The compact 1.1-inch thick body of the Olympus FE-46 contains the combination of a 1/2.3″-type twelve megapixel CCD image sensor and an Olympus-branded 5x optical zoom lens which offers focal length equivalents from a rather tight 36mm wide angle to a useful 180mm telephoto. A 2.7-inch LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution offers the FE-46’s only option for framing and reviewing images, as there’s no optical viewfinder on this model. Sadly, there’s no true mechanical image stabilization. Instead, the Olympus FE-46 offers what Olympus calls “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.
Olympus’ FE-46 employs a contrast-detection autofocus system operating off data streaming from the camera’s image sensor, and the FE-46 also includes face detection capability, capable of simultaneously detecting up to 16 faces in the framed scene. Olympus’ Face Detection function is linked to both the autoexposure and autofocus systems, ensuring that your subjects’ faces are taken into account when determining both these variables. It also allows for tracking of a subject’s face as it moves around the frame,once detected.
A total of 13 scene modes are offered in the Olympus FE-46, allowing users some degree of control over their images without needing to understand the subtleties of shutter speeds and apertures. There’s also an Intelligent Auto mode which can automatically select the correct mode from a subset of these – either Portrait, Landscape, Night + Portrait, Macro or Sports. Another ease-of-use feature is an “In-Camera Help Guide” system that provides detailed descriptions of the effects that can be achieved with the Olympus FE-46’s various set-up options and modes. Another unusual feature is Olympus’ “Magic Filters”, previously seen in some of the company’s E-System digital SLRs. Filters available in the FE-46 include Pop Art, Pin Hole and Wedding.
For viewing images on a television, the Olympus FE46 has audio / video output connectivity, while images can be transferred to a PC over a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection. Two AA alkaline batteries are included with the FE46, rated as good for 180 shots on a charge. Also included is Olympus’ Master 2 software for viewing and modifying photos. Images are stored in 19MB of internal memory, as well as on xD-Picture Card memory cards. As with the company’s other cameras since August 2008, Olympus is also including an MASD-1 microSD to xD-Picture Card adapter in the FE-46’s product bundle, allowing the use of microSD cards in the camera as well.
The Olympus FE-46 will ship in the USA from September 2009 with pricing of about $100.