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Just Posted: Olympus PEN Mini review

By dpreview staff on Nov 23, 2011 at 20:46 GMT

We've just published our review of the Olympus E-PM1: the PEN Mini. The Mini is the least expensive, and most compact-camera-user orientated, Micro Four Thirds model yet released. It's built around the long-serving 12MP sensor but includes the latest, impressively fast AF system from the most recent PENS. In keeping with its point-and-shoot ethos, the PEN Mini features few external controls, yet has extensive customization if you want a camera to grow into. Does this result in a model with broad appeal or a camera with an identity crisis? Read our review to find out.

Click here to read our review of the Olympus PEN E-PM1: PEN Mini

Comments

Total comments: 112
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Nov 25, 2011)

I am happy to see PM1 pictures compared with DSLR's the likes of Canon T3. Olympus Pen family can take on the bigger sensors -- yes, the N5, NX200, T3. Cannon T3 could be slightly ahead of PM1 but when selecting the pretty lady (on the DPR studio test scene), she comes out better even on the 1600 ISO setting. [I like taking pictures of ladies but if you prefer waterfalls, well ..]
The AF should and does take the front seat. I missed many a shot in a dynamic children's settings because of a delay and that is the main reason I'm looking for a better camera now.
I was checking out the PM1 in a store and noticed the camera gives me the ISO values in real-time as I surveyed the scene. Although well lit, the ISO hovered between 300 and 500 and that tells me there is plenty of ISO margin left in the (standard) system.
PM1 movie IS could be superior to others if there is but one subject in the center, which could be analogous to defocused background in stills. Not so for several subjects.

1 upvote
MGJA
By MGJA (Nov 25, 2011)

There's something unreal, in 2011, checking the spec list and seeing "Orientation sensor: no" for a new camera. Come on, Olypus. How difficult can it be? $49 p&s throwaway cameras have been providing this for like a decade now.

0 upvotes
MrTaikitso
By MrTaikitso (Nov 25, 2011)

Olypus? Epic!

0 upvotes
Mark Thornton
By Mark Thornton (Nov 25, 2011)

On the other hand, when viewing portrait images on the camera they might be better left unrotated. The rotated picture would leave even bigger black bars at the side. It is bad enough on a 4:3 aspect ratio LCD.

0 upvotes
Francis Sawyer
By Francis Sawyer (Nov 25, 2011)

"most compact-camera-user orientated, Micro Four Thirds model yet released"

ORIENTATED? Come on, guys. That's pathetic.

Wait, there's more:

"Olympus has opted for a beginner-orientated design"

Really?

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
brkl
By brkl (Nov 25, 2011)

You should write to Oxford University Press and tell them to fix their dictionary.

2 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Nov 25, 2011)

Orientated? I think you'll find that's a perfectly cromulent word.

0 upvotes
jsis
By jsis (Nov 25, 2011)

orientated = "asianized" lol

I think that's different than oriented.

1 upvote
reality_check
By reality_check (Nov 25, 2011)

Everybody says orientated ... except the purists who are still using the reliable silex! Have you seen that round thing that allows people to move things faster? The end of the world is near! :)

0 upvotes
Bryan Costin
By Bryan Costin (Nov 28, 2011)

Orientated and oriented are both equally correct. Just as fragmented and fragmentised, or aluminum and aluminium. Particularly since dpreview.com is based in the UK.

0 upvotes
wkay
By wkay (Nov 29, 2011)

Fragmentised? No such word.. fragmentized.

0 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Nov 29, 2011)

Actually, also "fragmentised" in American English. Now please everyone acknowledge the existence of British and American English, and go on with photo talk. :)

0 upvotes
R Stacy
By R Stacy (Nov 29, 2011)

What is this, a spelling bee, a study in nomenclature, semantics? Perhaps grammar 101 will be next. This nonsense is not what anyone is looking for in a review, or even in an opinion of a damn camera.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Jonathan F/2
By Jonathan F/2 (Nov 24, 2011)

Most people who haven't used an E-PM1 don't know it's capabilities. The E-PM1 is the smallest full-fledged micro camera. The Olympus image output is very sharp, colors are rich and contrasty, the AWB is near perfect, built-in image stabilizer and excellent remote flash capabilities. With the use of the Super Control Panel you have all your settings at the touch of a button.

3 upvotes
rsf3127
By rsf3127 (Nov 25, 2011)

...RAW images are the noisyest in its class and jpegs are a mess with iso>800.
Great camera!

0 upvotes
zapatista
By zapatista (Nov 25, 2011)

Like every other m43 camera with the original 12mg sensor.

0 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Nov 26, 2011)

Well rfs3127, the E-PM1 may be noisier than most (except the GFx cameras) but it has IBIS which means it has a 2+ stop advantage when using fast pancakes and other primes that dont have IS.

0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Nov 24, 2011)

Regardless of Oly's intended market, I suspect many people here would use it differently... I use it alongside my full frame Nikon system, with the 12mm f2 and the 45mm f1.8 (24 and 90mm EFL). The body fits in my top pocket, each lens in my side pockets, and I can convert myself from a biker into a photographer in moments. I love it, frankly. It can easily be modified to give me quick control over ISO, exp comp and aperture from the jog dial, and with an eyefi card I can upload snap JPGs to FaceBook or do proper raw processing later at home. A wonderful, hilarious, fun, carry everywhere camera.

I can't see the point of any of these things with the supplied lens, a good point and shoot would be better, but add some small, fast primes and you can have a hoot.

I've not had so much fun out of a camera in years. Buy two!

5 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 24, 2011)

Nice comment Louis, you should apply for a marketing job at Olympus. :-)
You really do have fun with this little cam!

1 upvote
Albino_BlacMan
By Albino_BlacMan (Nov 25, 2011)

And what makes you think Oly has a marketing department to start with? As an avid Oly fan I'm always on the look out for their marketing and have yet to see any evidence of a marketing department's existance

1 upvote
Hentaiboy
By Hentaiboy (Nov 28, 2011)

E-PM1 + 12mm f2 + 45mm f1.8 = $1700. That's an expensive way to "have a hoot" when an XZ-1 for $500 is almost as capable...

0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Nov 28, 2011)

You actually have some real DoF control with the EPM1. However, I do, in general, take the point - I'm really not sure of the point of these bottom of the range "large sensor" cameras if you put the stock, dog slow zoom on them. Building to a price, you get better results from a smaller sensor, because for the same money you can make a way better, and faster, lens.

As I said, it may not be the intended market, but if you are someone who is not terribly bothered by a $1700 price tag, then the E-PM1 and a couple of fast primes makes for a superb quality, highly compact camera with real DoF control.

If you haven't got $1700 or don't need or want DoF control, then the obvious answer is not to buy it.

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Nov 29, 2011)

You should check out the Pentax Q believe it or not. Superb ergonomics, DSLR class controls, F1.9 prime out of the box. You can put the camera in your pocket with the lens. It's a lot of fun. Small is fun.

Not the focal lengths you want though.

0 upvotes
il_alexk
By il_alexk (Nov 29, 2011)

The Pentax Q (according to the latest DxO review) "...seems wildly overpriced — yet another inducement for serious photographers to pass it by". Additionally, Q's tiny sensor can't really compete with 3/4 systems with high ISO performance, it is more or less within the same league as the S95.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Nov 30, 2011)

Not bothered much by high ISO, but I do need DoF control. Which the Q can't give you because the sensor is too small, and the E-PM1 will only give you if you buy expensive lenses for it.

At the end of the day, excluding quirky options with old MF lenses, if you want DoF control at sensible angles of view, you have to pay.

And, getting back on topic, if you are prepares to pay, the E-PM1 makes a great semi pro camera in your pocket, matched with fast primes. If you don't shoot wide, then the 20mm f1.7 Panny and the 45mm f2 zuiko will do the job for a half sensible sum.

0 upvotes
DCM1024
By DCM1024 (Nov 24, 2011)

I am an enthusiast who chose to acquire the E-PM1 and I have been very pleased with it. I use my 5dii and t2i for paid jobs and planned shoots, but the size of the E-PM1 allows me to throw it in my purse or computer bag and take it everywhere. I initially thought I would purchase the E-P3, but once I learned that the Super Control Panel could be enabled and that all of the guts are the same as the E-P3, it was easy for me to decide on the E-PM1. I am a former E-P1 owner and already felt comfortable using the SCP instead of physical buttons. Since I was able to save $400. versus the E-P3, I think I'll buy a new lens ;-)

1 upvote
rsf3127
By rsf3127 (Nov 24, 2011)

NEX-5N rules!

0 upvotes
voz
By voz (Nov 24, 2011)

Very mature comment.

2 upvotes
rsf3127
By rsf3127 (Nov 24, 2011)

Hey, mature guy: everytime a manufacturer launches a camera with such a huge amount of noise in RAW and lack of detail in JPEG and with an incredible lack of access to controls at that price point, I believe I am allowed to make this statement.
BUT I am sure there are people who will find themselves comfortabe with such a poor photographic device.
The IQ gap between this thing and the NEX is so huge that maybe now we can understand why Olymus guys have decided to send abroad some money for their retirement before presenting this to their public.

0 upvotes
Jonathan F/2
By Jonathan F/2 (Nov 25, 2011)

Tried NEX, but stayed with M43. No lenses, no universal hot shoe, no RC flash control, slow UI and big lenses. NEX high ISO is okay, but it's no FX Nikon. If I'm going to shoot with big lenses in low light, I might as well use my D700 and fast aperture glass. I don't care for manual lenses and without a proper AF confirmation light, I'd still prefer to use my Nikon cameras. Call me when Sony actually makes a system camera and not a digital back for other lenses.

5 upvotes
rsf3127
By rsf3127 (Nov 25, 2011)

I have a full-size DSLR and there are many situations when I don't want to lug it.
This does not mean that in these situations I would be condescendent with my requirements for IQ. That is why I don't see the point in these low IQ cameras. I would be served by my cell phone if I wanted low quality pics.
If you want portablity AND IQ, there is no better choice than NEX.

0 upvotes
jsis
By jsis (Nov 25, 2011)

he does have a point, why sacrifice image quality for portability? and as for the "NEX high ISO is okay, but it's no FX Nikon" comment, it's like your M4/3 camera can do any better.... what a stupid comment.

1 upvote
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 25, 2011)

Why buy a camera that is not right for you?
The NEX may be good, but not good for everyone's needs.

So the statement above is not only immature, but also wrong.
All these cameras can take excellent pictures. The last bit of IQ is not worth a penny, when the handling is not what you expected.
Jonathan already reflected on this.

1 upvote
Jonathan F/2
By Jonathan F/2 (Nov 27, 2011)

Yeah, because I don't demand 3200-6400 ISO from my smaller setup. And if you read my post, I take into account Olympus M43 has superior flash control in those situations where I can trigger remote flashes when I need light. All these mirrorless cameras are still limited for continuous focus tracking anyhow. NEX and M43 cameras are just as handicapped compared to a proper DSLR. For still subject movement, IBIS compensates for that allowing me to shoot at the lowest ISO setting. I owned a NEX setup and while the sensor nice, the NEX system as a whole is no where near a complete system.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Nov 30, 2011)

NEX things need large lenses to cover the sensor for sensible quaility. Not very portable in my view. At low ISOs, I really doubt a normal human being could see any quality difference between the NEX and E-PM1.

If I don't mind lugging stuff about I take the FF camera, and if I don't want it hidden in my pocket, I take the GH2. But when I'm not going out to shoot and something interesting or pretty appears, I love being able to pull the E-PM1 out of my pocket. And the quality is just fine, thanks.

0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Nov 24, 2011)

How did E-PM1 get such a high video rating? It's video is rated higher than 5n, higher than GH2 , higher than A35, C3, T2i ....

Really?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 24, 2011)

It's scored in a different class.

1 upvote
ET2
By ET2 (Nov 24, 2011)

Sorry, different class or not, the video is still overrated.

0 upvotes
Tom Bird
By Tom Bird (Nov 25, 2011)

put yourself in the position of your reader. those scoreboards are completly useless.

0 upvotes
jorepuusa
By jorepuusa (Nov 24, 2011)

...cameras get updates and new colors, but pictures that amateurs take are the same as they were in 70´s 80´90´etc.
Flowers in a vase, out of focus picture of our cat, dad´s new car hilites blown..etc etc.
Lot´s of opinions about the sensor and ergonomics and then...the same poor pictures with no visual idea. And mister Sonycanikolyfuj smiles.

2 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 24, 2011)

Yes, true, but does it matter? No.
What matters is that many hobbyists can make good use of this technological progress.

0 upvotes
jorepuusa
By jorepuusa (Nov 24, 2011)

Good use??? It should be seen somewhere but it is not, the gear gets better and the pictures in web gets worse all the time.
It matters also cause amateurs give their crap for free and professionals loose their jobs.

0 upvotes
dca58
By dca58 (Nov 24, 2011)

> the pictures in web gets worse all the time

Sure, but that is meaningless. It's becoming easier and cheaper to post pictures on the web everyday. A few years ago people where selecting what they published and I'm afraid it's less and less the case now.

0 upvotes
Tom Bird
By Tom Bird (Nov 25, 2011)

then have a look at 80s pictures - they are badass as well.

0 upvotes
jorepuusa
By jorepuusa (Nov 25, 2011)

80s pros were pros and amateurs were what ever.
One could earn living by making fabulous pictures.
Amateurs made the crap but nobody took it for free, media wanted quality and got it. Now amateurs do their best to kill photography as a profession and those who buy do not care.

0 upvotes
Bryan Costin
By Bryan Costin (Nov 28, 2011)

Take a few minutes some rainy afternoon and look up some of the 19th century photographic journals available via Google Books. They're filled with exactly the same sentiments. Large format wet plate photographers thought dry plates were strictly for amateurs. Professionals knew for a fact that "miniature" 35mm cameras were useless toys, creating a glut of sloppy work and encouraging voyeuristic pursuits of questionable taste. Amateur color photography was gaudy and vulgar. Digital cameras were expensive, low-resolution toys. Cell phone cameras completely useless for anything but junky snapshots.

As told by "professionals" of every era, photography reached its peak just about when they started taking photos, and became utter rubbish sometime a few years immediately afterward, when someone gave cameras to the barbarians outside their studios. Fortunately, professionals don't define photography; photography defines the professionals.

0 upvotes
D R C
By D R C (Nov 24, 2011)

I still don't understand this small body big lens thing!

1 upvote
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Nov 24, 2011)

Neither do I, but then it can be small camera and small lens. The Panasonic 14, 20, the Olympus 17, 12, and might be some future ones. As always, its a matter of wanting the quality ( of the bigger sensor ) will demand paying the price ( in term of bulk and weight of the package )

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Nov 24, 2011)

it's the sensor. look at the nex-series. else, don't get a zoom.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 24, 2011)

It is all about having options. You can use big lenses OR small lenses.
Compacts with fixed lenses do not not offer this.

0 upvotes
D R C
By D R C (Nov 24, 2011)

Yes, I understand that, but the only really small lenses are the prime pancake ones, even the “small zooms” are large compared to the body, my point is that when fitted a reasonable lens they are too big for your pocket, so why bother with them at all?

0 upvotes
jquagga
By jquagga (Nov 24, 2011)

I'm pretty sure I could fix a PEN Mini and the zoom into one of my coat pockets. Or in the briefcase on the way to work in case I wanted to shoot some photos on the fly after. The other obvious place one of these could go is in someone's purse.

They're an order of magnitude smaller than DSLR so are just a bit more portable. Not quite as small as a compact but my cell phone replaced my compact. It offers a middle ground. Or a "compact" that has a decent sensor.

0 upvotes
D R C
By D R C (Nov 24, 2011)

I guess some people will buy them, but it won't be me!
Would the Fuji X10 not be a better briefcase or large pocket camera?

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
julieng
By julieng (Nov 24, 2011)

@D R C

Please, don't bring this holy grail of pocketability thing as a bogus reason for m43 failure. It is completely irrelevant!

There is an obvious trade off in performance versus size and no where its written that beyond pocketability, size does not matter. As an example, I can stuff in a medium-small walk around camera bag 14-600mm (35mm equiv) worth of zoom, a couple of primes and a GH2 body and not look like a trekker on a mission.
Such set up it won't fit in a pocket and it won't be exactly as performant at the Nikon APS-C equivalent, even less the full frame equivalent, yet it can produce pictures of a higher quality than most will ever need. Now, speaking of size, the equivalent APS-C set up will probably require a full sized Lowerpro backpack...

As for those miniaturized point and shoot shaped m43 bodies, its clear to me that anyone who buys them are mostly interested in small lenses too. The cool news is that the fixed focal lengths aren't exactly big.

0 upvotes
D R C
By D R C (Nov 24, 2011)

It will be interesting to see if the people who buy them also get an extra lens on two, or just use the one it came with on the day of purchase.

0 upvotes
bcalkins
By bcalkins (Nov 24, 2011)

If you are moving to the Pen Mini from an advanced P&S like the Panny LX5, Oly XZ-1 or Fuji X10 (all having fast zooms) I don't think the Pen will make any difference in your photography. Be prepared to spend money on additional lenses. To me, the larger sensor size alone does not offer any compelling quality differences over the fast lens P&S cameras out there. Most images these days look good in bright light at low ISO, and when the light dims the fast P&S's above all have a two stop advantage. After trying both the Pen Mini and the Fuji X10 I stuck with the Fuji.

With faster, sharper primes the Pen can really take off compared to the P&S's, but one needs to be willing to invest in those lenses and carry them with you. I think the Pen Mini is a great option if you plan to move into the MFT system, but by itself it offers little advantage, in my opinion. It is worth noting that the Fuji is more expensive, though :)

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 24, 2011)

Size is not all that matters:
It is also the weight. Many users, esp. women, don't like to handle heavy DSLRs. A PEN weighs only half as much.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Nov 25, 2011)

Look at the HUGE lens from the front and you see a tiny front lens. The lens barrel is very much over sized. Why? Maybe its a trend. Maybe its to be able to hold it well. Maybe its auto focus and OS and all that jazz. One problem is the over sized lens mount. Take a look at Leica lenses instead. They are small. OK - they are not zooms. But even the pancakes are ridiculously large for todays m43 cameras. The Oly m43 stuff is called small. Gimme a break. I have seen smaller 6x9 cm cameras made 1930.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 25, 2011)

"I have seen smaller 6x9 cm cameras made 1930."

With autofocus and zoom? Now you gimme a break.
There are physical and technical limits. Why do you think Pentax and Nikon use small sensors for their systems?
If you want a small cam with a large sensor, get a Sigma or use prime lenses only.

0 upvotes
Marslerouge
By Marslerouge (Nov 24, 2011)

Sony Nex-7 review, when?

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 24, 2011)

Soon, soon... these things take time - I'm sure you'd rather we do it properly? ;)

5 upvotes
Poweruser
By Poweruser (Nov 24, 2011)

What matters in you reviews are the first and last pages. Like everyone else I skip the middle part. Give us the conclusion and samples and everyone will be happy.

2 upvotes
mjdundee
By mjdundee (Nov 24, 2011)

You mean you trust the advertising and the testers taste more than you trust your own eyes? You seem to be the perfect consumer. Congratulations.

2 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Nov 29, 2011)

@Barney Britton- no rush- just want to know, does dpreview plan to review the Pentax Q? I understand the answer can be no, it's cool.

0 upvotes
CAcreeks
By CAcreeks (Nov 24, 2011)

Any idea why FNAC tested the E-PM1 to autofocus much faster than the E-P3? I don't understand how the lowest price m43 can be faster than many DSLRs.
http://multimedia.fnac.com/multimedia/editorial/labo/reflex-10-2011.pdf

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 24, 2011)

Because it is a fine camera.

0 upvotes
CAcreeks
By CAcreeks (Nov 24, 2011)

"Fine camera" explains how it could be faster than many DSLRs, but it does not explain how it could be faster than the flagship E-P3, which has the same AF system. I believe FNAC make a mistake.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 24, 2011)

I don't see that it is better: The numbers shown for E-P3 are slightly better, but maybe my French is not sufficient.

Either way, differences can arise from different firmware versions.

0 upvotes
jquagga
By jquagga (Nov 24, 2011)

It's an interesting camera. I want one, but can't see buying one since I have a DSLR. Now if someone gives me one for Christmas that can't be helped ... :).

I started out getting back into photography with an XZ-1 which cost about what you can get the PEN for today. It's interesting; if I had purchased the PEN instead of the XZ-1 I might not have a DSLR today.

0 upvotes
fransams
By fransams (Nov 24, 2011)

The compactness of the body makes no sense when compared to the size of the lenses.
If you want a pocketable (zoom-)lens, you need a smaller sensor. Plenty of them for sale, but not so good.
But why should you want a pocketable body when you need a bag for the lens(es)?
Considering the size of the m4/3 lenses I have no problem with an EP-L1 or G3 body.
This is not necessarily a camera with an identity crisis, but it could sell very well to people with such a problem.

0 upvotes
random78
By random78 (Nov 24, 2011)

I wonder why are people so assertive and so confident that the way they look at something is the only right way? :)

10 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Nov 24, 2011)

You could pick up the pani 14-42 X series lens. Would be a very nice setup. Lens also has IS that will work better for the video mode.

0 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Nov 24, 2011)

Pancake lenses are a must for this camera to keep compact dimensions. The Oly 17mm is OK and relatively cheap but the Panasonic 14mm and 20mm (F1.7!) are much better but a bit pricey. And if you really want a zoom there is the new Panasonic X 14-42 which is fractionally larger than the 20mm but only F3.5 - 5.6.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 24, 2011)

Don't worry. There are many larger cameras available.

1 upvote
digifan
By digifan (Nov 24, 2011)

You probably have an intel powered computer non?
So how can you be confused ;-)

Edit: Sorry, this should be a reaction on jmellas' post below

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jmellas
By jmellas (Nov 23, 2011)

I have completely lost count of the PEN system - way too many iterations, in my opinion. Pen 1/2/3 Pen little/medium/big - pls Olympus, give me a break. If I decided to get into the 4/3 size format today, I'd go crazy trying to figure it all out! Yikes!
DP thanks for all the hard work, but I feel that the reviews, though thoughtful & comprehensive, are few & far in between. The S100, X10, & others have been available for sometime now, and given that they appear to be cameras of interest, I would've hoped a review was already in the bag, sort of speak.

Or maybe I just need a cold beer...

3 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (Nov 23, 2011)

Try a cold beer. The same is true with Nikon, Canon, or many major camera makers. I couldn't even begin to describe how confusing the numbering is to someone who isn't intimately familiar with that brand.

0 upvotes
Tim in upstate NY
By Tim in upstate NY (Nov 23, 2011)

Lost count jmellas? Have you ever noticed how many Rebels there are and the ones in years past? They all look the same and take about the same quality photo IMO. All companies come out with successor models that usually have little real change in output. The current three PENs actually have a lot to offer compared to the original E-P1 when you consider things like AF speed and general useability.

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Nov 24, 2011)

The difference between the cheap / moderate / expensive models (currently, the 600D / 60D / 7D, let alone the 1000D/1100D) is much bigger in the Canon DSLR series than with the Pens. In addition, there has almost always been a sensor upgrade in almost all new iterations, particularly in the non-budget line - unlike with Oly. The latter have been using the same (not very good) sensor for three(!) years.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 24, 2011)

3 EP's, 3 EPL's and this camera, the EPM-1. What's so confusing about that?

0 upvotes
mjdundee
By mjdundee (Nov 24, 2011)

In fact it is the same with almost every line of products but in the end the mass will count. There is no leader on top of the world anymore. Life is short and confusing - keep all the well educated and hyper updated customers confused. Survival of the fittest - i.e. today that only the smartest are still able to take clever decisions. The mass is forced to buy more and more new and newer toys with even shorter life.
I am going to find me an island with nice sunsets- spend all day just fishing and having some cold beers. Cheers.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Nov 23, 2011)

This camera would have been amazing maybe 2 years ago; but, theres just so much good competition nowadays. Like the GF3, C3, Nikon J1, Samsung [something], etc.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Nov 24, 2011)

Yup, I only see only one upside of these Oly cameras: the (higher-end) lens, in which they're way better than current NEX cameras.

Too bad the 12 (my fav)/2.0 is so damn expensive...

0 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Nov 24, 2011)

The price is amazing right now!
And it has IBIS (in body image stabilisation) so those really small pancake lenses (Panasonic) give it an advantage over any other compact camera combination that you can think of.

1 upvote
onlooker
By onlooker (Nov 24, 2011)

Rocklobster, with the Panasonic pancakes, the price is no longer amazing.

0 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Nov 24, 2011)

Hey onlooker,
But I am comparing with Panasonic with same lenses, Sony with equiv lens, Nikon 1, Samsung etc and you can put any old lens on the PEN and still get IS advantage!

0 upvotes
DougmanXL
By DougmanXL (Nov 24, 2011)

Actually, given the IQ difference between this and the J1, its a good deal for $200 less.

0 upvotes
Eigenmeat
By Eigenmeat (Nov 23, 2011)

I don't think it's worth the time to do a full review for all the Oly Pens. Isn't that they are all identical in IQ back to the EP1, but with just a few control/focus tweaks from model to model? You want the most control? get the most expensive one. you want smallest? get the cheapest one... A 3-4 pages quick review on the UI change will be more than enough...

I think you guys need to resume the lens reviews. Even reviewing of advance compacts such as the X10 and FZ150 are a lot more interesting

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Double Dust
By Double Dust (Nov 23, 2011)

On Oct 14 there was a promise of an extended preview of the NEX-7 and after that there should come a review. Nothing heard about it anymore for more than a month! Why no studio comparison samples? Much more interesting than the 100th silly PEN point-and-shoot version for family shots in an eye dazzling color.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Nov 23, 2011)

Double Dust, some days ago a staff member promised the NEX 7 review for "very soon". I think it was the S100 article - can't recall.

0 upvotes
Scott Everett
By Scott Everett (Nov 23, 2011)

The NEX-7 review is on its way real soon.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 24, 2011)

I disagree - the E-PM1 might not be interesting to you, but that probably means that you're not Olympus's target audience.

The PEN Mini is a sub-$499 interchangeable lens camera with a decent sensor and surprisingly 'deep' feature set. We would be failing in our duty if we just threw up a couple of pages detailing the interface differences.

8 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Nov 24, 2011)

Also, the SD1. Utterly irrelevant to 99% of the site's readers but I'm genuinely curious about it. And do something about the Samsung NX100 preview, which dates back to September 2010 and is basically pointless now that the NX200 is coming out.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 24, 2011)

@ Ashley - you might be interested to know that the SD1 preview (which will be followed by a full review in the coming weeks) was one of our biggest 'single event' traffic spikes in 2011.

0 upvotes
rondhamalam
By rondhamalam (Nov 23, 2011)

getting smaller.....

0 upvotes
Tim Ashton
By Tim Ashton (Nov 23, 2011)

And should you pull down the list that DPR is comparing this camera too, in sits right in the middle, so no one need be offended.

0 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Nov 23, 2011)

Is there anybody who doesn't immediately jump ahead to the number at the end before reading anything else in the review? I doubt it

4 upvotes
weesam
By weesam (Nov 23, 2011)

ha!

and is there anybody who wouldn't guess at a PEN camera getting in the low 70s before even looking?

let me check the score........yup...

is there anybody that considers a score out of 100 relevent? (is a 71% camera really measurably better than a 70% camera? really?)

2 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Nov 23, 2011)

"is a 71% camera really measurably better than a 70% camera?"

well, measurably, yes - they just made the measurement!

Perhaps you are asking whether the difference in measurement is noticeable to the user, hence of any significance?

In that regard, I wish DPR would provide a new "blind test" tool, where the user could compare 4 selected cameras' test shots and score what he sees, without that the test shots be identified until the scoring is concluded. Only then would the cameras A, B, C and D reveal their identities.

0 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Nov 23, 2011)

True, but I think most of us also jump ahead to read the conclusion and how the camera was rated on the different dimensions.

0 upvotes
jj74e
By jj74e (Nov 23, 2011)

Obviously a few percentages would be accounted for in the reviewer's own bias (as there has to be at least a little subjective reviewing, both because it's unavoidable and because it's somewhat practical). The bigger differences in % are what matters. Obviously most people would probably find that an 80% rated camera is better than a 65% rated camera.

I don't think a blind test tool is that necessary. Obvious differences in image quality will be obvious, regardless of a reader's mental bias. Smaller differences that can be interpreted subjectively by a reader are probably too minuscule to really matter that much; you'd have to really love a camera brand to be able to see a large physical difference between two cameras to favor the worse one.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Nov 23, 2011)

"Obvious differences in image quality will be obvious, regardless of a reader's mental bias"

You would be amazed, amazed at how easily led is the human mind. I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but blind tests always produce surprising results. Take away the cues and see what results.
Even better if the position of the four cameras test shots are not fixed, so that no bias builds up like 'the one in the top left, it's clearly the best...'

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
weesam
By weesam (Nov 23, 2011)

agree - 100%

Quality assessment of photos should be double blind-tested (if that is not a self-contradictory statement!). Any test which includes subjectivity that is not double blind is flawed.

Always.

Put the test shots, prints or screen images up against at least four other cameras (of roughly comparable resolution - lets not get silly and put a £100 P&S up against a medium format Pentax) and rate them.

0 upvotes
jkrumm
By jkrumm (Nov 23, 2011)

Blind tests are great, especially for wine. It would certainly be interesting to see it for image quality too.

0 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Nov 23, 2011)

Nope. I look at the first couple of pages, then jump to "Compared to (RAW)", then read the whole review.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Nov 23, 2011)

The problem is that we're not reviewing image quality - we're reviewing cameras. The overall usability and shooting experience is almost as important as the image quality (which most cameras now do well)

1 upvote
weesam
By weesam (Nov 23, 2011)

uh, the problem is WE ARE reviewing image quality. Image quality takes up a large part of the review, and a large part of the final score is weighted towards image quality. This should be double blind tested.

Obviously you have to see the camera to judge how it operates in your hands.

but that is stating the obvious!

Any subjective assessment in the scientifc sense is fundamentaly flawed and without worth if it is not double blind. See no reason why camera output assessment is not treated the same.

Oh yes I can - those really expensive cameras and lenses wouldn't look so attractive!

0 upvotes
random78
By random78 (Nov 24, 2011)

Hmm I never run to the end to look at the score. In fact as far as I am concerned the score is only a very rough guide for total beginners who don't know enough about cameras to compare cameras themselves based on the actual review. But I do run to the last page to read the detailed conclusion. And then depending on which camera it is and what details I want to know, I go to other pages such as performance, handling, image quality etc

0 upvotes
Ben Ramsey
By Ben Ramsey (Nov 24, 2011)

No. The number is the least important part of the review. Everyone places different weights on the many aspects of a camera or anything else in life (pro and con). The number at the end is just an opinion and I can honestly say that I value it equally as the old recommended or highly recommended.

0 upvotes
wvilla2002
By wvilla2002 (Nov 24, 2011)

why shouldn't be THIS review relevant? despite the negative publicity olympus is getting these days, you can never deny olympus has made many industry's first... swiveling screen (dslr),self- cleaning mode, high-speed flash (think OM-4 back in the film days), and now 4/3s, micro 4/3 or the small mirrorless system that nikon, samsung and sony followed suit two or three years down the road. of course, i always want to know what the new features of olympus cameras are... to see what other manufacturers will copy or adopt or improve on soon.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 25, 2011)

IcyVeins, if you only look at the number for taking your buying decision, you shouldn't be bothered by this website at all.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Nov 25, 2011)

"You would be amazed, amazed at how easily led is the human mind."

Yes, and thats why audio golden ears always wants to see the equipment they evaluate in a "blind" test. They say knowing what equipment they are listening to is a part of the listening experience.

In a sense they are right.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 112