The 10-megapixel Olympus E-400 digital SLR harks back to the past with a diminutive design closely modeled on the Olympus OM-1.
When Olympus announced its first digital SLR, it became the first manufacturer to build a digital system from the ground up rather than retrospectively fitting sensors to film camera bodies. The result was the Olympus E-System, and with the 5MP Olympus E-1 setting the ball rolling.
Three years on and the market has changed dramatically, but the E-System has continued to lead the way in a number of technological areas. From the outset, the system had in-camera dust-reduction and digitally optimised telecentric lens designs, with the E-300 upping the entry-level resolution stakes to 8MP in 2004. Its successor, the E-330, brought full-colour ‘live-view’ LCDs to the SLR table – another Olympus first.
However, Olympus appears to have had a reflective moment with the E-400, looking back to its roots for inspiration. Using the original OM-1 35mm film camera as a blueprint, the E-400 is the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market today, just as the OM-1 was in 1975. Joining it is a brace of new lenses – essentially existing zooms that have been reengineered to make them smaller, and lighter, too.