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Olympus E-10 joined by 5 Megapixel model, Olympus E-20P

Olympus has put new sails on its former flagship: equipped with a 5.2 megapixel imager, the semi-professional mirror reflex digital camera E-10 from Olympus gets a new tail wind to help its ground against the competition from Minolta and Sony. The company is facing this competition in the first instance with the new Olympus E-20P.

One can claim with a clear conscience that the Olympus E-10 represented a milestone in the history of the digital camera. When the camera was announced last year, not only was it the first consumer digital camera with 4 megapixels, but also one of the few digital cameras with a mirror reflex viewfinder (even if without exchangeable lens). Recently, the first 4 and 5.2 megapixel cameras pushed their way into the “territory” of the E-10, not only in respect of resolution but also overall equipment specification. Reason enough for Olympus not to begrudge the E-10 some “cell therapy” in the form of a new imager. The new E-20P therefore comes with a 5.2 megapixel CCD sensor that lifts its meaningful maximum resolution to a competitive 2,560 x 1,920 pixels.

Otherwise, the E-10P is – apart from a few details – almost identical to the E-10. Resolution aside, almost nothing about the technical specification of the camera has changed. Hardly surprising, because there was very little to complain about on the E-10 anyway – as our lab test of the E-10 showed. The only point of criticism of our test has not been addressed, however: it still lacks a multi-spot autofocus and continuous focusing. The E-10 has really only been given a “buffing up” instead. The E-20P thus integrates the pixel mapping function ex works and this is now an integral part of the firmware. In addition, the E-20P can now achieve higher shutter speeds (up to 1/18,000 second) and higher burst mode shooting rates (up to 7 frames per second) by switching sensor scanning from interlaced scan to progressive scan. Besides the pixel mapping function, the E-20P also inherits the noise suppression function from recent Olympus digital camera models.

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