News Round-up: Photokina Early Announcements

Olympus E-PL7
The first wave of announcements for Photokina arrived over the past week, and usually are not the “Plan A” cameras that the manufacturers will be bringing to the show. So let us start with the more significant camera, the Olympus E-PL7, which is mostly significant in that it seems to signal Olympus’s downsizing of the PEN line. With dual control wheels and a set of specifications pretty much from the OM-D E-M10 (16 megapixel 3-axis stabilised sensor, 3″ WVGA touchscreen, 1080p video at 30 FPS, built-in Wifi), this looks like the PEN update for the next product cycle. Not really surprising too, as the E-M10 at its current price point more or less makes a high-end PEN redundant, and as profit margins are needed to clear Olympus’s debt it looks like the low-end E-PM line is also getting the boot. It’s not a bad camera, though having the LCD flip downwards for the selfie mode seems a bit unfriendly for tripod use.

Arrives later this month for US600 for the body, and US$700 with the 14-42 EZ kit zoom. Also coming is the 12mm f/2 in black without the “Special Edition” price tag.at US$800.
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All the new things!

Here’s a quick update of what else arrived in Singapore in the last week. Firstly the Nikon 1 V2 is now available, and the basic kit price is at over S$1,000. I have yet to try the camera personally, unlike CK who managed to spend some quality time with it in Japan, but I don’t think that whatever the improvements are, it is going to be worth that kind of price premium. A camera like the D3200 is almost 20% cheaper, despite costing more to produce. Nikon really needs to re-evaluate their pricing on the 1 line if they are going to be competitive with the other mirrorless system cameras. Along with the V2 also comes the Nikon 1 18.5mm f/1.8 lens. So if you want a fast prime for your 1 system, this is a good start (and currently the only start, if you ask me).

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Olympus Launches PEN E-PL5 and E-PM2

Olympus PEN E-PL5

Olympus just refreshed the popular PEN series of Micro Four Thirds cameras with 2 new models – the E-PL5 and E-PM2. Both cameras uses the same sensor as the highly-acclaimed OM-D E-M5, bringing that level of quality to more people. As with most modern consumer cameras now, they also feature touch screens which lets you focus and shoot by your touch.

It’s good to see that camera makers are trickling down the features of their higher-end cameras into the more consumer-oriented models. This makes these features and higher image quality accessible to a larger user base and also caters well to the needs of users who may not need all the bells and whistles of the higher end model.

It’s a little disappointing however, that Olympus opted to retain the 460,000-dot LCD screen of the previous models instead of upgrading to at least a 921,600-dot LCDs increasingly found on newer cameras.

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