There's much to love about the new Olympus E-P1, but the hip new thing for the DSLR market is video, and Panasonic has already demonstrated with the Lumix DMC-GH1 that Micro Four Thirds cameras are in some ways even better suited to the demands of high quality point-and-shoot video. The folks at Digital Photography Review have some samples up now of the E-P1's video performance, and while we'd like to see how the camera fares indoors as well, the outdoor samples they've posted are very promising. The colors seem just a touch washed out, but there's great motion and clarity, and solid manual controls. It is interesting to note that while the camera does include some built-in effects, most of them dramatically reduce the frame rate -- making them more or less useless. Most unfortunate, however, is the fact that there's no auto focus in video mode, which is where the DMC-GH1 still reigns supreme in DSLR land. Hit up the read link for the videos, or if that's not your style check out the bemusing Blendtec advert for the E-P1 after the break -- it's a real viral meets meta mashup, or something like that.

[Thanks Richard L.]

Update: We've heard conflicting word on auto focus. According to Photography Review's preview, the camera doesn't have auto focus in video mode, but according to the Olympus press release, as Super Marxio pointed out in comments, there is auto focus during recording. Perhaps Photography Review was looking at a non-final version of the camera. We do know that the camera does auto focus using contrast detection, like a regular compact camera, and while that's the same method used by the GH1, DP Review claims it's slightly inferior -- though they did state they were working with a 0.9 firmware.

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Olympus E-P1 video samples posted, camera turns up in ad-within-an-ad Blendtec spot