updated 09:10 am EST, Thu January 25, 2007
Olympus Early 2007 Cameras
Camera maker Olympus today overhauled large portions of its camera lineup with several new point-and-shoot models. Topping the announcements is the SP-550UZ (pictured), a high-end model the company says is the first of its kind with 18X optical zoom. With an equivalent focal length of 28-504mm, the 7.1-megapixel camera can take photos from far enough away to avoid disrupting most scenes without also affecting image quality. The new addition to Olympus' UltraZoom line also has an extremely high-speed burst mode for sports and other fast-action scenes that will capture 1.2-megapixel shots as quickly as 15 frames per second. Dual image stabilization is handled through shifting the CCD as well as high ISO settings (up to 5,000). Powered by four AA batteries and using xD-PictureCards for storage, the SP-550UZ will ship in February for £375 ($737) but should reach closer to $500 for its US release.
Details and photos of Olympus' first ISO 10,000 camera as well as the rest of its upgraded compact models follow after the jump.
Olympus also released multiple cameras in its more mainstream FE line. Leading the new models is the FE-250: an 8-megapixel compact model that promises exceptionally high brightness for fast-motion and nighttime scenes. Capable of ISO 3,200 at normal resolution, the FE-250 can drop to 3 megapixels to reach a claimed ISO 10,000 for blur reduction. This camera should also be released in February and will sell for £200 ($393) in Britain, and at an undetermined lower price in the US.
Complementing the 250 are the 240, 230, and 210 models. While all three contain 7.1-megapixel sensors, the FE-240 brings 5X optical zoom for better distance and macro shots at ISO as high as 1,000. The 230 uses a more commonplace 3X zoom lens but raises the sensitiivty to ISO 1,250; finally, the FE-210 becomes the camera producer's new starter model and drops to ISO 640 for the sake of price. All the cameras draw on a simplified one button, one function interface, xD-PictureCards, and lithium-ion batteries. Olympus plans a February launch for these cameras at prices starting from £100 ($197) for the FE-210 and progressing to £150 ($295) and £180 ($354) for the 230 and 240 models respectively.
FE-230 and FE-240
Concluding the firm's announcements are two entries in the Mju series (known as Stylus in the US). Both the 770SW and 760 are toughened against harsher conditions, with the 760 weatherproof for rain and other splashes and the more resilient 770SW surviving 33-foot water depths, 4.9-foot drops, and pressures of up to 220 pounds. The two share 7.1-megapixel sensors, ISO 1600 sensitivity, and 3X optical zoom; the more fragile 760 compensates with CCD shifting for blur reduction. Shipments begin in March at prices of £200 ($393) for the 760 and increase to £300 ($590) for the 770SW.