Well its been quite a wait but Olympus have finally announced a few new cameras and lenses for Micro Four Thirds which will enthrall many and hopefully lay to rest some concerns of their previously slowish AF performance.
Olympus Pen E-P3 camera:
- similar physical design to the initial E-P1 including its built-in image stabiliser but added a rotational dial, sub-dial and two new function buttons to the back
- adds built-in pop up flash
- revised 12mp sensor with new Fine Detail Processing Technology for greater detail in the photograph
- a 3″ 614,000 dot 3:2 VGA-equivalent fixed OLED touch-sensitive screen
- new FAST AF Tracking System with 35 AF areas – “world’s fastest AF” (I presume for contrast detect AF although apparently rivals Olympus E5 dSLR AF speed)
- fast shutter response time < 60msec shutter lag
- new faster and better dual-core TruePic VI image processing engine
- AF Illuminator
- ISO to 12,800
- up to 29 minutes of full 1080i HD video in either AVCHD or AVI formats
- 10 Art Filters: Diorama, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia and Dramatic Tone
- 9 Art Filter variations and enhancements, including new Pale & Light Color II, and five Art Filter Effects, including new Star Light and White Edge
- new Art Filter Bracketing function helps you develop multiple pictures utilizing different Art Filters with a single shot
- 3D photos using a pan mode feature to produce a .MPO file, the universal industry 3D format for easy display on 3D televisions or laptop
- compatible with SDHC, SDXC and UHS-1 memory cards
- can be utilized with the Olympus PENPAL® or various Eye-Fi™ cards for instant wireless uploads to your favorite social or photo sharing websites
- electronic level gauge
- stereo mics
- 3fps burst rate
Olympus Pen Lite (E-PL3):
- similar to E-P3 but lighter, slimmer, more modern looking body and tiltable 16:9 460,000 dot LCD screen (not OLED), and loses a front dial and the 2nd function button, and comes with a clip-on flash instead of having a popup flash.
- for some reason it actually has a faster burst rate (5.5fps) than the E-p3
- it also does not have these E-p3 Art Filters: Loses Pale Light & Color, Light Tone, Gentle Sepia and Cross-Process, and no level gauge.
Olympus Pen Mini (E-PM1):
- similar features to E-PL3 but loses the flip-out screen and mode dial, along with several of the buttons but essentially all of the camera’s features and functions are maintained in a simplified body that weighs roughly 50g less than the E-PL3.
- burst rate is 4.1fps but can do 5.5fps with IS turned off
Olympus 12mm f/2.0 lens:
- at long last a premium quality, fast wide angle prime to give an effective field of view of a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera
- even better, Olympus has listened to its users and added a “Snap Focus”manual focus ring and scale with DOF markings for manual zone focusing
- this should be a fantastic lens for street photography, low light photography as well as travel and landscape photography
- near silent AF for video
- pricing expected to be $US799
Olympus 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens:
- at long last Olympus has added a relatively affordable portrait lens with a wide aperture and 90mm equivalent “portrait” field of view which will allow nice blurred backgrounds for your portraiture.
- near silent AF for video
- “The MSC mechanism is great for tracking a moving child or pet, and provides a quick and silent focus mechanism for movies and still photography”
- pricing expected to be $US399
These 2 lenses along with the recently announced Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 lenses will be fantastic additions to the lens line up – now we need to see the new f/2.0 macro lenses from Olympus.
Lastly, Olympus has added a new compact flash for bounce flash – the Olympus FL-300R flash with remote TTL capability which can be used in tandem with the E-PL3 pop up flash or instead of it.
All very nice Mr Olympus, but personally I would prefer one with a built-in EVF similar to the Panasonic GH-2 which I am sure you must be working on and announcing soon.