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Olympus debuts PEN E-PM1 with lots of free cams

If you live in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Miami, or Lehigh Valley, Penn., you might receive a free, brand new PEN E-PM1 camera to try out as part of the Olympus PEN Ready Project.


Olympus is rolling out its new PEN E-PM1 camera by asking random consumers to demonstrate how easy the latest PEN Ready camera is to use.

The PEN Ready Project looks to give more than 1,000 free PEN Ready E-PM1 cams to random people around North America. Those fortunate folks in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Miami, and Lehigh Valley, Penn., (Olympus' hometown) can go anywhere they like and take any pictures or HD videos they like (Olympus is asking them to shoot at least 20 still images or vids; those who do will be entered in a sweepstakes).

Olympus is collecting those works of would-be art for showcasing on a new custom-designed Tumblr blog. The company's hope is that people around the world will visit the PEN Ready site to see what the E-PM1 can do, thus wanting one for themselves.

The camera drops are already under way. On September 16, Olympus partnered with JetBlue to gift the PEN E-PM1 to passengers on a flight from New York's JFK International Airport bound for Florida.

Olympus camera kits
Olympus is giving away more than a thousand E-PM1 camera kits, like these kits gifted in New York City. Olympus Imaging America

Meanwhile, 100 selected Tumblr bloggers covering a range of topics will receive the PEN E-PM1 to take part in the project.

According to Olympus, the PEN E-PM1 is the most portable Olympus PEN interchangeable lens compact system. The camera "offers the same amazing image quality found in bigger, bulkier DSLR cameras with lightning-fast speed, and 1080i high-definition (HD) video at the affordable price of $499.99," the company says. More specs can be found here.

For those angling for a new cam, updates on Olympus' Twitter account offer hints to the PEN Ready crew's current location, as well as updates on how many cameras are still up for grabs and links to the latest images captured by winners of the camera kits. So, if you want a free camera and a moment's fame, you can hang out in Chelsea, Hollywood, or Union Square and hope a free gadget comes your way.