The 11.8-megapixel Olympus E-3 replaces the E-1 as Olympus's range-topping 'professional standard' digital SLR.
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Remember at the launch of the E-1, Olympus informed us that the small 4/3 sensor was theoretically capable of carrying up to 20 million pixels; that hasn’t arrived yet. Instead the E-3’s sensor offers 10.1 million effective pixels from a total of 11.8MP, and being an NMOS (or LiveMOS) sensor, can feed a live image of the scene to the LCD. Our guess is that this is the same sensor as that of the Panasonic Lumix L10, which offers the same feature.
TruePic III Processor
Powering the number crunching, the E-3 has the latest Olympus TruePic III processor, which claims to offers better noise suppression, truer colour and fast processing. In terms of speed, the camera offers 5fps over 19 Raw files, which isn’t the fastest on the market, even at this price point – so we doubt Olympus is aiming this camera at sports and news photographers.
The sensor has many of the features we’ve come to expect from Olympus, with SuperSonic Wave sensor cleaning, firing a supersonic blast at the sensor to dislodge dust. This was first seen on the E-1 and similar systems have been incorporated into other manufacturers’ cameras since then. The other major aspect of note to the sensor is the inclusion of on-camera image stabilisation, which Olympus claims offers up to five stops slower shutter speeds using SWD (Supersonic Wave Drive) lenses and still avoiding camera shake – the highest claims any manufacturer has yet made.