Olympus has just released three new compact point and shoot digital cameras, the FE-4050, FE-5050 and µ-7050, increasing the competition within the point and shoot market. All three cameras are slim in size and are available in several color options. They are also all equipped with the TruePicIII image processing engine, providing color consistency and a wide dynamic range. Shooting functions feature six Magic Filters, which allow you to transform a normal scene via Pop, Pin Hole, Fisheye, Drawing, Punk and Soft Focus options. They include easy-to-understand descriptions of camera modes on the LCD monitor and an iAUTO function that automatically optimizes the camera settings by analyzing the scene. AF Tracking helps keep a moving subject in focus by tracking it automatically, whilst Perfect Fix corrects backlight exposure and redeye. They also come with a USB battery charging option, which allows the camera battery to be recharged from a PC.

There isn’t a lot of difference between the FE-4050 and FE- 5050, except for megapixel capacity (12- and 14-megapixels respectively), optical zoom (4X and 5X) and color options. The µ-7050, however, boasts a high-magnification 7X optical zoom lens with wide-angle shooting capability. The zoom capabilities are supported by a 14-megapixel 1/2.33-inch CCD that works together with the high-resolution lens to capture high-definition images. A built-in "DUAL IS" image stabilization compensates for image blur due to camera shake by adjusting the direction of the CCD.

Here's a quick look at some key specs of each model:

FE-4050

  • Effective pixels: 12-megapixels
  • Optical zoom: 4X
  • Wide-angle shooting: 27mm (35mm camera equivalent)
  • Image stabilization: High-sensitivity shooting
  • LCD size: 2.7-inch, 230,000 dots
  • LCD type: TFT colour
  • Movie recording: VGA (Motion JPEG)
  • Compatible media: SD memory card / SDHC memory card

FE-5050

  • Effective pixels: 14 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: 5X
  • Wide-angle shooting: 26mm (35mm camera equivalent)
  • Image stabilization: High-sensitivity shooting
  • LCD size: 2.7-inch, 230,000 dots
  • LCD type: TFT colour
  • Movie recording: VGA (Motion JPEG)
  • Compatible media: SD memory card / SDHC memory card

µ-7050

  • Effective pixels: 14 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: 7X
  • Wide-angle: shooting 28mm (35mm camera equivalent)
  • Image stabilization: DUAL IS (CCD-shift image stabilization & High-sensitivity shooting)
  • LCD size: 3.0-inch, 230,000 dots
  • LCD type: TFT colour
  • Movie recording: HD movie (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
  • Compatible media: SD memory card / SDHC memory card

All three will launch in Japan later in August, while the FE-4050 and FE-5050 arrive in Europe in September. Prices are yet to be announced.