The Olympus PEN It's Mine, Guys! OK, now don't tell the guys at Olympus, but every time they send me a camera to test, my kids, family members, passersby, staff, just about anyone in my life who sees me using the camera takes it from me. Dang them. I have, in my relative possession, the SW1030, which my kids use to exercise their creative water visions; I have an SP-590UZ, which is like a little miracle of easy-to-use-ness to me. But, alas, my mom liked the way it worked. And now she's gallivanting around with it shooting the grandkids in every scene mode Olympus has ever devised. And, right after I tested the E-520, it became the favored camera of the staff, who have taken that system all around the globe. So now I'm not saying a word about the newest Olympus on the block, the PEN E-PL1. It's mine to road test, dadgummit! I've used this system, with the Olympus housing and strobes, a couple of times, and am really beginning to enjoy the one-two punch of being able to switch between images (with interchangeable lenses, no less) and 720 HD video. It's making me into a multimedia man. The thing that most impresses me about it is that it's as easy to use as a point-and-shoot (I just took it out of the box, charged the batteries, put it in the housing and went diving I'll read that pesky instruction manual later), with some of the sophisticated options of an SLR, such as interchangeable lenses. But the bottom line for cameras, for me, is always image quality, which has been exceptional enough that this camera now sits on the seat of my car and in my bag as the go-to gear for everyday use. Just, please, don't tell my family, friends or staff.
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