Olympus has released details of three new cameras that will update existing models in their range when they go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.


The new Olympus PEN cameras: the PEN Lite E-PL5 (left), shown in white and the red PEN Mini E-PM2 (right). (Source: Olympus.)

The line-up includes two PEN cameras (the E-PL5 and E-PM2) and the new Stylus XZ-2 premium compact camera. The new PEN cameras claim to be capable of ‘OM-D image quality’ and feature capacitive touch-screens with ‘Touch Shutter’ capability plus new 35-point ‘FAST-AF’ quick focusing technology. This system combines a 35-point sensor array with the fast lens-drive speed of Olympus’ M.Zuiko MSC designated lenses, high-speed focusing algorithms, and a shutter release mechanism with minimal trigger delay.


Touch autofocusing on the monitor of the E-PL5. (Source: Olympus.)

The magnified frame AF mode enables focus points to be selected from an array of more than 800 points for high levels of precision. Up to 14x enlargement is available.

Both cameras are equipped with the Olympus TruePic VI image processor, which also supports an ISO sensitivity range of ISO 200 to ISO 25600. They also support Full HD video recording with advanced Multi-Motion movie stabilisation and both offer continuous shooting at up to eight frames/second for up to 19 high-resolution JPEGs or 15 raw frames. A one-push 4x teleconverter is available for extending zoom coverage in movie mode.


Top views of the E-PL5 (top) and E-PM5 (below). (Source: Olympus.)

The new cameras can provide wireless connectivity to smart-phones, tablets and computers via an optional FlashAir SD storage/wireless card, which turns the camera into a wireless access point. A new Olympus OI. Share social media app is available for iOS and Android devices to take advantage of this capability. It allows easy picture transfer to smart-phones and tablets as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Both models include a new LiveGuide mode to help novice users make adjustments to key camera settings via intuitive touch-sensitive slider controls. The effects of adjustments can be viewed live on the monitor. For more experienced users, camera settings may be easily adjusted through the touch-screen interface of the new Super-Control Panel. Navigational controls and image zoom in picture playback are also touch-enabled.

The built-in Art Filters menu has been expanded to include 12 settings with new Watercolour and Monochrome effects. Users can select Art Filters via the touch screen and apply a range of adjustments (colour, contrast, granularity) to the effects.  Art Filter bracketing is also available and users can select from the list of effects when determining which filters will be applied. The camera records a single shot and then reproduces it with the selected effects, saving each as a separate file. All Art Filters are available in movie mode.


Back views of the E-PL5 (left) and E-PM5 (right). (Source: Olympus.)

Both cameras come with 3-inch monitors that have resolutions of 460,000 dots and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Adjustments to brightness and colour are supported across a range of +/- seven levels. Both monitors support the following touch controls: shutter release, enlargement, Live Guide, AF area selection, AF area enlargement, frame forward/back, enlargement playback, Super Control Panel adjustments and Art Filter selection.

The PEN Lite E-PL5 is an update to the E-PL5 and features a higher-resolution (16-megapixel) LiveMOS sensor plus a vari-angle monitor that can be tilted up through 180 degrees for self portraiture. A customisable self-timer enables users to set delay times and capture intervals so the camera can take pictures automatically in party situations.


Front view of the PEN Lite E-PL5 in silver with its monitor tilted up for self portraiture. (Source: Olympus.)


 Side view of the camera showing the degree of tilting available. (Source: Olympus.)

The camera is bundled with the FL-LM1 clip-on flash (GN10 at ISO 200). Its AP-2 accessory port can accept a wide variety of optional accessories including external eye-level digital viewfinders VF-2 and VF-3, SEMA-1 external stereo microphone set, and the PP-1 Bluetooth data transfer module.

The monitor features gapless construction that produces a clearer image with lower reflections by eliminating the gap between the LCD array and overlying screen. It also provides a wider viewing angle. A new removable and interchangeable grip is

Scheduled for release locally from mid-October, the E-PL5 will be offered  black, silver and white colours in a single-lens kit at an RRP of AU$799 or as a twin-lens kit for $999.


Front view of the PEN Mini E-PM2 in black with the 14-42mm kit lens. (Source: Olympus.)

The PEN Mini E-PM2 replaces the E-PM1 and is designed for users who require superior performance with point-and-shoot simplicity.  A simplified touch-enabled menu interface makes adjusting camera settings easy and intuitive. This model includes a new touch stripe control that makes it easier to view and select picture mode settings. Its monitor is non-adjustable.

The E-PM2 will be offered in black, red, silver and white and is expected to be available from early-November 2012. It will be sold as a single-lens kit at an RRP of AU$599 or as a twin-lens kit for $799.


Angled front view of the Stylus XZ-2, which will only be offered in black. (Source: Olympus.)
 The Stylus XZ-2 replaces the XZ-1 and introduces a slightly smaller but higher-resolution sensor. The 12-megapixel BSI”‘CMOS sensor in the new camera measures 7.6 x 5.7 mm, compared with a 10-megapixel, 8.07 x 5.56 mm chip in the XZ-1. The monitor in the new camera is also improved, with a new, tilting 3-inch touch screen that has a resolution of 920,000 dots. The screen can be pointed downwards through 50 degrees or up through 80 degrees for high and low angle photography.


Rear view of the Stylus XZ-2. (Source: Olympus.)

Touch controls include shutter release, enlargement, Live Guide, AF area selection, frame forward/back, enlargement playback and Super Control Panel adjustments. The screen only supports +/-two adjustment levels.


Cut-away view of the lens in the XZ-2, showing the arrangement of the elements. (Source: Olympus.)

The XZ-2’s non-interchangeable lens i.Zuiko lens is the same as the XZ-1’s. Built from high-quality glass, it includes Extra-Low Dispersion Aspherical (EDA), Dual Super Aspherical (DSA ““ i.e., two sided aspherical) and Super High Refractive (S-HR) lens elements to deliver clear and detailed pictures.  It covers a zoom range equivalent to 28-112mm in 35mm format with maximum apertures from f/2 to f/2.5. A hybrid control ring surrounding the lens can be customised  for use as a focus ring, aperture control, shutter speed control and shooting mode selector. A new Control Ring Adjustment Switch turns the control ring’s click detent on and off and also acts as a separate modifier switch.

The Stylus XZ-2 comes with an AP-2 accessory port that can accept VF-2 or VF-3 viewfinders. Its built-in pop-up flash can wirelessly control Olympus flash units such as the FL-600R and 300R strobes. The camera also supports wireless connectivity via the new FlashAir mobile connectivity SD card.

The Olympus XZ-2 is expected to be available from early November 2012. Its recommended retail price is still to be announced.