The new firmware is aimed at improving autofocus performance with all three PEN-series cameras -- the Olympus E-P1, E-P2 and E-PL1 -- when shooting either still images or videos. The new firmware also allows simultaneous use of both the LCD display and electronic viewfinder for the E-P2 and E-PL1 models, although this will obviously come at the expense of battery life required to power both displays. In addition, the firmware adds compatibiity with Olympus' Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) lenses for the E-P1 and E-P2 models. The E-PL1 was already compatible with MSC lenses, the first two models of which are the imminent M. Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 and M. Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 lenses.
We recently tested a beta version of the new firmware on an Olympus E-PL1, using the existing 14-42mm and 17mm lenses, as well as the soon-to-launch 9-18mm lens. Full details can be found in our previous story, entitled "Firmware improves Olympus Pen autofocus speed ", but to summarize we found anywhere from an 11% to a 14% improvement in our own testing. Read our previous article, which also covers the new technology in Olympus' MSC lenses, for more on the new firmware.
Olympus PEN-series camera owners can download the new firmware from the company's website now. A new Olympus Digital Camera Updater application is used to apply the new firmware, and is also available now as a free download.