Let’s take a quick look- on several levels these cameras are not in the same class, and may appeal to different photographers. A few key specs followed by my thoughts –

Fujifilm X10 Olympus PEN Mini
Interchangeable Lenses NO
4x zoom (28-112mm)
Sensor Size 2/3″ EXR-CMOS 4/3″ Hi-Speed Live MOS Sensor
MP 12 MP 12.1 MP
Movie Mode • 1920 x 1080 Full HD, 30fps
• Stereo sound
• 1920 x 1080 Full HD, 30fps
• Stereo sound
Optical Viewfinder Yes No
LCD 2.8″ 460K Resolution 3″ 460K Resolution
High ISO 12,800 12,800

These two newly announced cameras, one from Fuji and one from Olympus, are blurring the traditional lines of your pokcetable cameras. The X10 is the little brother to the very popular and seriously expensive X100 – Loved by just about all those that can afford it. Why are folks buying $1200 P&S that does NOT have interchangeable lenses? The sensor inside is the same size as used in your consumer level DSLRS, the interface is smart and shutter lag is non-existent. Not to mention it has that stylish retro look. The X10, price unknown but expected in the $500-$700 range, carries over most of the features from the X100 except the sensor. The X10 will have a 2/3″ sensor size, much closer to your standard P&S sensor.
The Pen Mini, Olympus’ newest camera in the PEN line aims to bring the 4/3″ sensor size (much larger than the X10) to the masses with a very friendly and slightly dumbed down version of the earlier Pen models. I use Dumbed down in the sense of ease of operation for your mom and pop photographer. Those that want more manual control may want to consider the Fuji with its variety of mechanical controls that allow easy switching of settings and optical viewfinder.

Bottom Line Thoughts –

Olympus PEN Mini (E-PM1) – Buy it if you want a P&S that will give you excellent quality images, especially in low light. Operations may feel limiting to some photographers desiring more manual control but you have options to add other lenses, less pocketability with a large zoom but certainly more versatility, I am thinking soccer moms here!

Fuji X10 – Buy it if you don’t mind the fixed lens and limited zoom but a true pocketable camera that will give you excellent quality images, easy manual control for those that desire it and a stylish look that is sure to grab some attention.

This category of cameras is growing and includes the NEX I wrote about last week

My thoughts are based on current reviews and a few hands-on reports – they may change as we see sample images from both the cameras.

Which camera appeals to you?

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