The Olympus PEN E-PL1 is the third generation device of its kind, where Olympus claims that it offers technology which normally delivers great looking photos in bigger, bulkier and heavier professional Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras as well as High-Definition (HD) camcorders, albeit with the PEN E-PL1 being a whole lot smaller. Targeting shutterbugs who were mulling over a DSLR but didn’t want to deal with the weight and size, the camera’s simple design and easy interface makes it a snap for your average shutterbug to pick this up and start shooting some really amazing images right away without having to go through photography school.
If you’re into the whole High Definition (HD) gig, then recording HD movies using the E-PL1 is a snap, courtesy of the no-brainer red “direct button” (red record button) that is located on the back of the camera body. Whenever you are in photo mode and at the last minute, feel that your instincts tell you that video capture is the right way to go, just press the red button and you can get on with video capture on the spot. This ease of toggling back and forth between still photos and videos using but your index finger and thumb introduces a whole new world of flexibility that can only be found on the Olympus PEN E-PL1 at the moment, although we’re pretty sure that this design might just see action on other manufacturers’ devices in the near future if it takes off.
Other features include the new Live Guide that lets you set the scene before you shoot, giving you the right results with a single button press. While it is still important to learn up other technical aspects such as f-stops, shutter speed and white balance, you can still get great looking shots without learning all of those mentioned thanks to the technology crammed into the PEN E-PL1. The E-PL1 also holds the distinction of being the first camera in the Olympus PEN series that boasts \a built-in pop-up flash, making it great to capture low-light subjects while reducing red-eye and fill in dark areas. Expect to fork out $599.99 a pop for this as it arrives in the market this March.