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Olympus revs its entry-level dSLR

The entry-level E-420 offers wireless flash support, performance tweaks and a slightly larger LCD.

Olympus E-420
Olympus E-420
Olympus America

There isn't a helluva lot new about the E-420, Olympus' minor update to its E-410 bottom-of-the-line dSLR, but that's not unexpected for a model that will only set you back between $500 and $700. The most significant new capability is a built-in wireless flash controller, which Olympus seems to be putting in many of its enthusiast models (including the SP-570 UZ).

Though Olympus makes a big deal about the E-420's size, in truth it's only 0.01 to 0.02 inches smaller in any dimension than its predecessor, and in fact weighs a couple of ounces more. Still, it remains relatively compact compared with the rest of the field. Olympus has increased the size of the LCD from 2.5 inches to 2.7 and made the grip a bit larger as well.

Some of the changes and enhancements seem to compensate for the white-balance and exposure problems we encountered with the older model, such as the new Shadow Adjustment Technology and improved white-balance algorithms. Olympus also says continuous-shooting speed picks up from its predecessor's three frames per second to 3.5fps.

Along with the E-420, Olympus announced a low-profile 25mm f2.8 lens (equivalent to 50mm in the Four Thirds standard); a kit with that lens will run $699.99. The body alone will cost $499.99, while a kit with the f3.5-5.6 14-42mm lens (28-84mm equivalent) will be $599.99. All are slated to ship in May.