Any one hear any rumors?
With 39 viewings and no replies yet, apparently there aren't a lot of credible rumors right now. For what it's worth, though, I'll pass along the latest rumor from my local serious camera shop.
It may be that the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 (a mouthful) will be the E-1 successor. Why? NOT having the full live preview of the Olympus E-330 (it only has mirror lock-up preview) and not having the articulating LCD screen makes it seem more "professional". Apparently it has the feel of a Leica-like camera. It also has IS.
An opposing viewpoint is expressed by a Panasonic exec, who says it's not meant for professionals (except perhaps as a backup):
Today I received the following in a message from Olympus America: "Regarding the sucessor to the E-1, Olympus is working meticulously to develop a new professional digital SLR camera to match the array of fast Digital Zuiko ED lenses. ... we are one hundred percent commited to provide a new superior pro camera in the near future." The reason given for the delay was disatisfaction with certain components in earlier prototypes.
(This was a reply to my asking if it was worth hanging on to the battery pack and dedicated cable release that fits only the E-300; I bought them thanks to a salesperson's error - she claimed there was no remote. Seems the answer to that question is no. At first Oly didn't reply, but I sent a later message politely pointing out all of their equipment I've bought in the last year or so. I also inquired through sales rather than support.)
Based on a discussion with an Oly employee, and I feel I can report some fairly reliable gossip. We can expect two new DSLRs in the early in middle Fall, with the first introduction being in the consumer price range and the later one being the E-1 replacement. I don't know exactly what you're hoping for in the new pro model, but I ran five pretty fundamental issues by the person and all five were confirmed - mind you, based on gestures, expressions and body language in response to my questions. For what it's worth.
Just a little update: it does seem that we'll get only the under-glass mock-up at Photokina. This isn't surprising given the late Fall date for the real thing that I'd been expecting/hoping for. However it's looking like January for the first models for preliminary testing, which puts us I don't know when for the release.
You might have missed this tidbit from the Olympus site (though I pulled it from another site on Googling Olympus and Photokina); it appears to be a plea for patience on the part of frustrated Oly customers waiting for the next "flagship" DSLR:
"Digital SLR systems play a key role in our business plans. We are currently strengthening our development resources in this area, and are working to bring even more products to market. We assure you there will be successors to the E-1 constantly, and the Olympus E-System and the Four Thirds System will continue to grow.
President, Olympus Imaging Corporation"
Certainly I am impatient; how can they expect to keep customers when they take so long between updates of their top model? I own eight digital Zuiko lenses and two bodies and am close to picking up a Nikon D200. Mind you I'd hang on to the E-330 for some purposes; waist level viewing when taking shots of people is vastly superior to a camera on my nose. And I really like the ergonomics and image quality. But it's not good in low light (no IS, not so hot at 1600, slow low light focus) and it's not what it should be on long exposures. Hence my desire for the E-1 replacement (which I have been virtually assured has in-camera IS, faster processing, and lower noise among other improvements) - but when?
Yet another of my replies to Ronk here!
The latest I hear is March availability on the pro model (name still a mystery). I also hear that the E-330 will have another firmware upgrade (the third I believe) rather shortly, and that this will help with both high ISO and long exposure noise.
Here's a somewhat interesting and depressing comment from the blogoshere:
Latest pretty good source gossip: it will the called the E-2 and it will announced - and I think available - next February. This is earlier than I'd expected if true.