Cisco may have washed its hands of pocket camcorders, but Olympus is ready to dive into the market with gusto. The company, best known for its cameras and voice recorders, just brought those two worlds together by announcing the LS-20M, a handheld whose relatively high-end audio specs should help it go toe-to-toe with Zoom. In addition to 1080p video, the LS-20M records 24 bit / 96 hHz Linear PCM audio using a pair of condenser mics. Alas, at $300 it has a small 2-inch screen and no optical zoom, but at least Olympus borrowed four of the visual effects that make its PEN cameras so fun to use. Look for it in June, and in the meantime, hit the PR for more details.
New Full-HD Video Combined with Magic Movie Special Effects and Pristine Audio Recording to Create Movies that Look and Sound Like Professional Productions
CENTER VALLEY, Pa., May 3, 2011 – Transforming everyday videos into memorable movies can be a challenge, but the Olympus LS-20M Linear PCM recorder makes it easy to add creative flair to any recording with the introduction of high-definition video. Record a live recital, create home movies and upload amazing linear PCM audio and high-definition video with the new Olympus LS-20M. Incorporating technologies much like those that debuted in recent Olympus digital imaging products, the new LS-20M is the first Olympus recorder that captures and edits 1080p HD video while recording 24 bit/96 hHz Linear PCM stereo sound. Combined with four different optional Magic Movie special effects features, the LS-20M enables users to create home movies that look and sound like professional productions in a device that's so compact it fits in your pocket.
"The potential number of uses for the Olympus LS-20M Linear PCM recorder are limitless," said Amy Leslie, product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "Anyone looking to capture and upload music performances, sporting events, weddings, meetings or just create their own fun videos, can use the LS-20M for their personal and professional audio and video needs."
Lights, Camera, Action
The new Olympus LS-20M takes handheld recording to a new dimension with HD video. By combining Olympus' superior audio capabilities, cutting-edge design and the outstanding optical performance expected from Olympus, this all-in-one handheld offers the versatility and practicality you need.
Olympus is creating more ways for consumers to share memories and express themselves through video. Users can capture full HD movies utilizing one of three video format settings up to 1080p for stunning HD video clarity. The camera lens and microphones are located on top of the unit – just point the device in the direction of the intended object and hit record. A crisp, 2.0-inch color LCD on the front of the device clearly displays the video as its being shot. Below the video LCD is a 1.46-inch LCD data screen that displays time, audio levels and battery life. Want to record a live recital that looks and sounds like a professional ballet? The LS-20M can do that, just point and record.
The HD video compression format makes it easy to upload videos to Facebook, YouTube, iTunes, Vimeo and other web-based content sharing sites, and the resolution offers remarkable detail on modern home theatre systems.
The camera features a 4.1mm (16:9 at 49mm, 4:3 at 59mm) autofocus lens and 4x digital zoom delivering premium video no matter where you are shooting. The Olympus LS-20M allows users to record in low light for more dramatic footage and also offers close-up video shooting. The combination of video and audio excellence has an infinite number of possibilities. Record a close-up of a hummingbird in HD video and set it to your own sound track of better-than-CD quality audio.
Olympus has been on the cutting edge of audio recording technology since inventing the microcassette format in 1969. The fourth in the series, the LS-20M lives up to the company's renowned history of Linear PCM recording capability, to capture the rich, dynamic sound quality of music performances; like a studio in your pocket. The device captures rich, dynamic sound with its two condenser mics, and the ability to record in Linear PCM (WAV files) and MP3 formats. Use internal or external microphones to record better-than-CD quality audio for movies that sound like they were made in a Hollywood studio.
The recording features don't stop at amazing sound quality. For your convenience, the Olympus LS-20M offers manual or auto-level recording. The "auto" level is perfect if you are recording from the crowd. Thanks to the manual level, musicians can capture optimal sound checks and live performances.
Certain settings, like crowded press conferences or a live show at a packed club can provide unwanted background noise that can later be incredibly frustrating. Thankfully, the Olympus LS-20M features a switchable low-cut filter that enables users to eliminate low-frequency sounds and unwanted background noises, like coughing. Collaborating musicians who want to monitor the recording progress on the fly can do so with the built-in speaker.
The Olympus LS-20M voice-activation feature automatically starts a recording when a certain level of sound is reached. The self-timer feature starts the recording process after a predetermined amount of time; both are ideal for recording a performance or video without having to operate the recorder.
Movie Making Magic
Specially designed to expand the potential of your creativity, the new, simple to operate, Magic Movie special effects technology turns scenes of everyday life into extraordinary images that are distinctive and compelling. Using technology from Olympus' cameras, Magic Movie allows users to create exciting videos, then upload and share them with the world on YouTube or Facebook. Unleash your creative side by incorporating linear PCM audio with your own artistic expression.
The LS-20M Magic Movie special effects settings:
Rock -- create your own rock video! Step on stage with the classic Rock Magic Movie setting, featuring saturated black images and bright, bold background colors;
Sketch – the Sketch Magic Movie setting turns your video into a living and breathing pencil drawing, reminiscent of some popular 80's videos. Sketch adds an artistic feel and poetic flavor to your recordings;
Pinhole --the Pinhole Magic Movie setting allows users to record video with soft, darkened outside edges - enhancing the subject in the center of the video. Pinhole is great for setting a mood to tie in with the melody or focus of your recorded sound;
Pop -- The Pop Magic Movie setting super-saturates colors to create a brighter, more vivid video recording. Turn your world into a work of pop art!
Powerful Punch in a Compact Package
The Olympus LS-20M features a lightweight, durable, black body with silver function buttons in a slim, pocket-size device that fits in your palm. At just 5.3 inches long and 5.4 ounces, the LS-20M provides remarkable power in a convenient and portable size.
The attractive Olympus LS-20M is eye-catching and designed with ease-of-use in mind, with the control panel located just below the video and data LCDs. As the previous LS-series models, the record button lights up when activated and the thumb panel enables easy adjustments to settings while recording. A switch on the right side panel allows for easy transition from audio/video to audio-only recording.
Inputs at the base of the unit offer easy access to USB and HDMI connections. Plugging the device into a computer or tablet for fast video uploads couldn't be easier.
The Olympus LS-20M is packaged with everything needed to make HD movies straight out of the box. It's equipped with a 2GB SD card, one rechargeable Lithium ion battery, and a USB cable. The battery is easily charged by plugging in the LS-20M to a computer. For added memory, the LS-20M can handle SDHC cards up to 32GB for long hours of movie making.
An optional RS-30W Wireless Remote empowers users to start and stop the recording of the Olympus LS-20M without touching the unit. This is ideal for live performances, as the device can be placed in an optimal recording position and activated at a distance.
Pricing and Availability
The Olympus LS-20M provides excellent audio and HD video recording of premium movies at a highly competitive price: estimated street price of $299.99 (U.S.). It will be available in June 2011.