Olympus E-P1 Micro Four Thirds system camera
The Olympus E-P1 has made a daring move. The E-P1 is in many ways a very special camera. First of all, its appearance; retro and modern at the same time. For me, its design is as successful as the retro-design of the Volkswagen Beetle or the Fiat 500. While Panasonic hesitated to give the first Micro Four Thirds camera a different look, Olympus took on the challenge. And that deserves a huge compliment!
Olympus E-P1 PEN specifications
Expectations about the Olympus E-P1 ran high. Not only for amateurs, but also for the demanding and professional photographers. On paper, the Olympus E P1 is the ideal camera for street photographers and photo journalists. It is small, offers interchangeable optics, a large sensor, is discrete and provides high quality. Olympus was able to partially succeed in fulfilling these high expectations.
Olympus EP1 lenses
The quality of the pictures is fine. Better than recent cameras from the E-series, and even that is an excellent achievement by Olympus. Also the lenses do not disappoint when it comes to their optics. Especially the pancake is an outright winner in my opinion. Not only because this lens is so compact, but also because of its excellent optical performance and because the auto focus works better. I believe that the zoom lens is a tad too big when extended. But that is my personal opinion and I must confess that I am a huge fan of small lenses. New Micro Four Thirds lenses are expected to be announced soon is.
Olympus E-P1 camera operation
Operation of the Olympus is fine. Some things require a little bit of getting used to, but in the end you will simply have a great camera. The only real downside in my opinion is the small dial on the back, which rotates too quickly in practice, and cannot be turned off. I don't actually miss the viewfinder since the screen is so easy to work with. However; a higher resolution is more than welcome, especially for making manual focus a lot easier. And I would like to see a warning for blown high lights.
Olympus E-P1 shutterlag
The shutterlag is exactly the way I like it: nice and short. It really comes down to: point-and-shoot. Well, you do have to wait until the camera is able to focus because the AF is not really fast. Panasonic did a better job on the G-series and I had really hoped for the Olympus E-P1 to provide the same speed. You now have to shoot with a little bit of extra contemplation and try to predict what will happen in the next few moments. The AF is not a problem if you mainly shoot still objects.
Olympus P1 a cross between a compact- & SLR
On paper, the Olympus E-P1 seemed to be the ideal camera for me. A true cross between a compact and an SLR. I could already imagine myself making a complete photo-report with the E-P1 and I was one of the many people who could not wait to try out the Olympus E-P1. However, the perfect camera does not exist, which also goes for the digital PEN. There are still points of improvement to be worked on, especially for professional photographers, whilst for consumers the downsides are far less important.
Olympus E-P1 brings joy in digital photography!
However, contrary to all the rational thoughts, there is the feeling the camera gives you. In a way, you can't but love this camera. There is something very special about this camera. Not only its appearance, but something that simply cannot be explained. Don’t ask me why, but the Olympus E-P1 will challenge you again and again to take pictures. Not because you should, but because it is that much fun. The E-P1 takes pleasure in shooting, and so will you, in fact, you will be less inhibited in what you take. Perhaps precisely because of the restrictions the camera also has. Shooting with the Olympus E-P1 is anything but dull and boring, only positive. And that’s what it is all about: truly enjoying photography!
Olympus E-P1 memory
In the past, Olympus used to take things very far in relation to the amount of resolutions and quality level of the photos, but the Olympus E-P1 is quite limited in this respect. And that is just fine. The best quality is obtained by using RAW of course. At the time of writing (August 2009), the RAW files can only be edited with Olympus software. We just have to wait until Adobe comes with an update too. A RAW file from the Olympus E-P1 is about 14MB in size. If you shoot in the highest quality JPEG, it leaves you with 8.4MB. A 2GB SDHC card is certainly not a luxury for this camera. During the test, I used a SanDisk Extreme 4GB SDHC Plus card. This has sufficient capacity for one day of shooting and it is able to write the pictures quickly onto the card.
Olympus E-P1 photo ratios
In addition to the standard 4:3 ratio, you can also select 16:9, 3:2 or 6:6 ratios. These are however only crops from the entire 4:3 picture. The Olympus software shows a frame to indicate the ratio you have selected when shooting in RAW. You can always decide to switch to a different ratio.
Considering 1GB of storage capacity:
12 Megapixels - 4032x3024 - RAW - 14MB - 54 pictures
12 Megapixels - 4032x3024 - JPEG - Super Fine - 8.4MB - 101 pictures
12 Megapixels - 4032x3024 - JPEG - Fine - 5.9MB - 145 pictures
12 Megapixels - 4032x3024 - JPEG - Normal - 2.7MB - 320 pictures
12 Megapixels - 4032x3024 - JPEG - Basic - 1.8MB - 477 pictures
7.6 Megapixels - 3200x2400 - JPEG - Super Fine - 5.6MB - 154 pictures
7.6 Megapixels - 3200x2400 - JPEG - Fine - 3.4MB - 255 pictures
7.6 Megapixels - 3200x2400 - JPEG - Normal - 1.7MB - 504 pictures
7.6 Megapixels - 3200x2400 - JPEG - Basic - 1.2MB - 747 pictures
5 Megapixels - 2560x1920 - JPEG - Super Fine - 3.2MB - 269 pictures
5 Megapixels - 2560x1920 - JPEG - Fine - 2.2MB - 395 pictures
5 Megapixels - 2560x1920 - JPEG - Normal - 1.1MB - 776 pictures
5 Megapixels - 2560x1920 - JPEG - Basic - 0.8MB - 1143 pictures
2 Megapixels - 1600x1200 - JPEG - Super Fine - 1.3MB - 673 pictures
2 Megapixels - 1600x1200 - JPEG - Fine - 0.9MB - 993 pictures
2 Megapixels - 1600x1200 - JPEG - Normal - 0.5MB - 1893 pictures
2 Megapixels - 1600x1200 - JPEG - Basic - 0.4MB - 2753 pictures
1.2 Megapixels - 1280x960 - JPEG - Super Fine - 0.9MB - 1044 pictures
1.2 Megapixels - 1280x960 - JPEG - Fine - 0.6MB - 1514 pictures
1.2 Megapixels - 1280x960 - JPEG - Normal - 0.3MB - 2884 pictures
1.2 Megapixels - 1280x960 - JPEG - Basic - 0.3MB - 4038 pictures
0.8 Megapixels - 1024x768 - JPEG - Super Fine - 0.6MB - 1594 pictures
0.8 Megapixels - 1024x768 - JPEG - Fine - 0.4MB - 2243 pictures
0.8 Megapixels - 1024x768 - JPEG - Normal - 0.3MB - 4038 pictures
0.8 Megapixels - 1024x768 - JPEG - Basic - 0.2MB - 5507 pictures
0.3 Megapixels - 640x480 - JPEG - Super Fine - 0.3MB - 3563 pictures
0.3 Megapixels - 640x480 - JPEG - Fine - 0.2MB - 5048 pictures
0.3 Megapixels - 640x480 - JPEG - Normal - 0.2MB - 8654 pictures
0.3 Megapixels - 640x480 - JPEG - Basic - 0.1MB - 10096 pictures