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Olympus is presently launching their first Micro Four-Thirds camera. Depending on which part of the world you are in, they either have launched the product already or will launch it soon. Thanks to Internet access, you probably heard about the E-P1 already from Olympus or another news source. One day events like the launching of a new camera will have a single worldwide date for all to enjoy at once!

The new E-P1 is more about launching a new class of camera than about megapixels and frame-rates. The Olympus E-P1 is primarily a compact camera with interchangeable lenses and a sensor comparable in size to that of a DSLR. Actually, exactly the same size when compared to DSLR cameras from Olympus and Panasonic. One can argue about how this is not as high quality as a larger sensor, such as those used by  – well – everyone else in the DSLR market, but this is not important. The E-P1 brings unprecendented image quality for a camera that small. The compromise, when compared to most DSLRs, is the lack of a viewfinder and reliance on live-preview and having to hold the camera at arm’s length. It also lacks a built-in flash. This not only keeps the camera compact but lets Olympus publish far better battery-life number using the CIPA standard since using the flash every other shot is not required.

As the primary complaint of DSLR cameras is their size and the primary complaint of compact cameras is their image quality, we expect the Olympus E-P1 to be very well received and quite a hot item as soon as it becomes available later this summer. As a Micro Four-Thirds camera, the E-P1 can use one of the relatively small lenses launched with it by Olympus, like the 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 and 17mm F2.8, or it can use – via an adapter – any of the excellent and some unique Four-Thirds lenses already available. The great thing is that Olympus produces several bright lenses such as the 14-35 F2 and 35-100 F2 zooms which give an extra-stop compared to similar offerings from other manufacturers. The Olympus E-P1 also features built-in stabilization to the advantage of all lenses.

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