Olympus' new micro four thirds PEN has been outed in the States ahead of its official launch that was complete with obligatory teaser campaign.

As we predicted, the new model enters the PEN range at the consumer end with a $600 price tag and some user-friendly additions, such as a pop-up flash.  

"This third-generation PEN is built for shutterbugs who always wanted better pictures and considered a DSLR, but were intimidated by the bulky size and complex interface", says Olympus.

Specs include an Olympus TruePic V Image Processor, 12.3-megapixel LIVE Mos sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD and a direct video record button on the back of the camera for capturing HD film footage.

The E-PL1 gets 19 shooting modes and various arty special effects with a Live Guide to help preview the result, face detection, panorama options and an image stabiliser.

Offered with a variety of lenses, and boasting the "same PEN DNA" as previous models, although arguably slightly less retro-looking, the E-PL1 will be available in March in the States in black, slate blue and champagne gold with a 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 lens for $599.99.

We will update you when we hear UK availability and pricing.