New Olympus E-PL1 User: First Impressions, Some Photos (Long Post)

Started Nov 15, 2011 | Discussions thread
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larrytusaz Senior Member • Posts: 2,404
New Olympus E-PL1 User: First Impressions, Some Photos (Long Post)

Well, yesterday my Olympus E-PL1 kit (for all of $240, including 3 batteries & 2 chargers) arrived, and I set out to get some shots with it.

If this posting is too long, my apologies, trying to break it up into parts for easier readability .

I had studied the owner's manual quite a bit beforehand to know when I needed to how to "shift the numbers" or apply exposure compensation in aperture-priority mode (the mode I use almost all the time), how to adjust ISO, and how to specify which autofocusing sensor(s) were active. Also, I wanted to know how best to configure the Fn and red-dot/movie button, and--most of all--that it would give me the quality images as the reviews said it would.

My observations:

(1) The body : I had read that the E-PL1 was "plasticky" with none of the "vintage 35mm leaf shutter" feel to it, but I found it to not seem cheap-like at all that way.

(2) The Dpreview review makes it sound as if doing common photography tasks like changing the f-stop/shutter speed would be tedious. I didn't find it to be. Simply pressing ▲ and them scrolling with ▲'▼ and confirming with {OK} was easy enough and better in use than I thought it would be, given that I'm used to the "jog dial" on my d-SLR (a Nikon D5000). Same goes for exposure compensation--pressing ▲ and then scrolling with ◄'► & pressing OK--not hard at all.

(3) Changing the active AF point by pressing ◄ and then ◄ ► ▲ ▼ & pressing {OK} was easy enough. I would like to see the option for the active AF point to always be visible, though.

(4) The Super Control Panel was easy enough, and I found that I preferred it to the Canon Powershot Func-like style of changing such settings (mainly ISO, white balance or image quality/size), which is different than how I thought it would be--in the past, when I used "advanced compacts" such as the Canon S50 (old precursor to the S95 we have today), I really got on well with the Fn button layout. Here, though, I prefer the Super Control Panel.

(5) Focusing --quicker than I thought it would be, and certainly MUCH faster than live-view autofocusing on my d-SLR (although of course viewfinder autofocusing on my d-SLR is far quicker than anything else). Maybe it's not a good trend, but I have found lately wanting to kind of lazily & casually use live-view rather than using the viewfinder, & this implements that style much better. My only time of disappointment--when I took a close-up of some leaves against the backdrop of the sky, even with the active sensor placed squarely on the leaf it INSISTED on focusing on the background. I manually focused with the magnified live-view zooming in and nailed it.

(6) I wish Fn and the red-dot buttons had more options for configuration. I have Fn set for AE-L/AF-L and the red-dot set for AF-home (to send it to the center quickly). I would like to ISO as options, I'd set the red-dot to do that. Initially I had Fn set for RAW but found I would press it accidentally & not notice I had changed RAW mode unintentionally, so I changed it.

(7) I need to buy spare 40.5mm lens caps, I kept almost losing it. I need a case, too.

(8) My Nikon zooms the opposite direction, took me a bit to get used to that with the E-PL1

Here are some shots I took

I am still figuring out how to do RAW (or whether to bother), I tend to shoot in SuperFine Large JPEG regardless. For "everyday" shots, though, I lean towards "Normal, Large" as I do on my Nikon D5000. (I already setup the menus to show the 4 JPEG options I want.)

(1) (20111114_130446_rj_c_lr3_epl1)

(2) (20111114_122749_rsf_b_epl1)

(3) (20111114_162247_rfl_b_epl1)

(4) (20111114_162639_fl_b_epl1) (This is the one where I had to manually-focus & I also accidentally disengaged RAW mode)

(5) (20111114_163152_rfl_b_epl1)

(6) (20111114_163739_rfl_b_epl1)

In closing

So far anyway, this is shaping up to be exactly what I was hoping: something to let me snap some landscape shots without having to drag the d-SLR everywhere, & for not always having to use the viewfinder if I'm feeling more "casual" about it. (Again my D5000 d-SLR does live-view but it's turtle slow at it.) I'm not sure how well it will do with photos of the kids I take often (aged 2½ to 8, between mine & nieces-nephews etc), I'm used to a d-SLR's speed for that & I thus may end up being compelled to STILL have to drag the d-SLR places I was hoping to not have to as much. But far so anyway, though, I'm really liking it.

 larrytusaz's gear list:larrytusaz's gear list
Nikon D3100 Nikon D3300 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon Coolpix S50 Nikon D5000 Olympus PEN E-PL1
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