This morning I wandered down to Darling Harbour to PMA to check out the latest camera gear, and managed to get some hands on time with the Olympus E-P1 Micro Four-Thirds camera. It's niiiicccceeee.
The very first thing to strike you about the snapper is its build quality. The model I played with was stainless steel, with a black leather grip, although there'll also be a white version available when it launches next month. And yet despite that, oit's still light enough to carry around in one hand without fatigue.
The second thing you'll spot is the huge 3-inch screen that takes up most of the back of the camera, and the lack of an optical viewfinder. Instead, you can add an optical viewfinder via the hotshoe on top. There's no inbuilt flash though – the flash is an optional extra - so you obviously can't shoot with both the flash and the optical viewfinder attached. Olympus are launching the Pen camera with two lenses, although they're planning on expanding the range of lenses early next year. There are a couple of different adapters available though, which let you use standard four-thirds lenses or Olympus' old OM lenses. And it will obviously work with any of Panny's micro four-thirds lenses as well.
Although I didn't get to see the images taken printed out or displayed on a large screen, they did look fantastic on the LCD and a small monitor on the Olympus stand. Video was even better – the inbuilt image stabilisation did a fantastic job while panning, making the 720p video look pretty damned fluid.
One of the other cool features I got to have a look at was the manual focus mode, which automatically zooms in 7x so you can get truly pinpoint focus on the part of the photo you want in focus, which is especially great for Macro shots.
The other great thing about this camera is the price: The single lens kit, which comes with a 14-42mm lens has an RRP of $1,399, while the twin lens kit, which adds a 17mm lens and an optical viewfinder attachment, will cost $1,799.
We'll be getting a model to play around with within a coupl eof weeks, so stay tuned for a more thorough review. In the meantime, if you're in Sydney and want to have your own little hands-on, PMA is open this weekend in the Convention Centre at Darling Harbour.