Olympus Unveils E-P1 PEN Digital Camera

Olympus’ latest camera is not a point and shoot, and it’s not a DSLR. Instead, the new E-P1 is the company’s first Micro Four Thirds camera. This 12.3 megapixel camera blends the high-quality image capabilities of a DSLR with high definition video capabilities, stereo Linear PCM audio recording, and in-camera creative options. What’s even better is that all of these features are packed into an ultra-portable body.

“The E-P1 is designed for the mobile, visual generation that lives active lives online and off, and its portability ensures that it will go with you wherever life takes you,” said John Knaur, senior marketing manager, Digital SLR, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “As someone who has shot with an SLR most of my life, I’m excited that SLR-quality images can be captured with a camera this compact and portable. The E-P1 truly allows you to capture it all with the highest still photo image quality blended with HD video, high-end audio, multiple exposure and creative art filters in one small, stylish camera.”

To help make this new camera even more portable than other models on the market today, Olympus removed the optical viewfinder and mirror box found inside of a traditional DSLR and created a small but high-quality interchangeable lens camera. Olympus also reduced the lens mount diameter to enable the production of even smaller and lighter lenses to be used with the E-P1 body. Compatible lenses include two new small and lightweight Olympus M. ZUIKO Micro Four Thirds lenses: a 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 (28-84mm equivalent) lens and a 17mm f2.8 (34mm equivalent) lens. Using an adapter, you’ll also be able to use many other Four Thirds format lenses.

The E-P1 is built with a stainless-steel body with a retro-chic look. The body measures 4.75 x 2.75 x 1.43 (WxHxD) and weighs approximately 11.8 ounces.

Like many of the company’s D-SLRs, the E-P1 offers in-body image stabilization as well as a 3-inch LCD and dust reduction system. The E-P1 also offers in-camera art filters that work with both still photos as well as videos with audio. Six in-camera Art Filters are available: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, and Pin Hole. A multiple exposure mode is also available.

As a Micro Four Thirds camera, the E-P1 provides the same image quality as you’d get from the current Four Thirds format E-System cameras because both use the same image sensor. This Live MOS image sensor works in combination with Olympus’ TruePic V Image Processor to enable the camera to produce clear and colorful photos.

Accessories for the new E-P1 include an optional Clip-on Optical Viewfinder for use with the Micro Four Thirds 17mm f2.8 (34mm equivalent) lens. An optional FL-14 flash unit as well as two different lens adapters is also available.

The Olympus E-P1 will be available in July for an estimated street price of $749.99. It will come with the E-P1 Body, a USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack (BLS-1), Li-Ion Battery Charger (BCS-1), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS Master 2 Software CD-ROM, Manuals, and Registration card. Kit options with the ED 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens ($799.99) or the ED 17mm f2.8 with optical viewfinder ($899.99) will also be available.