The impending doom and overflowing cheer that is the inevitable end-year holidays creeps nearer. We all know this is the three month ski slope of perpetual peril. Family gatherings can be trying. Holiday shopping carries its endless foibles. Yet when we stop and look back at those moments frozen in time, we’re often elated someone was there–quick on the camera trigger to capture it all. Moreover, something compels us to be more efficient with each passing year. Doesn’t your family escapades deserve crisp clear HD image capturing?

Olympus answers, launching a twin-fisted salvo of photographic proportions. This is 16.1(!) megapixel goodness here, photographers.  Soak it in! Whether you’re a beginner looking to step up your game or a seasoned point-in-shooter on the hunt for better spec’d gear, today’s dual swelling of the Micro Four Thirds PEN line of compact system cameras from Olympus, is news worthy of your focused lens.

Each enjoys “blazing speed” and attractive auto-focusing specs. Olympus is promising big on major enhancements in image quality–especially in retaining sharp crisp images in low-light shooting environments. Improvements in  intuitive use and point-and-shoot execution were obvious big R&D influences. It’s also stated, added speed to the touchscreen sensors allows for quick clear AF with the tap of a finger on the desired subject/area.

The Olympus E-PL5 and the Olympus E-PM2 both meet you were your social networking converge. The OLYMPUS  Share application is compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones and the Toshiba FlashAir SDHC memory. Huhn! So you can connect your phone to either PEN cameras for simple photo and video sharing.

The list of intriguing features goes on and on. You should go read up on it all.  But essentially…

  • Olympus PEN E-PL5: This powerful performer boasts significant improvements in functionality and ease of use. It features an all-metal body in silver, black or white and is portable enough to travel across the world without sacrificing DSLR image quality and the control that experienced photographers expect. Inherited from its predecessor, the E-PL5 has a swiveling monitor with a greatly expanded swivel range of approximately 170° up and about 65° down, making it easier to shoot pictures from low or high angles, and offers the ability to flip the monitor up for self-portrait shooting.
  • Olympus PEN E-PM2: The ultra-compact, simple and stylish, smallest and lightest Olympus PEN is designed for people who want to try an interchangeable lens camera for the first time. Available in silver, black, white and red, the E-PM2 offers an intuitive vertical touch navigation menu displayed by pressing the MENU button to provide a fast and easy way to switch modes with fewer steps.

U.S. Pricing, Availability and Product Configurations

The Olympus PEN E-PL5 and the Olympus PEN E-PM2 will be available in October and ship with the Body, Flash FL-LM1, Li-ion battery BLS-5, Li-ion battery charger BCS-5, USB cable, AV cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Viewer 2 (CD-ROM), Instruction manual and Warranty card. The PEN E-PL5 will also ship with the MCG-4(Changeable Grip).

Update: Originally Olympus planned to ship the new PEN cameras with a free Toshiba Flash Air card.   Unfortunately, you’ll now need to purchase the card separately and fill out a rebate form.  Nevertheless, free is free, right?

U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Body Only
Available in silver, black and white
Estimated Street Price: $649.99

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO® DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
Estimated Street Price: $699.99

Olympus PEN E-PM2 Body Only
Available in silver, black, white and red.
Estimated Street Price: $549.99

Olympus PEN E-PM2 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Prime Zoom Lens
Estimated Street Price: $599.99

Shawn Sanders

Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.