The Olympus PEN E-PL1 is the perfect compromise between a full-featured DSLR and a compact point-and-shoot. What makes the E-PL1 great for learning is its Live Guide, which explains manual settings in plain English. For example, to help a user learn how aperture and depth of field work, it provides a Blur Background setting: When the user increases the blur amount, the camera automatically opens the aperture wider for a shallow depth of field. The E-PL1 also offers an Art mode that includes fun filters and effects. This camera is compact and reasonably priced, and it offers the image quality and manual settings of a higher-end model.