Hot Shot: Firepower? It's loaded.
Imaging: 10.1MP effective Live MOS sensor captures images at 3648x2736 pixels with up to 12 bits/color in RAW.
Storage: Dual slots for CompactFlash Type I/II (including UDMA) and xD-Picture cards. Stores JPEG, RAW, RAW + JPEG.
Burst rate: Fine-quality JPEGs: 5 fps up to 37 shots. RAW: 5 fps (tested) up to 17 shots.
AF system: TTL phase-difference detection system with 11 points full-twin cross AF sensors. Single-shot and continuous AF with focus tracking. Sensitive down to EV -1 (at ISO 100, f/1.4).
Shutter speeds: 1/8000 to 60 sec plus B (1/3-EV increments). 150,000 cycle rating.
Metering: 49-zone TTL metering with Digital ESP, centerweighted, and spotmetering (approximately 2.0% of viewfinder). EV 1-20 (at ISO 100).
ISO range: ISO 100-3200 (1/3 or 1-EV increments).
Flash: TTL auto pop-up flash, GN 43 (ISO 100, feet). Flash sync to 1/250 sec. Provides wireless control of optional Olympus FL 50R flash. Dedicated Olympus hot-shoe. Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism.
LCD: Swiveling 2.5-in. TFT with 230,000-pixel resolution and Live View mode.
Output: Hi-Speed USB 2.0, NTSC/PAL video, and remote cable connector.
Battery: Rechargeable BLM-1 Li-ion, CIPA rating, 610 shots, 50% with flash.
Size/weight: 5.6x4.6x2.9 in., 1.8 lb without card and battery.
Street price: $1,700, body only.
Accuracy: 98% (Excellent)
Magnification: 1.15X (Excellent)
• Sony Alpha 700 ($1,400 street, body only): With its larger 3:2 aspect ratio and 12.2MP CMOS sensor, the A700 captures slightly higher detail than the E-3, but color is not as accurate nor is noise as low at ISOs above 1600. The A700's AF system squeaks past the E-3's in very bright light (using a 50mm f/1.4 lens). Both cameras have image stabilization systems that gain up to 3 stops' advantage. The E-3 body is built tougher than the A700 and also sports a swiveling LCD monitor with a live view mode. The A700's larger, sharper, 3-inch LCD has a fixed position and no live view.
• Nikon D300 ($1,800, street, body only) Priced slightly higher, the D300 outperforms the E-3 in several categories, notably its faster AF speed in very low light and its maximum burst rate of 6 fps (versus 5 for the E-3.) The D300 has a fixed-position, higher-quality, 3-inch LCD that also allows live view -- with two types of AF. We'd give the E-3 a slightly higher rating for body strength, but the D300 has easy-to-master controls and a refined dial and button arrangement. Its external flash controls and AF tracking are more advanced. And JPEGs from the D300 look better at high ISO settings.