The 10-megapixel Olympus E-420 is a purposely compact DSLR that features Live View and Shadow Adjustment technology.
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Four Thirds System
For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the Four Thirds system, the format was jointly devised by Olympus and Kodak, announced in 2002 and commencing a year later with the launch of the Olympus E-1. The system is unique in that it has been designed entirely for digital from scratch, breaking most of the constraints posed by 35mm-based cameras. We say ‘most’ because support is still offered for legacy Zuiko lenses via adaptors, though one of the system’s key points is that its lenses can be telecentric – that is, designed to direct light to hit the sensor at a perpendicular angle – as well as smaller and lighter, to correspond with the smaller size of the sensor. The E-420 was billed as the ‘world’s smallest DSLR’ on launch.
The E-420 houses an 11.8 megapixel LiveMOS sensor with an effective pixel count of 10MP. This allows for images measuring 3648 x 2736 pixels at their maximum resolution, equating to a print size of 12.1 x 9.1in. The LiveMOS sensor is said to have been redesigned to bring the dynamic range closer to that of the semi-pro Olympus E-3, while a new amplifier circuit is said to reduce noise and capture fine image details in highlight and shadow areas.
Shooting in Raw
Raw images are stored in Olympus’s ORF format, while JPEG capture allows the user to customise the four JPEG options available within the image quality menu, with regards to pixel count and compression ratios. So, for instance, you could set a large JPEG with fine compression, a medium JPEG with low compression and so on. Simultaneous Raw and JPEG recording is also available, with the option of varying the JPEG’s pixel count to either small, medium or large.