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Rose in glass

To promote its new $500 PEN E-PM1 camera, Olympus gave 1,000 free cams to random passersby and asked them to snap pictures for display online. The results of the Olympus PEN Ready Project are now in.

But I wanted to test the camera for myself, so I toted it along on the road as I tackled various freelance-journalism assignments.

The Olympus PEN E-PM1's automatic focus sensor can be adjusted with a simple tap of the shutter button to select items close to the lens--as with this rose in glass at Orange County's Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel--or in the distance.

Updated:Caption:Photo:John Scott Lewinski/CNET
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Golden Gate Bridge

The 12.3-megapixel Olympus PEN E-PM1 captures exceptional variations of color and depth of field for Olympus' smallest SLR. Here, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge looms in the distance while bay winds bash Golden Gate Park.

Updated:Caption:Photo:John Scott Lewinski/CNET
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Pool at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

The Olympus PEN E-PM1 and its 84mm 35mm-equivalent telephoto lens can capture subtle shades of shadow even in low light, as seen here on a cool fall evening at the pool inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the one-time home of Marilyn Monroe.

Updated:Caption:Photo:John Scott Lewinski/CNET
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Practice lap at Charlotee Motor Speedway

The Olympus PEN E-PM1 borrows its high-speed shutter from more expensive cameras in the Olympus line, allowing you to capture objects in rapid motion, as in this shot of a practice lap for NASCAR's Bank of America 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Updated:Caption:Photo:John Scott Lewinski/CNET
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Tiki torch

The compact interchangeable lens system on the Olympus PEN E-PM1 allows the user to swap in a selection of smaller lenses on the SLR's body. The camera sells with the single 14-42mm zoom lens that was used to snap this simple shot of a tiki torch.

Updated:Caption:Photo:John Scott Lewinski/CNET
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Statue in a Charlotte church yard

The 3x optical zoom Olympus PEN E-PM1 allows the user to zone-focus a shot to foreground or background items, as in this shot of a religious statue in a quiet Charlotte, N.C., churchyard.

Updated:Caption:Photo:John Scott Lewinski/CNET
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Wisconsin cornfield in fall

Set at 14mm, the Olympus PEN E-PM1 standard lens records 2,186 lines, allowing the small SLR to capture subtle shifts in light and shadow, as in this shot of a Wisconsin corn field on a partly cloudy fall day.

Updated:Caption:Photo:John Scott Lewinski/CNET
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E-Series Jaguar steering wheel

The Olympus PEN E-PM1's dimensions (2.5 inches by 4.3 inches by 1.5 inches) make it the smallest Olympus SLR, allowing it to fit into cramped spaces such as the driver's seat of the iconic E-Series Jaguar.

Updated:Caption:Photo:John Scott Lewinski/CNET
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