Announced in June 2003, the Olympus E-1 was the first interchangeable lens DSLR for the Four-Thirds system. Released at a premium price point, the E-1 was aimed at the professional market and as such features dust and water-resistant weather-sealing (to match the majority of pro-level Four-Thirds lenses) and very high build quality and robustness, along with Olympus' patented SSWF dust reduction system. The camera features twin control dials, an external white-balance sensor, an external x-contact port and can be used with a vertical battery grip attachment.

Featuring a 5 megapixel CCD with the 4:3 aspect ratio, the E-1 has the same sized sensor as all cameras that share the Four-Thirds mount. Unlike all Four-Thirds cameras since its release except the E-3, the viewfinder in the E-1 is larger and offers 100% frame coverage – one of the main criticisms of the other cameras using the small Four-Thirds sensor.

E-1s have been used in various harsh environments such as deserts and war zones, and as of 2007 remain reportedly one of the toughest SLRs ever produced.

A successor to the E-1 was released in Nov 07 and is called the E-3.

Some brief specifications:

  • 5 Megapixel CCD sensor — image dimensions up to 2560 × 1920 pixels (4.9mp effective)
  • 1.8” rear LCD panel (134,000 pixels; 100% frame coverage)
  • Olympus' patented 'Supersonic Wave Filter' anti-dust system
  • Metering: 49 area ESP, Centre-weighted average, Spot (1.8%)
  • External white-balance sensor
  • Single AF, continuous AF and manual focusing with all Four-Thirds lenses
  • Sequential shooting at 3fps up to 12 frames
  • ISO range 100–3200.
  • Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual shooting modes
  • Takes CompactFlash (Type I/II or MD) type memory cards
  • No inbuilt flash
  • Weight: 660g (body only)
  • Size: 141 × 104 × 81mm