The Olympus FE-4020’s slim, 0.9-inch thick body contains a 1/2.3″-type 14-megapixel CCD image sensor coupled to an Olympus-branded 4x optical zoom lens which offers focal length equivalents from a very generous 26mm wide angle to a moderate 105mm telephoto. A 2.7-inch LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution offers the FE-4020’s only option for framing and reviewing images, as there’s no optical viewfinder on this model. The Olympus FE4020 does not offer true mechanical or optical image stabilization, providing only “Digital Image Stabilization” – essentially a setting that causes the camera to raise ISO sensitivity (along with shutter speeds and image noise) in an attempt to freeze motion. ISO sensitivity ranges from a low of ISO 64 to a maximum of ISO 1,600 equivalent.
The Olympus 4020 captures movies at 640×480 or 320×240 pixels at 30 or 15 frames per second using Motion JPEG format in an AVI container. For viewing images on a television, the Olympus FE-4020 has NTSC / PAL video output connectivity, while images and videos can be transferred to a PC over a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection. The FE-4020 includes what the company calls Magic Filters, similar to the in-camera Art Filters first introduced in Olympus digital SLRs in 2009. These new Magic Filters include “Pop Art”, “Pin Hole”, “Fish-Eye” and “Drawing” filters to enhance and transform ordinary pictures. The FE4020 comes bundled with new Olympus [ib] software which includes Geotagging and Face Recognition functionality.
The Olympus 4020 employs a contrast-detection autofocus system operating off data streaming from the camera’s image sensor, and interestingly the FE-4020’s face detection function is linked not only to the autoexposure and autofocus systems, but is also used to assist the camera’s Shadow Adjustment Technology function. We’ve seen Olympus Shadow Adjustment function on the company’s digital SLRs in the past, and here it helps ensuring that your subjects’ faces are captured with appropriate brightness without blowing out the background in backlit scenes. Olympus’ advanced face detection function can track up to 16 faces, and new AF tracking technology continually adjusts focus and exposure to keep fast-moving subjects in focus. There’s even “Pet Mode” AF tracking for animal lovers.
A total of 13 scene modes are offered in the Olympus FE-4020, allowing users some degree of control over their images without needing to understand the subtleties of shutter speeds and apertures. There’s also Programmed Auto and an Intelligent Auto mode which can automatically select from a subset of scene modes (Portrait, Landscape, Night + Portrait, Macro or Sports). Enhanced Help Guides are built right into the camera to assist users of all skill levels. A rechargeable LI-70B Lithium-ion battery with charger is included with the FE-4020, with battery life rated at 180 shots per charge. Images are stored in a not-so-generous 18MB of available internal memory, as well as on SD/SDHC memory cards.
The Olympus FE-4020 will be on offer in the USA from February 2010 with pricing of about $150. Available body colors will be warm gray, pearl white, light pink and light blue.