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Aftter four years and numerous rumours, Olympus hosted the Australian launch of its long-awaited digital SLR, the Olympus E-3, in Byron Bay last week.

Aimed at professionals and advanced enthusiasts, Olympus is marketing its E-3 digital SLR by focusing on speed, image quality, viewing and reliability. The main features to take notice of include the 11 point autofocusing system that Olympus claims is the world's fastest on a digital SLR. It also has a 10.1-megapixel sensor, Live View shooting through the LCD display, and a magnesium alloy body featuring a weatherproof casing.

Caption by / Photo by Olympus Australia

The official presentation given on arrival in Byron Bay included demystifying Olympus' terminology -- SSWF for Supersonic Wave Filter (Olympus' dust reduction system), while SWD is Supersonic Wave Drive (a high speed lens drive in everyday English). IS (Image Stabilisation) isn't only a part of Olympus' armoury of jargon, and is built into the body of the E-3.

Caption by / Photo by Olympus Australia

Olympus is be famed for its Tough range of cameras that are shockproof, waterproof, freezeproof and just about everything-proof. And the E-3 is no wimp either -- mere seconds after this shot was taken, we witnessed the new dSLR being given a shower with that jug of water. We wouldn't recommend treating it like one of the Tough compacts, though, but it will survive a fair bit of splashing and knocking around.

Caption by / Photo by Olympus Australia

Olympus handed out camera packs to the attending journalists and we set off to get out into the elements and hands-on with the camera.

Caption by / Photo by Zennith Geisler

The first shoot of the two-day event saw us snapping a model on the beach paparazzi-style. We set up a series of external flashes to enhance our shooting environment.

Caption by / Photo by Olympus Australia

The "high"-light of the trip, if you'll pardon the pun, was a hot-air balloon ride which saw the group get up before dawn to capture the sunrise over the shire of Byron.

Caption by / Photo by Zennith Geisler
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