Olympus goes small and social for an all new PEN (camera, that is)

Smartphone cameras have changed self portraiture forever, just ask Olympus, which has changed the way its LCD flips around for the selfie generation, evident in an all new camera heading to stores soon.

The next in the line of smaller compact interchangeable cameras from Olympus is a PEN, specifically, one from the series Olympus brands the “Lite” models.

Called the E-PL7, this will be one geared at people who like to be social, with wireless features built directly into the camera for easy photo and video sharing to iOS and Android, and a screen that flips out from the back and can be seen from the front, appearing at the bottom of the camera.

That might seem like an odd place for the screen to come out at, but Olympus assured us it did a lot of research into this, telling GadgetGuy that it studied the way people took selfies, and that the screen on the bottom apparently makes it look more like you’re looking at the camera than when the screen is at the top.

Another factor comes down to how you hold the camera, with this orientation catering for a more solid grip on the camera and its shutter button, resulting in less camera and lens shake from unstable hands.

The screen is also touch-based, and Olympus promises a special interface for taking selfies which should work wonders for people keen to take better images than the sort offered by their smartphone, thanks to the sensor on board.

That sensor is familiar, with a 16.1 megapixel LiveMOS sensor used here, similar (if not the same) to the one used in the E-P5, with the 3-axis image stabilisation system taken straight from the recently released E-M10.

Unlike that camera — which is a little bigger — there’s no flash in the PEN, at least not built in, but a detachable flash (FL-LM1) is included in the box, assisting those shots when the light is low, and when you don’t want to raise the ISO to its 25600 limit.

Speed will also be present in this camera, thanks to an 81-point Fast AF focusing system and a maximum shooting speed of 8 frames per second, while the camera will be built from metal to look and feel strong.

Compatibility with the Olympus Micro Four-Thirds lens system is, of course, included, making it also compatible with lenses from Panasonic’s own Micro Four-Thirds system, and even if you don’t have any, a 14-42mm lens will be included in the box to help you get started.

Pricing for the camera hasn’t yet been announced, but we anticipate that it shouldn’t go beyond the $900 mark, with availability from late-September.