Olympus launched its next digital SLR camera ? the successor to the E-1 – at 11pm on 16 October, UK time.

NEWS UPDATE: Olympus UK has confirmed the full UK specification for the E-3 digital SLR which will cost around £1,099 (body only) and be in shops from the end of November.

Last month Olympus revealed details of how it set about designing the camera which, reports suggested, would be called the E3.

Olympus launched the first of its Four Thirds E-system cameras, the E-1 (pictured), in 2003.

In a message posted on its website in September Olympus stated that the new model would be ‘rugged yet graceful, with mobility, functionality, durability, and presence that resonate with the user’s senses’.

It claimed the control layout design evokes the ‘efficient layout of controls in an airline cockpit’.

It added: ‘Take mobility, for example. The front view evokes the tensed musculature of an athlete waiting for the starting pistol, or a black panther about to pounce on his prey’.

A prototype of the newcomer, bearing the name ‘E3’, was shown at an event hosted by Olympus Korea in the summer.

Earlier this year Olympus confirmed that the camera would feature a Live View screen.

Despite repeated requests, Olympus would not reveal details about the new DSLR until just after midnight, European time (17/10/07).

For details of the design visit www.olympus-esystem.com/dea/special/passion/episode7_01.html.