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back to article Olympus shows off lens-swapping 'Pen' camera

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Silver badge

It even looks like the old Pen f

The original PEN cameras were 35 mm half frame, but the old Pen f that this appears to be modelled after was an SLR. There were also range finder models Pen w and the unfortunately named Pen s.

http://www.cameraquest.com/olypenf.htm

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Yuck

Hey the 70's called, they want their camera designs back!

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Good but...

Two major flaws for what is otherwise a really great idea. First, and what is just an odd omission is the lack of a built-in falsh. Even with a DSLR that can be very useful for the odd bit of fill-in flash, social occasions when you just want to tote around a separate flash gun, or where you suddenly find yourself confronted with such a circumstance where it would be useful yet it is not close too hand or would take too long to fit. Of course any such flash would no doubt increase the size of the body a bit and would be vulnerable to red-eye due to the proximity of the flash to the lens axis. However, you can generally fix those things later in post processing.

However, that "feature omission" is not the killer issue - the make or break deal on this sort of camera for those who will try an use it seriously is the speed of the AF system. Necessarily this is based on contrast detection systems, which are famously a lot slower than the phase-detect on SLRs. However, they are fundamentally more reliable being truly closed-loop. What matters is the speed as the sort of shutter lag seen on compacts is not acceptable for this type of camera. The Panasonic DMC-G1 proved that it was possible to produce performance approaching that of cheap DSLRs. Early reports on the Olympus are not so positive.

For many people, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 will be a better choice as it now includes the videos capability missing from the H1 and has a (sort of) semi-optical viewfinder and a flash gun.

What's required is something around the size of the Olympus but with built in flash and the AF performance of the Panasonic.

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Bloody big pen

You'd never be able to write with it.

Anyway looking at it, it's a standard camera. Nothing special, at least from that video.

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Paris Hilton

who is she?

Is The Reg under German ownership now, or how else did you manage to get a good looking German girl to work with a bunch of nerds like you? ;-)

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Surprised how big it is

Really did imagine something smaller. It may be the smallest interchangeable lens digital camera, but not by much. The main selling point to me is the large sensor, so if rumours of a fixed lens variant are true, that could be interesting - and it could be tiny. Let's face it, my film Olympus Mju Zoom is full frame and minuscule, so with the quarter frame format of micro-FourThirds they could surely produce something the same physical size and with twice the lens power.

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Anonymous Coward

Nice advert

now where's the story?

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@Tony Hoyle

If you did just a little bit of research (aka Google) you'd understand, but here, let me save you the trouble...

it uses the micro four-thirds system, which allows it to have more or less SLR-quality optics (lenses and sensor) in a compact-size body. That's a bloody big deal. It comes with a few trade-offs, which Steven noted (though I think Olympus have said the AF speed will improve in the release firmware, previews have been with a pre-release firmware build), but it's still very nice. I'm getting one as soon as they're out. Been after something like this for years.

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Megaphone

Re: who is she?

I suggest you listen to the first 10 seconds of the video again. That way you'll learn the lady's name, job title and the company that she works for. Amazing things these ears!

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FAIL

Waste of time.

Am sorry but its not going to sell to any dSLR user as there is no decent lenses for it. The only market this things destined to sell to is those idiot users who think they can get a decent camera just because it has changable lenses and expect to pay £100 for it, and run away screaming from anything with the name Canon on it when they see the price tag.

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So?

Err so its an SLR without the optical view finder.....

or an expensive camera they have saved a few pennies on

unfortunately I have found that while you may not use an optical view finder often, when you need one you really need one (especially out in full sunlight in summer).

Don't think I will be rushing out to buy one any time soon

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FAIL

Shutter Lag

I can't imagine anyone buying this over a DSLR or compact.

Seems it's got all the disadvantages of both with none of the advantages.

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Wersion

Gotta love the German accent.

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FAIL

nothing to see here...

so it's not much smaller than an entry level dSLR but has interchangeable lenses... great. Why wouldn't I just pay a tiny bit extra and buy an entry level dSLR AND have the added advantages of an optical viewfinder to reduce camera shake (3 points of contact) and improve useability - reaction to your subject.

Looks nice though

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Great Idea

Interchangeable lenses are the most important feature of an SLR. The digital viewfinder in a non-SLR digital camera already lets you compose your shots exactly, because you aren't looking through a viewfinder that uses its own lens, separated from the one used for taking the picture. So the bulk of a pentaprism and the shake of a mirror that flips out of the way really aren't necessary.

Of course, the biggest drawback of digital SLRs is that they force large sensor sizes, which is the reason digital SLRs are so expensive. (Most don't have full-size 24 by 30mm sensors, but even the sensors they do have are large and expensive.)

Pentax once made a mini SLR that used 110 film, so being an SLR doesn't really force a camera to have a large sensor, but SLR cameras normally are aimed at some degree of compatibility with previous SLR cameras using 35mm film.

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Megaphone

Mhmm

Pancakes.

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Gawd

Another worthless product video, and a shoddy one too. What was this shot with, a cellphone? The sound is terrible.

Olympus needs to stop showing off this camera in the hands of females, makes it look bigger than it most likely is. From what I know it is only a tiny bit bigger than my DP1, but all those shots and videos make it look like it was twice the size.

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WTF?

Remeber the Minolta Vectis S1 SLR type thing?

That didn't sell well either.

People want an all in one point and shoot, or the folks who are in to photography want a decent SLR. These hybrid models don't seem to cut the mustard with either camp.

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micro slr

Didn't Olympus work with Panasonic on the micro slr format? So why this?

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Dead Vulture

Wow

Great product advert - how about costs / example photographs? Tell you what, how about a review of the camera rather than just the Marketing droid peddling their bovine excrement?

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Holy sticker-shock, Batman!

I saw these at a camera show on the weekend. Full details are here, and yes, you can have an optical view finder:

http://pen.olympus.com.au/

But AUD $1499 for the body and a single focus lens?!

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Micro 4/3

So this is their version of the Lumix G1. Its a micro four thirds camera. It is a dSLR (we sort of...). I really don't understand the reasoning behind leaving out a EVF. Its the one big area thats going to make me go to the Lumix camera over the Olmpus one. Especially as the lenses will work on both manufacturers bodies...

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