Olympus Challenges the Sony NEX with Debut of PEN E-PM2 and PEN E-PL5

I’ll admit, when I first saw “Olympus launches two new PEN cameras,” I was imagining brand-new high-powered spy cameras disguised as writing utensils. The Olympus PEN cameras are definitely not that, but good news – they’re pretty cool in their own right.

The two new cameras in question are interchangeable-lens cameras with some DSLR features, similar to what Sony is offering with the NEX-6. The more advanced E-PL5 features a swivel monitor with a range between 170° up and 65° down and that can be flipped around for self-shots. Other than that, the guts of the E-PL5 and the cheaper E-PM2 are much the same – a 16.1 MP Live MOS sensor, the TruePic VI image processing engine, an AF illuminator, and external FL-LM1 flash. Both will have a max ISO of 25,600, and will have image stabilization tech. You’ll also be able to capture video in Full HD.

They’re also lightning fast, with instant focus and a rate of eight fps in Single AF mode. The E-PL5 allows for finer settings adjustments, while the E-PM2 is being sold as more of a simplified starter camera for those who aren’t used to DSLR technology. There are a number of lenses available for both cameras, including the BCL-15mm f8.0 Body Cap Lens, which is a 9 mm thick pan-focus lens disguised as a body cap. Both cameras are Wi-Fi enabled for faster sharing, as well.

The Sony NEX-6 probably offers more in the way of adjustable settings and picture quality, but Olympus has Sony beat on price hands down. The E-PL5 is selling for $650, while the E-PM 2 is selling for $550. Both are available for pre-order now on the Olympus website.

Press Release