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2011.07.01

Olympus presents its new lineup of Micro-Four-Thirds SLDs with 3 new digital cameras, 2 all-new high-grade lenses and 2 revised entry-level lenses. The new cameras represent 3 levels of user-expertize:

  • E-P3 – High-end model with dual control-dials and a built-in flash.
  • E-PL3 – Mid-range model with a single control-dial and tilting display.
  • E-PM1 – Entry-level with a single control-dial, no mode-dial and simplified controls.

All these three digital cameras use a new high-sensitivity 12 megapixels LiveMOS sensor capable of ISO 200 to 12800 and full 1080i HD video capture. A 35-area contrast-detect focus-system reads the sensor at 120 FPS to lock focus as fast as a DSLR and claims to be the fastest in its class.

Novice photographers will be very thankful that Olympus has not skimped on performance features of their entry and mid-range models, providing the same sensor across the board, so you can get top-notch quality without buying something too complex. Both E-PL3 and E-PM1 can shoot at 4.1 FPS or 5.5 FPS when image-stabilization is turned off. Strangely, the high-end E-P3 shoots at 3 FPS.

The compact size of the two smaller models prevent them from having a built-in flash, so one that attaches to the hot-shoe is provided with the package instead. The hot-shoe on all three cameras features a proprietary accessory port to use Olympus accessories such as an optional EVF, macro lamp or Blue-Tooth module.

The E-P3 introduces changeable grips attachable via a single screw on the side of the camera. It is also the first Olympus SLD to have a touchscreen, which thankfully is not needed to operate the camera and can be deactivated all-together.

The two new high-grade lenses look awesome and have well-needed specifications:

The first of these is equivalent to an ultra-wide 24mm F/2 on a full-frame camera. There is no equivalent for APS-C sensor cameras. The second corresponds to a 90mm F/1.8 which is an excellent focal-length and aperture for portraits, something which only the Pentax FA 77mm F1.8 Limited is close of offering for APS-C cameras.

Finally, the 14-42mm and 40-150mm lens were cosmetically revised to match the look of the new cameras.

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