The 12.3Mp Olympus PEN E-P1 is larger than a standard compact digital camera such as a Canon Ixus or a Sony Cyber-shot and has interchangeable lenses. Here's our hands-on report.

Olympus is celebrating 50 years since the 1959 launch of its ground-breaking PEN 35mm film camera - the first affordable, consumer portable camera and one that Olympus believes was a ground-breaking launch.

This week, it launched a digital version broadly based on the original 1959 design. The 12.3Mp Olympus PEN E-P1 is larger than a standard compact digital camera such as a Canon Ixus or a Sony Cyber-shot and has interchangeable lenses.

It uses the Micro FourThirds standard that Olympus co-developed with Panasonic and can be used with a standard FourThirds lens via an adapter ring. However, it's not an elite model and is aimed at a far broader market than the high-end digital SLR community. In fact, it's aimed at inveterate snappers and those with an interest in rather than an obsession with photography. People like me, in other words.

To chime with this, Olympus has given the E-P1 a more modest price tag than FourThirds cameras generally carry and, though it will cost around £599 at launch for the body only, you can get it with a 14-42mm lens for £699 all in. You'll still need to fork out extra for a detachable viewfinder and the rather fetching leather case shown in many of the press shots though.

NEXT PAGE: first impressions


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