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Olympus PEN review

The micro four thirds range from Olympus

Our Verdict

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The timing of Olympus' Pen E-P1 launch wasn't a coincidence. It's 50 years since Olympus launched the original Pen, a revolutionary 'half-frame' camera that was eventually developed into an SLR with a 'porro-finder' rather than a conventional pentaprism, a design which resurfaced in the Olympus E-300 and E-330.

There's another non-coincidence here, too – the original Pen was a half-frame format (half a 35mm frame), and the Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds format is half-frame too.

Olympus cameras have quite a heritage, and the company exploited it to the full in the design of the PEN E-P1, its first Micro Four Thirds camera. The styling echoes the old chrome-and-leather look of the original Pen cameras, but the technology inside is pure 21st century.

More PEN cameras

Since the PEN E-P1 came out, Olympus has fleshed out the PEN range with both the PEN E-P2 and the more affordable PEN E-PL1.

We've got reviews of all three original Olympus PEN cameras right here:

And in 2011, three new Olympus PEN cameras were launched. We've also reviewed these:

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution12.3 Megapixel
Product FamilyE
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourSilver
Optical Zoom3x
Brand NameOlympus
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMotion JPEG (AVI)
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)335 g
Minimum Focus Distance250 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4032 x 3024
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Total Camera Resolution13.1 Megapixel
Camera AssemblyBody with Lens Kit
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Height70 mm
Width120.5 mm
Depth35 mm
Autofocus Points11
Product SeriesE
Focal Length14 mm to 42 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
Audio FormatsWAV
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelE-P1
Product NameE-P1 Mirrorless Camera
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberN3592792
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

In 1959, Olympus changed the face of photography by pursuing one simple idea: create a camera as easy to use and carry as a pen. Designed by renowned style guru Yoshihisa Maitani, the Olympus Pen triggered a camera boom that would last through the end of the 1970s. Today the legend comes alive again in digital form with the release of the E-P1.

Package Contents
  • E-P1 Micro Four Third Digital Camera
  • ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm f:3.5-5.6 Lens
  • BLS-1 (Lithium-Ion Battery)
  • BCS-1 (Battery Charger for BLS-1)
  • Micro Four Thirds body cap (BC-2)
  • Shoulder Strap
  • CB-USB6 (USB Cable)
  • CB-VC2 (Video Cable)
  • OLYMPUS Studio 2 Trial (Software Download)
  • CD-ROM
  • Operating Instructions
  • Warranty Card
Display Resolution230000 Pixel
Limited Warranty2 Year