With Sigma's fixed-lens, large-sensor compact just now reaching the market, Olympus has countered with a plausible alternative in a serious DSLR compact. The new 10MP E-420 with live view and the new-style high-resolution LCD screen updates the E-410—and this time comes with a matching lens, the system's first "prime" or single-focal-length compact lens. Of the E-420 sensor, Pop Photo says, "Olympus says color reproduction should be on a par with the pro-level E-3, which hit stellar color accuracy numbers in the Pop Photo Lab (February 2008)."
The new Zuiko Digital 25mm ƒ/2.8 (50mm-e), part of the lowest-grade or "standard" lens lineup (Olympus divides its lens line into "Super High Grade," "High Grade," and "Standard"), has five elements in four groups, including one aspheric element. It is less than an inch thick and weighs a mere 95g. Curiously, it has never appeared on the Olympus Digital Lens Roadmap. It will be available in April with an as-yet-unannounced street price (probably less than $300).
Longtime Olympus photographers will note the similarity to the old E-Zuiko 25mm ƒ/2.8 for the Maitani-designed Pen-F half-frame camera.