Olympus PEN E-PM1 (PEN Mini) Preview

Olympus' PEN series of compact digicams just got three more new models. The most affordable, and smallest in the series, is the PEN E-PM1, which will be available in six stylish colors (purple, pink, brown, white, silver, and black). As with its more expensive siblings, the idea behind the entire PEN series is that they are both compact (like a point and shoot), but feature fast, high quality interchangeable lenses (like a dSLR). All cameras in this series will feature a 12.3 Megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, a TruePic VI Image Processor, a Dust Reduction System, 3.0" LCD screen (460K pixels), and a high 12,800 ISO capability.

Autofocus on the E-PM1 is handled by Olympus' FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) Autofocus Tracking System, which uses 35 separate focus points to find sharp, clear, and speedy focus in any situation. Another similarity between the models in this line is the built-in collection of Olympus "Art Filters" to help customize the look of photos without the need for after-the-fact photo editing software. Art Filters, which can be applied in combinations up to 10 in camera while shooting, will vary per model (not all cameras feature every filter), but may include Diorama, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia, Dramatic Tone, Star Light, and White Edge.

Olympus has added 3D capabilities to the PEN E-PM1 via its 3D Photo Mode, which allows for the camera to automatically create a 3D images in landscape or macro shooting situations. How easy is it? Three step easy. Users will select 3D Photo Mode, release the shutter, and pan the camera until it automatically takes the second image. A .MOBI file will be created, for viewing on a 3DTV or 3D ready computer monitor.

Not only a still camera, as most digicams tend to be these days, the Olympus PEN E-PM1 is capable of 1080/60i HD movie recording. Because of this focus on movies, the whole PEN series features MSC (Movie & Still Compatibility) lenses, which are designed to provide "near-silent operation, enabling you to shoot HD movies in stereo with amazing clarity." The lens for this camera kit will be the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 II R zoom lens (28mm-84mm equivalent).
Olympus PEN E-PL3 Features Include:

  • Three body color choices: purple, pink, brown, white, silver, and black
  • 12.3-Megapixel Live MOS image sensor
  • Micro Four-Thirds lens mount system
  • TruePic VI Image Processing Engine
  • FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) Autofocus System
  • Olympus System Supersonic Wave Filter Dust Reduction System
  • iAuto (intelligent), Program AE, Aperture/Shutter Priority, Full Manual, and Custom exposure control
  • In-Camera Art Filters (applicable to both still and HD video)
  • Customizable Aspect Ratios
  • In-camera image editing options
  • A 3.0 inch (460K) LCD screen
  • 1080/60i AVCHD or AVI with Dolby Digital Sound Recording
  • 3D Photo Mode (saved as a .MPO file)
  • Auto ISO sensitivity from 200 - 12800
  • SDHC/SDXC/UHS-1 card slot
  • A newly designed Graphical User Interface
  • 3 custom buttons for assignment of favorite functions
  • Compatible with MSC (Movie & Still Compatibility) lenses

Although the street price has yet to be announced, the Olympus PEN E-PM1 Body will be able with M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens (24-84mm equivalent). Optional lenses will include an M.Zuiko Digital ED 12m f2.0 lens and an M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens. And, because the E-PM1 does not feature a built-in flash, you may want to consder adding the optional FL-300R Compact Flash (available in silver).

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