Olympus releases new digital cameras

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Olympus has released two new Mac compatible digital cameras: the Camedia E-20N and the Camedia Brio D-230. One is designed to appeal to pro photographers looking for a digital solution, while the other has been created to appeal to consumers looking for a point-and-shoot digital camera.

Olympus E-20N
The former is a 5 megapixel machine that's an evolution of the E-10 camera. The Camedia E-20N offers an unusual dual mode image capture capability: the Interlaced Scan mode that lets users set the 2/3-inch RGB CCD for 5 megapixel (effective) resolution to capture images for pictures up to 11 x 14 inches. Selecting the Progressive Scan mode of a 2.5 Megapixel (effective) resolution lets users take photographs of fast action scenes or in bright light with shutter speeds up to 1/18,000 second.

THe E-20N's 9mm - 36mm Zoom ED and aspherical glass lens is designed to focus light evenly and accurately over the entire 5 megapixel CCD for clear, sharp photos, according to the folks at Olympus. The multi-coated, f2.0 - f11 lens offers the equivalent of a 35mm-140mm zoom range in 35mm photography.

The Camedia E-20N employs Olympus' TruePic technology, which promises to capture all the pixel information for each picture at every resolution to produce smoother gradations and true-to-life photographic images. For exposures over 1/2 second, a new Noise Reduction System produces mages from 1/2 second to 60 seconds long in the Manual Mode and 120 seconds in bulb, making low light and night photography feasible.

The camera sports a dual focus, autofocus that employs Olympus' IR-active focus system for initial focusing, as well as a TTL passive focus for fine, accurate focus. It has an industry standard hot-shoe and flash connectivity. The Camedia E-20N has an all-aluminum body that includes the"Mirror Box," which acts as a heat sink to reduce CCD heat buildup and noise to improve photographic quality. There are a variety of matched add-on lenses, including wide angle, macro, and telephoto.

The Camedia E-20N offers such niceties as: support for file sizes up to 15MB for large prints; a manual focusing ring on the lens barrel; manual zoom ring; traditional-style focusing screen; and dual media card slots for compatibility with SmartMedia and CompactFlash Type I and II memory cards, including the IBM Microdrive.

The camera offers one-touch buttons and dials as alternative means to change program modes, shooting modes, flash, white balance, and media card settings. Aperture and shutter controls are set using dials. Selected modes and pictures can be viewed and reviewed on the adjustable 114,000 pixel TFT LCD display. The full color, 1.8-inch high-resolution display swings between a 20 degree down angle and a 90 degree up angle for easier positioning. Also new to this flexible LCD design is an Automatic or Manual Monitor Mode, allowing users to view subject composition or to see exposure accuracy and white balance effects in real-time.

Olympus adds that the Camedia E-20N offers an "advanced range of capabilities that nature and sports enthusiasts, journalists and studio photographers will appreciate." You can find details at the Olympus Web site. The camera will be available late next month at an estimated street price of US$1,999. It ships with a 32MB Olympus SmartMedia memory card, lens hood, video cable, USB Auto-connect cable, two LB-01 (CR-3V) Lithium batteries, RM-1 remote control, Olympus Camedia Master 4.0 (Mac/Windows), Adobe Photoshop Elements 1.0 (Mac/Windows), lens cap, strap, QuickStart Guide, and manual.

Brio D-230
Olympus has also introduced the newest member to its Brio line of point & shoot digital cameras. The Brio D-230 features a 2.0 megapixel (effective) image that can provide pictures for 8 x 10 inch prints. It features an Olympus Auto-Focus 5.5mm f 2.8 lens, (equivalent to 36mm in a 35mm film camera) with a digital telephoto up to 5X.

The Brio D-230, designed for first-time digital camera users, also features shutter release times of 0.3 seconds; start-up times of less than one second; and photo transfer via Auto-Connect USB. There's an auto-focus lens, automatic flash (that includes red-eye reduction technology), and automated exposure system, white balance, and color management systems. The Auto-Connect USB feature allows users to plug the camera directly into most any USB-computer and immediately download the image files. No drivers or additional software are required for computers running Mac OS 8.6 - Mac OS X; these USB computers will mount and recognize the Brio D-230 automatically.

Small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, the Brio D-230 includes several special capture effects, such as the new Composite Image Mode for the ability to instantly merge two images into one in the camera without the need of a computer. Other special effects include Sepia and Black & White Image Effect Modes, Rotation, and File Resize mode, which saves a separate smaller copy of the image for e-mail or Web use. QuickTime Movie Mode is available for up to 60 seconds of movies at 15 frames per second. And the Brio D-230's Burst Mode shoots 1.3 frames per second.

Also due next month, the Brio D-230 ships with a 16MB SmartMedia card, USB cable, CamediaMaster software, user guide, strap and two AA alkaline batteries. It will have an estimated street price of $299.

This story, "Olympus releases new digital cameras" was originally published by PCWorld.

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