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After a carefully constructed teaser campaign Olympus has officially launched the E-P1, its first Micro Four Thirds camera and the worst kept secret in the photography industry, thanks to a deluge of leaked information ahead of launch. It's a compact mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that mimics the styling of the company's Pen range that was popular in the 1960s and 70s. The camera is built around an image-stabilized 12 megapixel sensor and incorporates a 3.0" LCD. The E-P1 is available with a 14-42mm kit lens that retracts into its barrel when not in use, much like the lens of a compact camera. Check out our full hands-on preview after the link. Update: Second gallery of shots from the European launch in Berlin, including the new 17mm pancake lens now added.
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
SLR image quality
Creativity and HD Movie
Additional features of the Olympus Pen:
The Olympus Pen E-P1 is available in the following configurations:
* 35mm equivalent
|Body only prices||• US: $749
• UK: £599
• EU: €749
|Single lens kit
|• US: $799
• UK: £699
• EU: €749
|Pancake lens kit
(with 17mm pancake + viewfinder)
|• US: $899
• UK: £749
• EU: €849
|Double lens kit
(with 17mm pancake, viewfinder & 14-42mm kit)
|• US: TBC
• UK: £849
• EU: €949
Enables special artistic effects to be created directly in the camera. The following Art Filters are available in the Olympus E-P1:
Pop Art: Enhances colours, making them stronger and more vivid to create high-impact pictures that express the happy, light-hearted feeling of the pop art style.
Soft Focus: Creates a soft tone which gives pictures an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere. It renders pictures as though they were veiled in heavenly light, without obscuring details such as the hair or flower petals.
Pale & Light Colour: The foreground is enclosed in flat, gentle light – similar to a flashback scene in a film – creating a sense of déjà vu.
Light Tone: Creates a picture with a gentle feel to it, similar to one taken under artificial lighting. Both the shade and highlight areas are rendered very softly to provide a sophisticated atmosphere.
Grainy Film: This effect recreates the feeling of reality evoked by grainy, high-contrast monochrome pictures. The strong presence and dramatic atmosphere make the subject stand out impressively.
Pin Hole: Reduces the peripheral brightness like an image seen through a pinhole. Added to this is a unique colour tone that results in a style that has an air of secrecy or portrays the feeling of being lost in another dimension or space.
Built-in image stabilisation
Built directly into the camera, it enables the photo-enhancing effects of image stabilisation to be enjoyed irrespective of the attached lens. A gyro sensor detects the precise direction of the shake. Using the on-board Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD), the image sensor shifts to compensate for movement caused by camera shake.
Touches up the appearance of subjects even while the shot is being taken. This feature recognises faces and automatically makes skin on the face and adjacent areas appear smoother, brighter and more youthful.
High-definition video (HD video) delivers high-quality movies at a resolution of 1280x720 pixels and a rate of 30 frames per second.
This “intelligent-Auto” mode uses advanced automatic detection technology to allow the camera to recognise the six most commonly used scenes automatically. They enable the capture of perfect photos without any need for manual settings.
Micro Four Thirds Standard
Micro Four Thirds was developed to maximise the performance potential of digital imaging technology. It allows users to enjoy the same high image quality as the Four Thirds Standard’s 4/3-type image sensor in a much more compact body. The new Micro Four Thirds Standard enables the development of ultra-compact interchangeable lens type digital camera systems unlike anything seen before. It also incorporates a greater number of lens-mount electrical contacts for the support of new features and expanded system functionality in the future.
The E-P1 lets photographers choose from four different aspect ratios that enable individualised framing of scenes. These provide a new means of adding expression to shots and the selected ratio can be seen directly on the camera’s LCD. The available aspect ratios include: 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, and 6:6.
With this function, two RAW images can be overlapped to create a new picture while shooting. Up to three RAW images can be combined in editing mode.
The Pen series was first introduced in 1959 as a half-frame camera. With its revolutionary design and price, this camera made photography available for a much bigger user group. The idea behind its design was pure and elegant – to create a camera that was as easy to carry and use as a pen. The Pen was designed by legendary Olympus designer Yoshihisa Maitani, one of the most famous product designers in the history of photography. In 1963 the Pen F was launched as the world’s first 35mm half-frame system SLR. By the time it was introduced, 16 lenses were available. 17 million Pen cameras were sold, making it one of the most popular and successful cameras ever. Today Pen cameras are a much sought after collector’s item and are traded for incredible prices on the second-hand market.
Supersonic Wave Filter
Dust entering digital cameras with interchangeable lenses can cause damage to photos. The Supersonic Wave Filter is a transparent filter which is located between the camera’s shutter and sensor. It shakes off settled dust particles by generating a series of ultrasonic vibrations. Olympus was the first to incorporate dust protection.
TruePic V image processor
Olympus’ latest image processing engine. It automatically enhances important aspects of image quality including: colour reproduction (colour range, saturation and brightness), picture sharpness (reduced image noise, improved edge reproduction), as well as providing faster processing speeds. Furthermore, it supports Art Filters, HD movie quality recording, and high sensitivity shooting at up to ISO 6400 to enable unprecedented creative expression.