Olympus E-PM1

June 30, 2011 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Compact System Camera | 1 Comment |
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The Olympus PEN E-PM1 (also known as the PEN Mini) is a small and lightweight 12-megapixel compact system camera featuring what its manufacturer claims to be the world’s fastest auto-focus system, with 35 AF points and an AF assist light. Other notable features include in-body image stabilisation, a top shutter speed of 1/4000th second, a 5fps continuous shooting mode, a top sensitivity setting of ISO 12800, a hot-shoe, an accessory port and the ability to record 1080i high-definition videos with stero sound, with the capability to apply one of 6 Art Filters to videos as they are being captured. The Olympus PEN E-PM1 is available from early autumn 2011 with pricing to be confirmed.

Olympus Press Release

SLR quality without the complexity

Meet the gorgeous Olympus PEN Mini

Hamburg, 30 June 2011 – The new PEN Mini is a tiny powerhouse of a system camera with interchangeable lenses. It’s also a beautiful camera that takes even more beautiful images and it couldn’t be any easier to use. The Mini is ideal for anyone who wants a fuss-free camera that fits in as well as at a party as it fits in their pocket. Just like a point-and-shoot, it comes in six colours but the Mini is really an SLR-quality camera hiding behind the simplicity and looks of a genuine compact. It makes high-class photography and movie-making wonderfully easy. Olympus’ Live Guide gives beginners intuitive control of key parameters like aperture and depth of field, without them needing to know how they work. Six Art Filters add fun creative effects to both Full HD movies or stills and if you don’t know what a setting in the menu is for, a window pops up to tell you. With world’s fastest* autofocus systems, great low light performance plus a superb choice of high-grade Olympus lenses and stylish accessories, it’s tough to see just what the PEN Mini can’t do. Also known as the PEN E-PM1, it’s available from early autumn 2011 with pricing to be confirmed.

A camera for everyone
Olympus developed the PEN for people who get a kick out of great images, but find shooting with high-end cameras way too tough since most SLR cameras are heavy to carry and relatively difficult to use. The Olympus PEN Mini changes all that. The Mini generates the stunning picture quality of a large SLR camera, with none of the hassle or baggage. It’s smaller and lighter than almost every other system camera with interchangeable lenses, has a faster autofocus*, plus it’s easy to use and it looks fantastic. This new PEN has the inimitable style of a must-have icon. With its slender contours and premium finish, it’s the sort of camera you’re happy to take out and show off wherever you are. Even the supplied high-grade lens looks the part. 

A guide for every shot 
Like the rest of the PEN range, no matter how bad (or good) a photographer or filmmaker you are, the PEN Mini makes sure you get your settings just right, with none of the work. There are pop-up descriptions in the main menu in case you forget what all the different things mean. And with the quick-access Live Guide assistant, you can see on the LCD what needs adjusting to get the best shot available ­– and check how any changes will affect your picture when you push a dial on the back. With
Live Guide, without knowing how they work, you can adjust factors that are essential to final picture quality, including Colour Intensity, Lighting Mood, Brightness, Background Blur and Motion Blur. Of course, the Live Guide helps you capture excellent movies as well as stills. The Mini can record moving footage in the beautiful 1080i Full High Definition AVCHD format, which generates smaller files that are perfectly suited for playing back on TV. Alternatively, you can select 720p HD Motion JPEG video, which makes the files easier to edit on a PC.

Art Filters for special effects
If you like the visual effects graphic designers add to photographs in magazines, you’ll love the creative Art Filters on the PEN Mini. There’s Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pinhole, Diorama and Dramatic Tone, which gives shots a dynamic atmosphere by boosting the contrast. All six filters can be applied on-camera to both Full HD movies and stills – at the touch of button, no PC software required. As soon as your photos are ready, you can share them with friends on the LCD as a slideshow – or in radiant colour on a big High Definition TV.


System lenses for excellent images
As a system camera, the Mini is compatible with a huge range of accessories and lenses for every possible situation. The main kit includes a first-class M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm (28-84mm**) 1:3.5-5.6 II R lens, but the Mini can also take more than 500 other lenses (some via an adapter), including Olympus’ legendary M.ZUIKO DIGITAL range of ultra-high quality optics. Thanks to the Mini’s in-body Image Stabilisation, irrespective which lens you choose, blur-free shots are virtually guaranteed. The Mini’s FAST AF has a big role to play here too. It’s one the world’s fastest* autofocus systems for cameras with interchangeable lenses.

In addition to the external flash supplied with the camera, users can attach a growing number of classic Olympus accessories via the Accessory
Port 2, for example the Bluetooth®-compatible PENPAL Communication Unit that automatically reformats still photos for wireless transfer to other compatible devices and social media. For safe, stylish and inconspicuous storage, the optional sporty Street Case fits the Mini like a glove.

The PEN Mini is available in black, white, silver, dark brown, purple and silver rose from early autumn 2011.

PEN Mini main features:

Design

Small, light system camera with interchangeable lenses
Super-stylish design available in six attractive colours
Interchangeable decoration ring on supplied lens

Image Quality

Powerful TruePic VI image engine for faster recovery time and excellent image quality
Ultra-effective in-body image stabilisation for blur-free movies and stills with any lens
Compact M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm (28-84mm**) 1:3.5-5.6 II R fast and near-silent (Movie and Still compatible) lens
12.3 effective Megapixel High Speed Live MOS sensor for excellent low-light performance and Full HD movie recording
ISO 12800 sensitivity
1080i Full HD stereo movie recording as AVCHD or Motion JPEG

Ease of Use
3.0” LCD with 460,000 dot resolution
FAST AF, world’s fastest* autofocus system. Always on, with 35 AF points, low-light AF Illuminator and out-of-picture AF Tracking
Intuitive Live Guide in HD Movie, still and P/S/M/A mode
Pop-up description for each menu point
Live View in HD Movie and still mode
Easy-to-use Live Wheel feature menu
Fewer buttons means simpler operation

Creativity & Flexibility
Six creative Art Filters in HD Movie and still modes
Accessory Port 2 for compatibility with the growing family of PEN accessories
Compatible with 20 Micro Four Thirds, 27 Four Thirds and more than 500 other lenses (via an adapter)
1/4000th sec. shutter speed with 5fps sequential shooting
Multi Exposure mode for 2 RAW images
Long-life BLS-5 Li-ion battery

Other highlights
External, tiltable flash supplied
3D still photos
Slideshow playback
SDXC*** card and Eye-Fi compatible
Wireless flash control

For a full list of PEN Mini features, go to http://www.olympus.co.uk

* As of June 2011.
** 35mm camera equivalent.
*** SD is a trademark of SD Card Association.

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#1 Marilyn Armstrong

Without complexity? Were that but true! There is quite a bit of complexity to this little gem. Loving the camera (and I do!) does not preclude the need for some studying up on how it works ... which no matter what (as I have learned the hard way) you know from previous cameras, is likely going to be different. As a simple, but important example: You have to set the camera to save metadata for the pictures you take. This is automatic in DSLRS, but not in the PEN series. And good luck finding what setting will do that! When you change a setting in a not-entirely-auto mode on the PEN, you assume that when you shift to iAuto or full Auto, that the camera will revert to its default settings, right? WRONG! If you change, for example, the ISO setting in P mode, it will STAY changed in Auto or iAuto. You have to be very aware of each change you make because it will affect the camera in all or most of its settings, whether that is what you intended or not. Although this may be a convenience for a few, it is a limitation to many of us who intentionally set up different parameters for different settings to make it easier to shift on the fly. I am learning. But some of these lessons need to be learned fast and early or you'll pay with ruined pictures and you'll have no idea why! And the manual is NOT very good. Yes, the information is there ... usually, anyhow ... but finding it? Good luck with that. I ordered "Olympus PEN E-PL1 for Dummies" because that, at least, is written in English I can understand!

4:25 pm - Monday, September 5, 2011