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Olympus preannounces dSLR, Micro Four Thirds models

The company will be showing two models under glass at Photokina.

update 9/26:  It turns out that the product will not be named E-A1; that was just a random name that appeared in a graphic accompanying the press materials. So mentally replace each instance of "E-A1" in this post with "Olympus 4/3rd's DSLR concept."

Artist's rendering of the E-A1
Artist"s rendering of the E-A1 Olympus Imaging America

Of all the major camera manufacturers, Olympus stands out as lacking a prosumer model. Between the approximately $600 E-520 and $1,500-ish E-3 lies a huge gap for competing with the likes of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi and 40D, the Nikon D90, and the Sony Alpha DLSR-A700. And frankly, the company is rather late entering into this highly competitive market, especially since its announcement of the new midrange E-A1 indicates the camera won't ship until early 2009.

Like all of Olympus' dSLRs, the E-A1 will be based on the Four Thirds standard for lens compatibility. It will inherit the 11-point twin-cross sensor AF system and flip-and-twist LCD from the E-3, though the body will be smaller, and Olympus claims the sensor-shift image stabilizer will correct up to 5 stops. It will also have improved weather sealing and a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000 second. More prosumer-focused features will include face detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology.

Olympus' first Micro Four Thirds camera will also be appearing under glass at Photokina. Given that it currently has no name, price, or launch date, we can pretty much guess it won't be available in time for your holiday shopping.