Today, Olympus has announced the PEN E-P3, a fifth generation Micro Four Thirds camera successor to the popular PEN E-P1 and E-P2. The PEN-3’s body is similar to the previous models, but the camera otherwise has been almost completely redesigned.
The latest PEN features an improved 12MP sensor, a company-claimed world’s fastest AF-S performance, a 614k dot OLED touchscreen, and even the ability to shoot 1080i60 HD movies in AVCHD format. One of the other significant changes is the addition of a built-in flash, whose pop-up function doesn’t change the front plane of the camera- critical for underwater housings.
Inside the camera, the changes are as significant as the external ones. The quickened AF-S is the result of the latest TruePic VI processor, which allows the camera to check the focus up to 120 times per second. The focus speed of compact and EVIL cameras underwater has always been a drawback compared to using top notch SLRs, but this new processor might help photographers with trickier subjects. Additionally, the latest TruePic VI processor allows dual processing of the picture and playback, elimin ating long blackout times following each shot.
Almost as significant, Olympus has co-announced the release of two new fixed-focal lenses- the M. Zuiko Digital 12mm and M. ZD 45mm. Hav ing already a decent base of zoom lenses for the PEN series –not as suitable for underwater photography- the 12mm fixed wide angle lens is especially important as a real wide angle option.
But the day of Olympus announcements wasn’t over quite yet. Along with the more advanced PEN E-P3, Olympus has released two new beginner, large sensor Micro Four Thirds cameras- PEN Lite and PEN Mini. Both models feature smaller bodies with the speed and interchangeable lenses of the bigger brother, designed for the point-and-shooter looking for an upgrade.
The E-P3 is expected to ship in either July or August, and will retail in a kit with a 14-24 or 45mm lens for $899.99. For more information, please visit the Olympus website.
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