The PEN Is Mightier Than The Point And Shoot: Olympus Announces New M4/3 Line

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Olympus just announced the new PEN E-P3, PEN E-PL3, and PEN E-PM1. Why so many, you ask? Well, this is a full range of M4/3s cameras in various sizes – the granddaddy P, the “light” PL, and the mini PM. The E-P3 costs $899 with 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor and 14-42mm lens.

Only the E-P3 has been priced but here are some specs on the other, smaller cameras. In all, we’re looking at a fairly complete family of M4/3s cameras with big boy chops. The question? Will someone pick this up over an entry-level DSLR.

PEN E-P3: Also announced today, the flagship Olympus PEN with a classic, all-metal design and the world’s fastest autofocus**. A body portable enough to travel the world without sacrificing DSLR image quality and control that experienced photographers expect. It features a bright, 614,000 pixel, high-resolution, OLED touchscreen to easily navigate and control the camera at the touch of a finger.

PEN E-PL3: This powerful camera is perfect for photographers who want their memories to reflect incredible, professional image quality. Easy-to-use creative technologies are packed in its versatile body – the size of a small, portable point-and-shoot camera, but with the versatility of interchangeable lenses. A clever, tilting three-inch LCD empowers photographers to go head-and-shoulders above the crowd to capture graduations, easily stoop to eye-level as babies take their first steps or even lower to the ground to get an adorable shot of the family pet.


PEN E-PM1: The smallest and lightest Olympus PEN is available in six stylish colors (purple, pink, brown, white, silver and black) and features a new and simplified user interface as well as a streamlined button structure for superior ease of use. Its small size and portability make it the ideal camera to document life’s fun and spontaneous moments.

Compact, All-Metal, Premium, Classic-Style Camera Delivers Incredible Power, Amazing Image Quality with Record-Breaking Autofocus and Touch Display

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., June 30, 2011 – Today Olympus announces a new flagship PEN camera designed for the hobbyist or advanced photographer who desires superior image quality, FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) Autofocus Tracking System and total creative control in a body portable enough to travel the world: the PEN E-P3.

The powerful Olympus PEN® E-P3 is the ultimate PEN camera for visual expression, delivering professional image quality, the World’s Fastest AF** speed, a huge selection of built-in creative features and an easy-to-use interface, all elegantly packaged in a classic, all-metal body with full-advanced controls. Two new M. Zuiko prime lenses also join the family of six MICRO Four Thirds® lenses, to expand the broad options offered to imaging enthusiasts.

Look what you can do with the new Olympus PEN E-P3. It blends high-quality still images expected of a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera with high-definition (HD) video, AC3 Dolby Digital audio (comparable to studio recordings) and In-Camera Creativity in an ultra-portable body. The PEN E-P3 has it all.

Outstanding New Features:
12.3 MP Live MOS Sensor – Utilizing new Fine Detail Processing Technology for greater detail in the photograph, the sensor is optimized to maximize the performance of all M. Zuiko digital lenses in all shooting conditions;
TruePic VI Image Processor – This new image engine, designed specifically for the Olympus PEN, features Real Color Technology for improved color reproduction and faster speeds;
FAST AF – To meet the demand for focusing speed, Olympus has introduced the new FAST AF Tracking System. The FAST AF Tracking System features 35 focus points as well as new Tracking AF to ensure fast & accurate focus each and every time;
Low Light Performance – AF Illuminator / Built In Flash / ISO to 12,800;
Fast Shutter Response – Never miss a shot again with fast shutter response time of less than 60 milliseconds;
Full HD Movie – Shoot up to 29 minutes of full 1080i HD video in either AVCHD or AVI formats; and
3-inch 614,000 pixel OLED Touch screen – Bright high-resolution screen features a newly-designed touch interface that provides an innovative touch display solution.
“With a classic, compact, all-metal body reminiscent of the Olympus PEN E-P1, the PEN E-P3 offers an unprecedented level of portability to help you capture great images and videos on the go,” said Katie Roseman, senior product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “This camera has the creative flexibility to give you a true professional experience.”

Superior Image Quality
A large 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor delivers the highest quality images. Take great photos in low-light environments thanks to the camera’s built-in flash, AF illuminator and ISO up to 12,800. To improve color and speed, the Olympus PEN E-P3 features the new TruePic VI Image Processing Engine. Photos and HD videos taken with the PEN E-P3 will be crisp and clear thanks to three modes of in-body image stabilization. Image stabilization built into the camera’s body enables photographers to take advantage of this feature with every lens. The camera’s award-winning Supersonic Wave Filter™ patented Dust Reduction System vibrates to remove dust and other particles from the front of the image sensor, capturing it on an adhesive membrane every time the camera is turned on.

Blazing Speed
The Olympus PEN E-P3 uses a variety of features to achieve speed rivaling that of the professional Olympus E-5 DSLR. Focus and shoot faster with the camera’s new 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, TruePic VI Image Processor and new FAST AF Tracking System. The Olympus PEN E-P3 offers 35 separate focus points spread over nearly the entire sensor, enabling the camera to pin-point focus accuracy on small subjects wherever they appear in the frame. Selectable 3×3 groups within the 35-point area are especially effective when shooting active subjects. The camera’s fast shutter response time ensures that you will never miss the shot, even in the toughest shooting environments.

Creative Freedom
Olympus PEN series cameras put you in the director’s chair, offering a new level of freedom to the creative shooting experience and enabling instant experimentation, feedback and gratification. For the first time, the Olympus PEN E-P3 features full 1080 60i HD Video. Push the direct HD video button to instantly start filming your HD video with a choice between ACVHD and AVI formats with uncompressed CD-quality 16 bit/44.1kHz Linear PCM stereo recording or AC3 Dolby Digital Audio.

In-camera features such as Art Filters, Multiple Exposure and In-Camera Editing enable photographers to capture the world as they see it. The Olympus PEN E-P3 features 10 Art Filters: Diorama, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia and Dramatic Tone. The camera also features nine Art Filter variations and enhancements, including new Pale & Light Color II, and five Art Filter Effects, including new Star Light and White Edge. The new Art Filter Bracketing function helps you develop multiple pictures utilizing different Art Filters with a single shot, making it possible to experiment with several different photographic effects at the same time. Photographers can use Art Filters in all shooting modes: shutter priority, aperture priority, manual and program auto modes for expanded control. All Art Filters can be applied to both still shots and Standard Definition or HD movies. Art Filters set the Olympus PEN E-P3‘s images and videos apart from the pack. Since they’re built into the camera, Art Filters can help you achieve dramatic results on the go without the need for a computer or editing software.

The Olympus PEN E-P3 adds a new dimension to photographs by shooting dynamic 3D photos in any situation from macro to landscape. Recreate a sense of depth like that of the original scene. Simply select the 3D Photo Mode, release the shutter, and slowly pan until the camera automatically takes a second image from a slightly different perspective. The 3D data is processed in-camera resulting in an .MPO file, the universal industry 3D format for easy display on 3D televisions or laptops.

Expanded Control Combined with Ease of Use
Controlling the Olympus PEN E-P3 is simple with its next-generation, three-inch, touch-sensitive 614,000 pixel OLED display. Consuming much less energy than the traditional LCD, this display has a wide 176-degree angle of view and is bright enough to compose images even in harsh midday light. With the camera’s new intuitive graphic user interface and touchscreen, it is easy to capture a picture, change camera settings or navigate the Live Guide controls by simply touching the screen. Going through a day’s photos is easy by scrolling through and enlarging photos with the tap of a finger.

The Olympus PEN E-P3’s built-in, pop-up flash makes it easy to illuminate low-light subjects, reduce red-eye and fill in dark areas. The camera is compatible with SDHC, SDXC and UHS-1 memory cards for greater speed and capacity and can be utilized with the Olympus PENPAL® or various Eye-Fi™ cards for instant wireless uploads to your favorite social or photo sharing websites.

Olympus has added a rotational dial, sub-dial and two new function buttons to the back of the PEN E-P3 so photographers can make rapid changes to menu settings and maximize the camera’s performance. With a thumb, photographers can adjust aperture and exposure time in an instant without switching between menu selections. Hands-on shooters will appreciate the two customizable buttons they can assign to favorite functions. Photographers will appreciate how the camera’s mode dial enables access to basic settings.

The Level Gauge in the Olympus PEN E-P3 is a tremendous benefit for architectural photographers who must ensure that images of buildings are as centered and true as the walls of the buildings themselves. This feature detects the camera’s pitch and roll during Live View operation so photographers can make sure subjects appear where they should in the frame.

New Lenses and Accessories for Every Shooting Challenge
The Olympus PEN MICRO Four Thirds family features eight fully-compatible MICRO Four Thirds lenses. The legendary Olympus Zuiko® Digital Four Thirds range of 27 high-quality lenses, OM-series and other manufacturers’ lenses can be attached to Olympus PEN cameras with optional adapters. The Olympus PEN E-P3 comes packaged with the Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 zoom lens (28mm-84mm equivalent) or the m17mm f2.8 (34mm equivalent). Today, Olympus is proud to announce several new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) lenses with high-speed, near-silent autofocus during still shooting and high-definition (HD) video capture. Also, several new accessories will complement the PEN E-P3 perfectly and broaden the creative horizons for all PEN photographers.

M. Zuiko Digital ED 12m f2.0 lens (24mm equivalent): This high-speed, single-focal–length, wide-angle lens is ideal for shooting everything from dramatic landscapes in low-light conditions to hard-to-get, spontaneous street shots. It has a beautiful full-metal body and a snap ring that enables photographers to pan focus with a distance indicator.
M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens (90mm equivalent): This single focal length portrait lens has a beautiful shallow depth of field, which enables the background blurring effects not possible with the 14-42mm kit zoom lens. The MSC mechanism is great for tracking a moving child or pet, and provides a quick and silent focus mechanism for movies and still photography.
FL-300R Compact Flash: This flash functions as a bounce flash and wireless remote flash with enough power for nearly any shooting situation. Photographers can use it in tandem with the camera’s built in pop-up flash, or as an alternative to it. It is designed in silver to match the new PEN lineup.
MCG-2 Exchangeable Camera Grip: Available exclusively for the PEN E-P3, this comfortable grip enhances the grip area of the camera to fit any photographer’s hands perfectly. It is available in black and beige.
Availability
The Olympus PEN E-P3 kit will be available in stylish black, white and silver, starting in August 2011. It includes the PEN E-P3 body, lens, USB cable, video cable, BLS-1 Li-Ion battery pack, Li-Ion battery charger, shoulder strap, OLYMPUS [ib] software CD-ROM, manuals and registration card.

U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
Olympus PEN E-P3 Body with MSC M. Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
Estimated Street Price: $899.99

Olympus PEN E-P3 Body with MSC M. Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f2.8 Prime Lens
Estimated Street Price: $899.99

Compact Portable Bodies Deliver Incredible Image Quality, Speed and In-Camera Creativity

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., June 30, 2011 – Today Olympus launches three new PEN compact system cameras designed to help inspiration-seekers capture their unique visions and share their stories in brilliant still images and high-definition (HD) video. The Olympus PEN family combines the portability of a point-and-shoot with features found on bulkier cameras or camcorders to deliver amazing image quality and lightning fast speed. With a new 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, TruePic™ VI Image Processor, high ISO of 12,800, a reengineered autofocus system, full 1080i HD video with Dolby Digital sound recording, newly designed user interfaces and a variety of Art Filters and built-in creative features, these powerfully simple cameras offer advanced capabilities without the complexity of a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera.

In addition to these great shared capabilities, each new model offers unique features:

PEN E-P3: Also announced today, the flagship Olympus PEN with a classic, all-metal design and the world’s fastest autofocus**. A body portable enough to travel the world without sacrificing DSLR image quality and control that experienced photographers expect. It features a bright, 614,000 pixel, high-resolution, OLED touchscreen to easily navigate and control the camera at the touch of a finger.
PEN E-PL3: This powerful camera is perfect for photographers who want their memories to reflect incredible, professional image quality. Easy-to-use creative technologies are packed in its versatile body – the size of a small, portable point-and-shoot camera, but with the versatility of interchangeable lenses. A clever, tilting three-inch LCD empowers photographers to go head-and-shoulders above the crowd to capture graduations, easily stoop to eye-level as babies take their first steps or even lower to the ground to get an adorable shot of the family pet.
PEN E-PM1: The smallest and lightest Olympus PEN is available in six stylish colors (purple, pink, brown, white, silver and black) and features a new and simplified user interface as well as a streamlined button structure for superior ease of use. Its small size and portability make it the ideal camera to document life’s fun and spontaneous moments.
Superior Image Quality
A large 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor delivers the highest quality images. Take great photos in low-light environments thanks to the Olympus PEN E-P3 camera’s built-in flash and the E-PL3 and E-PM1 cameras’ bundled accessory flash. Each camera comes equipped with an AF illuminator and ISO up to 12,800. To improve color and speed, the new Olympus PEN cameras feature the new TruePic VI Image Processing Engine. Photos and HD videos will be crisp and clear thanks to three modes of in-body image stabilization and the award-winning Olympus Dust Reduction System.

Blazing FAST AF Speed
The new Olympus PEN cameras use a variety of features to achieve speed rivaling that of the professional Olympus E-5 DSLR. Focus and shoot faster with the new 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, TruePic VI Image Processor and new frequency acceleration sensor technology (FAST) autofocus system. The FAST AF Tracking System features 35 separate focus points spread over nearly the entire sensor, enabling pin-point focusing accuracy on small subjects wherever they appear in the frame. Selectable 3×3 groups within the 35-point area are especially effective when shooting active subjects. The cameras’ fast shutter response times ensure you will never miss a shot, even in the toughest shooting environments.

Creative Freedom
Olympus PEN series cameras bring a new level of creative freedom to the shooting experience and enable instant experimentation and gratification. The new PEN Series features full 1080 60i high-definition video. Push the direct HD video button to instantly start filming in either AVCHD or AVI formats with uncompressed CD-quality.

In-camera creative features such as Art Filters, Multiple Exposure, Aspect Ratios and In-Camera Editing allow photographers to capture the world as they see it. Art Filters set Olympus PEN images and videos apart from the pack. Since they’re built into the camera, Art Filters can achieve dramatic results on the go without the need for a computer or editing software. All filters can be applied to both still shots and HD movies.

The Olympus PEN family offers several ways to capture artistic visions. Apply up to 10 Art Filters (Depending upon model: Diorama, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia and Dramatic Tone) in the camera while shooting. Vary images by mixing and matching Art Filters to achieve your creative vision or by applying effects, including the new Star Light and White Edge to frame photos the way you want after capture.

These Olympus PEN cameras add a new dimension to photographs by shooting dynamic 3D photos in any situation from macro to landscape. Simply select the 3D Photo Mode, release the shutter and slowly pan until the camera automatically takes a second image from a slightly different perspective. The 3D data is processed in-camera, resulting in an .MPO file, the universal industry 3D format for easy display on 3D televisions or laptops.

Easy to Use with New User Interfaces, Menu Structures and Button Layouts
All three Olympus PEN cameras have a 3-inch, high-resolution display. Controlling the E-P3 is simple to use with its three-inch, touch-sensitive 614,000 pixel OLED, consuming much less energy than the traditional LCD. The display has a wide 176-degree angle of view and is bright enough to compose images even in harsh midday light. The intuitive and practical touchscreen makes it easy to navigate the camera’s new menus and graphic user interface. Going through a day’s photos is easy by scrolling through and enlarging photos with the tap of a finger. The E-PL3 features a tilting 3-inch 460,000 pixel LCD screen that offers the flexibility to capture moments from a variety of angles. The E-PM1 features a 3-inch 460,000 pixel display. All three cameras feature a newly designed Graphical User Interface. The font and graphics used in the menus offer improved visibility and quality to render elegant graphical menus that are attractive and easy-to-use. The E-P3 incorporates a rotational dial and sub-dial on the back of the camera. With just their thumb, users can fine-tune aperture and exposure time in an instant – without the need to switch between menus. Fans of hands-on shooting will love the three customizable buttons that can be assigned to the user’s favorite functions.

All of the Olympus PEN cameras are compatible with SDHC, SDXC and UHS-1 memory cards for greater speed and capacity and can work with Eye-Fi cards for instant uploads.

New Lenses and Accessories for Every Shooting Challenge
Today Olympus is proud to announce several new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) lenses with high-speed lens drive mechanisms delivering near-silent autofocus during still shooting and high-definition (HD) video capture. New accessories include optional body grips and the FL-300R external flash to complement the PEN series perfectly and broaden the creative horizons for any photographer. The growing Olympus PEN MICRO Four Thirds family now features eight fully-compatible MICRO Four Thirds lenses. The legendary Olympus Zuiko® Digital Four Thirds range of 27 high-quality lenses, OM-series and other manufacturers’ lenses can be attached to Olympus PEN cameras with optional adapters. Each new PEN comes packaged with the re-sculpted M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 II R zoom lens (28mm-84mm equivalent) or the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f2.8 prime lens. Designed with Movie & Still Compatibility (MSC), experience near-silent operation, enabling you to shoot HD movies in stereo with amazing clarity.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 12m f2.0 lens: This high-speed, single-focal-length, wide-angle lens is ideal for shooting everything from high-quality, dramatic landscapes in low-light conditions to hard-to-get, spontaneous street shots. It has a beautiful full-metal body and a snap focus ring that allows photographers to pan focus with a distance indicator.
M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens: This single focal length portrait lens has a beautiful shallow depth of field, which allows for background blurring effects that are not possible with previous kit lenses. The MSC mechanism is great for tracking a moving child or pet, and provides a quick and silent focus mechanism for movies and still photography.
FL-300R Compact Flash: This flash functions on all three PEN cameras as a bounce flash as well as a wireless remote flash with enough power for most every shooting situation. It is designed in silver to match the new PEN lineup.
U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
Olympus PEN E-P3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
Estimated Street Price: $899.99

Olympus PEN E-P3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m17mm f2.8 Prime Lens
Estimated Street Price: $899.99

Olympus PEN E-PM1 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
Estimated Street Price to be announced

Olympus PEN E-PL3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
Estimated Street Price to be announced

Olympus PEN E-PL3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m17mm f2.8 Prime Lens
Estimated Street Price to be announced