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Olympus' PEN E-PL3 compact system camera. Image copyright  2011, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Olympus PL3 pricing, availability, and new viewfinder announced
(Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 18:37 EDT)

Olympus Imaging America Inc. has today announced pricing and availability for its recently-announced Olympus E-PL3 compact system camera.

Unveiled at the end of June, the Olympus PL3 is the company's first PEN-series model to include a tilting LCD panel, and is based around 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.

The PL3 will ship in the US market from September 2011, priced at around US$700. This price will include the camera body plus either an M.Zuiko 14-42mm zoom lens, or an M. Zuiko 17mm wide-angle pancake lens. Four body colors will be available: black, white, red or silver. This compares to European pricing of €599 with the M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R lens, when the PL3 ships in that market from mid-August. For much more details on the Olympus PEN E-PL3, read our hands-on preview.

At the same time as the pricing and availability announcement for the E-PL3, Olympus has also announced a new electronic viewfinder accessory. The Olympus VF-3 external viewfinder retains the same 90-degree tilting mechanism as in the previous VF-2 model, which allows it to be viewed either from behind or above the camera body, and also keeps the same -3.0 to +1.0 diopter adjustment range. It's about 12.5% lighter than the VF-2 (excluding covers), though, and includes a new locking mechanism to prevent accidental removal from the camera body.

There are a few areas where the VF-3's specifications are reduced relative to the VF-2. The magnification is lower, at 1.0x with a 50mm lens focused to infinity at -1.0 diopters, where the VF-3 had a 1.15x magnification. Eyepoint has also fallen by 0.6mm to 17.4mm. Most notably, the total dot count has been decreased by some 36%, from 1.44 million dots in the VF-2 to 922,000 dots in the VF-3.

It is also significantly less expensive, however, priced at around US$180, about 28% below the VF-2's MSRP of US$250. In Europe, pricing for the VF-2 is set at €199. Availability hasn't been disclosed in the US market, but in Europe the VF-3 will ship from mid-August.

Olympus' VF-3 electronic viewfinder accessory. Image provided by Olympus Europe Holding GmbH. Click for a bigger picture! Olympus' VF-3 electronic viewfinder accessory. Image provided by Olympus Europe Holding GmbH. Click for a bigger picture!

Olympus' VF-3 electronic viewfinder accessory.
Images provided by Olympus Europe Holding GmbH.

Original Source Press Release:

Swing Into Action! Olympus Unleashes The Highly Anticipated PEN E-PL3 Camera Featuring Tilting LCD And The New VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder

Price and Availability Announced for Compact PEN E-PL3 Camera That Delivers Maximum Flexibility, Innovation and Amazing Image Quality for All; New Accessory Viewfinder Expands Your Point of View

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., July 27, 2011 -- Imaging enthusiasts will rejoice knowing that they can finally get their hands on the desirable Olympus PEN E-PL3 -- a powerful camera designed for photographers craving a portable camera with pro quality and point-and-shoot simplicity. The PEN E-PL3 is an interchangeable lens camera offering a sleek, metal body packed with versatile controls and lenses with professional image quality.

Available in September, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 will be sold at the affordable price of $699.99 and will deliver amazing image quality and lightning fast speed for brilliant still images and high-definition (HD) video. It will ship bundled with either a wide-angle zoom M.Zuiko 14-42mm lens (28mm-84mm equivalent), optimized for fast autofocus (AF) and silent AF operation, or the M. Zuiko 17mm ultra-compact and portable wide-angle pancake lens (34mm equivalent).

The PEN E-PL3 is a member of the Olympus PEN family of compact system cameras that also includes the new E-P3 and E-PM1. Designed to help innovation seekers capture and share their unique visions, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 combines pro quality with the portability of a point-and-shoot and features found on bulkier DSLR-type cameras.

Olympus also expands the power of its PEN Micro Four Thirds system family today with the introduction of the compact VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder. Attractively priced at $179.99, the VF-3 easily attaches to Olympus PEN models with an accessory port, as well as the Olympus XZ-1 for eye-level convenience.

Packs a Powerful Punch in a Small Package
The E-PL3 offers something for everyone. Packed with the technology and image quality normally found in a DSLR, it’s the size of a small, portable point-and-shoot camera and can easily travel with you. Its 3-inch, tilting high-resolution LCD screen helps you see high above the crowd to capture amazing stills and HD video of live performances, sports events and more. Easily move to eye-level to capture superb detail of children at play or even lower to the ground to record baby’s first steps or a pet soundly sleeping. Never worry about missing a spontaneous moment because the E-PL3 shoots at 5 frames per second.

Offering the versatility of interchangeable lenses, excellent quality low-light shooting thanks to the camera’s AF Illuminator, a high ISO of up to 12,800, with a blazing fast autofocus system, a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor and TruePic™ VI Image Processor, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 becomes the ultimate travel companion. Discretely document all of the color and pageantry of the city, even in low-light, as you make your way to your next destination.

Staying in for a more relaxed evening at home? Tech-enthusiasts will want to keep the E-PL3 ready by their side to capture friends and family, while showcasing their creativity. Easy-to-use technologies like in-camera Art Filters and image effects empower users to apply their unique artistic vision to images and videos so they can easily share professional-quality creations. Accessing all of the camera’s options is quick and easy with a new intuitive interface.

See the World through Your Own Eye
The VF-3 is perfect for photographers who like the option of holding the camera up to their eye to compose. With 100-percent field-of-view, none of the recordable subject area is cropped, making composition with the VF-3 easy and accurate. The magnification and built-in diopter adjustment of the VF-3 allow for easy viewing. The VF-3 can be rotated up to 90-degrees to accommodate more obscure shooting angles for additional creative control. Furthermore, if you are the kind of person who likes to tweak the settings on your TV, you’ll love the ability to adjust the brightness and color temperature to your own particular tastes.

“The Olympus PEN E-PL3 is designed to capture spontaneous, authentic moments in amazing detail without the need to sacrifice portability or quality,” said Katie Roseman, senior product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “We’ve packed the affordable E-PL3 with technologies and image quality normally found in bigger DSLR-type cameras. Now, with the new VF-3, consumers can get more of a DSLR-like experience from our cameras by looking through the viewfinder to compose the shot.”

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.

The Olympus PEN E-PL3 kit will be available in black, white, red and silver, starting in September 2011. The kit includes the PEN E-PL3 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.

The updated Olympus Viewer 2 software is included with all new Olympus PEN cameras. The software helps users edit and organize photos and play back AVCHD video. Olympus Viewer 2 also enables users to experience new functions, including the application of new art filters, effects and variations.

U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
Olympus PEN E-PL3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom or 17mm Lens Estimated Street Price: $699.99

Olympus VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder Estimated Street Price: $179.99

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.

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