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Fifty years after the release of its groundbreaking "PEN" 35mm camera, Olympus brought us the digital camera version. The new PEN is a micro four-thirds digital that's compact in size, but carries the capabilities of a digital SLR.
Unfortunately for those on a budget, it's pricier than many digital SLR's... and therefore out of our reach.
Not to worry. Olympus has just debuted the PEN E-PL1. It's a gorgeous - if somewhat slimmed down - PEN for under $600. And that price includes a 14 - 42mm zoom.
Though 12.3 MP doesn't sound like terrific resolution, the sensor on theis camera is about eight times larger than a typical point-and-shoot's. So the pixels are huge. And that means far less noise. Your pictures will pop.
The E-PL1 also has the first built-in flash on a PEN model, as well as a feature Olympus calls "Live Guide." Live Guide lets you adjust for the effects you want with the press of a button, instead of having to memorize and make technical adjustments.
This micro four-thirds model is a bit bigger than a compact point-and-shoot, but it has all the auto features you'd get on one. And it's a smaller than a digital SLR, but offers most of the manual features you'd get with one.
Plus, it has 720 HD video, RAW image capability, image stabilizatoin, built-in art filters and more.
The E-PL1 is a digital camera somewhere in-between. More compact than an SLR, more powerful than a point-and-shoot. And, at this price point, I'd say it's a winner.