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Christmas Gift Guide

Flash up

Details

Dials and buttons

Pancake zoom

Hotshoe and accessory port

Screen and rear buttons

Selfie's ready for a closeup

Designed with the smartphone photographer in mind, the Olympus Pen E-PL7 features the same compact retro design that has graced earlier Pen cameras. There is no flash integrated into the camera body, however, which means you need to rely on the included external flash unit that clips into the hotshoe and accessory port.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Cheng/CNET

Available in either a black or silver finish, the E-PL7 feels solid. There's a leather-like finish on the outside with a non-removable hand grip.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Cheng/CNET

All the controls you would expect from an interchangeable lens camera are present on the E-PL7. There's a mode dial with full PASM options; an automatic mode for those not comfortable with manual exposures; scene modes; a frame mode to automatically splice several photos together in one; and art filter mode.

Olympus has added two new art filters to the existing set of 12: vintage and partial colour.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Cheng/CNET

The E-PL7 comes with a 14-42mm pancake zoom lens as standard, which is equivalent to a 28-84mm when crop factor is taken into consideration.

The zoom mechanism is all electronically controlled via the ring on the lens, offering a smooth transition between focal lengths that works even during video recording.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Cheng/CNET

Underneath the hotshoe mount is an accessory port that works with items like electronic viewfinders and the included external flash unit. There's also a stereo microphone in front of the hotshoe for in-camera audio recording.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Cheng/CNET

The star of the show is the 180-degree flip-down screen, pictured here in its regular configuration at the rear of the camera. It's a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen that offers tap to focus and tap to shoot, with a resolution of 1.04 million dots.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Cheng/CNET

This is what it's all about. Flip down the screen a full 180 degrees to see yourself in the frame. Olympus says that orienting the screen below the camera body -- rather than above it -- makes it appear like you are looking straight in the lens (even if you're checking yourself out in the screen).

Caption by / Photo by Dave Cheng/CNET
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