The 11.8-megapixel Olympus E-3 replaces the E-1 as Olympus's range-topping 'professional standard' digital SLR.
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Olympus has revamped its autofocus system specifically for this camera, and we’re sure to see it being included in subsequent models next year. Claiming to offer the fastest autofocusing in the world (when using the new 12-60mm lens), the new system takes advantage of built-in motors in the new Zuiko SWD lens range. This is similar to lenses from Nikon’s SWM range and Canon’s USM lenses, and is the first time that Olympus has added this to its cameras. Each of the 11 AF points are selectable and are all biaxial, so they can detect the subject on both the horizontal and vertical axes for greater accuracy.
Exposure Metering & White Balance
Metering is performed via a 49-zone digital ESP meter, and incorporates Olympus’s unique highlight and shadow spot metering – something seen on the entry-level cameras, but originating in the 1980s on the OM series. Closely tied to the metering is the camera’s White Balance, and Olympus has added a dedicated WB sensor, which it claims combines data from the main sensor to produce more accurate white balance. There’s also a full complement of WB features for further colour correction, including bracketing and tone sliders.
For more general operation, the E-3 is equipped with the standard PASM modes (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual), and an Auto mode, but it lacks the scene modes so beloved of the entry-level models. Like Nikon, Olympus is wearing its heart on its sleeve when it comes to the E-3’s target audience.
That pro spec is continued with regards to the top shutter speed of 1/8000sec and the ISO selection from 100 to 3200. The built-in flash offers a guide number of 13, but the camera also accepts Olympus hotshoe flashguns and has full wireless flash capability for multiple and off-camera flash functionality.