The E-330 is the first SLR with live view function on its LCD. Is this a movement to impress the consumers or something that the market was actually demanding?
We expect all digital SLR will have this live view function in the near future. Some customers who haven't used an SLR but a digital compact camera simply wonder why a DSLR doesn't have the live view function. They are used to using the live view function. Therefore in answer to your question the live view function is due to customer demand.
On the other hand, some professional photographers such as nature, macro and studio photographers have requested a DSLR that has the live view function.
How will SLR purists perceive this new addition?
As mentioned above, some photographers already know this valuable function, which current DSLR's don't have.
The E-330 provides many possibilities for viewfinder images, not only the live view but also an optical finder as with the current DSLR. As soon as they use the live view, they will start noticing its benefit. The history of the digital compact camera proves this.
Will such new features become the standard for SLR cameras in the near future, or can we expect cameras like the E-330 to be considered unique in comparison with more classic digital SLR models?
We don't think all customers will be interested in it, but we expect it to be a trend for DSLR's in the future. Especially the A mode, which we call the Full Time Live View, with full autofocus functionality, that was achieved thanks to porro optics in the viewfinder. That is the reason why the E-330 has a similar design to the E-300.
We are aiming to show the benefits of digital in various ways. But we don't stick to a certain design.
At this time, most fans must be asking how this LCD previewing system works.
There are two modes in the live view function. One is A mode, which we call the Full Time Live View; another is B mode, which we call the Macro Live View.
In A mode, the E-330 shows the live view, which is captured by a second sensor that is located in the finder optics. Even though the light that reaches this sensor is low, because the light pass is separated to deliver light to the second sensor, the AE sensor, as well as to the optical viewfinder, a bright image can be provided using a nine pixel_ combination technology.
In B mode, the E-330 shows the live view, which is captured by a main image sensor that we call the live MOS sensor. In this mode, accurate manual focusing is possible because the E-330 shows a magnified live image on the LCD.
The image is magnified ten times and the user can select a magnified area in the full image area. This function is very useful for both the macro and studio photographer. In a current DSLR, even though it has many AF points, it is not possible to focus accurately and appropriately on a subject. In most cases, a customer uses manual focusing.
Furthermore, to confirm the depth of field on the LCD is easier than on the optical viewfinder, because the screen is large and the image is bright. The reason the E-330 can show a bright image when showing the depth of field is thanks to the live view boost mode that can be activated in the menu. In this mode, the E-330 increases sensitivity of the sensor according to the brightness of the image.
Could this new previewing system have any kind of impact on the brightness of the viewfinder?
Yes, the brightness of the optical viewfinder is slightly darker than in the E-300, but not so significant. Thanks to the combination of nine pixels on the second sensor, we can maintain the brightness of the view on the LCD.
The E-300 had 8 megapixels, but the E-330 has just 7,5. Though it seems the sensor is not the same, what's the reason for this small difference?
The E-330 has a newly developed image sensor that we call the live MOS sensor -the FFT CCD can't show the live view. We developed it in order to get better battery consumption and image quality. This sensor can provide low noise image.
There are some DSLRs, which can show the live view using a main image sensor. But these are limited in the time they can show the image on the LCD. This is because to continue showing live view makes a sensor overheat and that affects image quality. We solved this as well and the E-330 has no such limitation.
Most of us thought the E-300 was the end of the porro system.
We never said so. We introduced the E-500 with a penta design because of market request. How the future products will look we cannot say at this moment. For the time being, the live view function with AF incorporated (Full Time Live View, A Mode) was achieved thanks to porro optics in the viewfinder. That is the reason why the E-330 has a similar look to the E-300. We will continue to produce products the customer needs.
The E-330 sports two sensors. Although one of them is solely dedicated to the LCD, it seems the idea of incorporating more than one sensor to digital cameras is gaining ground.
For the time being, this additional sensor makes the Full Time Live View with integrated AF function possible, but we cannot comment on future developments.
Is Olympus considering -as rumors say- the creation of a three RGB sensor camera?
We cannot comment on future products for the time being. We are always trying to provide a good product from a customer's point of view.
Last year, an Olympus financial spokesman said that the beginning of 2006 would welcome the arrival of two new DSLR Olympus cameras. Will the E-330 have a partner at PMA or will this be the most significant new product from Olympus at this event?
That's not quite correct. It was announced that two new DSLRs would be launched by spring 2006. One is the E-500, the other is the E-330.
We cannot comment on what we will be announcing at PMA at this moment.