Wednesday, November 04, 2009

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E-P1 First Look

I received the E-P1 on Oct 28th and have had about a week to get familiar with it. There are a few features I have yet to try like the art filters and video. I have a feeling I won't be using the art filters all that much but I will check them out at some point.

E-P1 Front E-P1 Back

I planned to take it out for the first time that evening to a Seattle/Tacoma PUG meeting. I had a little less than 2 hours to get the battery charged before I had to leave, which was not very likely. I charged it as much as I could before I left the house and plugged it into my car. I was afraid after going from charging inside to the car that it would start the charging process all over again but I was pleasantly surprised when the charge was completed about 20 minutes after I left the house.

I ordered a Lumix 20mm F1.7 pancake lens a few days prior but it wasn't due to deliver until the following day so the only lens I had to use was the 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit zoom lens that came with the camera. Also on order were adapters so I can use my digital four thirds lenses and OM film lenses as well as an extra battery.

Before going to the meeting we stopped at a couple of wine stores. First stop was the Wine Outlet in SODO. My first shot with the Olympus E-3 was also taken at a wine store. Probably just a coincidence. :) I hadn't been to the Wine Outlet before, it was smaller than I thought it would be but they had some good wine specials and the layout and decor of the store was unique. Even without racks of wine there was no question it was a wine store and the manager working was friendly and helpful. We ended up purchasing 8 bottles to help fill up a wine rack we are building which may be another blog post when finished. We also made a stop at Esquin and got a couple more bottles to bring to the PUG meeting.

I took a few shots at the store in aperature priority using auto ISO and color balance and from the lcd it looked like I was getting some pretty good results. I didn't know at the time what ISO it was shooting at. It was only after I got home to process the photos that I noticed it was shooting at ISO 1600. I was beyond impressed at the minimal noise in the photos. Even my E-3 has quite a bit at that level. Some of the photos were taken as slow as 1/15 of a second and even at that rate the photos were sharp so the image stabilization must be doing a good job. The color of the photos was also spot on. Here are a few of the results taken at the wide end of the zoom lens.

E-P1 First Shot
Wine Outlet: 15mm, 1/30, F3.6, ISO 1600

Wine Outlet SODO
Wine Outlet: 14mm, 1/15, F4, ISO 1600

Esquin: 14mm, 1/50, F14, ISO 1600

I also took a few photos at the PUG meeting. The ISO somehow switched from auto to 125 so these were all taken at ISO 125 which means the shutter speed was very slow. I'm sure I would have gotten some much better results had I been on a higher ISO. If the camera is on and it bumps around it seems to be easy to accidentally change the camera settings so that's one that that you should be careful of with this camera. Always check your settings.

Seattle/Tacoma PUG - long exposure
Seattle/Tacoma PUG: 14mm, 1 second, F4.5, ISO 125

Seattle/Tacoma PUG
Seattle/Tacoma PUG: 14mm, 1/2, F4, ISO 125

Seattle/Tacoma PUG
Seattle/Tacoma PUG: 14mm, .8, F4, ISO 125

Overall I think it's a great camera. Very impressive image quality especially for the size. I don't think it's small enough for me to use it as a carry around camera, unless I get a larger purse. I will still use my Olympus Touch for that. I think it's the perfect camera for low light and will definitely bring it to restaurants and bars instead of my bulky E-3. The size/weight is great for a digital SLR. The body is smaller and 4 oz. lighter than my Olympus OM film body.

The two biggest complaints people have had about the camera is the missing viewfinder and flash. I don't miss the in body flash at all. I rarely ever use it on my cameras. It has a hot shoe so you can still use an external flash and/or remote trigger a flash with a remote trigger, like pocket wizards. I do however miss having a viewfinder. I have put the camera up to my face more than once already. The viewfinder is nice and clear though but it would be nice if it swiveled. If these are features you really want, you may want to hold off buying an E-P1 and wait and see if the E-P2 has any of these features added on. If I were buying one myself, I would have waited for the E-P2 but if Olympus wants to give me one I would certainly take it and put it to good use.

One warning to anyone who has or is planning on buying this camera. The auto focus out of the box is absolutely horrible. I'm kind of glad I got to experience it though to see how much the firmware update helps and it does indeed help, a lot. I had a really hard time focusing most of that first night but have not had any issues since updating the firmware. I didn't have time to update it before I left because you need a charged battery to do so.

Stay tuned for more blog posts and pics from me with this camera.


  1. Glad you're liking the Pen. You'll really like the 20mm pancake lens when you get it - it's an amazing little piece of glass.

  2. Oh I have it already and used it a few times. So far I'm liking it. I just didn't include it in this review. I may do another post on it. This one was getting too long. :P

  3. Great write up Paula, and also kudos for the honesty in mentioning the negatives in light of it being a "free" camera.

    Integrity is a great thing to see!

    Makes me want one even more looking at the high ISO shots!!