Once upon a time, Olympus made a cute little camera called the Pen. It was a compact half-frame camera with a viewfinder, no meter and completely manual settings. It had a 28mm f/3.5 lens, an aperture range from 3.5 to 22 and a limited ISO range (25, 50, 100, 200 & B). This was back in 1959. Several incarnations followed from the Pen series’ inception in 1959 until the end of its run in the early ’80s. Some were met with success. Some not so much. But the tiny camera that could has been in semi-retirement since then.
Until today, that is. Olympus has launched the E-P1: a DSLR-sized sensor stuffed into a retro compact body. And with a stock 17mm lens & an interchangeable 14-42mm (3x) zoom lens available at launch, this tiny powerhouse has us all a-twitter. While this isn’t the first Micro Four Thirds camera to hit the market, it is one of the first to take the technology towards a compact sized shell.
The EP-1 looks like your typical compact camera (it’s size is a mere 4.74″ x 2.75″ x 1.38″). But looks are definitely deceiving when it comes to the 2009 Pen. In addition to a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor, Olympus’ TruePic V Image Processor adds “excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity, fine image details in all highlight and shadow areas, and reduced noise” (Olympus’ words). And, though not a DSLR, the E-P1 does boast interchangeable lenses as though it were. So, not only is the base model available in a kit with the aforementioned 17mm & 14-42mm lenses, the Mirco Four Thirds Mount makes the E-O1 compatible (aided by the MMF-1 Adapter) with all Micro Four Thirds lenses.
But the good stuff doesn’t end there. The E-P1 is loaded with features. In-body image stabilization + electronic image stabilization, live view autofocus, and a digital leveler are joined with a dust reduction system that assures spot-free images, 19 automatic scene modes, ePortrait mode & face detection, some nifty looking art filters (including Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film and Pin Hole) as well as a multiple exposure feature that allows you to combine 2 images to create one perfect photo.
Oh – and, in case this wasn’t enough, the Pen shoots HD video as well.
Check out the full specs here and see what all the fuss is about for yourself!