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The Olympus PEN E-PL7 is a Micro Four Thirds camera for selfie addicts

The Olympus PEN E-PL7 is a Micro Four Thirds camera for selfie addicts

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Olympus has just announced the PEN E-PL7, the latest of its Micro Four Thirds cameras to pair vintage style with modern specs. Priced at $699 with a 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens, Olympus says this camera has been tailored for selfie shooters who also take their regular photography seriously. It features a 3-inch, 1.04 million-dot touchscreen that flips downward 180 degrees; when used in this position, the PEN E-PL7 automatically enters a dedicated selfie mode that puts a shutter button right on the touchscreen. Tap it, and the camera will snap a picture just one second later. You can also get a bit more creative with striking a pose by setting custom intervals and telling the camera exactly when you want it to fire off a shot. There's no built-in flash, but Olympus is bundling in an external one.

It should be pretty good at taking normal photos, too

Moving beyond selfies, the 16.05-megapixel PEN E-PL7 is largely influenced by Olympus' OM-D camera line. Its in-body 3-axis image stabilization is derived from the system found in the OM-D E-M10, and Olympus says the build quality here is on par with what we saw from the flagship PEN E-P5 last year. In our brief hands-on time, the camera definitely felt solid and maybe a step or two above what you'd expect from its price point. Olympus claims the autofocus system in the PEN E-PL7 is the fastest it's ever produced, and you get 81 AF points that cover most of the visible frame. It supports sequential shooting up to 8fps; with JPEGs you can keep holding the shutter down and firing away, but RAW files will fill the buffer after 20 consecutive shots.


Since this product is largely aimed at budding photographers, Olympus has also tossed in new art filters to make Instagram users feel right at home. "Vintage" is exactly what you'd expect, and there's even an "Old Film Effect" for video that adds dust and noise artifacts to your clips. It's not all fluff though; Olympus has also added a new, fairly cool selective color mode that lets you pick a certain section of a color wheel to emphasize a particular hue in your captured image. It's not a new concept, but the implementation is pretty clever and intuitive.

Of course there's Wi-Fi built in, and pairing the PEN E-PL7 with your smartphone can be done by scanning a QR code. The company's photo app has been improved with better controls for those selfies, more precise video recording options, and support for live bulb shooting. The camera will be available in late September with a wide array of optional accessories including a leather case, underwater housing, and more set to arrive a month later. If you've already got some glass that works with Olympus' cameras, the body-only configuration runs $599.99.