Olympus PEN EP-2 camera Olympus is to offer a second MicroFourThirds camera in its retro-style PEN line of digital cameras. The Olympus PEN EP-2 will go onsale in the UK in January at a cost of £850.

Its key distinguishing feature will be the inclusion of a electronic viewfinder (EVF) that sits atop the main camera body. In June, Olympus unveiled the PEN EP-1, a compact digital SLR camera with a smaller lens than standard FourThirds models. It was criticised for having neither EVF nor a flash.

Thr EP-2 will be a 12.3Mp model with a Live CMOS with dust reduction and a 3in LCD for accurate shot composition. As well as an i-Auto mode similar to that on the EP1 model and the latest Olympus compacts, there will be additional filter effects on the new mode. The existing art filters will be joined by a diorama filter and a cross process filter to allow photographers to experiment with colour effects.

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The camera will be able to capture 1,280x720 video at 30 frames per second. Four aspect ratios are offered on the camera to accommodate different output and display requirements, including video. The EP2 will have an HDMI port for direct video output to an HD display. Tricky angles will be made easier to snag as Olympus has made the viewfinder tiltable - something the company believes makes the EP2 stand out from other models in the field, notably Panasonic's GF1

The Olympus PEN EP-2 will initially be available only in black and will come with a range of lenses to match. As well as existing MicroFourThirds lenses by Olympus and Panasonic (the two companies worked jointly on the design), the camera can use standard FourThirds lenses via an adapter ring. Two new Olympus MicroFourThirds lenses - a 28-3000mm high power telephoto lens and the super-wide zoom 18-36mm lens - will go onsale in the first half of 2010.

Olympus believes there is an emerging market for cameras that mimic the manual control offered by traditional SLR (single reflex lens) film cameras. It has just begun a print and TV advertising campaign, fronted by actor and theatre director Kevin Spacey, that emphasises the value of capturing 'three great shotst rather than endless point and shoot snaps.

See also: Olympus PEN EP-1 review

Olympus PEN EP-2 camera

Olympus will launch the EP2, the second model in its PEN range of 'mirrorless' cameras, in January

Olympus PEN EP-2 camera

The EP2 will come with a tiltable electronic viewfinder - useful for shooting video or taking photos at awkward angles