The svelte 0.8-inch thick body of the Olympus FE-5010 contains the combination of a 1/2.33″-type twelve megapixel 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-5010’s only option for framing and reviewing images, as there’s no optical viewfinder on this model. Unlike its simultaneously-announced siblings – the FE3000 and FE3010 – the Olympus FE-5010 does offer true mechanical image stabilization though, an important selling point that’s well worth the slight price premium. The mechanical stabilization forms one half of Olympus’ “Dual Image Stabilization” system for fighting blur. The other half is what Olympus refers to as “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-5010 employs a contrast-detection autofocus system operating off data streaming from the camera’s image sensor, and the FE-5010 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 14 scene modes are offered in the Olympus FE-5010, 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-5010’s various set-up options and modes. A couple of other features not found in the FE-3000 and FE-3010 are the Olympus FE-5010’s Smile Shot function which automatically captures three images when your subject smiles, and an Expression Edit function which can change the expression on a subject’s face to (hopefully) yield a more pleasing final image.
For viewing images on a television, the Olympus FE5010 has audio / video output connectivity, while images can be transferred to a PC over a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection. A rechargeable LI-42B Lithium Ion battery with charger is included with the FE5010, although information on battery life wasn’t available at press time. Also included is Olympus’ Master 2 software for viewing and modifying photos. Images are stored in a useful 48MB 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-5010’s product bundle, allowing the use of microSD cards in the camera as well.
The Olympus FE-5010 will ship in the USA from January 2009 with pricing of about $190.