Olympus PEN E-PM1 or the Olympus PEN Mini
A compact system camera (which means it sits between a normal point-and shoot camera and a digital SLR), that joins Olympus' PEN and PEN Lite models. The PEN Mini is very small and very light, which is great for beginners who aren't used to carrying heavy pieces of equipment around with them all day. The camera can capture 12.3MP images and 1080i full HD movies and in many ways it produces the same quality as an SLR with none of the big bags and accessories. It has a 3" LCD screen and an integrated "live guide", which allows you to take professional looking photos easily and helps you to tweak brightness, saturation, blurs and a range of other things. As well as the live guide and autofocus, the PEN Mini also comes with six built-in art filters including Dramatic Tone, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pinhole and Diorama. All are of a pretty high standard too, so don't worry about missing out on your favourite photo editing app. In many ways the PEN Mini is the ideal beginner's camera, it's light, easy-to-use and produces high quality photographs and movies. However, if the person you're buying it for wants something a bit different in the next year or so, they can add all kinds of extras and accessories to the camera a little further down the line too, meaning it's not just a basic camera if you don't want it to be. The PEN Mini is available in six lovely colours and we imagine there's a shade to suit most people, try silver rose, black, brown, purple, silver or white. If you have your eye on a white model, then visit John Lewis and pick one up for £399.99. Until the 15th January 2012 Olympus is offering £50 cashback on any of its PEN Mini models bought from John Lewis too, just fill out this form as soon as you've got one. If you'd prefer a black or purple model, then visit Amazon and get one for £356 or if you want to get your hands on a brown version that'll set you back £430, a silver is £391.19 and a silver rose is £430.14.
There are so many different cameras on the market at the moment that it can be hard to find one which is compact, affordable, easy-to-use and produces great results too, after all if you’re just getting into photography you don’t want to drag around a huge device and loads of kit from the start if you’re not sure what to do with it.