By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Center Valley, Pa. – Olympus used Photokina week to launch two Pen compact system cameras targeting advanced and emerging amateur photographers and a new flagship Stylus point-and-shoot camera.
The new mirrorless compact system cameras include the Pen E-PM2 and E-PL5, both of which feature a new 16-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, TruePic VI Image Processor, high ISO range to 12,800, Full 1080i Full HD video, a variety of art filters, built-in creative features, and such accessories as a new body cap lens.
A new BCL-15 f8.0 body cap lens is said to serve as a body cap when carrying the camera around without its interchangeable lens, and it transforms to become a pan-focus snapshot lens to capture images.
The Pen E-PL5 and E-PM2 both ship in October with the body, flash FL-LM1, lithium-ion battery BLS-5, lithium-ion battery charger BCS-5, USB cable, A/V cable, shoulder strap and Olympus Viewer 2 software. The Pen E-PL5 will also ship with the MCG-4 removable grip.
The Pen E-PL5 will carry a $650 estimate street price for the body only, and $700 for the body with an MSC M.Zuiko Digital ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 zoom lens. The camera will be available in a choice of silver, black and white.
The Pen E-PM2 will carry a $550 estimated street price for the body only and $600 for the body and MSC M.Zuiko Digital ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 prime zoom lens.
It will be available in a choice of silver, black, white and red.
Meanwhile, the new flagship Stylus XZ-2 is billed as a hybrid still/video camera that combines optical brilliance, the manual controls of a DSLR and a lightweight compact body that’s easy to carry.
The XZ-2 (shipping in November at a $600 estimated street retail) incorporates the 4x optical/4x digital zoom (28-112mm 35mm equivalent) iZuiko digital f1.8-2.5 large-diameter lens found on the previous XZ-1, and adds new low-light shooting features including what Olympus called “the world’s first hybrid control ring.”
Other features include 12-megapixel 1/1.7-inch back-lit CMOS sensor; a new fast, touch-sensitive tilt screen; TruePic VI image processor; FullHD movie recording; and FlashAir compatibility to share images immediately on social networks.
Using the smartphone connection function, a Toshiba FlashAir SDHC card can be set up with an internal wireless LAN to make a Wi-Fi connection. An Olympus Image Share smartphone app (to be released in September) enables image uploading to a smartphone via a thumbnail index, while adding art filters to images on a smartphone, and sharing images on various social-networking services is possible.
The camera’s iHS technology and the large-aperture lens are said to produce high-sensitivity, low-noise and fast autofocus performance.
The camera’s low-light mode automatically adjusts the ISO sensitivity up to ISO 12,800 in full resolution. The built-in pop-up flash and AF illuminator brighten low-lit subjects while reducing red eye.
The hybrid control ring built around the lens allows easily reassigning function settings and switching from digital to analog operation.
It also has dual image stabilization, HDR backlit correction, Super Resolution technology, iAuto mode with 30-scene auto detection, 11 art filters and five art effects.
Video is captured in FullHD 1080 in MOV/H.264 compression.
The XZ-2 will be available with three alternative grips in a variety of colors (red, beige and purple), a body jacket and underwater housing.
A matching black LC-63A lens cap opens and closes automatically whenever you activate the camera.
Meanwhile, additional feature in the new Pen cameras include an all-metal body, a 170-degree swiveling LCD monitor with flip-up monitor, and self-portrait mode in the E-PL5 for advanced users.
The Pen E-PM2 is an ultra-compact Micro Four Thirds model designed for new advanced camera users. It will be available in silver, black, white and red, and offers an intuitive vertical touch navigation menu to switch modes with fewer steps, Olympus said.
Included with both cameras for enhanced low-light performance are an AF illuminator and accessory FL-LM1 flash.
Tapping in on the chosen subject on the cameras’ LCD monitors instantly focuses the subject and automatically triggers the shutter for instantaneous in-focus image capture using the Touch AF Shutter function.
Maximum frame rates have also more than doubled to 8 fps in single AF mode.
Both cameras have a 3-inch, 460,000-dot high-definition LCD screen and an anti-fingerprint coating to reduce smudges. The E-PL5 swivel LCD rotates up to 170 degrees for simple self-portrait shooting.
A detachable grip included with the E-PL5 allows adjusting the feel of the camera. The grip is built into the E-PM2.
A Live Guide button on the E-PM2 leads users through shooting modes as needed, the company said.
The cameras include the Olympus Image Share application, which is compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones and the aforementioned Toshiba FlashAir SDHC memory card.
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