1. SDHC Memory: 1. SDHC Memory: The E-P1 uses SDHC format memory. Olympus recommends Class 6 (133x) or faster SDHC for movie capture. 2. M.Zuiko 17mm ƒ/2.8: Designed specifically for the E-P1, this fast ƒ/2.8 lens provides a moderately wide angle of view in an exceptionally compact design that perfectly complements the E-P1’s sleek profile. List price is $299. 3. Face Detection: The camera’s Face Detection autofocus system can identify up to eight subjects at once, even if they’re moving.
Olympus Pen E-P1
ESTIMATED STREET PRICE: $799 (w/14-42mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 lens)
No, it’s not technically a D-SLR, and it’s really a whole new category of digital camera. Olympus’ new E-P1—the company’s first Micro Four Thirds System model—offers a size and weight closer to that of a compact digital camera, but with the creative possibilities of interchangeable lenses. It’s a knockout design, and we see a lot of potential in this new format.
To clear up any confusion about the new Micro Four Thirds models being introduced by Olympus and Panasonic, note that “Micro” doesn’t apply to the camera sensor. The 12.3-megapixel sensor used in the E-P1 is the same-sized sensor used in the Olympus Four Thirds System D-SLRs. The difference between the two systems is that Micro Four Thirds omits the mirror and pentaprism used in SLRs. The drawback is that there’s no optical viewfinder; the benefit is a much smaller body and smaller lenses.
MULTIPLE EXPOSURES: In-camera multiple exposure lets you get creative by layering two images into a single composited shot.
VERSATILE LIVE VIEW: You don’t have to buy special lenses for image stabilization using this system. Sensor-shift stabilization built into the camera stabilizes the image no matter what lens you use.
SHADOW ADJUSTMENT: Olympus Shadow Adjustment Technology helps retain details in the darker parts of the scene for more balanced exposures.
TRUEPIC V IMAGE PROCESSOR: The image sensor and TruePic V processor work together for enhanced dynamic range and excellent image quality even at higher ISO equivalence (up to ISO 6400).
Speaking of lenses, because the Micro Four Thirds System employs a smaller lens mount, lenses designed for this system can’t be used with Four Thirds cameras. However, you can use Four Thirds System lenses and Olympus OM lenses with their respective optional adapters.
As there’s no optical viewfinder, you’ll rely on the three-inch, live-view LCD for composition. It’s a beautiful display, and the anti-reflective coating is effective in most situations, though we did have some difficulty getting a good view in extremely bright outdoor conditions.
The E-P1 can capture up to three frames per second, in bursts of up to 10 RAW images or about 12 JPEGs, depending on your resolution and compression settings. You can set the camera to capture both RAW and JPEG files simultaneously, too. In addition to still images, the E-P1 also records 720 HD video clips up to seven minutes in length and 14-minute standard-definition clips. There’s a built-in stereo mic, too.
STANDOUT FEATURE: The six Art Filters first introduced in the E-30 are here, and can now be applied to RAW images and even movies. Effects include Pop Art, Soft Focus and Pin Hole. VERDICT: Sleek and compact, the E-P1 blends the portability of a point-and-shoot with the creative flexibility of interchangeable lenses.
If you’re not ready to give up your optical viewfinder, the E-620 offers many of the creative features of the E-P1, including multiple exposures and the Art Filters. It also offers faster AF performance by including phase-detection AF when not in Live View mode. The 12.3-megapixel E-620 has an estimated street price of $699 with a 14-42mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 lens.
For about the same price as the E-620 with one lens, you can pick up the E-450 with two lenses: a 14-42mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 and a 40-150mm ƒ/4-5.6. The 10-megapixel E-450 is extremely light and compact for an SLR, includes Face Detection technology and can capture up to 3.5 frames per second.