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Simply 12 megapixels and other cameras: Olympus' new FE models

Olympus announced three new FE-series cameras, including the 12-megapixel FE-300.

Olympus FE-300
Olympus FE-300

'Tis the season for new camera announcements, it seems. Olympus has joined Canon, Nikon, and Sony in picking this week to announce its fall camera lineup. Olympus announced several new camera models today, including three additions to the company's FE-series of simple point-and-shoots.

At 12 megapixels, the FE-300 breaks the company's FE-series' resolution record. With a 50% increase over the last generation's high-resolution model, the FE-250, the FE-300 offers some of the largest photos available from Olympus' snapshot line. According to Olympus, the FE-300 will be the slimmest 12-megapixel camera on the market, measuring just 0.9 inches deep, about the same as the Casio Exilim EX-Z1200. It incorporates Olympus' new TruePic III image processor, which the company claims produces more accurate color reproduction and faster image processing. It also offers Olympus' Perfect Shot Preview, a preview system that lets you simulate various image effects before you take the shot, and Perfect Fix, an automatic image retouching function you can use after you take the shot. Besides its 12-megapixel sensor and new image processing and features, the FE-300 looks like a fairly standard point-and-shoot camera, with a 2.5-inch LCD and a 35 to 105mm-equivalent 3x lens.

While it lacks the FE-300's high-resolution, the 8-megapixel FE-280 incorporates the same image processing improvements and additional features into its slim form. As the only current FE-model available in multiple colors (red, blue, black, and silver), the FE-280 infuses a bit of style into the series. Finally, Olympus also announced the FE-290. While it features a 28mm 4x wide-angle lens (always a boon when framing group or landscape shots) and a 3-inch LCD, the FE-290 strangely lacks the FE-280 and FE-300's more subtle improvements; it doesn't use the TruePic III image processor and doesn't include Perfect Fix or Perfect Shot Preview.

All three Olympus FE-cameras will be available by the end of August. The FE-280 will retail for about $200, the FE-290 will sell for about $250, and the FE-300 will carry a suggested price tag of $300.