The Olympus E-PM1: Ultra small and light
Olympus has delivered a triple whammy with the beautifully designed Olympus E-PM1, or ‘PEN Mini'. Not only is it the most affordable and easiest to use Digital PEN yet, it is also one of the world's smallest and lightest system camera with interchangeable lenses.
This impressive feat has been achieved without any compromise in quality, or construction. In the high-class, premium finish 12.3 megapixel E-PM1, Olympus once again delivers a camera that resembles a point and shoot but in fact takes pictures comparable to those from a larger Digital SLR. Its operation is fuss free too, thanks to the inclusion of handholding features such as Live Guide, so, even if you consider yourself an amateur, you'll soon be shooting like a pro.
Inspired by the head turning original PEN series designed by Yoshihisa Maitani, which shifted over 17 million units worldwide, and aimed at fans of fuss free photography, the entry-level E-PM1 continues the PEN tradition of classic looks yet bang up to the minute technological innovations. It's lightweight in design, measuring 109.5x63.7x34mm and weighing 217g body only, yet heavyweight in features.
FAST AF: World's fastest autofocus system
A case in point, the E-PM1 has inherited some of the latest technologies incorporated in the equally new flagship E-P3 model, including the advantage of the world's fastest auto focus system among interchangeable lens cameras.
Plus with 35 separate focus points spread over almost the entire sensor it is even possible to zero focus in on subjects tucked away in the corners of the screen display.
An AF illuminator for lower light work plus AF tracking technology further ensure that subjects stay sharp no matter where they are in the frame, and even when they dip in and out of it. No special skills are required of the photographer as thanks to the E-PM1's Full Time AF facility it is, as it sounds, ‘always on'.
A camera for everyone, whatever your level of understanding
The philosophy behind the Olympus E-PM1 or PEN Mini is that, no matter how inexperienced you are with manual photographic settings, here is a camera that will allow you to get the settings just right. You may not understand how to alter aperture or depth of field yet, but via built-in Live Guide, the E-PM1 will allow you to view such adjustments in real time before applying them to an image.
Live Guide allows the real-time adjustment of the likes of colour intensity, Lighting Mood, Brightness, Background Blur and Motion Blur as well as allowing users to fulfill their ambitions as regards video recording as well as stills.
As a further aid, there are also pop-up descriptions provided in the camera menus detailing what everything does, should you forget. The camera is also eminently suitable for shooting in lower light, due to not only built-in image stabilisation but also a top light sensitivity setting of an impressive ISO12800.
A choice of HD video and a choice of formats
The PEN Mini can record moving footage in the beautiful 1080i Full High Definition AVCHD format, which generates smaller files that are perfectly suited for playing back on TV.
Alternatively, you can select 720p HD Motion JPEG video, which makes the files easier to view and edit on a PC.
Creative Magic: Art Filters
Turn your memories into works of art. A choice of six Art Filters are selectable with the touch of a button to instantly give both images and movies a unique look and feel. Just select the desired Art Filter before taking a picture or shooting a movie; the effect is then shown directly on the LCD in Live View Mode.
- Dramatic Tone: Boosts the contrast to give images visual punch and a more dynamic atmosphere. This filter is accessible whether shooting stills or movies.
- Diorama: This lends images a miniature model village feel by narrowing depth of field and enhancing colour and contrast.
- Pop Art: Enhances colours, making them stronger and more vivid to create high-impact pictures in the style of Pop Art.
- Soft Focus: Creates a soft tone, which gives pictures an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere without obscuring details such as hair or flower petals.
- Grainy Film: Recreates the effect of grainy, high-contrast monochrome pictures. The strong presence and dramatic atmosphere amplify the impact of the subject.
- Pin Hole: Reduces the peripheral brightness like an image seen through a pinhole camera. Added to this is a unique colour tone and the results have an air of secrecy or otherworldliness.
High quality lens for superb images every time
As the latest addition to the Pen camera range, the E-PM1 or PEN Mini comes with the sculpted and near silent M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R lens, providing a versatile equivalent of 28-84mm in 35mm film terms. This lens has the advantage of not only providing faster focusing, but also preventing the audible whirr of the lens' mechanics that can otherwise ruin the audio track of your home movies.
What's more the E-PM1 is not only compatible with 20 Micro Four Thirds lenses, it also offers access to 27 Four thirds system and more than 500 other lenses via adapter.
Another advantage of the Olympus system is that its lenses are lighter than rivals', as they don't require built in image stabilisation or ‘IS' of their own. What's more the supplied lens also features a swappable decoration ring, so you can match the lens to the body colour of the PEN camera you've chosen.
Extensive accessories to expand your system
In addition to the external flash supplied with the camera, users can attach a variety of accessories via the E-PM1's Accessory Port 2. For example, transfer your images wirelessly with the aid of the Bluetooth compatible PENPAL Communication Unit that automatically re-formats still photos for wireless transfer to other compatible devices and social media.
For sporty types, there's also the optional Street Case that fits the Mini like a glove, and allows for inconspicuous storage and transportation.
Full HD 1080i video with stereo sound
On the E-PM1, movie quality has to be seen to be believed; with a 60Hz frame rate, and the option of shooting in AVCHD or 720P HD motion JPEG compression formats, there are the options of watching footage back either on Full HD TV or your PC's monitor. Either way, the results will look great as, whether shooting video or 12.3 megapixel photos, the PEN Lite is designed to deliver a consistently high performance.
What's more the E-PM1 features HDMI output, so it can be hooked up directly to an HDTV.
Latest generation TruePic VI processor
As with the simultaneously announced Olympus Digital PEN E-P3 and E-PL3 models that sit just above the E-PM1 in the Micro Four Thirds compact system camera range, this new iteration benefits from the incorporation of the latest generation image processor, the TruePic VI engine. Needless to say this addition makes the camera all-round faster and more responsive.
Large and high resolution LCD screen
All images, including 3D still photos, plus Full HD video, are composed and reviewed on the Mini via the built-in 3-inch, 460,000 dot resolution LCD screen.
High capacity SDXC and Eye-Fi card compatible
The carry anywhere E-PM1 further takes the worry out of photography and offers almost unlimited memory expansion possibilities by providing compatibility with the new SDXC removable media card format.
This affords high storage capacities of up to a gargantuan 2TB to ensure you don't run out of space for those many thousands of photos and videos at an inopportune moment – thereby making the E-PM1 as ‘future proof' as possible. Wireless transfer is also possible due to compatibility with (optional) Eye-Fi media cards.
Let there be light! Simply attach this flash to your PEN in seconds and it will illuminate your shots whenever you need it. And it's just as quick to detach, so no extra weight the rest of the time. You'll find it included when you open the box to discover your new PEN.
Newly developed high speed Live Mos sensor with wide dynamic range
With its 12.3 effective megapixel High Speed Live Mos sensor, Multi Exposure mode for combining up to three top quality Raw images - the outstanding photo heritage provided by the Olympus PEN range shines through.
Add in a Supersonic Wave Filter dust protection system to prevent any undesirables attaching themselves to the camera's sensor when swapping lenses and the result is consistent excellence, no matter how relatively unskilled the user may be.
The Olympus PEN E-PM1 or Mini is available in black, white, silver, dark brown, purple and silver-rose in the following configurations:
- E-PM1 Kit with M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R lens
- E-PM1 Double Zoom Kit with M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm 1:4.0-5.6 R Lenses