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Olympus unveils new FE-series budget cameras

Olympus has unveiled four new 8-megapixel digital cameras.

Olympus America

Olympus just announced four new additions to its FE-series of simple, budget-priced digital cameras. All four new models are 8-megapixel cameras and, with one exception, are priced at $200 or lower.

The FE-310 sits at the bottom of the pack as the series' least expensive camera. It sports a 5x optical zoom, but otherwise has no unique features to make it stand out. The FE-320 seems even less impressive on paper, until you consider its ultraslim size. At 0.65 inch, the FE-320 will be one of the slimmest FE-series cameras yet, and a full seven-hundredths of an inch thinner than the MacBook Air. With five different colors (silver, black, red, blue, and pink), the FE-340 stands as the most style-minded member of the line. It sports a 5x optical zoom lens, and features Smile Shot for automatically snapping subjects when they smile. Finally, the FE-350 presents the high end of the new FE cameras. It features a 28 to 112mm-equivalent, f/2.8-5.4 5x zoom lens, and a 3-inch LCD screen, giving it the most impressive physical attributes of the four new cameras.

All four cameras include face-detection, in-camera help guides, and Olympus' Perfect Shot Preview feature. Perfect Shot Preview shows on one screen how shots will look under several different conditions (white balance, exposure compensation). The FE-320 and FE-340 also use Olympus' TruePic III image processor. If history serves, this means that the FE-320 and FE-340 will probably offer faster performance than the other two models.

The Olympus FE-310, FE-320, FE-340, and FE-350 will ship by the end of the month, and will retail for about $150, $180, $200, and $250 respectively.