Olympus Unveils Bevy of New Cameras

Olympus pulled out all the stops today, announcing a gaggle of new digital camera models—and we aren’t even getting started on the four new VN-series voice recorders the company also unleashed. On the basis of the sheer number of products it offers, Olympus is making a big bid for shelf space as the ever-tingly holiday buying season approaches.

On to the cameras:

Olympus announced four new entries in its budget-minded FE-series digital camera line, the consecutively-numbered FE-170, FE-180, FE-190, and FE-200. The new FE cameras each offer 6.0 megapixel image resolution, 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder displays, optical zoom (3× to 5×, depending on model), image stabilization, 16 shooting modes, and USB 2.0 connectivity; after that, the cameras differentiate from each other based on function, features, and looks. The FE-170 ($149.99) can be used with an optional water resistant casing (enabling users to take snapshots up to 10 feet underwater), and reaches new frontiers in battery life, offering 500 shots on a single charge. The FE-190 ($199.99) is all about sleek and compact, coming in at just 0.7 inches deep, and the FE-200 ($249.99) sports the 5× wide optical zoom. The new FE-series cameras will be available in September.

The new Stylus 730, Stylus 740, Stylus 750 and Stylus 1000 are all designed to offer outstanding performance, sleek design, and ease of use with image stabilization technology and all-weather durability. All offer PIctBridge support, USB 2.0 connectivity, and storage to xD memory cards,

The Stylus 730 sports a 7.1 megapixel resolution, digital image stabilization technologies, a 5× optical zoom lens, a large 3-inch LCD viewfinder, USB connectivity, and 24 selectable shooting modes. Olympus’ TruePic Turbo image processor offers fast processing speed, operation, and shot-to-shot response, and “Bright Capture Technology” for shooting in low-light situations without a flash. Too complicated? The 730 offers a “Simple Mode” for novice users, enabling on/off selections for flash, macro, backlight, and the built-in self-timer. The 730 offers 22 MB of internal memory, stores images to xD cards, and supports PictBridge. The Stylus 730 still be available in September for $399.99.

The Stylus 740 aims to be the more-durable camera you might want to take on your next diving trip: 7.1 megapixel resolution, 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder, digital image stabilization, 5 × optical zoom, and all-weather construction capable of standing up to sleet, rain, and snow; a separate underwater housing ($250) will enable users to take snaps with the Stylus 740 at depths up to 40 meters. The 740 features the same image processing and low-light capabilities as the 730 (along with three new scene modes for underwater shooting), can capture audio and VGA video, stores images to 17 MB of internal memory or xD cards, and should be available this September for $349.99.

The 7.1 megapixel Stylus 750 combines both mechanical and digital image stabilization technologies for the clearest possible pictures, along with a 5× optical zoom. 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder, and the all-weather durability (and 27 shooting modes) of the Stylus 740—so it should be a surprise Olympus also plans to offer a $250 underwater housing for the Stylus 750. Also on board: the Olympus TruePic Turbo processing and low light-savvy “Bright Capture Technology.” The Stylus 750 offers 17 MB of built-in memory, and users can save images to xD cards. The Stylus 750 shoudl be available in September for $399.99.

At the high end of the Stylus lineup comes the Stylus 1000, offering a 10 megapixel sensor, 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder, all-weather capability, and digital image stabilization. We’re back to a mere 24 scene modes with the 1000 (sorry, nothing specific to our underwater friends), but the extra resolution should more than make up for it, along with 28.5 MB of built-in memory. The Stylus 1000 should be available in September for $399.99.

But wait—there’s one more at the higher end of today’s glut of camera announcements, the Olympus SP-510 Ultra Zoom. The SP-510 UZ offers a 7.1 megapixel resolution, and a 2.5-inch viewfinder LCD, but combines them with a 10× optical zoom, full manual controls, ISO 4000 sensitivity, and RAW format support. Bundle that up with long battery life (up to 630 shots from standard alkaline batteries), digital image stabilization, 21 MB of internal memory, PictBridge support, USB connectivity, self-timer, QuickTime movie mode with sound, and a design in line with Olumpus’ earlier compact rangefinder cameras, and you have a camera which should have strong appeal to semi-pros and folks serious about their pictures. Even better, the price: $329.99, due in September.

Whew! Now, do you really want to hear about those voice recorders?

[Updated 28-Aug-2006: correction about FE-170 waterproof housing; internal memory on Stylus 750.]

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