Last month, Olympus lifted the veil on a trio of 12.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds cameras, replacing both models in its PEN line and adding the small and light E-PM1. We already knew to expect an August ship date for the $900 E-P3, but now the company filled us in on its tilt-enabled E-PL3, which will be available in black, white, red, and silver when it ships in September. Priced at $700, the kit will include either a 14-42mm zoom or 17mm fixed lens, and will retail for a full c-note higher than its predecessor, the E-PL2. Olympus also announced the VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), which will feature a 100-percent field-of-view, 90-degree rotation, and brightness and color temperature adjustments -- though it sounds like that last feature could potentially leave you with off-color images if you mistake the EVF's white balance for what the camera will capture. We're still waiting on availability for the runt of the litter, but we imagine the E-PM1 will make its stateside debut soon -- perhaps even with a price tag lower than its rather pricey, beefier siblings.
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SWING INTO ACTION! OLYMPUS UNLEASHES THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED PEN E-PL3 CAMERA FEATURING TILTING LCD AND THE NEW VF-3 ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER

Price and Availability Announced for Compact PEN E-PL3 Camera That Delivers Maximum Flexibility, Innovation and Amazing Image Quality for All; New Accessory Viewfinder Expands Your Point of View

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., July 27, 2011 – Imaging enthusiasts will rejoice knowing that they can finally get their hands on the desirable Olympus PEN E-PL3 – a powerful camera designed for photographers craving a portable camera with pro quality and point-and-shoot simplicity. The PEN E-PL3 is an interchangeable lens camera offering a sleek, metal body packed with versatile controls and lenses with professional image quality.

Available in September, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 will be sold at the affordable price of $699.99 and will deliver amazing image quality and lightning fast speed for brilliant still images and high-definition (HD) video. It will ship bundled with either a wide-angle zoom M.Zuiko 14-42mm lens (28mm-84mm equivalent), optimized for fast autofocus (AF) and silent AF operation, or the M. Zuiko 17mm ultra-compact and portable wide-angle pancake lens (34mm equivalent).

The PEN E-PL3 is a member of the Olympus PEN family of compact system cameras that also includes the new E-P3 and E-PM1. Designed to help innovation seekers capture and share their unique visions, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 combines pro quality with the portability of a point-and-shoot and features found on bulkier DSLR-type cameras.

Olympus also expands the power of its PEN Micro Four Thirds system family today with the introduction of the compact VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder. Attractively priced at $179.99, the VF-3 easily attaches to Olympus PEN models with an accessory port, as well as the Olympus XZ-1 for eye-level convenience.

Packs a Powerful Punch in a Small Package

The E-PL3 offers something for everyone. Packed with the technology and image quality normally found in a DSLR, it's the size of a small, portable point-and-shoot camera and can easily travel with you. Its 3-inch, tilting high-resolution LCD screen helps you see high above the crowd to capture amazing stills and HD video of live performances, sports events and more. Easily move to eye-level to capture superb detail of children at play or even lower to the ground to record baby's first steps or a pet soundly sleeping. Never worry about missing a spontaneous moment because the E-PL3 shoots at 5 frames per second.

Offering the versatility of interchangeable lenses, excellent quality low-light shooting thanks to the camera's AF Illuminator, a high ISO of up to 12,800, with a blazing fast autofocus system, a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor and TruePic™ VI Image Processor, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 becomes the ultimate travel companion. Discretely document all of the color and pageantry of the city, even in low-light, as you make your way to your next destination.

Staying in for a more relaxed evening at home? Tech-enthusiasts will want to keep the E-PL3 ready by their side to capture friends and family, while showcasing their creativity. Easy-to-use technologies like in-camera Art Filters and image effects empower users to apply their unique artistic vision to images and videos so they can easily share professional-quality creations. Accessing all of the camera's options is quick and easy with a new intuitive interface.

See the World through Your Own Eye

The VF-3 is perfect for photographers who like the option of holding the camera up to their eye to compose. With 100-percent field-of-view, none of the recordable subject area is cropped, making composition with the VF-3 easy and accurate. The magnification and built-in diopter adjustment of the VF-3 allow for easy viewing. The VF-3 can be rotated up to 90-degrees to accommodate more obscure shooting angles for additional creative control. Furthermore, if you are the kind of person who likes to tweak the settings on your TV, you'll love the ability to adjust the brightness and color temperature to your own particular tastes.

"The Olympus PEN E-PL3 is designed to capture spontaneous, authentic moments in amazing detail without the need to sacrifice portability or quality," said Katie Roseman, senior product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "We've packed the affordable E-PL3 with technologies and image quality normally found in bigger DSLR-type cameras. Now, with the new VF-3, consumers can get more of a DSLR-like experience from our cameras by looking through the viewfinder to compose the shot."

Availability

The Olympus PEN E-PL3 kit will be available in black, white, red and silver, starting in September 2011. The kit includes the PEN E-PL3 body, lens, USB cable, video cable, BLS-1 Li-Ion battery pack, Li-Ion battery charger, shoulder strap, OLYMPUS [ib] software CD-ROM, manuals and registration card.

The updated Olympus Viewer 2 software is included with all new Olympus PEN cameras. The software helps users edit and organize photos and play back AVCHD video. Olympus Viewer 2 also enables users to experience new functions, including the application of new art filters, effects and variations.

U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations

Olympus PEN E-PL3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom or 17mm Lens Estimated Street Price: $699.99

Olympus VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder Estimated Street Price: $179.99