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Some time between yesterday and today, 9 new digital cameras appeared on Olympus’s site. We did not get any press releases, so this was a surprise. Among the new arrivals is one stand out model, the tongue-twisting Olympus XZ-1. This new camera is Olympus’ first premium compact digital camera and comes with a nearly unmatched feature set. The closest thing is the Panasonic LX5 which is officially at an ergonomic disadvantage since it only has one control-dial instead of two.

The Olympus XZ-1 deserve its own blog post, so here are major points of the other 8 models. Some of these models are minor upgrades but Olympus is shortening the names of its cameras which means the predecessor is not necessarily obvious.

  • Olympus E-PL2 – 12 Megapixels Micro Four-Thirds camera is just a little more than an E-PL1 with a larger 460K pixels 3″ LCD. It does some with a new lens which allows continuous autofocus while recording 720p HD video.
  • Olympus SP-610UZ – 14 Megapixels and 22X wide-angle optical zoom that stretch the capabilities of the SP-600UZ that came before it.
  • Olympus TG-610 – 14 megapixels rugged compact which is waterproof to 5m, shockproof, freezeproof, dustproof follows the Olympus Stylus Tough 6020.
  • Olympus TG-310 – Another 14 megapixels rugged compact but this time it is waterproof to 3m.
  • Olympus VR-310 – Travel-zoom that features an ultra-wide 10X optical-zoom lens, equivalent to 24-240mm. A new name and redesigned body gives it a different look than the Stylus 9000 before it.
  • Olympus VG-140, VG-130 and VG-120 all seem identical and are indeed identically priced at $140 CDN.  These point-and-shoot models all have a 14 megapixels sensor and stabilized 5X wide-angle optical zooms.

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