Olympus updates its most compact dSLR with the new E-450

Hard pressed to improve upon its well-regarded E-420, which Olympus touted as the "world's smallest digital SLR" back when it was announced last year, the camera maker didn't stray too far from its existing formula when it announced the new E-450 today.

Hard pressed to improve upon its well-regarded E-420, which Olympus touted as the "world's smallest digital SLR" back when it was announced last year, the camera maker didn't stray too far from its existing formula when it announced the new E-450 today. Housed in essentially the same compact body as the slim E-420, the E-450 also shares most of its specs, including  a 10-megapixel, 17.3x33mm Live MOS sensor; 3-point autofocus; 2.7-inch, 230,000-pixel LCD; 3.5 fps continuous-shooting speed; and a sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 1,600. In fact, the only real differences are the new TruePic III+ image processor, a brighter LCD, an increase in the maximum recordable images in continuous shooting mode (from six to eight RAW), and the addition of three of the special-effects "Art Filters" included in its higher-end siblings the E-620 and the E-30 (i.e., Warhol-esque pop art, a pinhole camera effect, and a soft-focus effect). In fact, in order to differentiate the E-450, Olympus is only offering the camera as a two-lens kit with 14mm-42mm (28mm-84mm equivalent) f3.5-f5.6 lens and a 40-150mm (80mm-300mm equivalent) f4.0-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens) for $699.99. The camera is slated to begin shipping in July, but in a nod to its entry-level, ease-of-use message, Olympus is launching the E-450 on May 9 on QVC.

A quick specs comparison with its closest competitors:

Olympus E-450 Canon EOS Rebel XS Nikon D60
Price $699.99 (with 14-42mm and 40-150mm lenses) $599.99 (with 18-55mm lens) $649.95 (with 18-55mm lens)
Sensor 10 megapixels, 17.3x13mm Live MOS 10.1 megapixels, 14.8x22.2mm CMOS 10.2 megapixels, 15.8x23.6mm CMOS
Continuous Shooting Speed 3.5 fps 3 fps 3 fps
LCD 2.7-inch, 230,000 pixels (fixed) 2.5-inch, 230,000 pixels (fixed) 2.5-inch, 230,000 pixels (fixed)
Autofocus 3-point 7-point 3-point
Sensitivity ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-3200
Live View Yes Yes No
Storage Media Compact Flash Type I/II (UDMA), Microdrive, xD-Picture Card SD memory card, SDHC memory card SD memory card, SDHC memory card
Dimensions 5.1x3.1x2.1 inches 4.5x3.8x2.4 inches 5.0x3.7x2.5inches
Weight (body) 13.4 oz 15.9 oz 16.1 oz

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