Olympus E-P3, E-PL3 & Mini E-PM1 MFT camerasThree Olympus 'Pens' with interchangeable lenses

30 June 2011

Olympus Pen E-P3

Olympus Pen E-P3

Olympus has announced three new micro four third 'Pen' digital cameras and two new compatible lenses.

The Olympus Pen E-P3 is the third flagship micro four thirds camera from Olympus and will launch in the UK in August with a 14-42mm kit lens for around £800.

The Olympus Pen E-PL3 is what Olympus describes as a 'Lite' version of the E-P3. It's a more basic model and is likely to cost less when it launches in the autumn.

Olympus Pen Mini camera (E-PM1)

The third Olympus micro four thirds camera to be announced today is the Pen Mini E-PM1. This compact camera will also launch in the autumn, but as with the E-PL3, prices have yet to be confirmed.

Olympus Pen Lite E-PL3

Olympus Pen Lite E-PL3

All three new compact system cameras from Olympus have interchangeable lenses, which users can swap with other micro four third lenses. Other types of lenses can also be fitted with the appropriate lens adaptors.

The new Olympus Pens can all capture 12.3Mp photographs and Full HD video at 1080i resolution. They all have a number of Art filters that the user can apply to both stills and videos, which allow for more creative photography.

To see how other Pen cameras from Olympus have fared in our tests, read our digital SLR reviews.

'World's fastest autofocus'

Olympus claims that the autofocus system on these three cameras is faster than that found on any other compact system camera, such as the Panasonic micro four third cameras and the Samsung NX cameras.

Olympus Pen Mini E-PM1

Olympus Pen Mini E-PM1

Olympus has included a built in guide with pop up descriptions to help users get to grips with the cameras' features. Each of the new cameras has a 3-inch display but each display is slightly different. The E-PM1 has a fixed LCD, while the LCD on the E-PL3 can be tilted to help the user frame the shot when shooting from an awkward angle. The OLED screen on the E-P3, however, is touch sensitive and has a higher resolution.

The Mini Olympus E-PM1 comes with an external flash that can be fitted to the top of the camera. The E-P3 and the E-PL3 both have the facility for connecting an external flash - and a number of other accessories including an optional electronic viewfinder - but it will need to be purchased separately.

New Olympus Micro four third lenses

Olympus has also announced two new micro four third lenses that will be compatible with these three new Olympus Pen cameras as well as existing Olympus micro four third cameras and Panasonic's micro four third cameras.

Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm wide-angle lens

Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm wide-angle lens

A 12mm wide-angle lens with f2.0 maximum aperture will launch in July for around £700, and a 45mm portrait lens with a larger f1.8 maximum aperture will become available in September for around £300.

Both lenses are fixed lenses, meaning that they're unable to zoom, and their large apertures should help them perform well in low light conditions. Micro four third cameras have a crop factor of x2, which means that compared with a 35mm camera, the new wide angle lens will have a 24mm focal length and the portrait lens will have a 90mm focal length.

Which? shall put all three of these cameras to the test under lab conditions when they launch to see how they truly compare to other cameras with interchangeable lenses.

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