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(Pocket-lint) - Olympus has, finally, announced the official arrival of the long awaited successor to the E-3 - the much debated Olympus E-5 - and, according to a Pocket-lint source, it may well be the final conventional SLR that the camera giant makes. 

We were given the chance to get hands on with the super-cam before its Photokina launch over in Cologne and we were told that this could be the final E-series camera, with mirror-less technology advancing rapidly. 

Our source said: "If this is the last, it will only be the last if the technology of mirror-less catches up. Assuming they sort the focusing speed issue out - which are already getting pretty close - and, assuming they sort the viewfinder quality out, then you could have a mirror-less camera that performs as well as this in the not too distant future."

So what of the E-5, how does it measure up? 

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Well, it's very similar to the E-3 in build, which isn't surprising as the device is designed to be a direct successor, rather than a fresh new range. 

"This is an upgrade on the E3," our source remarked. "We obviously don't want to leave loyal E-system owners in the lurch.

"The general layout is very similar. We've tweaked some of the buttons after taking a lot of feedback from a lot of E3 users." 

On board the E-5 is packing some improved tech though. You're looking at a tough camera, that is both dustproof, splashproof and pretty rugged. 

With regards to hardware, this flagship device combines Four Thirds lens compatibility with a more powerful image processor to deliver high quality images.

It has 12.3-megapixels and a Zuiko digital lens system. There's also the new TruPic V engine on board, which, according to our source at least, gives the E-5 the edge in terms of sharpness over its rivals.

"The output that you get from the pro-standard lens is the best sharpest of any 12-megapixel camera on the market," he said.

"If you take the two biggest competitors in this segment and say they're using APS sensors, then edge-to-edge, the sharpness is better."

It has a 3-inch swivel LCD, 5fps sequential shooting, ISO 6400 and can shoot 720p HD movies.

In short, it's a monster camera that's been a long time coming.

The Olympus E-5 hits the shops in October and will cost €1,699 on the continent, so probably around £1400-£1550 here in the UK.

How does it measure up? Keep tuned to Pocket-lint for our comprehensive review, coming soon.

Writing by Paul Lamkin.