If you just bought yourself a shiny new Olympus PEN camera, then you probably know what a great camera it is. What you might not know is that there are some really cool accessories that areÂ availableÂ for your PEN camera that will help extend it’s functionality. Now I’m not talking about lenses because you already know that there are a ton of available Micro Four Thirds lenses out there for purchase. What I mean is that there are accessories that will connect to your PEN’s hot shoe and accessory port.
Below is a list of the accessories I found to be more interesting. Please note however that depending on the model PEN you have, these may interfere with yourÂ abilityÂ to use a flash, for example the PEN E-PL3. Since these accessories will occupy the hot shoe andÂ accessoryÂ port, that means that you will not be able to also use your clip-on flash as that connects to the same port.
Close-up Spotlight / Macro Arm LightÂ (MAL-1) – $59.99
Two bright LEDs on fully flexible metal arms that extend up to 6.6 inches. Mounts to the accessory port for macro shots or attractive close-ups of small items. The MAL-1 is ideal for getting the lighting just right.
This is a much better solution for macro photography instead of using the flash or trying to carry around bulky external lighting equipment. The MAL-1 also allows you to position your light source more accurately in relation to your camera and subject matter.
PENPAL BluetoothÂ® Communication UnitÂ (PP-1) – $79.99
A sleek communication unit for storing images and transferring them via wireless BluetoothÂ® to other Bluetooth enabled devices, such as a smart phone, or even another PENPAL-equipped camera. From there itâ€™s easy to share them with friends in online communities.
The PENPAL is similar to what you might be able to accomplish with the Eye-Fi line of WiFi enabled SDHC cards. At first, the price of this attachment might seem a bit high, but if you’re Â the type of person who shoots a lot and carries a few spare SDHC cards with you, then you you’ll know that Eye-Fi cards can get real expensive if you’re buying multiple cards. With the PENPAL, you can use standard SDHC cards, save some money, and get virtually the same type of functionality for less. You will however have to get yourself a Bluetooth dongle on your computer if it is not Bluetooth enabled.
External Microphone Adapter SetÂ (SEMA-1) – $89.99
Adapter and stereo microphone for high-quality sound recording. 3.5mm microphone jack for numerous options.
The externalÂ microphoneÂ adapterÂ will really only be useful to you if you are serious about taking video and want the bestÂ possibleÂ audio for your video. This allows you to have a microphone near the subject without having to physically get closer to them.
Electronic ViewfinderÂ (VF-3) – $179.99
The VF-3 is a compact viewfinder that provides 100% field of view and 1.00x magnification. The VF-3, which is compatible with all PEN cameras, is excellent for outdoor, low-angle or telephoto shooting.
This is the updated electronic viewfinder from Olympus that makes a few improvements over the older VF-2 model. For starters, the new VF-3 no has a locking mechanism to keep it from getting accidentally knocked off. It’s also a bit sleeker looking than the older model and cheaper. However there are some trade-offs. TheÂ resolutionÂ isn’t as good as the VF-2 and neither is the brightness.
Electronic ViewfinderÂ (VF-2) – $249.99
Easily slides onto the accessory port and hot shoe of the Olympus PEN to provide 100% field of view and 1.5x magnification.
This electronic viewfinder is the big brother of the VF-3 and while it might now have some of the new improvements of the VF-3, it makes up for it with a brighter picture and better resolution. It also has a higherÂ magnificationÂ than the VF-3.
Either way, you really can’t go wrong with either the VF-2 or VF-3. It all depends on whether want better quality or to save money. The VF-3 should be fine for most users though.