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Olympus celebrates 50 years of 'PEN' with E-P1 mini-camera and awesome video

Olympus is going retro with its new PEN-style Olympus E-P1 camera. The E-P1 is not quite as simple as a point and shoot, but not quite as complex as most SLRs.
Written by Jennifer Bergen, Contributor

Olympus is going retro with its new PEN-style Olympus E-P1 camera. The E-P1 is not quite as simple as a point and shoot, but not quite as complex as most SLRs.

The design is based on the Olympus PEN series, which first showed up in 1959 and then sold 17 million units in various designs throughout the decades. Don't let the retro body fool you though, the guts and the price are 100 percent 2009. The body will start at $800 in the U.S.

The E-P1 doesn't have an actual viewfinder, which some photographers might find to be annoying. But the quality of photos in which the E-P1 produces makes up for both that and the high cost. It does, however, have a nice, bright 3-inch LCD screen.

Olympus designed the E-P1 as a camera that can easily be used by people who aren't photography pros. It's full of preset modes, which allow you to easily snap pictures in different settings. The more advanced photographers still have the options they're looking for in an SLR, but this camera is geared more towards the new kids.

The E-P1 is small enough to carry around comfortably and even hold in one hand. At 121 x 70 x 35mm, it's one of the first mini-cameras to be at the SLR level, and is the first from Olympus that uses the Micro Four Thirds standard. Micro Four Thirds uses smaller lenses than SLRs, which makes the body more compact.

Check out CNET's review for more on the Olympus E-P1. Also, make sure you take a look at this awesome stop motion video made by Olympus. They shot 60,000 pictures, developed 9,600 prints, and then shot another 1,800 pictures for the project.

Check out the video after the jump.

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