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Olympus Digital Still Cameras

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Olympus Compact Digital Cameras Feature Comparison Chart

See also Olympus Compact Digital Cameras.

Click on model number in the chart below to see photo and detailed features.

Click on any underlined feature on this chart for a more detailed explanation.


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Key Features

Olympus E-PM1 Olympus E-PL3 Olympus E-P3 Olympus E-5
Four Thirds System / Micro Four Thirds System SLR 1 Micro FT Micro FT Micro FT FT
Live MOS Imager 2 Mega Pixels 12.3 MP 12.3 MP 12.3 MP 12.3 MP
Maximum Effective Resolution, Standard 4032 x 3024 4032 x 3024 4032 x 3024 4032 x 3024
All-Digital Interchangeable Zuiko or M.Zuiko Lenses 3 x x x x
Supersonic Wave Filter 4 x x x x
TruePic V+ or VI Image Processor 5 VI VI VI V+
Max. Frames Per Second in Burst Mode/ Max. Burst, JPEG 6 4.1 - 5.5 fps. / available memory 4.1 - 5.5 fps. / available memory 3.0 fps. / available memory 5.0 fps. / available memory
Live View Monitor 7 3-inch LCD 3-inch tilting LCD 3-inch OLED Touch Panel 3-inch dual axis swivel HyperCrystal LCD
Splash-Proof and Dust-Proof Design, Rugged Magnesium Alloy Body 8       x
Recording Media 9 SD / SDHC / SDXC SD / SDHC / SDXC SD / SDHC / SDXC Dual Slot CF, SD
In-Body Image Stabilization 10 x x x x
11 Point-Full-Twin Cross AF Sensors / FAST AF Tracking System 11 FAST AF Tracking System FAST AF Tracking System FAST AF Tracking System 11 Point-Full-Twin Cross AF
High-Speed Shutter 12 1/4000 Second 1/4000 Second 1/4000 Second 1/8000 Second
RC Wireless Flash System 13 x x x x
Captures HD Video 14 1080i 1080i 1080i 720p
Level Gauge 14     x x

Olympus Digital Camera Feature Explanations:

1 - Four Thirds System / Micro Four Thirds System SLR
Today, photographers have a choice. For pure SLR photography with the opportunity to continue using a traditional optical viewfinder, there's the Four Thirds System. For those who want the convenience of compactness and the added feature of movie recording, without giving up the high picture quality of the Four Thirds System, there's the Micro Four Thirds System.

Since the era of film, the mirror box has been a key component of SLR cameras. It is the mirror box that allows us to view the subject through the viewfinder and compose our shot. On the downside, however, the image that the mirror shows us on the focusing screen is not identical to the one imaged on the film or image sensor. In addition, the mirror is a major contributing factor to camera size and weight.

With the advent of the Live View imaging display made possible by the Four Thirds System, photographers were freed from the imprecision imposed by the optical viewfinder's mirror box, while still enjoying all the performance benefits of SLR photography, together with greater shooting angle flexibil- ity arid ease-of-operation. Soon it became possible to dispense with the mirror box altogether and the Micro Four Thirds System standard was born, a Micro Four Third standard established in August 2008.

With its unprecedented compact design, stunning SLR-level picture quality, and versatile capabilities, the Micro Four Thirds System standard is the ideal complement to the Four Thirds System, increasing user options and expanding the range of photographic possibilities far beyond the conventional. A dedicated lens mount design enables further reduction in size and future expandability.

2 - Live MOS Megapixel Imager
The excellence of image quality you've come to expect from the Olympus E-System takes a giant step forward. To give you all the benefits of digital photography combined with the unique Live View technology, a new imager was developed. Its hallmarks include high-quality edge-to-edge detail, accurate color and lower noise. These cameras are loaded with an impressive 12 million pixels for high-resolution photos. The 12-megapixel sensor gives users the flexibility to blow-up their prints to the large sizes supported by many of today's printers, or crop the image to print only a part of the image that is important to them. The high-performance Live MOS image sensor delivers excellent dynamic range for accurate color fidelity, and a state-of-the-art amplifier circuit to eradicate noise and capture fine image details in the highlight and shadow areas.
3 - All-Digital Interchangeable Zuiko and M.Zuiko Lenses
Most other digital SLR cameras use traditional 35mm film lenses on digital bodies. But since those lenses are based on designs from the beginning of the last century for film and not for pixels, they deliver insufficient light at the edges of a digital camera's image sensor. This can result in reduced sharpness and color definition, particularly when shooting with wide-angle lenses. Olympus E System Digital SLRs do not have this problem, because they accommodates the full line of interchangeable Zuiko or M.Zuiko Digital Specific Lenses™ designed specifically for digital capture with smart technology that allows the lenses to communicate with the camera to ensure the best possible image quality.

Olympus dedicated digital optics paired with the 100% digital Olympus E System Digital SLRs render sharpness and contrast more consistently at any given f-stop. The lenses are matched to the Four Thirds System or Micro FourThirds System standard image sensor for the optimal balance between image quality, camera and lens size, and expandability. With an array of digital specific lenses to choose from that are smaller and lighter than comparable 35mm film lenses, it's easy to select the ideal instruments to bring along when you don't want to lug a lot of heavy, bulky gear.

4 - Supersonic Wave Filter Repels Dust
Change lenses on the fly, without consequence. A common problem with interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras is dust settling on the image sensor. Olympus E System Digital SLRs feature an Olympus exclusive patented ultrasonic technology, the Supersonic Wave Filter™, to reduce the effects of micro dust settling on the image sensor and impacting the image quality. Located between the shutter and the CCD, the Supersonic Wave Filter uses high-speed ultrasonic vibration to cause most types of dust to fall away from the image sensor so it will not appear in photographs. The filter vibrates at 350,000 times per second and is activated every time the camera powers on, or manually via a menu selection, to instantly remove the dust from in front of the image sensor. The CCD assembly is isolated from the Supersonic Wave Filter by an airtight seal to protect it even more. This unique Olympus feature gives photographers the confidence to shoot photos and change lenses in the field, just as they've always done, without the worry of images being damaged or ruined by dust on the imager.
5 - TruePic V+ or VI Image Processor
Olympus' TruePic VI Image Processor, designed specifically for the Olympus PEN, features Real Color Technology for improved color reproduction and faster speeds. The TruePic VI Image processor delivers excellent dynamic range, newly expanded color accuracy and fidelity plus reduced noise, all the way up to 12800 ISO. Fine Detail Processing technology captures more details in every nuance.

The E-5 utilizes a unique combination of cutting edge technologies to deliver the highest image quality in the Olympus family. The 12.3 megapixel Live MOS image sensor coupled with the TruePic V+ Image Processor optimizes the power of Zuiko Digital lenses to deliver unmatched image quality. New Fine Detail Processing technology enhances the sense of detail and resolution, maximizing the potential of the 12.3 megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor to deliver pictures that are sharper and clearer than ever before. Using all the pixel information at an individual pixel level to provide the best digital images possible, the innovative TruePic V+ Image Processor delivers excellent dynamic range and accurate color fidelity, with natural color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression. It also lowers image noise in photos shot at higher ISO settings enabling great results in low-light situations.

6 - Burst Mode
The E-5's highly reliable 5-fps burst shooting provides extra flexibility when shooting sports, wildlife or any other dynamic subjects. The E-5's ability to process over 12 million pixels of high-quality image data at extremely high speed enables continuous shooting at up to five frames per second. In fact, you can shoot until your finger tires -- as continuous shooting up to the limit of available memory is possible at the highest resolution setting.* The E-5's high-speed 5 fps sequential shooting and 1/8000 second top shutter speed is made possible by the fast readout speed of the Live MOS Sensor, the quicker speed of the TruePic V+ Image Processor and a more efficient, high-precision mirror mechanism.

The Olympus E-PM1 and E-PL3 deliver 4.1 fps sequential shooting, up to 5.5 fps with Image Stabilizer set to OFF mode.

* With SanDisk Extreme Pro 16GB card, using the default record mode of Large Normal JPEG.

7 - Live View Monitor
Whether composing still images or HD video, you'll appreciate the E-5's 270-degree dual axis swivel 3-inch HyperCrystal LCD. It covers all the viewing angles from low to high and side to side, ensuring accurate composition and providing opportunities for creativity. The LCD displays 921,000 pixels in vivid color and greater contrast than conventional LCD monitors for easier viewing in both preview and playback modes. It also provides a wide viewing angle ensuring that images can be composed from even the most obscure angles.

Live View provides an alternative to framing shots through the viewfinder on a digital SLR camera. The image sent through the lens to the image sensor is displayed directly on the camera's LCD. Whereas most compact digital cameras have been equipped with Live View functionality for many years, this feature has only recently become available on D-SLRs.

Controlling the Olympus PEN E-P3 is simple with its next-generation, three-inch, touch-sensitive 614,000 pixel OLED display. Consuming much less energy than the traditional LCD, this display has a wide 176-degree angle of view and is bright enough to compose images even in harsh midday light. With the camera's new intuitive graphic user interface and touchscreen, it is easy to capture a picture, change camera settings or navigate the Live Guide controls by simply touching the screen. Going through a day's photos is easy by scrolling through and enlarging photos with the tap of a finger.

Thanks to some the latest high-tech innovations, the Olympus E-PL3 takes that user-friendliness to a whole new level. It's the very first PEN with a tiltable LCD that makes seemingly impossible shots a piece of cake. By pulling out and angling the 3-inch display, you can comfortably frame and capture unusual perspectives, even with the camera at arm's length. For example, if you need to shoot over the heads of a crowd or focus on an insect by your ankles without bending down.

8 - Splash-Proof and Dust-Proof Design, Rugged Magnesium Alloy Body
The E-5 features a rugged magnesium alloy body and dustproof, splashproof design. Made of a "thixomold" magnesium alloy with homogeneous composition, the camera body is extremely strong, durable, and lightweight. All major parts of the E-5's camera body are weathersealed to keep out sand, dust, rain and splashes -- including the built-in flash, LCD monitor, and switches. When the body is combined with a similarly sealed dustproof and splashproof Zuiko Digital lens, you can shoot with confidence even under the most severe conditions.
9 - Recording Media
Olympus digital SLR cameras offer SD / SDHC / SDXC Memory Card capability for up to 64 gigabytes of capacity. The E-5 has a dual media slot that works with both CompactFlash (Type I) and an SD card (SDHC or SDXC). Data can be copied between two cards and you can use a second card to back up the main card.
10 - In-Body Image Stabilization
Unlike other cameras that rely on image-stabilized lenses, Olympus digital SLR cameras use an image stabilization system housed in the body. The Olympus stabilization system compensates for shake by shifting the image sensor for a stabilization equivalent of 5 shutter speed steps.* The IS unit, which integrates a Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF) and image sensor, shifts to counteract camera shake.

* The correction effect varies depending on the lens type and shooting conditions.
11 - High-Speed Autofocus
FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) AF Tracking System: The Olympus PEN E-P3 uses a variety of features to achieve speed rivaling that of the professional Olympus E-5 DSLR. Focus and shoot faster with the camera's 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, TruePic VI Image Processor and FAST AF Tracking System. The Olympus PEN E-P3 offers 35 separate focus points spread over nearly the entire sensor, as well as new Tracking AF, enabling the camera to pin-point focus accuracy on small subjects wherever they appear in the frame. Selectable 3x3 groups within the 35-point area are especially effective when shooting active subjects.

High-Speed 11-Point Autofocus With Full-Twin Cross AF Sensors: Intuitive controls and fast performance are essential for capturing the moment without missing a shot. Besides its direct access buttons for quick access to camera menus, the E-5 camera offers the fastest AF speed in the world when coupled with the Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm f 2.8-4.0 (24-120mm equivalent) Supersonic Wave Drive Lens to ensure fast focus for clear, sharp photos.

The E-5 camera has an 11-point High Precision Fully Twin Cross AF sensor, based on proprietary Olympus micro-sensing technologies that achieve equally effective performance on both the vertical and horizontal axis. With most biaxial sensors, performance on the vertical and horizontal axes is not equal, and there is often a perceived difference in response time when using different lenses. However, unlike systems that respond at nominally lower f-stop values simply by boosting sensitivity, the E-5's AF sensor features a houndstooth pattern phase detection sensor layout that uses micro-lamination technologies to achieve superior real-world performance. The 11 AF target points on the E-5 can be selected to work individually or dynamically in combination with adjacent target points.

12 - 1/8000 Second High-Speed Shutter
You can capture spectacular images using the E-5's 1/8000-second high-speed shutter, while shooting at maximum aperture even under very bright lighting conditions. The E-5 also boasts an ultra-fast shutter release time, allowing instant shooting for superior tracking and response. To withstand heavy-duty, professional use, the shutter unit uses a highly durable focal plane shutter with a vertical-travel metal blade mechanism that has been rigorously tested to 150,000 shooting operation cycles (in-house testing).
13 - RC Wireless Flash Control
The user can control wireless flash units remotely - eliminating the need for extra cables -- by using the built-in flash as the system's master unit. Control options include the ability to independently regulate flash mode and compensation settings for up to three groups of flashes, four channel settings to avoid interference as well as a wide range of brightness levels.
14 - Captures HD Video
The E-5 captures all the action in crisp 720p HD video at 30 frames per second. With more than 20 Zuiko Digital lenses, you can shoot video with a selection ranging from an extreme wide-angle fisheye lens to a super telephoto lens, for a variety of expressive options. Capture great stereo sound quality by plugging any microphone with a standard 3.5mm jack into the camera's stereo microphone terminal. A built-in microphone also records clear monaural audio.

E-P3: The press of a button is all it takes to shoot full 1080 60i HD video in either ACVHD or AVI formats. Shoot up to 29 minutes of full 1080i HD video.

15 - Level Gauge
The Level Gauge in the Olympus E-5 and PEN E-P3 is a tremendous benefit for architectural photographers who must ensure that images of buildings are as centered and true as the walls of the buildings themselves. This feature detects the camera's pitch and roll during Live View operation so photographers can make sure subjects appear where they should in the frame.
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