We've never quite had the same love affair with the original PEN E-P1 as many of our contemporaries. The lack of built-in flash, no viewfinder and the enormous cost compared to a standard DSLR always made us consider it an exorbitant luxury. Then again, this could change our minds...
Olympus has announced the 'E-PL1', a micro four thirds camera which looks almost identical on the outside to the current PEN, but now includes an integrated pop-up flash and drops the RRP by $200 to $599 (£374) - though we await UK pricing. A viewfinder? That is seemingly asking too much, but to quote Meatloaf (and that isn’t often): two out of three ain't bad.
Furthermore, the E-PL1 keeps the rest of the impressive E-P1 spec with matching 12.3-megapixel sensor, 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens, ISO of 100 to 3200, HD video recording (presumably 720p), HDMI, in-camera panorama, face detection and 19 scene modes. For more check out Cliff's extensive PEN E-P1 review, but consider the new extras.
The Olympus PEN E-PL1 will launch in the US in March with a choice of black, gold and blue finishes. At 295g and 114.6 x 72.14 x 41.4 mm it certainly warms the cockles of our hearts, though it will still have to go some to drag us from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1...
Update: Do we have a new cross-channel 'Being British Tax' winner? Canon was always the previous champ, but Olympus has just confirmed its $599 E-PL1 will be priced at... wait for it... £549.99 ($872). A double zoom lens kit will also retail for £699.99 and suddenly we're a lot less excited.
Time to put that Bundle Box account to good use?