Whilst everyone's bowled over the various press announcements and product launches at the Consumer Electronics Show 2009 over at Las Vegas, there was an equal amount of action happening back in Singapore. Right after the launch of the Sony Vaio P, we set our sights on the camera segment. Just nine days into the new year, and we have been treated to a new DSLR on the pipeline from Olympus, the Olympus E-30.
Let's cut to the chase as we give you our first impressions of the Olympus E-30. Though various manufacturers are bumping up the sensor's capability numbers, the E-30 keeps to a modest 12.3-megapixel. Whilst the imaging sensor race has been of some debate (specifically, whether higher is better), we took notice of the E-30's Live MOS Sensor and its new TruePic III+ image processing engine. Of course, image stabilization is not to be forgotten. The E-30 does bring more onto the plate with the flexibility of a two-axis image stabilization or just either a vertical or horizontal stabilization.
The E-30, as many might have guessed, utilizes the Four Thirds system, which has gained a huge following since the inception just a while back. In terms of its aspect ratio, the E-30 comes with a standard 4:3 aspect ratio, but offers a variety of up to nine different aspect ratios. Building on Olympus' earlier E-3 features, the 11-point, twin-cross AF sensor makes another appearance on the new E-30.
How about its build quality and aesthetic appearance? Safe to say, when we held the E-30 for the first time, one thing comes to mind: weight. Though bordering on the heftier side, the E-30's weight does give it the additional stability one requires for trickier shots. For live viewing purposes (in conjunction with its Live MOS sensor), there's a 2.7-inch LCD screen with a flexible 176 degree viewing angle. Essentially, this brings up the possibility of taking more shots at awkward angles, without the awkwardness.
However, the most harped about feature for the E-30 is it's Art Filter. The six varying Art Filters, namely Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film and Pin Hole, creates and enhances the resulting image without the intervention of any photoshopping software. In essence, each Art Filter will be immediately applied onto the final image, and Olympus has touted this as the feature that will dramatically reduce the amount of time required for post-processing. We took a few test shots with the respective Art Filter to give you a general idea of what to expect from the E-30.
As for availability, the Olympus E-30 is slated for a release sometime at the end of January 2009. When inquired about the recommended retail pricing, Olympus hasn't given a firm answer, though estimates given by the company borders no more than S$1800 for the E-30 body. Further development has also been revealed by Olympus, with the imminent arrival of a device utilizing the Micro Four Thirds system in the near future (read: PMA 2009). So for now, patience is the word of the month, as we await more news from not only Olympus, but the major manufacturers as we draw closer to the month of February.