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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Top D-SLRs Under $1,000

Six cameras that deliver hot shots for a fistful of dollars

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The new E-520 has just about every feature a photographer could want, which is amazing considering that it's the lowest priced of these models. It has a 10-mega-pixel Live MOS image sensor, a new and improved 2.7-inch LCD monitor with Live View, three-mode sensor-shift image stabilization that works with all Olympus lenses, a Supersonic Wave Filter sensor dust-reduction system and slots for both CompactFlash and xD memory cards.

For those new to digital SLRs, the E-520 offers 20 Scene Select modes, which automatically set up everything for shooting just about any subject or scene you're likely to encounter-including portraits, landscapes, action, fireworks, sunsets and even underwater. It also has a Face-Detection feature that can track up to eight faces in a scene, optimizing focus and exposure for people pictures. Shadow Adjustment Technology brings out detail in shadows while retaining all detail in highlights, and it works automatically in Face Detection, Live View and Scene Select modes.

Advanced users will appreciate very good AF and metering performance, excellent image quality and full manual control. Perfect Shot Preview lets you view white-balance and exposure-compensation effects right on the LCD.

Olympus offers 20 lenses for its D-SLRs, from a 7-14mm wide zoom and 8mm fisheye to a 300mm ƒ/2.8 super-telephoto. With the Four Thirds sensor's 2x focal-length factor, this gives focal lengths equivalent to 13-600mm on a 35mm camera. As a Four Thirds System camera, the E-520 can use all Four Thirds System lenses, regardless of manufacturer.

The Olympus E-520 features image stabilization built in to the sensor design, so it works with all lenses. Three stabilization modes are possible: a mode for handheld, low-light scenes and two modes specialized for panning with the action-one for vertical and one for horizontal camera orientation.


Sensor: 10-megapixel Live MOS
Sensor Size: 17.3x13mm (2.0x)
ISO Range: 100-1600
Storage Media: CompactFlash, xD
A/D Converter: 12-bit
LCD: 2.7 inches, Live View
AF System: 3-point
Metering System: 49-point, CW, 2% spot
Shutter Speeds: 60 to 1⁄4000 sec., plus B
Maximum Continuous Firing Rate: 3.5 fps
Built-In Flash: GN 12/39 (ISO 100, meters/feet)
Dimensions: 5.4x3.6x2.7 inches
Weight: 16.8 ounces
Estimated Street Price: $599


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