Olympus updates PEN lineup and shows off new series

We were able to get a private demo of Olympus’ new cameras at CES, and the manufacturer hit all the hyped features of the year while also bringing some professional quality cameras to the table. Here’s a first look at Olympus’ new X-series as well as additions its made to current models.

EPL2 starts where EPL1 left off

EPL2Olympus showed us the latest member of the EPL family with the EPL2, as well as a larger-bodied any more professional DSLR SP610. The EPL2, like its predecessor, comes in a stylish package, but the body design is better suited for hand held use. It features larger front grip as well as an updated back paneling for easier one-hand shooting.  The power and shoot buttons have also been modified to prevent accidental photos or unintentionally turning the camera off. Keeping up with its competitors, Olympus has also introduced a 3-inch LCD display screen.

The camera’s built-in filters have also been updated, included a more dramatic HDR imaging editor. You are also able to alter the degree of each filter, offering a more thorough in-camera editing process. It will retail for $599.99 and hits shelves at the end of the month.

Introducing the X-series

X seriesWe’re pretty excited about the PEN series update, but an entirely new addition for Olympus is its new X-series. It’s flagship camera, the XZ-1, is meant to appeal to professional shooters who wants a handheld device without sacrificing quality. And Olympus might be able to pull that off by including an iZUIKO lens (which is remarkably bright and fast) in the XZ-1, the first and thus far only compact digital camera with one. The XZ-1 also includes various auto-settings and filters for various skill levels. Higher-end digital camera developers have really delivered on the compact professional and DSLR end this year, and no doubt will continue with coming releases. It’s a great middle ground between beginner’s pocket cams and big-bodied DSLRs, and will cost you $499.99 and is also available at the end of the month.

Tough series gets tougher and trendier

t seriesOlympus hits just about every gimmicky camera trend we’ve seen this year with its TG-310 and TG-610). Still, they fill that niche and throw out a competitor model for other digital action cams. Olympus has added a 3D mode to the camera, which uses the two-shot technology to produce the images, new in-camera effects and filters, auto-focus tracking, and eye-Fi card compatibility for immediate, wireless uploading. The TG-310 and TG-610 are also now 14 megapixel cameras and can withstand more rough-housing than the previous generation. Our exhibitor also mentioned the cameras can shoot 3D underwater, something many rival 3D digital cameras haven’t offered yet. The TG-310 retails for $199.99 and the TG-610 for $299.99 in February.

Introducing the S-series

s seriesOlympus also introduced a lightweight, full-featured DSLR, the SP-610UZ. We’d best describe this as a highly capable family camera: intermediary photographers looking for the next step might want to reach a little higher, but it’s still a quality machine that doesn’t have a steep learning curve or require a giant bag to lug its bits around. It also includes the previously mentioned built-in filters, an HDMI port, and 3D mode. All useful and fun options, but it’s really the SP-610UZ’s 22x optical zoom and 14 megapixels image sensor that will give you high caliber photos without being a huge investment: it’s only $229.99 and will be available in February.

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