updated 10:05 am EST, Wed March 5, 2008
Olympus today took advantage of the relative quiet to revamp its EVOLT digital SLRs with the E-420. The 10-megapixel camera is claimed as the smallest and lightest ever in the category and weighs just 13.4 ounces, or at least 20 percent lighter than the next-best in the class. It also represents an improved ease of use over the earlier E-410, with both a shadow correction function and a new onscreen autofocus feature that uses the live preview LCD to mark out properly focused subjects. The combination is said by Olympus to produce a camera that can be used like a compact point-and-shoot while still offering all the control of a full SLR.
Also new to the E-420 are a larger, 2.7-inch LCD with improved color accuracy and contrast, face detection for portrait shots, and better handling of automatic white balance. Olympus ships the camera in May, starting at $500 for a body-only version. A more common kit version will sell for $600 with a 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and should be accompanied by a more specialized, $700 edition with a fixed-focus, 25mm f/2.8 equivalent to 50mm on a conventional film camera.