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The Micro Four Thirds digital camera segment just got a whole lot more interesting with the relatively official announcement of the Olympus E-P1 which joins the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1. The wonders of Micro Four Thirds formats comes down to a middle ground of DSLR-esque performance results, exchangeable lenses and the smaller sizing of a consumer compact. The range-finder E-P1 gains points for one of the most aesthetically pleasing cameras in some time rivaled only by the likes of Leica’s offerings. The specs are yet to be confirmed but some suggestions include 13MP RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG modes, 1280×720 720p video over 7 minutes, 640×480 video over 14 minutes, ISO 200-6400 and shutter speeds ranging from 60 sec – 1/4000 sec. We’ll try to update this info as it becomes available.
EDIT: Press release courtesy of DPreview posted below.
Hamburg, 16 June 2009 – When Olympus launched the legendary Pen series of cameras in 1959, this bold and revolutionary achievement rewrote the history of photography. Designed by renowned style guru Yoshihisa Maitani, the Pen represented the perfect marriage of simplicity, style and performance. Five decades later the Olympus passion for innovation is still setting the pace.
With the release of the E-P1, the digital era’s next generation Olympus Pen has arrived: mirrors are no longer a necessary component for digital cameras with interchangeable lenses. The first groundbreaking Olympus Micro Four Thirds model impresses with its incredibly small size, retro style, and ease of use – without giving up any of the benefits of D-SLR quality.
This new ultra-compact hybrid device can even record HD quality movies with depth of field and Art Filter effects familiar from still photography. Naturally, the E-P1 packs all the advantages of Olympus imaging technology e.g. image stabilisation, a dust reduction system, and bright interchangeable lenses. It will be available for purchase in July 2009.
Technology and design in perfect harmony
Combining modern technology with the timeless style of the classic Olympus Pen series, the removal of the mirror box allows the Olympus Pen E-P1 to be reduced to a remarkably compact size. Such mirror-less construction is also the foundation for a stunning new design.
A stylish metal finish and the optional FL-14 flash give the camera a retro-look reminiscent of the classic Olympus Pen F. Through its compactness and usability this legendary camera became one of the most popular and revolutionary products in the history of photography.
Not just a pretty face: D-SLR quality in compact form
To match its high-end look, the E-P1 has been fitted with the latest innovative Olympus technologies to deliver D-SLR quality images. In addition to in-camera image stabilisation, it is accompanied by the first Olympus interchangeable lenses specially designed for the new Micro Four Thirds format: the M. ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake (34mm*) and M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 (28-84mm*) lenses.
To guarantee a wide range of shooting styles, the new model is compatible with all Micro Four Thirds lenses and, via an adapter, the full range of existing Four Thirds lenses. Adapters are also available for OM lenses and those made by other manufacturers. For unbeatable precision, a 12.3 Megapixel Live MOS sensor and the Olympus Pen E-P1’s new TruePic V image processor ensure all your precious memories are saved as crisp and clear images or movies.
The new processing engine guarantees ultra-high processing speeds as well as professional image quality at up to an incredible ISO 6400. It also enables the application of Art Filters to both movies and still images.
New modes for unlimited self-expression
The E-P1 boasts a variety of creative E-System features allowing photographers to explore new artistic possibilities. Inspired by the semi-professional E-30, a choice of six Art Filters lends images a new flair. The Pop Art filter, for example, infuses a picture with colour in order to create a more intense, joyful feel. Further fantastic filters include Pin Hole, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Colour, Light Tone and Grainy Film.
And so you’re never left wondering what your party would have looked like through a kaleidoscope, they can also be applied right in the camera after a picture has been taken. Other effects can be created using the Multi Exposure mode, which allows several RAW images to be superimposed in real-time. Multiple Exposure masterpieces can then be created on the fly in shooting mode, or later in editing mode. Creativity is further supported with a choice of four aspect ratios. What’s more, the E-P1 truly breaks new ground with the option of video recordings that were previously impossible.
Not only does the cutting-edge video function allow the application of Art Filters, but it also includes the ability to vary depth of field, angle of view, and autofocus during recording. And of course, this can be done with all lenses. It records up to an incredible 5 minutes of high-resolution HD (1280x720p) at 30fps in one single shot. The result? You’ll never miss a crucial moment – from the highlight of the party to that flashed smile on the catwalk. Movies can be recorded and played back in AVI format, at both standard 4:3 or wide screen 16:9 aspect ratios.
To take the guesswork out of achieving sharp focus, shifting electronic image stabilisation (Digital IS) ensures perfect pictures every time. Convenient transfer and viewing on modern displays is no problem since the Olympus Pen E-P1 is HDMI compatible. And since some memories look particularly good framed on the wall, high-resolution still images can be shot at the touch of a button while recording movies.
The E-P1’s high quality stereo recording ability will ensure your movies sound crisp and clear, whether you want to film your own music video or send a heartfelt message to a friend. It benefits from Olympus’ latest audio technologies, including high quality PCM recording.
Effortless handling and full control
The newly developed Live Control interface ensures effortless operation: it is incredibly easy to use and the effects of selected functions can be viewed immediately on the 7.6cm/3.0” HyperCrystal LCD. In addition to easy focusing for sharp and crisp shots, an intelligent i-Auto option also allows the camera to automatically adjust to six common scene modes such as portrait, landscape and night.
What’s more, subjects can be sure they will always look their best with e-Portrait – a practical option that smoothes away wrinkles and eliminates imperfections and blemishes. This way everyone can look like a top model, especially when they appear on TV via the practical HDMI output. SD card compatibility eliminates concerns about storage by providing ample space for recorded images and movies as well as convenient file storage and transfer.
A must have for style hounds and those seeking unbeatable performance without the weight and clumsiness of traditional D-SLRs, the Olympus Pen E-P1 is available in two stylish options: silver or white. The new model and its two accompanying Micro Four Thirds lenses will hit stores in July 2009.
The Olympus Pen E-P1 – main features:
Small & stylish design
* Extremely small and light-weight Micro Four Thirds System
* Stylish design with metal finish
* Two colours
SLR image quality
* 12.3 Megapixel Live MOS Sensor
* TruePic V image processor
* Built-in IS with max. 4 EV steps efficiency
* Adapter for all ZUIKO DIGITAL & OM lenses
* New developed GUI for easiest operation via Live Control
* Automatic recognition of common scenes possible with i-Auto
* Clear skin with e-Portrait
* Two dials for easy handling
* Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology
* 20 shooting modes (5 exposure modes, i-Auto mode, 14 scene modes)
Creativity and HD Movie
* HD Movie with stereo sound featuring depth of field and Art Filters
* Art Filters, Multi-Aspect ratios
* Multi Exposure function
* Art Filters can be applied to previously taken RAW images in the camera and with Olympus software
* Enhanced creativity with special lenses e.g. fisheye is available via Four Thirds lens adapter
Additional features of the Olympus Pen:
* HDMI TV interface
* Linear PCM sound recording
* Level gauge
* Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface
* Three frames per second with sequential shooting (max 14 in RAW mode)
* ISO 100-6400 for wide-ranging sensitivity
* Versatile bracketing functions for white balance and exposure
* Reliable Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system
* Based on the Micro Four Thirds Standard
* Wide dynamic range in highly lit areas
* Simultaneous writing of RAW and JPEG
* SD memory card (SDHC compatible)
* High-speed data writing and lossless RAW compression for quick processing
* Large 7.6cm/3.0” HyperCrystal LCD
* AE/AF lock functionality for individual customisation
* Auto gradation adjustment to prevent blown highlights and blocked-in shadows
* Remote release possible via the optional remote cable RM-UC1
The Olympus Pen E-P1 is available in the following configurations:
* E-P1 Kit Silver/Black
(E-P1 body silver & M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 lens black)
* E-P1 Kit Silver/Silver
(E-P1 body silver & M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 lens silver)
* E-P1 Kit White/Silver
(E-P1 body white & M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 lens silver)
* E-P1 Pancake Kit Silver
(E-P1 body silver & M. ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake lens silver & VF-1)
* E-P1 Pancake Kit White
(E-P1 body white & M. ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake lens silver & VF-1)
* E-P1 Double Lens Kit
(E-P1 body silver & M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 lens black & M. ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake lens silver & VF-1)
* M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 lens
* M. ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake lens
* MMF-1 adapter for all Four Thirds lenses
* MF-2 adapter for all OM lenses
* FL-14 flash
* VF-1 external optical view finder
* Leather strap in white and brown
* Leather body jacket in white and brown