let's start by stating the obvious; the E-P1, currently, has nothing you could really call a direct competitor. It straddles the great divide between high end compacts like the Canon G10 and low to mid-range digital SLRs, such as the Nikon D5000 and Canon EOS 500D. At the moment the nearest equivalent is the Panasonic DMC-G1 (or GH1 if you want HD video) - the only other members of the nascent Micro Four Thirds system. You could also argue that it appeals to the same audience as the Sigma DP1/DP2 (the world's only 'large sensor' compacts) - despite the Sigma's lack of zoom or interchangeable lenses - so we'll include one of these in our comparison too.
Working on the principle that potential purchasers of the E-P1 come from both SLR and compact camps, but recognizing that it offers a completely unique proposition, we decided to compare it with a range of cameras that could be conceivably be on the same shortlist for someone with $7-800 burning a hole in his or her pocket. For the most part these are SLRs offering a similar feature set in a more conventional form factor, but we've also included a couple of comparisons with the Canon PowerShot G10, one of the dwindling band of true enthusiast compacts, just to see how much of an advantage the larger sensor brings at higher ISO settings.
|Olympus E-P1||$799||None||2.7" / 230k pixels||720p, MJPEG||In-body||12.3 MP LiveMOS (2.0x crop)|
|Olympus E-620||$700||SLR, 0.48x *||2.7" / 230k pixels||None||In-body||12.3 MP LiveMOS (2.0x crop)|
|Nikon D5000||$780||SLR, 0.52x *||2.7" / 230k pixels||720p,
|Lens option||12.3 MP CMOS (1.5x crop)|
|Canon EOS 500D||$830||SLR, 0.54x *||3.0" / 920k pixels||1080 @ 20fps, 720p, H264.||Lens option||15.1 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)|
|Panasonic DMC-G1||$650||Electronic, 0.7x *||3.0" / 460k pixels||None (GH1: 1080p AVCHD)||Lens option||12.1 MP CMOS (2.0x crop)|
|Sigma DP2||$649||None||2.5" / 230k pixels||320 x 240, MJPEG||None||4.6 MP x 3 X3F (1.7 x crop)|
|Canon G10||$480||Non-SLR, Optical||3.0" / 460k pixels||VGA, MJPEG .MOV||Lens||14.7 MP CCD (1/1.7")|
* the viewfinder sizes have been corrected for sensor size.
Olympus E-P1 advantages
- Size (vs SLR)
- Sensor size (vs compact)
- Optimized live view AF (vs SLR)
- Interchangeable lenses (vs compact)
Olympus E-P1 disadvantages
- No viewfinder
- Low res screen (at this price)
- Only has Contrast-Detect AF (therefore slow, compared to SLR)