Olympus tunes up its compacts
Completely overshadowed by the announcement of its OM-D E-M5 interchangeable lens camera, Olympus also updated a couple of its high-end point-and-shoots.
The SZ-31MR iHS has a compact design and 24x f/3-6.9 25-600mm lens (35mm equivalent), the same as its predecessor, but improves its LCD, image processors and sensor. The new model gets a 3-inch 920,000-dot touchscreen LCD, an improved 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that Olympus claims improves image detail and noise in low-light shots, and dual-TruePic V processors that will let you capture HD movies and full-resolution photos simultaneously.
The new iHS designation refers to the combo of the backlit CMOS sensor and dual-image processors. Olympus says together they will "dramatically improve low-light performance, speed up camera response time, enhance scene and subject recognition, and double zoom magnification without sacrificing image quality".
Olympus also gave the iHS treatment to its top Tough camera. The TG-820 remains just as rugged as its predecessor, with a metal body and shock-absorbing system that can survive drops of up to 2 metres, temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius, dives in water down to 10 metres, and up to 100 kilograms of crushing weight. Updates include a new image processor and a 12-megapixel BSI sensor as well as a ultra high-res 3-inch LCD.
Its new sensor/processor combo allows it to shoot at up to 5 frames per second at full resolution and take HDR shots for backlit subjects, which is really nice to have on a rugged camera. Unfortunately, the new version no longer has built-in GPS, something that's also nice to have on a rugged camera.
Finally, Olympus announced the SH-25MR, which takes the GPS functionality that was greatly missed in the new tough camera, as well as a 12.5x optical zoom lens. It's also an iHS camera with the same 16-megapixel sensor, and a touchscreen LCD.
No local pricing has been made available for any of these cameras, but expect them to be available from March/April this year.