Olympus E-400: World's Smallest DSLR, But Not Available in US? Huh?

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

Here's a bit of frustrating news: Olympus announced its E-400 10-megapixel camera, calling it "the world's smallest digital SLR," and the next thing we know the company drops the bomb that the camera won't be available in North America. Gee, thanks, Olympus. Change that.

It's pretty small, too—look at that insert picture to the right, and you'll see how it could just about fit in the palm of your hand. It reminds us of that "OM" series of film SLRs we had years ago, which packed a lot of big features into its small size.

So let's figure out what we won't be getting: it has a 2.5-inch LCD viewscreen and a sophisticated optical viewfinder, too. Olympus added an amplifier circuit that reduces noise, and at the same time speeds up its operation, allowing it to snap off three frames per second. Plus, it uses the full line Olympus's schweet Zuiko Digital Top Pro Lenses, along with a variety of accessories. If you're intimidated by all the high-tech manual stuff, it also has 31 scene modes to tailor its automatic shooting to your situation. Shipping in November, no price was mentioned yet.

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10.0 million pixel Olympus E-400 [Digital Photography Review]

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According to PopPhoto.com's Michael J. McNamara, "According to inside sources, there wasn't enough time and manufacturing capability to meet both the European demand (moderate numbers) and the US demand (large numbers) for this camera prior to the big holiday selling season, so Olympus decided to make the E-400 a European-only model. Don't despair, I've also been told that the company is looking at the PMA show in Feb. 2007 as the platform for the introduction of a more advanced DSLR slated for the U.S. Let's hope that's the case, because in this rapidly evolving DSLR market, any company that doesn't keep up with timely new models is destined to disappear or get swallowed up a la the Sony and Konica Minolta merger earlier this year. Hint: Can you say Olympasonic or Panolympus?"