Olympus Pen E – PL3 and Olympus Pen E – PM1

Offering a slimmed - down size, faster operation and impressive specification, the E - PL3 and E - PM1 are the smallest, slickest Olympus Pen cameras to date

THE E - PL3, is also called the Pen Lite. It is the smallest and lightest Olympus E - PL version yet. With its sleek and modern design, it is virtually unrecognisable from the retro feel of its predecessors. As part of its redesign, the camera uses an included hotshoe - mounted flash rather than a built - in flash, and the 460,000 - dot LCD screen is a tilted type.

What has remained is the 12.3 - million - pixel four thirds sensor, offering a 4000x3000 - pixel output, although it is a refined version in the E - PL3 for improved noise performance, and consequently has an extended ISO range of 200-12,800.

Further enhancements include the companys latest TruePic VI engine, which improves the general speed of the camera, including 5.5 frames per second, faster write speeds and improved AF with a new 35 - point system.

Users can benefit from a host of digital filters for creative effects. Where the art filters stand out from other systems is in the manual control that is offered to the photographer to combine filters, such as dramatic tone, with extra effects, such as a border, while maintaining exposure control.

The E - PM1, also known as the Pen Mini, is the true new addition to the Pen range this year. It is slightly smaller than the E - PL3 and significantly lighter at 265g, including battery and card, making this the companys smallest Pen yet.

Available in several colours and with a simple interface and button layout, the E - PM1 is aimed at the mass market and a good entry point for those buying their first interchangeable - lens camera. Manual exposure controls are accessed via the menu rather than the body itself.

Most of the E - PMIs features match the E - PL3, such as its 12.3 - million - pixel sensor, full HD video, ISO 200-12,800, 35 - point AF system and 5.5 frames per second. The LCD screen also has a 460,000 - dot resolution, but it is a fixed type. Added to the system are two new prime lenses, the 45mm f/1.8 and 12mm f/2 lenses.

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