Olympus perhaps feeling the strain of poor uptake on its FourThirds system has launched the aptly named Olympus E-300. Not to be confused with Canon's EOS 300D in any way, the eight megapixel model will come with a 14-45mm ZUIKO DIGITAL zoom as well as the further choice of many more.

Olympus is boasting that the traditional penta prism has been replaced by a TTL Optical Porro Finder to enable a lean, more appealing, compact look. However strangely after the big statement it made about full frame DSLR quality surrounding the FourThirds launch has opted for a Full Frame Transfer CCD (FFT CCD)

The other noticeable omission is support for Olympus' xD Picture Card even though Olympus has announced a 1Gb version of the card today.

Olympus has yet to set a price for the camera, however they are hoping to make them available to would be buyers early next year.

Features and accessories at a glance:

The Olympus E-300 digital SLR - additional features:
• 8.0 million pixels
• User-friendly menu plus full manual operation
• Single AF, continuous AF and manual focusing
• Digital ESP, centre-weighted average and spot exposure metering
• Scene programme and scene select programme modes
• Records to CompactFlash cards and Microdrives
• Compatible with the complete range of Olympus E-System lenses*:
• NEW! ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-45mm (28-90mm) f3.5-5.6
(available from November 2004)
• NEW! ZUIKO DIGITAL 40-150mm (80-300mm) f3.5-4.5 (available from November 2004) ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm (28-108mm) f2.8-3.5
• ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm (100-400mm) f2.8-3.5
• ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50mm (100mm) f2.0 Macro
• ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 300mm (600mm) f2.8
• ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm (22-44mm) f2.8-3.5
• NEW! ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 150mm (300mm) f2.0
(available from October 2004)
• Compatible with new accessories including ZUIKO DIGITAL 40-150mm (80-300mm)* lens f3.5-4.5, FL-36 external flash and HLD-3 power battery holder
• An underwater case will be available from beginning of 2005 * 35mm equivalent in brackets