For a long time there were just point-and-shoots and DSLRs. Then Micro Four Thirds cameras came along and blurred the lines. The Olympus Pen E-PL2 and XZ-1 make things blurrier than ever—a good thing—and bring some innovative accessories.
The 12.3MP Pen E-PL2 is Olympus's second consumer-centric Micro Four Thirds camera—smaller than a DSLR but guaranteed to blow your point-and-shoot away every time—saddling up alongside its predecessor, the E-PL1. It comes with a super quiet new f3.5/5.6 zoom lens, hides a built-in flash, and has been resculpted for a more ergonomic design, adding some real estate to the grip.
Recent graduates from the world of pointing and shooting can rely on the E-PL2's Live Guide II, an intelligent auto mode that lets users adjust how the picture looks live with sliders and plain language descriptions—"aperture," for example, becomes "brightness"—and an expanded variety of art filters and effects (soft focus, pinhole, art frame etc.) which can be applied, overlaid on top of one another, and previewed live on the 3", 460k dot display. Full deets in the press release below; it'll be available this month for $599.
If the E-PL2 is the bridge camera for the point-and-shoot graduate who wants to dip their toes in the world of interchangeable lenses, the XZ-1 is for pros who still want something to slip into their pocket. It's got a 10MP CCD sensor and is the first compact camera to sport a Zuiko lens (f1.8-2.5 6.0-24mm), just like the ones on Olympus DSLRs. And then there's the beautiful 3.0" OLED display and full manual controls—all in all, a uniquely powerful compact camera. It'll go for $500.
Both cameras have one of Olympus's accessory ports—version 2 for the E-LP2; version 1 for the XZ-1—which can accomodate a whole buncha creative new accessories. There's a macro spotlight with adjustable tentacles (the improvement of your EBay photos alone will probably make it a worthwhile investment), and, even more interestingly, a little dongle called the PenPal that will wirelessly beam photos via Bluetooth to your Android or Windows 7 phone. See it in action:
Very cool. [Olympus]
POWERFULLY SIMPLE OLYMPUS PEN® SYSTEM GROWS WITH INTELLIGENT ENHANCEMENTS AND BLUETOOTH® CAPABILITY:
THE OLYMPUS PEN E-PL2 CAMERA
Enhance Your High Definition Videos and Stills with
Movie and Still Compatible Lens Technology, New Live Guide II,
More Robust Art Filter Effects and a New Range of Accessories
CENTER VALLEY, Pa., January 5, 2011 – Today Olympus announces the new powerfully simple PEN E-PL2, the fourth generation of the award-winning and pioneering Olympus PEN family of compact interchangeable lens digital cameras. Known for pro quality, point-and-shoot simplicity and high-definition video, the PEN E-PL2 continues the PEN family's legacy of simple design, intuitive interface and Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) image quality. The new camera also expands your creative potential with Live Guide II, new in-camera creative features, new auxiliary lenses, a new Close-Up Spotlight accessory (MAL-1) and the new Olympus PENPal™ Bluetooth accessory. Capturing amazing still images and HD video just got a lot more fun. Further proof that Olympus lets you capture it all.
• MSC Lens - the new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens (28mm-84mm equivalent) features a high-speed, silent autofocus during still shooting and high definition (HD) video capture;
• New 3" 460,000 dot LCD - for bright and easy image composition;
• Live Guide II - preview HD video and still image effects on the E-PL2's high-resolution LCD screen to achieve the perfect result effortlessly;
• Art Filter Variations and Enhancements — choose from different art filter looks to expand your creative horizons or overlay different art filters to create something new, now with full manual control;
• ISO 6400 - take great low-light photos with the camera's increased ISO sensitivity;
• New Ergonomic Body Design - shoot stills and videos comfortably with a more ergonomic grip and updated button placement and functionality for ease of use; and
Face Detection with iDetect - an amazing new function makes it easier to capture the spirit of your subject, automatically making a person's eye the focus point of the image. The E-PL2 further reduces the chance of blurred subjects in images by recognizing up to eight faces, tracking them within the image area, and automatically focusing and optimizing exposure for sharp portraits.
At an affordable $599.99 with the new MSC ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens (28mm-84mm equiv.), the 12.3 megapixel ergonomically-designed E-PL2 is perfect for everyone from beginners, who want to expand their creative horizons, to experienced photographers who desire high-quality results without the size and weight of a traditional DSLR.
"The innovative PEN E-PL2 is designed to go with you and grow with you – it's the total compact multimedia package," said Katie Roseman, product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "We've expanded everything but the size of the camera. Live Guide II, new art filter variations and enhancements for instant gratification, three converter lenses and MAL-1 close-up spotlight will all help grow your creative potential, while the Olympus PENPal lets you send images straight from the camera to your smart phone for social sharing."
New Lens Optimized for Video and Image Stabilization for Every Lens
The E-PL2 comes with the new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens. This new kit lens has a smooth, silent and uses a quick inner focus mechanism to make it exceptionally fast and nearly silent when recording high-definition movie. The M.Zuiko Digital MICRO Four Thirds® lenses are designed to be more compact and portable, just like the E-PL2 itself. In addition to the kit lens, choose from the ED m17mm f2.8 lens (34mm equivalent), the super wide-angle zoom ED m9-18mm f4.0-5.6 lens (18-36mm equivalent), the high-power wide to telephoto zoom ED m14-150mm f4.0-5.6 lens (28-300mm equivalent), the wide zoom ED m40-150mm F4.0-5.6, or the super telephoto ED m75-300mm f4.8-5.6 (35mm equivalent 150–600mm).
If you're looking for even more options, the MMF-2 Four Thirds™ System Lens Adapter makes the E-PL2 compatible with all Olympus Zuiko® Digital Specific lenses and other Four Thirds System lenses from Sigma, Panasonic and Leica. Olympus OM film-based lenses can be attached to the E-PL2 with the MF-2 OM Lens Adapter, and third-party adapters have been developed for lenses from most other manufacturers.
New Live Guide II for Stills and Movies
The PEN E-PL2's Live Guide II takes the E-PL1's popular Live Guide interface for stills and expands it to preview effects for HD videos. Live Guide takes the guesswork out of great photography and videography by previewing effects at the touch of a button. Want more vivid or muted color in your shot? Want warmer or cooler color? Want a brighter or darker subject, or a sharper or softer background? Or maybe you want to capture the fast-moving action of your subject with a little artistic blur, or perhaps freeze the action? Simply select Live Guide and turn the wheel on the back of the camera to slide through numerous photographic and videographic effects. Make adjustments and watch the LCD as the effects are made live – before the image is captured! Don't worry about learning technical things like f-stops, shutter speed and white balance; jump right in by composing, adjusting exposure and more before the shot is taken.
Seeing the results before snapping the image or shooting a video ensures you are getting the results you want, and it will change the way you use your camera. Shooting Tips are also available with Live Guide, so you can leave the manual at home.
Limitless Creativity with New Art Filter Variations and Enhancements
Olympus pioneered easy-to-use in-camera art filters for still images captured inside its E-System DSLRs and was the first company to offer the ability to apply art filters to HD video recordings captured with the PEN E-P1 camera. The E-PL2 features six art filters: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, and Dramatic Tone. For the first time, the E-PL2 also features art filter variations and enhancements to maximize your creativity and expand the potential results. Give your images a different look by choosing from six art filters. Overlay an art effect over an original image with or without an art filter. Shoot a sunset with Pop Art and then add the Pin Hole Effect. Take a portrait in Grainy Film and then add a funky art frame. The possibilities are limitless.
Whatever you create, it will be easy to display on the big screen. When you're ready to share your work, just plug the E-PL2's camera into any high definition television (HDTV) using the camera's HDMI output with an optional HDMI cable (sold separately) and show it off from the comfort of your living room.
HD Videos and HDMI Control for a Home Theater Experience
The E-PL2 shoots gorgeous 720p HD video, so you'll always capture the moments you cherish in clear, crisp high-definition at the touch of a button. With HDMI Control, playback is also a breeze. You'll be the hit of the party or any family event when you proudly display your brilliant images and movies on HDTVs. Simply connect the camera to an HDTV with an optional HDMI cable. With HDMI Control, you can use your HDTV's remote to control playback functions and navigate the camera's menus from the comfort of your couch.
New Optional Accessories for Every Shooting Challenge
Along with the E-PL2, Olympus unveils five new accessories to further expand what you can do with PEN cameras.
• Add-on Conversion Lenses - Olympus has three new affordable and compact conversion lenses that mount on the new MSC ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens to further expand what you can do with the E-PL2:
o Fish-eye Lens Converter (FCON-37): captures a distorted hemispherical image covering 120° - to generate dramatic shots and edges that wrap around the frame of your image;
o Wide-angle Lens Converter (WCON-37): enables the user to capture a broader shot, for example, to include more people in a photograph. It dramatically alters the proportions of close and distant subjects. Subjects close to the lens appear much larger, while subjects in the background appear smaller – creating a dynamic sense of depth; and
o Macro Lens Converter (MCON-58): Enables the user to capture fascinating close-ups from as little as 24cm. away from the subject (depending upon the lens in use). The MCON-58 is also compatible with the ED m14-150mm f4.0-5.6 lens (28-300mm equivalent), ED m40-150mm F4.0-5.6, and ED m75-300mm f4.8-5.6 (35mm equivalent 150–600mm) for close focusing shots.
• Macro Arm Light (MAL-1) - Not one, but two bright LED lights – each on the end of its own fully flexible metal arm and powered by the camera. Both arms extend up to 17cm. from a sleek and slender unit mounted on the camera's Accessory Port. For macro shots or attractive close-ups of small items or for online auctions, the MAL-1 is ideal for getting the lighting just right.
• PENPal - A sleek communication unit for storing up to 2600 images and transferring them via wireless Bluetooth to other Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as a mobile phone, PC or even another PENPal-equipped camera. From there it's easy to share them with friends in online communities or via e-mail.
In addition to these accessories, the E-PL2 is compatible with the optional VF-2 detachable electronic viewfinder, which provides 1.15x magnification and a 100 percent field of view with sharp resolution, brightness and contrast, and the optional SEMA-1 external microphone adapter set for those who want to capture enhanced audio with any microphone that has a 3.5mm plug. These optional accessories easily slide into the camera's accessory port and hot shoe.
In-camera Image Stabilization that Supports a Wide Range of Lenses
Olympus has Image Stabilization built right into the body of the E-PL2. This means that any lens (MICRO Four Thirds, Four Thirds and any third-party lens) attached to the E-PL2 will deliver blur-free images thanks to three modes of in-body Image Stabilization that automatically compensate for camera shake, including in low-light situations or when shooting without a tripod.
Achieve More with Automatic Features Including New iDetect
The E-PL2 features Face Detection with a new Eye Detection function called iDetect to make it easier to capture the spirit of your subject. This feature automatically makes a person's eye the focus point of the image. The E-PL2 further reduces the chance of blurred subjects in images by recognizing up to eight faces, tracking them within the image area, and automatically focusing and optimizing exposure for sharp portraits. In addition, the E-PL2 has a variety of automated technologies to free you up to focus on your subject instead of the camera settings.
• 22 Scene-Select Modes — from portraits to sunset shots, the E-PL2 is equipped with 22 Scene-Select modes for effortless picture taking, including Fireworks, Sunset, Children, Macro and Panorama, to name a few. Capturing beautiful portraits is easy with the ePortrait mode that enables you to smooth your subject's complexion. There are even three scene modes that are specific to shooting with the new conversion lenses to optimize the performance of those lenses;
• Intelligent Auto (iAuto) Mode — when you don't want to use the scene-select modes, the iAuto mode automatically identifies what you're shooting and adjusts settings to ensure you capture the best result for each situation you encounter;
• In-Camera Panorama — capture three images and stitch them together to create one amazing, seamless panoramic picture. Or use the included OLYMPUS [ib] software to stitch up to 10 images together for the ultimate panorama; and
• iEnhance — with this mode the warm yellow and orange colors of a sunset are heightened to a dramatically lifelike color that's truer to what you see with the naked eye. iEnhance is available in any mode, and automatically engages when using iAuto to enrich color in any subject.
Large Sensor for Excellent Image Quality
The E-PL2 features a large image sensor similar to the one inside the top of the line Olympus E-System cameras. The only difference between this sensor and what the pros use is that this big sensor is inside the much smaller body of the E-PL2. This high-performance 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Sensor (eight times larger than the average point-and-shoot camera sensor) delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity, and a state-of-the-art amplifier circuit to reduce noise and capture fine image details in both highlight and shadow areas.
The E-PL2's Live MOS image sensor is complemented by Olympus' TruePic™ V Image Processor, which produces clear and colorful photos using all the pixel information for each image to provide the best digital images possible. The image processor is noted for accurate natural color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression; it also offers a maximum ISO sensitivity of 6400, to reduce image noise in photos shot at higher ISO settings, enabling great results in low-light situations.
World-renowned Dust Reduction System
The Olympus dust reduction system is an industry first and a proven technology. You don't have to worry about dust spots on your sensor ruining the perfect image every time you change lenses. Spend more time shooting with the E-PL2 and less time worrying about dust with the superior dust reduction system producing spot-free photos with the exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter, a patented ultrasonic technology that silently vibrates to remove dust and other particles from the front of the image sensor. Dust will no longer get between you and a great shot.
Flash Alternatives for Everyone
For low-light shooting situations photographers can select the built-in flash or choose an optional external unit. Wireless flash control is also possible with the E-PL2, making customized lighting set-ups an easy reality.
Underwater Housing for Aquatic Adventures
The new camera's compact design makes it the perfect companion for all of your dive trips. Olympus has designed a custom underwater case for the PEN E-PL2, the PT-EP03, which is waterproof to a depth of 40 meters (approximately 130 feet). With its durable, high-quality polycarbonate construction, this Olympus housing protects the camera from water while also cushioning it from knocks and bumps on land. The housing enables viewing from either the camera's LCD screen or an optional electronic viewfinder. Use up to two UFL-2 underwater flash units via fiber optic cable with the case's flash connectors. A non-removable front lens port accommodates multiple MICRO Four Thirds lenses.
The Olympus E-PL2 Kit will be available in January 2011. It includes the E-PL2 Body, M. ZUIKO MSC DIGITAL ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zoom, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack (BLS-5), Li-Ion Battery Charger (BCS-1), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS [ib] software CD-ROM, Manuals and Registration card.
U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
E-PL2 Body with MSC M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
Estimated Street Price: $599.99
Journalists interested in more information, review units and high-resolution images of the Olympus PEN E-PL2 camera and PEN lenses and accessories should contact Jeff Hluchyj, Mullen Public Relations, 617-226-9939, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jennifer Colucci, Olympus Imaging America Inc., 484-896-5719, email@example.com, or visit the Olympus website: http://www.getolympus.com.
OLYMPUS X FACTOR:
CREATING A NEW BREED OF COMPACT CAMERA
Dim the Lights and Get Ready to Shoot Brilliant Still Images and HD Videos
With the X-tremely Bright, X-tremely High-Quality XZ-1
CENTER VALLEY, Pa., January 5, 2011 – On the heels of the PEN® interchangeable lens digital camera revolution, Olympus takes their compact digital cameras to the X-treme with the introduction of an ultra-compact flagship camera and first of a new series, the XZ-1. Developed for the photographer or enthusiast who is looking for the ultimate high-quality, high-performance premium compact camera, the XZ-1 offers all of this, and more without sacrificing image quality. Never fear the darkness with the XZ-1's super-bright built-in Olympus iZUIKO lens – the first built-in Zuiko® lens on a compact digital camera. The X-factor that achieves this category-defying quality: A combination of three state-of-the-art features: the X-tremely large, super-sensitive CCD sensor, the X-tremely fast TruePic™ V image processor and the X-tremely bright, fast f1.8-2.5 iZUIKO digital lens. Further proof that Olympus lets you capture it all.
"The XZ-1 features one of the world's brightest built-in lenses on a digital compact camera to enable you to shoot high-quality still images and HD videos in any shooting environment, including difficult low-light conditions," said Katie Roseman, product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "This camera will give you the versatility needed to take on any challenge without weighing you down."
• X-factor Style - full manual controls in a slim, stylish pocket-sized camera;
• X-ceptional Image Quality - a range of new features offer superior image quality, together with 10 megapixel CCD sensor with the TruePic™ V Image Processor to produce sharp photos;
• X-cellent Low-Light Performance - iZUIKO f1.8-2.5 6.0-24mm lens for improved shooting in low-light scenarios, enhancing image clarity and drastically reducing grain. Also featuring Dual Image Stabilization and an AF Illuminator to maximize performance in low-light settings; and
• X-treme Creativity -The XZ-1 offers six Art Filters, each of which uses different settings to create incredible photographic effects that would otherwise require additional lenses, filters or complex editing. Additionally, the Live Guide on-screen setting offers quick tips for shooting different subjects (kids, pets and flowers, for example) assists the photographer with some of the more complex in-camera settings (aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation, for instance).
Whether you're an experienced Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) or PEN shooter who wants a second smaller camera for trips and nights out, without sacrificing image quality or performance, or the aspiring enthusiast who is ready for a higher-powered camera, the new trendy XZ-1 has the features you need for high-quality images. With its thin, attractive matte black body, you'll be inconspicuous while you use the XZ-1 to take candid photos and videos in the shadows at a wedding reception. The XZ-1's body is small enough to easily fit in your pocket, yet feels solid in your hands and you can easily take it with you everywhere.
X-ceptional Image Quality
Whether composing still images or HD videos, photographers will appreciate the XZ-1's sharp 3.0-inch OLED monitor to frame and show off still images and High Definition (HD) movies in detailed 720p. The LCD displays 610,000 dots in vivid color, reproduces colors and shades more accurately with deeper black tones and consumes less power. The monitor also provides a wide-viewing angle ensuring that images can be composed from even the most obscure angles. A new graphic interface makes it easier to read text and find the settings you need on the fly, and Live Control enables intuitive operation allowing you to shoot photos while viewing the effects on the camera's LCD.
Shooting video is as easy as ever with the new Olympus XZ-1 camera. The camera captures all the action in crisp 720p HD video at 30 frames-per-second. The XZ-1's easy-to-reach record button on the back of the camera body makes recording videos a breeze. If you're about to snap a photo and you realize a video would capture the spirit of the scene even better, simply press the record button and instantly you're capturing videos! Easily toggle back and forth between capturing stills and videos by using your index finger to press the shutter button or your thumb to press the record button. Having the ability to shoot still images and videos opens up a world of imaging possibilities.
The XZ-1 pairs a high sensitivity 10 megapixel CCD sensor with the TruePic™ V Image Processor to produce clear and colorful photos using all the pixel information from each image to provide the best digital images possible. The image processor is noted for accurate natural color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression; it also lowers image noise in photos shot at higher ISO settings (ISO 100 to ISO 3200), enabling great results in low-light situations.
The XZ-1 also offers the advanced manual controls that experienced photographers expect from digital SLR cameras. Shoot full manual, and also with a control ring around the front of the lens and the wheel controller on the back, the XZ-1 gives immediate access to the most important manual settings like ISO, aperture and shutter speed to make it easy to adjust the camera on the move. Three levels of exposure control using a neutral density (ND) filter distributes light offering greater flexibility to change the aperture and exposure time in different situations while allowing the photographer to take the best picture in any condition.
X-cellent Low-Light Performance
The iZUIKO f1.8-2.5 6.0-24mm (28-112mm equivalent angle of view in 35mm cameras) digital lens is a newly-developed 4x compact version of the legendary, high-quality ZUIKO digital lenses featured with Olympus DSLRs. With a minimum aperture of f1.8 at wide-angle and a maximum aperture of f2.5 at telephoto, this lens boasts super-fast shutter speeds for sharp, low-light images. This aperture range also allows photographers to take portraits that highlight the subject by defocusing the background, a capability that is not normally possible in compact cameras. The lens is specifically designed for clear, high-quality photographic performance.
Apart from the speed of the f1.8 lens, the camera's low-light mode automatically adjusts the ISO sensitivity up to ISO 3200 to take sharp, full-resolution photos in dark places. The camera's iAuto mode automatically detects low-light scenes and adjusts the ISO accordingly for the best image quality. The camera also features an AF illuminator to make it simple to focus in low-light locations. The XZ-1 also features a low-light mode for even quicker access to maximize low-light situations.
If you're going to an evening at the theatre, the XZ-1 also offers Dual Image Stabilization to further assure you'll get the shot you want while holding the camera. Mechanical Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization compensates for camera movement in low-light conditions when shutter speeds are slower while Digital Image Stabilization freezes the action with high ISO sensitivity and fast shutter speeds that prevent blurry images often caused by a moving subject.
The XZ-1 has an easily accessible built-in pop-up flash to illuminate low-light subjects, reduce red-eye and fill in dark areas. The camera also is compatible with a range of optional external flashes, including the Olympus FL-14, FL-36R and FL-50R, so you can dynamically control lighting as your photography skills grow.
Olympus pioneered easy-to-use in-camera Art Filters for still images captured inside its E-System DSLRs and was the first company to offer the ability to apply Art Filters to HD video recordings captured with the PEN cameras. The XZ-1 features six Art Filters that photographers can apply to still images and HD video: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama and Dramatic Tone. You even can create an in-camera slideshow that mixes still images, movies and sound. The camera incorporates five kinds of background music as well as slideshow control functions, including still image fade-in/out, sound recording volume and background music volume adjustment.
The XZ-1's Live Guide interface simplifies great photography and provides the results you desire at the touch of a button. Want more vivid or muted color in your shot? Want warmer or cooler color? Want a brighter or darker subject, or a sharper or softer background? Or maybe you want to capture the fast-moving action of your subject with a little artistic blur? Simply select Live Guide and press the up and down arrows on the back of the camera to slide through numerous photographic effects. Make adjustments and watch the LCD as the effects are made live – before the image is captured!
To expand the camera's versatility, the XZ-1 includes an accessory port so photographers can attach optional accessories like the SEMA-1 external microphone adapter, the VF-2 electronic viewfinder or the newly introduced MAL-1 Macro Light. These optional accessories easily slide into the camera's accessory port and hot shoe.
The new camera's compact design makes it the perfect companion for all of your dive trips. The PT-050 underwater case has been customized for the Olympus XZ-1 and is waterproof to a depth of 40 meters (approximately 130 feet). With its durable, high-quality polycarbonate construction, this Olympus housing protects the camera from water while also cushioning it from knocks and bumps on land.
The XZ-1 makes sharing your content easier than ever. Just connect it to your HDTV with an optional HDMI cable and use your HDTV's remote to control playback functions and navigate the camera's menus from the comfort of your couch.
Colors and Availability
The Olympus XZ-1 comes in black and white and will be available in January 2011. It includes the XZ-1, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack, Li-Ion Battery Charger, Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS [ib] software CD-ROM, Manuals and Registration card.
U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
XZ-1 Street Price: $499.99