Olympus µ 1040 hands-on at IFA 2008

Olympus brought their latest compact digital camera, the µ 1040, to IFA this year, complete with a full metal body and some questionable color options.  Seen here in "Melon Yellow" (with "Starry Silver", "Midnight Black" and "Magma Red" your less blaring choices), the 10-megapixel camera squeezes a 3x (38-114mm equivalent) zoom into a body just 16.5mm at its thinnest.

Round the back lurks a bright 2.7-inch LCD visible, we're told, even in direct sunlight (its performance under the glaring show floor lighting did suggest this would turn out to be true). Since it's a point-&-shoot there's an Intelligent Auto mode that detects what you're looking at and adjusts settings, focus and exposure to suit.

Advanced face detection can recognise up to 16 individual people, there's digital image stabilization and the TruePic III image processor for faster shooting and saving. Either xD Picture Card or microSD memory cards can be used, and the µ 1040 can record VGA resolution video at 30fps.

No pricing yet, but the Olympus µ 1040 should be available in September.

Press Release:

Precision optics in an all-new super-slim metal body

The Olympus µ 1040: Great results in style

Hamburg, 25 August 2008 – Uniting powerful features in a completely redesigned super-slim metal body, the Olympus µ 1040 is an extremely elegant performer. Measuring in at a depth of just 16.5mm at its thin end, it combines a precision 3x zoom (38-114mm*) with such cutting-edge features as Advanced Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology. Furthermore, the new Intelligent Auto mode can detect the five most commonly-used scenes and then automatically adjust camera settings including focus and exposure. A large (6.9cm/2.7") HyperCrystal LCD helps users frame and review their shots. In addition to the camera's internal memory, photos can be stored on xD-Picture Card or – thanks to a bundled attachment – on microSD Card. The 10 Megapixel µ 1040 will hit stores from September 2008.

Style meets innovation

The Olympus µ 1040 represents a new generation of style. Its sleek, thin metal body really makes a statement and comes in a dazzling array of colours. These include Starry Silver, Midnight Black, Magma Red and Melon Yellow, with a sliding lens cover that enhances the µ 1040's streamlined appearance. Rather than being cluttered with many buttons, a flat control panel serves to access most functions. This ensures easy navigation while simultaneously getting the hearts of minimal design enthusiasts racing.

High-tech features

The innovations incorporated in the Olympus µ 1040 make capturing picture-perfect images a breeze. New is the Intelligent Auto mode. It identifies the most commonly-used scenes and then applies the settings to subsequent photos. Advanced Face Detection Technology lets up to 16 faces be recognised by the camera. Matched with Shadow Adjustment Technology, which cleverly optimises shadowy areas in picture, you can be sure that your human subjects are always caught in the right light.

Thanks to Digital Image Stabilisation which boosts ISO values, crisp and sharp photos are assured – even in low-light situations. Meanwhile, the powerful TruePic III image processor enhances colour reproduction and image quality as well as boosting speed.

Take charge

With the Olympus µ 1040, you are in control. Perfect Shot Preview lets adjustments to the image be shown on the LCD in real time. This makes it easy to choose the right settings to achieve the best effects. In cases where further assistance might be required, the in-camera help guide puts solutions at your fingertips. Users also have a choice of up to 39 languages for the camera menu. In addition to internal memory, pictures can be stored to xD Picture Card, or – thanks to a bundled attachment – to microSD Card. And to ensure easy handling of photos on a computer, the multifaceted Olympus Master software is also included.

Available in Starry Silver, Midnight Black, Magma Red and Melon Yellow, the sleek and ultra-slim µ 1040 becomes available in September 2008.

The Olympus µ 1040 – main features:

· Miniature 3x optical zoom (38-114mm*) in super slim metal body (just 16.5mm at its thin end) to capture everything from great scenes to exciting close-ups

· 10 Megapixels to make poster-size prints

· The easy way to perfect images – Intelligent Auto mode detects the five most commonly used scenes and adjusts settings, focus and exposure automatically

· Advanced Face Detection of up to 16 persons for perfectly focused and exposed faces, plus correct exposure of other image areas

· 6.9cm/2.7" HyperCrystal LCD for excellent previews even in brilliant sunlight

· Digital Image Stabilisation for less blur even in low light

· TruePic III image processor for faster image handling and higher image quality

· Liven up your memories with movie recording with sound (up to VGA resolution at 30 fps)

· xD-Picture Card and microSD Card compatible

* Equivalent to a 35mm camera

microSD is a trademark of SD Card Association


BrightCapture Technology

A technology developed for better shooting results in low light situations. It works in two ways: i) All available pixel information from the image sensor is used to provide a view on the LCD that's up to four times brighter than conventional types, to make framing easy even in dark surroundings. ii) In certain shooting modes sensitivity is increased (resolution is sometimes reduced), which results in well-exposed images with accurate colour reproduction, high contrast and definition, even when not using the flash.

Digital Image Stabilisation

A special shooting mode, where the camera automatically increases ISO sensitivity to allow shorter shutter speeds – which helps to avoid image blur caused by camera shake or by fast-moving objects.

Advanced Face Detection Technology

A technology that searches for faces in a composition and recognises them as the main subject. It then automatically puts them in focus and optimally adjusts exposure to create an image that's sharp in the right places and ideally exposed. Advanced Face Detection Technology can detect up to 16 faces.


A high-grade, fully-transmissive technology used in LCDs, which employs an additional layer at the bottom of the LCD to reflect light from external light sources. This enhances the brightness of the LCD, so even in direct sunlight images are displayed sharply and improved contrast compared to that of conventional displays. Also, it provides for particularly wide viewing angles without glare or shadow, so images can be framed from a variety of angles and viewed by several people at once.

In-Camera Panorama mode

A mode allowing users to instantly compose panoramas of approx. 130° right inside the camera. By framing each shot in step with the on-screen guide, exciting panoramic scenes can be stitched together for a more realistic and emotional depiction of any landscape or skyline. This mode is only available in conjunction with the use of an xD-Picture Card.

Intelligent Auto mode

This "intelligent" type of AUTO mode combines Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology to allow the camera to detect the five most commonly used scenes automatically. It enables the capture of perfect photos without any need for manual settings.

microSD compatibility

A special attachment comes bundled with this camera which provides for microSD Card compatibility in addition to being able to use xD-Picture Cards.

Shadow Adjustment Technology

A technology designed to improve exposure for pictures with dark areas. Using a sensor that works much like the human eye, dark parts of a composition (e.g. a shadow under a tree) are identified and the camera then adjusts the exposure settings accordingly for those areas. The result is a more realistic and detailed picture.

Perfect Shot Preview

Allows the effect of various settings to be previewed before shooting. Users can therefore be confident of capturing the image perfectly. The image appears in a multi-frame window on the LCD in real-time, making it easy to compare options and take the best possible shot.

TruePic III image processor

Olympus' newest-generation image processing engine. It automatically enhances important aspects of image quality including: colour reproduction (colour range, saturation and brightness), picture sharpness (reduced image noise, improved edge reproduction), as well as providing faster processing speeds.