The new Olympus digital PEN is called the E-P1

Olympus E-P1

Olympus E-P1

Well, it’s not a teaser anymore, and Olympus has officially announced its new micro FourThirds (mFT) DSLR is the E-P1.

The Olympus E-P1 is “NOT A POINT & SHOOT. NOT AN SLR. IT’S A PEN.” The first PEN camera was introduced in 1959 and last PEN camera was the PenFT, introduced in 1966. Olympus is therefore celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first PEN camera with the introduction of the digital version of the PEN, the E-P1. The “E” positions it as in the same league as the Olympus E-Series DSLRs, the “P” denotes it as a “Pen” and the “1” is a promise of more to come. Sweet!

The Olympus E-P1 is a beautiful camera in a stainless steel body. It comes as silver (with black accents) or white (with a really retro beige/tan accents). It is Olympus’ first mFT “mirror-less” DSLR with all the features enthusiasts are looking for. The E-P1 makes available the image quality obtained from a DSLR (its image sensor has the same size as the one in the E-30 and E-620) in a compact and light body made possible by the mFT mount. Plus, it keeps all the convenient features found in compact digicams, making it an ideal street camera.

Olympus PEN F and the new E-P1 side by side

Olympus PEN F and the new E-P1 side by side

The E-P1 features 12.3MP resolution (on a 17.3 mm (H) x 13.0 mm (V) High speed Live MOS Sensor), Sensor-shift Image Stabilization, Dust reduction, HD Movie 1280×720 with stereo sound (with activable or continuous AF), an extra large 3.0-in. LCD (230K dots), PASM modes, Scene Modes, Shutter speed range of 60 – 1/4000 sec., plus Bulb (up to 30 min.), Continuous Shooting at 3fps, RAW file format, hot shoe, Face Detection, Intelligent AUTO (auto scene recognition), Shadow Adjustment Technology, Digital Level, MF Assist. In a welcomed change, the E-P1 uses the Secure Digital (SD / SDHC) memory cards.

Four potential (and surprising) gotchas: there is no built-in flash (and the optional FL-14 is fixed pointing straight forward, so no bounce flash), there is no AF Illuminator, the LCD resolution is only 230K dots, and the metal tripod mount is not centered and inline with the lens.

The Olympus E-P1 will be available in July 2009 at a street price of CAD $849.99 (body only). For a mere $50 extra (CAD $899.99), most buyers would opt for the body plus the ED 14-42mm (28-84mm equiv.) f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens. For CAD $999.99, you’ll get the body plus a 17mm (34mm equiv.) f2.8 lens and the clip-on optical viewfinder.

The Olympus E-P1 is currently the smallest “DSLR”, being even smaller than the E-450.

Related Links

– Check out the Olympus Pen history, celebrating its 50th Anniversary.
– See Olympus Pen mFT Teaser
TV Commercial
OLYMPUS PEN E-P1 Product Information
Press Release
OLYMPUS PEN E-P1 QuickFact Sheet
Visual History of the Olympus PEN