Olympus has added two new micro four thirds cameras to its Pen range in the shape of the Pen E-PL5 and E-PM2 - boasting features designed to boost the appeal of compact system cameras.
The Pen E-PL5 and E-PM2 feature a 16.1-million-pixel Live MOS imaging sensor, TruePic VI processor (as featured on the OMD EM-5) and a top equivalent ISO sensitivity of 25,600.
The E-PL5 and E-PM2 are due out in late October priced £599 and £499 respectively with a 14-42mm lens.
The E-PL5 sports a 3in, 460,000-dot resolution touch-sensitive, tiltable screen that can be used to shoot self-portraits.
Wireless connectivity is possible using a Toshiba-made FlashAir card.
In effect, this coverts the camera into a Wi-Fi hotspot and allows images to be wirelessly transferred to social networking websites via a smartphone. This feature – downloadable via a free app – is compatible with Apple iPhone and Android operating systems.
A Toshiba’s FlashAir SD card will be bundled with each camera.
Though the cards will work with the E-M5 and older Pen cameras, the new cameras will offer full support, including a ‘power management’ feature.
Photographers will be able choose the resolution they use to transfer images, according to Olympus.
Camera features also include HDR bracketing – using five different exposures – and a Live Bulb option, a function also borrowed from the OMD EM-5. This updates the LiveView image on-screen at preset intervals during long exposures.
Designed to shoot at a burst rate of 8fps, the cameras include touch shutter AF, a claimed AF speed of 0.1sec and a ‘one-stop noise [reduction] improvement over previous Pens, using the OMD’s image processor.
The 12 Art Filters and Art Effects include a new ‘Water Colour’ option.
The cameras include a new ‘small AF target’ to help achieve ‘pinpoint focus’.
A firmware update for the E-M5 is planned, according to an Olympus spokesman ahead of photokina.
Claudia Bahr, Digital SLR & Pen Systems manager at Olympus Europe, said the company recognises a need to attract ‘a new generation’ of customers, by focusing on image sharing and ‘expression’.
Olympus’s aim is not to replace the DSLR but appeal to a younger, creative-minded audience.
Bahr said SLR users are ‘getting older’ and admitted that this has become an ‘issue for manufacturers’.
Michael Guthmann, said the launches form part of Olympus’s ‘back to basics’ plan, announced earlier this year.
‘This means we will concentrate on image quality and usability of products.’
New accessories include a 15mm f/8 body cap lens, costing £70. This is a 9mm-thick fixed-focus, fixed aperture lens, delivering the 35mm viewing angle equivalent of a 30mm optic.
Also due out in October is a ‘splash and dust-proof’ 60mm f/2.8 macro lens to replace the 50mm f/2 that allows the user to limit the focus range using a Focus Limit switch. It is said to be 115g lighter than its predecessor and will cost £429.
Olympus is also due to release a limited-edition black version of its 12mm f/2 ‘street photography’ lens, priced £849.
Olympus has announced the development of a 17mm 1/1.8 lens which is not expected to go on sale until early 2013.
CLICK HERE to read AP’s interview with Akira Watanabe, manager of the SLR Planning Department at Olympus in Tokyo