Olympus announces new E-5 digital SLR

New high-end Olympus digital SLR camera combines sensor technology upgrades with new image processing options
The Olympus E-5 digital SLR camera.

The Olympus E-5 digital SLR camera.

Olympus will release a new digital SLR camera in October, the E-5 SLR. The Olympus E-5 is designed to compete with the Canon 7D and Nikon D300s and uses an upgraded version of the same 12.3 megapixel sensor that appeared in the earlier Olympus E-3 digital SLR and PEN interchangeable lens cameras. The camera includes some consumer-friendly features like a 720p video recording mode and a range of 'art' filters.

The combination of a much weaker anti-aliasing filter and the new TruePic V+ image processor means the E-5 is able to capture considerably finer image detail than the PEN and older E-series digital SLR cameras. Digital SLR cameras generally use a built-in anti-aliasing filter in front of the image sensor to reduce or remove moire and jagged edges from photographs, but this also results in reduced overall quality levels. Olympus's approach with the E-5 allows more detail to be captured while moire and aliasing is reduced by the camera's image processor.

Olympus claims 'class-leading image quality' as a result of these changes, despite using a smaller image sensor than competitors — the E-5 sensor has a 2.0x crop factor measuring 17.3x13mm, (compared to a 'full frame' 35mm-film size sensor like that of the Nikon D3x), whereas its competitors from Canon and Nikon use 1.6x and 1.5x crop factor sensors measuring 22x14.9mm and 23.6x15.8mm respectively. The Olympus E-5 has an ISO range of 100-6400, adding an extra stop from the E-3.

The Olympus E-5's new TruePic V+ image processor allows camera users to apply digital art filters during shooting, with 10 possible effects including a sepia effect, diorama and contrast-boosting dramatic tone mode. High-definition (720p) movie recording at 30fps is also included in the Olympus E-5, with digital filters able to be applied in real time to recordings.

The older Olympus E-3's 2.5in LCD screen, which is able to tilt and swivel, has been upgraded to a 3in screen with a 920k resolution — putting it on par with the Nikon D300s and Canon 7D. Weather sealing allows the E-5 to resist dust intrusion and water splashing, while the shutter is rated to 150,000 actuations. The camera uses the same 100% field-of-view optical viewfinder as the older model, with a magnification of approximately 1.15x.

Local pricing has not yet been confirmed for the Olympus E-5, but the camera will be released in late October.

Check out our gallery of photos of the Olympus E-5 digital SLR.