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Trio of new Olympus FE models feature wide-angle lenses
by David Rasnake -  7/21/2009

In an early morning announcement, Olympus has launched a trio of new additions to its FE series of affordably priced ultracompacts today.

Olympus FE-5020

The Olympus FE-5020, FE-4000, and FE-46 share a common 12 megapixel sensor and incorporate processing-side features from Olympus's DSLRs, including the manufacturer's Art Filter technology.

FE-5020, FE-4000 offer wide-angle zooms
The moderately priced FE-5020 and FE-4000 combine thin, sleek exteriors with a feature that still's uncommon in the sub-$200 price class: wide-angle lenses. The FE-4000 packs in a 4x zoom that begins at the equivalent of 26mm, while the more expensive FE-5020 features a 5x zoom with 24-120mm coverage.

Olympus FE-5020
Olympus FE-5020

A 2.7 inch, 230,000 dot LCD is common to both models, and both new cameras inherit Olympus's DSLR-derived TruePic III processor as well.

Olympus FE-4000

Soft features include Olympus's Intelligent Auto automatic scene recognition mode, Shadow Adjustment Technology for maximizing image dynamic range, and a new AF Tracking option for locking focus on moving subjects.

Olympus FE-4000
Olympus FE-4000

The newest FE models also include a variant of Olympus's Art Filters technology, an in-camera emulation system that first debuted on the manufacturer's DSLRs. The abbreviated list of three filters - referred to as Magic Filters in their point-and-shoot variant - include the popular high-saturation Pop Art and highly vignetted Pin Hole modes, as well as a new Wedding option (which seems to be similar to the Soft Filter option found on the E-series cameras).

Additionally, the FE-5020 also gets a fourth Fisheye filter, which processes the captured image in real time to emulate the curving look of a shot taken with a fisheye lens.

Olympus FE-5020

Both models use proprietary lithium-ion power packs, capture images to either xD or microSD memory types, and come in a range of high-gloss finish colors - including red, blue, and gray for the FE-5020, and gray, white, and magenta for the FE-4000.

AA powered FE-46 targets budget-minded shoppers
Using the same 12 megapixel sensor and 2.7 inch LCD as the other new FE launches, the AA-powered FE-46 features a more typical 36-180mm zoom lens.

Olympus FE-46

Key technologies from the more expensive models, including the Magic Filters system, face detection technology, and AF Tracking, are incorporated into the FE-46 as well, and while the model lacks the slender form factor of its four-digit FE brethren, it balances this decision with a sub-$100 suggested price.

Pricing and availability
All three new FE launches are slated for retail release in September. Suggested pricing for FE-5020 is $159.99, with the FE-4000 coming in $10 cheaper at $149.99. The FE-46 will be tagged around the $99.99 mark.