Sleek and compact

The Olympus PEN E-PM1 has a relatively compact, attractive, and well-built metal body. My only real gripe with it is the lack of any sort of grip on the front.
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Flash

Like the NEX models, the E-PM1 doesn't have a built-in flash and instead bundles a collapsible unit that slips into a proprietary connector and hot shoe.
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Interface

Like a midrange point-and-shoot, the E-PM1 doesn't have a mode dial; this screen is where you select your shooting mode, and includes the usual set of manual, semimanual, and automatic modes, plus a dedicated movie and Art Filters mode. You don't need to be in the Art Filters mode to access them--you can get to them in the Picture Mode setting, but can't adjust the options there.
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Shooting interface

The functional shooting display looks like most Olympus cameras. Pressing the OK button brings up the most frequently needed shooting settings for adjustment, and there's a thumb-operated movie record button.
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Controls

The main dial gives direct access to exposure compensation, flash, burst mode and autofocus-point selection. The dial itself operates precisely and comfortably enough.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Not a lot on top

The only controls on top are the shutter button and on/off button.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Collapsible lens

Olympus pioneered the manually collapsible lens system, incorporated into the kit lens. While it's nice that it makes a more compact package that way, the "Lens is locked. Please extend the lens" messages on startup are starting to get old.
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