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Olympus announces new selfie-focused PEN E-PL7 mirrorless camera

SINGAPORE — Digital imaging company Olympus has unveiled a new camera in its PEN family of mirrorless cameras, the E-PL7. Aimed at bloggers, smartphone users, ladies and those hooked on social media, Olympus hopes that their new camera will help users show off their photography more, and have included some key improvements over previous models for users, especially those into selfies.

SINGAPORE — Digital imaging company Olympus has unveiled a new camera in its PEN family of mirrorless cameras, the E-PL7. Aimed at bloggers, smartphone users, ladies and those hooked on social media, Olympus hopes that their new camera will help users show off their photography more, and have included some key improvements over previous models for users, especially those into selfies.

At the core of the improvements is a “selfie-oriented technology”. Olympus touts the E-PL7 as the first mirrorless camera in the world that comes with a flip-down touchscreen. It’s odd that such an obvious improvement hasn’t been found in other mirrorless models yet, and the 3” flip-down touchscreen does make it easier to take selfies. With flip-up screens either the lens is blocking the touchscreen, or your hands are blocking the lens while you make adjustments, so this seems like a good improvement.

In selfie mode, the E-PL7 comes with a dedicated interface to aid you in your quest for selfie glory, such as an e-Portrait mode, a shutter release button that will take shots a second apart and refocus on faces in between shots in case your hand shakes or someone moves, and a custom self-timer mode. The camera is also equipped with three-axis image stabilisation to help you take blur-free selfies, even in dark rooms.

The E-PL7 also comes with wireless capabilities that allow you to operate the camera with your smartphone, embed GPS data in photos from your smartphone, and also quickly share shots you just took on social media.

The camera’s firmware also comes with updates to the PEN series, with special modes such as Live Bulb and new Art Filters such as Partial Colour. Live Bulb allows you to photograph light paintings even in a bright setting by combining multiple exposures into one single file — you can even see the result while it’s being shot. The Partial Colour feature allows you to remove specific colours via an onscreen colour ring.

The E-PL7 is equipped with an Olympus 16.1-megapixel LiveMOS image sensor, and also comes with the TruePic VII image engine that Olympus says will help you take better shots. The camera shoots 8 frames per second, has an 81-point FAST-AF focusing system and comes with 1080p full-HD video recording.

While the E-PL7 comes after the well-received E-P5 and E-PL6, Olympus says that it’s not meant to replace either model, but instead sits between the two models. During a hands-on session at the Olympus offices last week, the E-PL7 truly felt good to hold, and still had the classic looks of the previous models. It’s hard to say how well it will perform without taking it for more tests, but if you’re into selfies and would like them to look better than your friend’s smartphone photos, this might be the camera for you.

During the session, Olympus also announced that the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm F2.0 lens will now be widely available in black. Previously sold as a silver version and a limited edition black version, this black version of the lens will appeal to those who prefer to match black lenses to their camera body.

The Olympus PEN E-PL7 will be released in October 2014, and retails with a M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ kit lens. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm F2.0 lens will be sold separately and its availability will be announced later. The retail prices for both the camera and lens have not yet been revealed.

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