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Olympus launches the Pen E-P1 Micro Four-Thirds

Hotly-anticipated Olympus digital camera revealed

Olympus Pen E-P1

The Olympus Pen E-P1, with external optical viewfinder (VF-1)

Olympus has shown off its latest innovation in digital camera technology: the Olympus Pen E-P1 – a classically designed Micro Four-Thirds digital camera with interchangeable lenses.

The Olympus EP-1 is the third Micro Four-Thirds (MFT) camera to be launched, following on from the Panasonic G1 and the Panasonic GH1. The E-P1 stands out from the two Panasonic models thanks to its retro look, which has been modelled on the Olympus Pen cameras from the 1950s.

Olympus Pen E-P1

The MFT camera system allows for cameras to be designed with interchangeable lenses, but on a smaller scale to digital SLRs, largely thanks to the exclusion of the camera’s mirror box.

The new Olympus Pen features a 12.3Mp sensor has a built in image stabiliser, and shall go on sale in July for £699.99 with a 14-42mm kit lens. Combinations of black, silver and white models will be available, and a 17mm pancake lens, an external viewfinder (VF-1), an external flash (FL-1) and a host of other accessories will also be launched.

Panasonic Micro Four-Thirds

The Olympus Pen E-P1 features a three-inch display and the ability to record HD video, a capability that wasn’t available on the Panasonic G1, but was included on the GH1.

The ISO can be set between 100 and 6,400, giving the camera the ability to shoot in a range of lighting conditions. There are twenty shooting modes and a range of art filters for creative shooting.

Digital camera reviews

Richard Parris, Which? digital camera expert, said: ‘Panasonic has already impressed with its G1 and GH1 Micro Four-Thirds cameras, and we’ll be interested to see if Olympus can follow suit with its own compact model. It’s interesting that the deign doesn’t feature an integrated viewfinder or flash, and while both can be fitted externally via the hot shoe adaptor, it appears that only one component can be connected at a time.’

Click here to find out more about the Olympus Pen, including accessories and pricing, and an Olympus Pen gallery.

For help choosing the best digital camera, check out our digital camera reviews. Or, for the full lab-tested review of the Panasonic G1, check out our digital SLR reviews.

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