Olympus unveils three new cameras in the PEN range

Reviving the PEN camera brand from the 70s wasn’t enough for Olympus, with three new cameras announced this week bringing the Micro Four-Thirds lenses to smaller bodies with “the world’s fastest auto-focus”.

The new Olympus E-P3 with the new 12mm lens.

First up is the flagship of the range, the Olympus E-P3, the third version of a camera initially released two years ago. While the outside of the E-P3 reminds us very much of the original, the internals have taken some changes, with a new 12.3 megapixel LiveMOS sensor, 35 zone auto-focus, new imaging engine for bright and more accurate colours, interchangeable grips, pop-up flash, and 1080i video recording. Also new to the E-P3 is a 3-inch OLED touchscreen display, allowing you to touch in the frame to take a photo. We’re told pricing is to be $999 for the single-lens kit, with availability within the next few weeks.


On the Olympus PEN E-PL3, the screen can be tilted. If you tilt it up, it even resembles a waist-level viewfinder.

Next up is the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3, a smaller camera featuring a 3-inch tilting LCD and high-speed shooting.

Looking at the E-PM1, you'd think it was designed for the enthusiast in love with the word "retro".

Finally – and going one step smaller again – Olympus is showing off another camera  named the PEN Mini E-PM1. The smallest of the three shown this week, the Mini comes in six colours and is designed for the photographer that wants a stylish yet compact camera system.

Despite some of the obvious differences in size, Olympus stresses that many of the core features found in these cameras are the same, including the 12.3 megapixel LiveMOS sensor, 1080i video capture, creative art filters, and new high-speed “FAST” (Frequent Accelerated Sensor Technology) auto-focus system which Olympus claims is the fastest auto-focus system in the world.

Then there’s the lenses, and because Olympus is sticking with the Micro Four-Thirds system, we’ve been told that lenses made by Panasonic and Leica will work on the new Olympus bodies.

Olympus is releasing two new lenses, however, adding both a 12mm f2.0 (equivalent to a 24mm) and 45mm f1.8 portrait lens (equivalent to 90mm) to its own lens line-up.

Pricing has yet to be announced on the smaller cameras, but we’re told they will fetch a smaller price than $999 E-P3 with release within the next few months.