Olympus has an great mix of compact PEN EVIL cameras, stylish point and shoot cameras, and "tough" cameras in its digital camera lineup. These cameras have been released in the past 18 months, and they represent the best new cameras from Olympus, both in its Stylus point and shoot camera lineup, in its Stylus Tough lineup, and in its PEN lineup.
Olympus has created what it calls the world's smallest and lightest PEN camera, which, considering the history of the PEN family of cameras, makes it one of the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens cameras from any manufacturer. The PEN E-PM1 is a fun camera, and it may be the most colorful DIL camera, too, as Olympus is offering it in brown, black, pink, purple, white, or silver camera bodies.
The PEN E-PM1 offers some really nice features, too, including 12.3 megapixels of resolution with a CMOS image sensor, full 1080p HD video, and a 3.0-inch LCD. It measures only 1.33 inches in thickness (before you attach the lens) and it weighs only 7.65 ounces for the camera body.
The latest "mini" camera from Olympus, the PEN E-PM2, should be another very nice DIL model to build upon the recent success of the Olympus Mini PEN E-PM1, which made my list of the best 5-star cameras.
The E-PM2, which is now available in silver, black, white, or red camera bodies, features 16.1MP of resolution, interchangeable Micro Four Thirds lenses, a 3.0-inch touch screen LCD, and full HD video.
The E-PL3, which sometimes is called the PEN Lite, includes a tiltable 3-inch LCD, which is handy for shooting odd-angle photos. It offers 12.3 megapixels of resolution with a CMOS image sensor, and it can shoot at up to five frames per second. The PEN Lite will be available in a variety of body colors, depending on where it's sold in the world.
The PEN family of DIL cameras has always had great looks and fun-to-use options. One of the latest models, the Olympus PEN E-PL5, includes an improved feature set over its predecessors too.
The PEN PL5 has an articulated touchscreen LCD, 16MP of resolution, interchangeable lenses, and burst mode shooting up to 8 frames per second.
The Olympus PL3, listed above, is a great camera that I've had a chance to review, and I'm sure the PL5 will follow in its footsteps.
Olympus has had good success reaching into its past for a classic digital camera design with its PEN family of cameras. The company has done it again with its recently released OM-D E-M5 digital interchangeable lens camera, which borrows its design from the OM film cameras from four decades ago.
You'll find 16.1 megapixels of resolution, a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD, and full 1080p HD video capabilities in the Olympus E-M5. The electronic viewfinder is a nice touch.
The E-M5 is available in an all-black camera body or as a black camera with silver trim.
Olympus has packed plenty of features into a sub-$200 camera with its 14MP SZ-10 digital camera. The SZ-10 offers an 18X optical zoom lens, which is nice to find in a camera in which Olympus recently dropped the suggested price by more than 10%. You'll also find a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD with the SZ-10.
OIympus has included the ability to shoot 720p HD video, to use WiFi to connect to a computer, and to shoot in a 3D photo mode, all of which are impressive features for this price range.
The sharp-looking Olympus SP-620UZ fixed lens camera offers a 21X optical zoom lens that provides quite a bit of power in a small camera body.
The SP-620UZ has 16 megapixels of resolution, a 3.0-inch LCD, nice wide-angle capabilities, and 720p HD videos. One thing that some people will like about the SP-620UZ is that it can run from AA batteries, if needed.
With a sub-$200 price, the Olympus Stylus 7010 includes an impressive 7X optical zoom lens. The other Stylus 7010 features include 12 megapixels of resolution, a 2.7-inch LCD, and AVI movie capabilities. With its 23 scene modes, the Stylus 7010 is easy to use.
The Stylus 7010, which is trimmed in silver and measures 1.0 inch in thickness, is available in red, pink, dark gray, and silver.
Those seeking some advanced features in a tough point and shoot camera will want to take a close look at the Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS, which is the company's top-end tough model.
To start with, Olympus has included a high-resolution, 3.0-inch OLED screen with the TG-1 iHS, making this screen easy to view underwater. This camera's 12 megapixel CMOS image sensor should work well in low light, too, giving you two key features for an underwater camera. You can shoot in up to 40 feet of water depth with the TG-1 iHS, which is an impressive feature. It also can survive a fall from up to 6.6 feet.
In addition, the TG-1 iHS has a 4X optical zoom lens and a 1080p HD movie mode. Look for the TG-1 iHS, which is only available in silver with black trim, to carry a pretty high sub-$400 price point), so it will require a big budget to make this powerful tough camera part of your arsenal.
10. Olympus VG-160
Among sub-$100 cameras, the Olympus VG-160 carries one of the better specification lists that you're going to find.
Granted, the VG-160's features aren't going to stand up well against most of the other cameras introduced in 2012, but this model does compare strongly against other cameras in this price range, thanks in particular to a really good performance with flash photos.
You'll find 14 megapixels of resolution, a 3.0-inch LCD, a 5X optical zoom lens, and 720p HD video capabilities with this model. Olympus is offering the VG-160 in red, orange, black, and silver body colors.
11. Olympus XZ-1
For the first time, Olympus has included a built-in f/1.8-2.5 Zuiko lens with a compact camera with its award-winning Olympus XZ-1, and it should provide high-quality images. Additionally, the XZ-1 includes a larger CCD image sensor than you'll find with other compact cameras, which will improve performance in low light. These high-end features should give the XZ-1 improved performance and image quality.
With its larger, 1/1.63-inch image sensor, the XZ-1's 10 megapixels of resolution will still provide high-quality images. Additionally, the XZ-1 includes 720p HD video capabilities, a 3.0-inch OLED screen, and a 4X optical zoom. The XZ-1 is available now in either black or white.