Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1
The cheapest Micro Four Thirds camera money can buy
Like the E-PL3 the PEN Mini is equipped with only six Art Effects but they are the most useful and the less quirky, producing some visually striking results that are creative enough to satisfy amateurs but not too overdone to look childish. The filters, which are applied before shooting to both photo and video mode, include Pin Hole, Pop Art, Diorama, Dramatic Tone, Grainy Film and Soft Focus. Another added bonus that blinks at amateurs is the 3D Photo Mode, which allows you to take superimposed picture for 3D effect just by panning the camera.
A good value snapper, so long as you don't mind menu fiddling for manual modes
The E-PM1 sports Full 1080p HD video recording in AVCHD format with a maximum video length of 29 minutes. Footage is sharp and smooth even in low-light, the sound provided by the stereo microphone crisp and videos take advantage of all manual controls and creative effects available to still pictures.
The quality of the images produced with the Olympus PEN Mini has no obvious differences to those of its bigger brothers. The Mini delivers equally beautiful, saturated, detailed, sharp images and handles noise extremely well. Noise does not start to appear before ISO 3200 and even at ISO 6400 is totally acceptable. The increased ISO sensitivity of 12800 is less useful, as noise certainly does show itself and is too visible for most uses.
With the E-PM1 Olympus has released a sexy, versatile, pocketable camera that manages to bring increased ease-of-use to the PEN family without sacrificing the creative and technical performance of its more expensive models. This is a camera that will surely appeal to beginners and amateurs alike. Thanks to its fast performing Autofocus system and undiminished image quality, it has also the potential to serve more accomplished photographers too. ®
Catherine Monfils is a professional photographer specialising in portraiture, lifestyle and fashion.
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