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Olympus announces PEN E-P5, a Micro Four Thirds camera with 1963 looks and 2013 specs

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Olympus PEN E-P5
Olympus PEN E-P5

If it ain't broke, don't fix it — or fix it, and then undo it all 50 years later. That's what Olympus is doing with the new PEN E-P5, the company's latest Micro Four Thirds camera, which looks for all the world like the PEN F from 1963. That's a good thing, too: the silver and black, metal and leather styling is beautiful, and the camera feels dense and sturdy like any good camera should. It actually looks a lot like the Fujifilm X100S without a viewfinder – again, a very good thing.

Its body may look decades old, but the E-P5 is one of Olympus' more advanced mirrorless cameras. Much of its technology is taken from the (also beautiful) OM-D E-M5, like the five-axis stabilization system and blistering fast autofocus. The E-P5's shutter also goes up to 1/8000th of a second, which only matters to people taking photos of hummingbirds but is nonetheless a first for Olympus' mirrorless cameras.

There's a lot more to fit inside the E-P5's relatively svelte frame — like a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, a big, tilting LCD, built-in Wi-Fi (which pairs with your phone via a QR code), and a surprising amount of control via the camera's front and back scroll wheels. Olympus has long been promoting the notion that its mirrorless cameras aren't so different from a DSLR, and the E-P5 does seem to handle like a larger camera. It still has a small, insignificant grip, though, which makes it a bit harder to hold than some higher-end cameras. The camera offers a handful of new features, from a collage-creating mode called Photo Story to an in-built Time Lapse feature. The Wi-Fi allows you to use your phone as a remote viewfinder for the E-P5, or easily share your photos to your phone.

The E-P5 is coming this month, and will start at $999.99 body-only; it's at the high end of Olympus' mirrorless range, but not quite as premium as the E-M5. It'll also be available for $1,499.99 with a 17mm f/1.8 lens and an electronic viewfinder attachment. You'll pay a premium for the camera's design — technologically it's not that different from, say, the E-P3 — but based on a few minutes with the camera, getting back to 1963's not such a bad idea.