Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Olympus Pen E-P1 review

I have been taking part in a competition run by Olympus Australia. They send you the new Pen E-P1 camera to have for 1 month and we take photos, upload them and people vote.

People seem pretty divided over this camera, some say it's slow to focus and process and had bad ISO and others would clearly marry it if it was legal (where it is in the United States of America).

I am going to offer my opinions on this camera after one month of extensive use, but please note:
  1. I never read the manual
  2. I only had the 14-48mm kit lens and the 17mm 2.8 lens
  3. I never read the manual
OK, it IS slow... slow to focus, slow to process the art filters and slow to process long exposures (although I have been told to turn noise reduction off and this fixes the long exposure processing time) and it's pricey - the $1399 price tag for the body alone with kit lens and ($1799) for the twin lens kit will always make me compare it to a dSLR and not a point and shoot.

Some specs taken from http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusep1/
  • 12.3 Megapixel Live MOS Sensor
  • Two new kit lenses (M. Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 and 17mm F2.8 Pancake)
  • TruePic V image processor
  • 3.0" LCD screen (fixed, 230k dot resolution)
  • HD movies (720p) with stereo sound
  • Linear PCM sound recording
  • 3.0 fps sequential shooting
  • Built-in IS with max. 4 EV steps efficiency
  • Optional Adapters for all ZUIKO DIGITAL & OM lenses
  • Dual control dials
  • Art Filters, multi-aspect ratios, multi exposure
  • In-camera raw conversion (including application of Art Filters)
The screen is MASSIVE and compared to my 20D it's quite lovely to view.

Movie mode seems pretty good too - I took it to a Flaming Lips show and it seemed to handle it ok (and it was LOUD) the stereo sound is a cool feature too... the video files are huge - I haven't had a chance to look at these files on a big TV but they look pretty good on my computer screen.

There are alot of dials and buttons (maybe even too many) it was easy to get confused and trying in vain to find the controls you wanted (obviously after a few months use it would all be good) I also found myself accidentally changing the aperture.

The Art Filters are ok, but take alot of time to process as mentioned before - if you shoot RAW like I do, it saves a JPG and a RAW file (the RAW being unprocessed) there is: Cheesy Soft Focus, Shitty HOLGA ripoff, Cool looking Grainy Black and White, Lotsa colour, Not so much colour, High Key, Low Key and the Key to my heart...

I also had the unfortunate 'opportunity' of having to use the Olympus software because my version of Lightroom could not read the RAW files. It did not install properly the first time and would quit randomly. I re-installed it and now it constantly is asking to register (even when I checked the 'do not ask again' box) this software, in a word, is shit and I will be happy to never use it again.

I have to say that I took some really great pics with this camera - and you can view them HERE but I would never tell anyone to buy it. Maybe when the new version comes out it could be awesome - but for the price I would buy a proper dSLR over this Super Point and shoot any day.


  1. Hey, I only have a limited number of options to sign this comment and they don't include the one I want to use! Even the wordpress one would not work.

    I think with any bit of electronics, my golden rule is wait until version 3. By then they have mostly got it out. Though some less competent companies take a few more versions to sort it out. It sounds like this camera is a good attempt at version 1. Wait for the third version....

  2. I think you may be right... but honestly - if you are gona charge $1399 for a basic kit for something, you should deliver!

    Dunno why you can't sign how you want to? atleast this blog is working! I had three tries at Wordpress :)

  3. The price is the problem, like you mention at the end, same value of money you really can get a proper dslr or couples high end compact DC,.
    and it just an "Olympus", if it is "Leica" maybe worth of it (maybe~) (for the red dot mark XD)