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Olympus debuts trio of new PEN Micro Four Thirds cameras

Olympus' new E-P3, E-PL3, and E-PM1 boast 1080p video, swappable lenses, and touchscreens.

Olympus E-P3
Olympus E-P3

Olympus last updated its flagship PEN line of Micro Four Thirds shooters in November of 2009 with the E-P2, and today the company has announced its successor, the E-P3. Although it uses the same 12.3 megapixel sensor as its predecessor, the E-P3 ups the ante with 1080p video recording, an OLED touchscreen to work in conjunction with a revamped UI, and what Olympus claims is the "world’s fastest autofocus," all while dropping the price to a solid $900. The E-P3 stands strong against competitors like the Panasonic GF3. While the GF3 lacks a hotshoe, it’s priced lower (at $700), but the E-P3 takes the cake with a max ISO of 12,800, which should allow for some serious low-light shooting. Sony’s NEX-C3, another player, has an ISO cap of 12,800 as well, but is stuck shooting video at 720p.

In addition to the announcement of the E-P3, Olympus also debuted the E-PL3 and E-PM1. Like the E-P3, the E-PL3 and E-PM-1 both boast a 12.3 megapixel sensor and a max ISO of 12,800. All three cameras have 3D imaging capability, 1080i video recording with Dolby Digital sound, multiple color options, and in-camera art filters. On top of that, each allows you to swap out the kit lens for either the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 lens or the higher end 45mm f/1.8 option. Differentiating LCDs is the key spec alternative between the three cameras, and with a lack of pricing for the E-PL3 and E-PM1, we’ll just have to wait and see how competitive Olympus is trying to get. And sadly, there’s no word on availability, but we’ll keep you posted. Hit the break for some glossy press shots and the full release.