Update: Now with preview video after the jump.
Filling another hole in its dSLR product line, Olympus takes on the Canon EOS Rebel XSi and Sony Alpha DSLR-A350 with the new E-620 (Nikon's D80 and D90 are cheaper and more expensive than these models, respectively.)
Let's take a look at the basic specs:
|Canon EOS Rebel XSi
(with 18-55mm IS lens)
(with 14-42mm lens)
|Sensor||12.2-megapixel CMOS||12.3-megapixel Live MOS||12.3-megapixel Live MOS|
|Color depth||14 bits||12 bits||12 bits|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 - ISO 800/ 1,600 (expanded)||ISO 200/100 (expanded) - ISO 3,200||ISO 100 - ISO 3,200|
|Continuous shooting||3.5 fps
53 JPEG/6 raw
n/a JPEG/5 raw
n/a JPEG/12 raw
|Viewfinder||95 percent coverage
|95 percent coverage
|98 percent coverage
all twin; 5 cross-type
|LCD size||3 inches fixed||2.7 inches articulated||2.7 inches articulated|
Olympus packs quite a bit in for the money, including a fully articulated LCD (as compared to the tiltable LCD on the Sony A350); sensor-shift image stabilization; a built-in wireless flash controller, which everyone but Canon includes; and Art Filters, the preset special effects that the company introduced in the E-30.
The Art Filters, especially given their limited implementation, make a lot more sense in the E-620 than in the E-30, and could possibly provide a compelling reason for a newbie to buy the E-620 over a comparably priced competitor.
Though it's a bit lower resolution than the A350's 14 megapixels, in this class, the difference between 12 and 14 doesn't amount to a lot, and in fact can be an advantage. (It uses the same sensor and TruePic III+ image processor as the E-30, so theoretically, image quality should be similar.) You need a really good lens to resolve well at higher resolutions, and chances are, the budget-conscious buyer of these cameras won't want to spend a fortune on lenses.
On the downside, the E-620 has fewer AF points than Canon and Sony's (9 points) offerings; only testing will tell how much of an impact this has on focus accuracy and performance.
When it ships in May, it will be available in two configurations: a body-only version for $699.99 and a kit including the 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lens for $799.99. Olympus will also offer a new battery grip and underwater housing to accessorize the camera.