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Olympus E-400: Another SLR beats the dust

The E-400 is a small and light 10-megapixel camera that uses an anti-dust technology to speedily shake particles off the lens. Now you see them...

As anyone who has made the move from a film to digital SLR knows, dust can be unexpectedly annoying. It creeps into your camera when you change the lens, then settles on the sensor and appears as an out-of-focus grey blob on your images. This wasn't a problem with film cameras, because the dust particles move with the film when it's wound on. But with a dSLR, the dust stays on the sensor until you find a way to remove it.

Like earlier Olympus SLR models, the new E-400 is fitted with a 'Supersonic Wave Filter' to combat this problem. Every time you turn on the camera, the supersonic wave engine surrounding the sensor's filter vibrates it at a high frequency, shaking off the particles. We tested the filter in the Olympus Evolt E-300 and found that it worked very well.

The E-400 is yet another dSLR joining the 10-megapixel bandwagon. In the last few months various manufacturers have unveiled entry-level 10-megapixel cameras including the Sony Alpha DSLR-A100, the Nikon D80 and the Canon EOS 400D.

Olympus is also promoting the E-400 as "the world's smallest digital SLR". Weighing about as much as a large pack of digestive biscuits (380g), and measuring just 120mm by 90mm by 50mm, it certainly is small. Unfortunately, we find that having a small camera is a mixed blessing -- it's certainly easier to travel with, but we find small dSLRs can be harder to hold and handle.

The camera accepts a wide range of interchangeable lenses, including the Olympus Zuiko Digital Top Pro lens range, which recently won an award from the European Imaging & Sound Association (EISA).

The E-400 should be available in the UK in November, but pricing has not yet been confirmed. -IM