Provides an alternative to framing shots through the viewfinder on a digital SLR camera. The image sent through the lens to the image sensor is displayed directly on the camera’s LCD. Whereas most compact digital cameras have been equipped with Live View functionality for many years, this feature has only recently become available on D-SLRs. The world’s first D-SLR to feature continuous Live View capabilities was the Olympus E-330.

    RC Wireless Flash Control
    The user can control wireless flash units remotely – eliminating the need for extra cables – by using the built-in flash as the system’s master unit. Control options include the ability to independently regulate flash mode and compensation settings for up to three groups of flashes, four channel settings to avoid interference as well as a wide range of brightness levels.

    Shadow Adjustment Technology
    A technology designed to improve exposure for pictures with dark areas. Using a sensor that works much like the human eye, dark parts of a composition (e.g. a shadow under a tree) are identified and the camera then adjusts the exposure settings accordingly for those areas. The result is a more realistic and detailed picture.

    Supersonic Wave Filter
    Dust entering digital SLRs, for example during lens changes, can cause damage to photos – unless it is removed. With the Supersonic Wave Filter, the potential for dust to ruin photos is eliminated. A transparent filter is located between the camera’s shutter and sensor. It makes sure no dust is able to land on the sensor. Instead, the particles settle on the filter and are then shaken off by a series of ultrasonic vibrations generated by the filter when activated. Olympus was the first manufacturer to incorporate dust protection in D-SLRs.

    TruePic III+ image processor
    Olympus’ latest-generation image processing engine. It automatically enhances important aspects of image quality including: colour reproduction (colour range, saturation and brightness), picture sharpness (reduced image noise, improved edge reproduction), as well as providing faster processing speeds. Furthermore, it supports Art Filters to enable unprecedented creative expression.

    * As of 02.2009
    ** Full contrast AF performance is available with Olympus lenses including the
    ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6, ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6, ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm 1:4.0-5.6, ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 70-300mm 1:4.0-5.6, ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:2.8 “pancake” lens and the ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 II.

    Olympus E-450 specifications

    Sensor

    • Four Thirds Live MOS sensor
    • 10 million effective pixels
    • 11.8 million total pixels
    • RGB Color Filter Array

    Anti-dust measures

    • Supersonic Wave Filter

    Image sizes

    • 3648 x 2736
    • 3200 x 2400
    • 2560 x 1920
    • 1600 x 1200
    • 1280 x 960
    • 1024 x 768
    • 640 x 480

    Image quality

    • ORF (12-bit compressed RAW)
    • JPEG Superfine (1:2.7)
    • JPEG fine (1:4)
    • JPEG normal (1:8)
    • JPEG basic (1:12)
    • ORF (RAW) + JPEG

    Color space

    • sRGB
    • AdobeRGB

    Lens mount

    Four Thirds mount

    Autofocus

    • TTL Phase detection
    • Contrast detection system (with 25mm f2.8, 14-42mm f3.5-5.6, 40-150mm f4-5.6)

    Lens servo

    • Single AF (S-AF)
    • Continuous AF (C-AF)
    • Manual focus (MF)

    AF Area mode

    • Auto
    • Option selectable

    Focus area

    • 3-point multiple AF with phase detection
    • 11-point multiple AF with contrast detection

    Focus lock

    Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AEL button (customizable)

    Focus tracking

    Interlocked with Continuous-AF

    AF Assist

    Yes

    Exposure mode

    • Programmed auto (P) with flexible program
    • Shutter-priority auto (S)
    • Aperture priority auto (A)
    • Manual (M)
    • Scene program AE
    – Portrait
    – Landscape
    – Macro
    – Sport
    – Night + portrait
    • Scene select AE
    – Portrait
    – Landscape
    – Landscape + portrait
    – Night Scene
    – Night + portrait
    – Children
    – Sport
    – High-key
    – Low-key
    – Digital image stabilization
    – Macro
    – Nature Macro
    – Candle
    – Sunset
    – Fireworks
    – Documents
    – Beach/snow
    – Panorama (when using Olympus xD-Picture Card)
    • ART/SCN
    – Pop-Art
    – Pin-Hole
    – Soft Focus

    Metering

    TTL open-aperture exposure metering system
    • Digital ESP metering
    • 49-point multi pattern metering
    • Center-weighted average
    • Spot: Meters approx 2% for viewfinder screen
    • Spot with Highlight control
    • Spot with Shadow control

    Metering range

    • EV 1 – 20 (at normal temperature, 50mm f2, ISO 100)

    Exposure compen.

    • +/- 5.0 EV
    • 1/3 EV steps

    AE Lock

    Exposure can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway or by pressing AEL button (customizable)

    AE Bracketing

    3 frames in 0.3, 0.7 or 1 EV steps

    Sensitivity

    • Auto
    • ISO 100
    • ISO 200
    • ISO 400
    • ISO 800
    • ISO 1600

    Shutter

    • Computerized focal-plane shutter
    • Auto mode: 2 – 1/4000 sec
    • P,S,A, M modes: 60 – 1/4000 sec
    • Bulb: up to 30 min

    White balance

    • Auto (TTL white-balance with Live MOS sensor)
    • Eight manual modes with fine-tuning
    o Lamp (3000K)
    o Fluorescent 1 (4000K)
    o Fluorescent 2 (4500K)
    o Fluorescent 3 (6600K)
    o Daylight (5300K)
    o Flash (5500K)
    o Cloudy (6000K)
    o Shade (7500K)
    • Preset white balance (can register 2000K – 140000K)

    WB fine tuning

    +/- 7 steps in Amber-Blue or Green-Magenter axis

    Image parameters

    • Vivid, Natural, Muted, Portrait, Monotone
    • Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness adjustable in 5 steps (no Saturation in Mono)
    • Four levels of gradation available
    • Picture tones and filter effects availabl in Monotone mode

    Viewfinder

    • Optical fixed eye-level
    • Penta-mirror type
    • Built-in diopter adjustment (-3.0 to +1.0 m-1)
    • Frame coverage 95% (approx.)
    • Viewfinder magnification approx. 0.92x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
    • Focusing screen: Neo Lumi-Micro Mat screen

    Viewfinder information

    • Aperture value
    • Shutter speed
    • Record mode
    • AF confirmation mark
    • Flash
    • White Balance
    • AE lock
    • Number of storable still image remaining
    • Exposure compensation value
    • Metering mode
    • Battery warning
    • Exposure mode
    • AF frame (super impose)

    Live view

    • 100% field of view
    • Exposure adjustment preview
    • White Balance adjustment preview
    • Gradation setting preview

    LCD monitor

    • HyperCrystal II LCD (semi-transmissive TFT color LCD)
    • 2.7″
    • 230,000 dots

    Playback field of view

    100%

    Built-in flash

    Guide number 12 at ISO 100 (m)

    Sync speed

    1/180 sec or less. Super FP up to 1/4000

    Flash control

    • TTL-Auto (with pre-flash)
    • Auto
    • Manual

    Flash mode

    • Auto
    • Red-eye reduction
    • Red-eye reduction slow sync
    • Slow sync at first curtain
    • Slow sync at second curtain
    • Fill-in

    Flash compensation

    • -2 to +2 EV
    • 1/3 steps

    Wireless flash

    • Compatible with FL-50R or FL-36R
    • 4 channels
    • 3 groups

    Shooting modes

    • Single-frame shooting (3.5 fps)
    • Sequential shooting
    • Self-timer
    • Remote control

    Continuous buffer

    • Unlimited Large, Normal compression JPEG, 8 RAW frames

    Self-timer

    12 or 2 sec

    Remote control

    RM-UC1 cable release or RM-1 optical remote control

    Playback functions

    • Single frame
    • Index (4/9/16/25/49/100 frames)
    • Calendar
    • Zoom (2-14x)

    Storage

    • Compact Flash Type I and II
    • xD Picture Card

    Video output

    NTSC or PAL selectable

    Connectivity

    • High speed USB
    • Dedicated AV multi-connector

    Power

    BLS-1 Li-ion battery

    Working environment

    • 0 to 40°C (32 to 104°F)
    • 30-90% humidity

    Dimensions

    129.5 x 91 x 53 mm (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)

    Weight (no batt)

    380 g (13.4 oz)

    Supplied accessories

    E-450 body, Li-ion battery BLS-1, Li-ion battery charger BCS-1, USB cable, Video cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Master CD-ROM, Instruction manual, Warranty card, Eye piece cap EP-4


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