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Olympus' PEN E-PL3 compact system camera. Image copyright  2011, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Olympus E-PL3, E-PM1: Two more PEN-series cameras, one previewed
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(Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 01:00 EDT)

Alongside its new flagship P3 model, Olympus has also unveiled two further PEN-series cameras today: the Olympus E-PL3 (for which we've just published a hands-on preview), and the svelte Olympus E-PM1.

Both cameras share many features with each other, and indeed, with the P3 alongside which they're announced, but there are also numerous features that differentiate between the models.

The Olympus E-PL3 is the company's first PEN-series model to include a tilting LCD panel, capable of being viewed low to the ground or at waist-level when tilted upwards, or of shooting over a crowd when tilted downwards. While it lacks any provision for viewing from in front of the camera, there's no question that it makes the E-PL3 a significantly more versatile design. Note though that a traditional LCD panel is used, rather than the more vivid OLED panel that features in the P3.

The standout feature of the Olympus E-PM1, meanwhile, is its focus on trimming size and weight to a bare minimum. It doesn't quite reach into the same territory as the recently-announced Pentax Q, but that's hardly surprising given that it sports a sensor with roughly eight times the surface area. That it even comes close shows how much effort Olympus has put into reducing size and weight (and, to some extent, the challenge Pentax faced in reducing body size while still retaining a usable camera.) Overall, the Olympus E-PM1 is approximately 12 millimeters wider, 6mm taller, and 3mm thicker than the Pentax camera, and 67 grams (approx. 34%) heavier when loaded and ready to go, but without a lens attached.

Both the Olympus E-PL3 and E-PM1 feature the same 12.3 megapixel image sensor, TruePic VI image processor, and high-speed "Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology" autofocus system as in the simultaneously announced P3 model.

For much more details on the Olympus PEN E-PL3, read our hands-on preview of that camera. While we've not yet had the opportunity to handle the Olympus PEN E-PM1, we've also prepared detailed coverage of that model, as well.

Olympus PEN E-PL3
Olympus' PEN E-PL3 compact system camera. Image copyright © 2011, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera TypeCompact System Camera
ManufacturerOlympus
Model NumberNorth America: E-PL3
Dimensions4.3 x 2.5 x 1.5 in.
(110 x 64 x 37 mm)
Weight11.0 oz (313 g)
Image Capture
Sensor TypePanasonic Live MOS
Micro Four Thirds (approx. 0.85 in. diagonal)
13.10 megapixels (total)
12.30 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Focal Length Multiplier2.00
Aspect Ratio16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions4032 x 3024 (12.2 megapixels)
3200 x 2400 (7.7 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
1920 x 1440 (2.8 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
1280 x 960 (1.2 megapixels)
1024 x 768 (0.8 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Capture SpeedContinuous: 4.1 frames per second
Image Quality4 levels
Image Preview / Review
LCD3.0 in. diagonal
460,000 dots (approx. 153,000 pixels)
Playback Zoom14.0x max
Lens
Lens TypeOlympus 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 II R MSC M.Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens
3x optical zoom
37mm lens thread
Lens MountMicro Four Thirds mount
Image StabilizationYes
Focal Length14.0 - 42.0mm (actual)
28 - 84mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.5 (wide) / f/5.6 (tele) - f/22
Focusing SystemContrast Detect: High-speed, 35-point with Face Detection and Tracking. Auto from all 35 area, Single area from 35 area, Group Target area (9 area) from 35 area, Up to 8 Faces Detected
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing RangeNormal: 10" - infinity (25 cm - infinity)
Exposure
ISO SensitivityAuto (customizable range), 200 - 12800 (1/3, 1 EV steps)
Shutter Speed60 - 1/4000 second
Exposure ModesAperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes324-zone Digital ESP, Center Weighted Average, Spot (~1%, with Highlight/Shadow modes)
Exposure Compensation+/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Lamp, Fluorescent, Daylight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Underwater, Custom WB, One-touch WB
Internal FlashModes: Auto, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction slow sync., Slow sync at 1st curtain, Slow sync at 2nd curtain, Fill-in, Manual (Full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64), Off. Wireless flash control supported.
Flash Exposure Compensation+/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Creative
Scene ModesPortrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Macro, Sport, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Document, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Fisheye Conv, Wide Conv, Macro Conv, 3D, Underwater wide, Underwater macro; Art Filters (Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Dramatic Tone)
Digital Zoom2x
Self TimerYes, 2 or 12 seconds
Movie FormatAVCHD, Motion JPEG with audio
Max. clip length: 1,320 seconds () / 840 seconds ()
Storage
Recording MediumSD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC
File SystemFAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format12-bit RAW (.ORF), JPEG (EXIF 2.2), MPO
Connectivity
VideoHigh definition: Yes (HDMI)
Standard definition: Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
OtherAccessory Port 2, Multi Connector (USB/AV/Remote), Mini HDMI (Type C)
Power
Battery TypeLithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary BLS-1 or BLS-5
Product Bundle
SoftwareOLYMPUS Viewer 2/[ib] CD-ROM
Battery / ChargerProprietary BLS-1 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantYes
Internal MicrophoneYes
Internal SpeakerYes
Tripod MountYes, Metal
Remote ControlYes, Optional RM-UC1 wired remote
Operating System CompatibilityWindows, Mac OS
NotesThe above are preliminary specifications, subject to change.
More Photos
Olympus' PEN E-PL3 compact system camera. Image copyright © 2011, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' PEN E-PL3 compact system camera. Image copyright © 2011, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Olympus PEN E-PM1
Olympus' PEN E-PM1 compact system camera. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera TypeCompact System Camera
ManufacturerOlympus
Model NumberNorth America: E-PM1
Dimensions4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 in.
(110 x 64 x 34 mm)
Weight9.3 oz (265 g)
Image Capture
Sensor TypePanasonic Live MOS
Micro Four Thirds (approx. 0.85 in. diagonal)
13.10 megapixels (total)
12.30 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Focal Length Multiplier2.00
Aspect Ratio16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions4032 x 3024 (12.2 megapixels)
3200 x 2400 (7.7 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
1920 x 1440 (2.8 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
1280 x 960 (1.2 megapixels)
1024 x 768 (0.8 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Capture SpeedContinuous: 4.1 frames per second
Image Quality4 levels
Image Preview / Review
LCD3.0 in. diagonal
460,000 dots (approx. 153,000 pixels)
Playback Zoom14.0x max
Lens
Lens TypeOlympus 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 II R MSC M.Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens
3x optical zoom
37mm lens thread
Lens MountMicro Four Thirds mount
Image StabilizationYes
Focal Length14.0 - 42.0mm (actual)
28 - 84mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.5 (wide) / f/5.6 (tele) - f/22
Focusing SystemContrast Detect: High-speed, 35-point with Face Detection and Tracking. Auto from all 35 area, Single area from 35 area, Group Target area (9 area) from 35 area, Up to 8 Faces Detected
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing RangeNormal: 10" - infinity (25 cm - infinity)
Exposure
ISO SensitivityAuto (customizable range), 200 - 12800 (1/3, 1 EV steps)
Shutter Speed60 - 1/4000 second
Exposure ModesAperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes324-zone Digital ESP, Center Weighted Average, Spot (~1%, with Highlight/Shadow modes)
Exposure Compensation+/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Lamp, Fluorescent, Daylight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Underwater, Custom WB, One-touch WB
Internal FlashModes: Auto, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction slow sync., Slow sync at 1st curtain, Slow sync at 2nd curtain, Fill-in, Manual (Full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64), Off. Wireless flash control supported.
Flash Exposure Compensation+/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Creative
Scene ModesPortrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Macro, Sport, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Document, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Fisheye Conv, Wide Conv, Macro Conv, 3D, Underwater wide, Underwater macro; Art Filters (Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Dramatic Tone)
Digital Zoom2x
Self TimerYes, 2 or 12 seconds
Movie FormatAVCHD, Motion JPEG with audio
Max. clip length: 1,320 seconds () / 840 seconds ()
Storage
Recording MediumSD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC
File SystemFAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format12-bit RAW (.ORF), JPEG (EXIF 2.2), MPO
Connectivity
VideoHigh definition: Yes (HDMI)
Standard definition: Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
OtherAccessory Port 2, Multi Connector (USB/AV/Remote), Mini HDMI (Type C)
Power
Battery TypeLithium-io rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary BLS-1 or BLS-5
Product Bundle
SoftwareOLYMPUS Viewer 2/[ib] CD-ROM
Battery / ChargerProprietary BLS-1 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantYes
Internal MicrophoneYes
Internal SpeakerYes
Tripod MountYes, Metal
Remote ControlYes, Optional RM-UC1 wired remote
Operating System CompatibilityWindows, Mac OS
NotesThe above are preliminary specifications, subject to change.
More Photos
Olympus' PEN E-PM1 compact system camera. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' PEN E-PM1 compact system camera. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' PEN E-PM1 compact system camera. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' PEN E-PM1 compact system camera. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Original Source Press Release:

Not One, Not Two, But Three New Olympus PEN Cameras Bring Your Creative Vision To Life

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 3x3 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

ABOUT OLYMPUS IMAGING AMERICA INC.
Olympus Imaging America Inc. is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering award-winning products for consumer and professional markets.

Olympus Imaging America Inc. works collaboratively with its customers and its ultimate parent company, Olympus Corporation, to develop breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality that enhances people’s lives every day. These include:

  • Digital Cameras

  • Professional and Interchangeable Lens System Cameras

  • Related Underwater Products and Accessories

  • Digital and Microcassette Recorders

  • Digital Media

  • Binoculars

Olympus Imaging America Inc. is responsible for sales in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For more information, visit: www.olympusamerica.com.

*Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. All trademarks and registered trademarks listed herein are the property of their respective holders, in the US and/or other countries.
© 2011 Olympus Imaging America Inc.

** As of June 30, 2011.

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