E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos

Started Mar 15, 2010 | Discussions
AronAD New Member • Posts: 22
E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos

I've been putting my new E-PL1 through its paces attempting to decide if this is the camera to take for a multi week trip to Ireland this summer (debating with the Canon Rebel and various P&S). Below are some quick pictures taken this weekend, mostly landscapes and forest shots, taken with a variety of shooting settings (A priority, I-Enhance, "Natural" etc.,)

My quick take on the E-PL1:

I'm coming to the E-PL1 as a long time Canon user who, long ago, used only Olympus gear. Prior to the E-PL1 I primarily used the Canon Rebel XSi and the SD780. My consistent reaction is that this is a fun camera to use. Size is really terrific and image quality is generally good, although I'm still getting used to Olympus' approach to in-camera processing which is quite different from Canon's.

Pros:
• 50% lighter and smaller than Canon Rebel; pocketable in my light jacket

• Focus speeds - lots of debate here as to the sped of the focus with the kit lens. I was expecting focus speeds of top of the like P&S and feel satisfied in a wide range of shooting conditions.

• Fun to use - camera is fast in most respects and easy to use. Able to comfortably have the camera on wrist strap not neck strap, which is very liberating.

• Conservative metering - I found the E-PL1 to have pretty good metering and often out perform my Rebel. It clearly favors under exposure to avoid blowing highlights, but I find the metering in line with my preferences (on my Rebel, I always have to shoot - 13 or -2/3)

• Low light - while noise reduction does result in some smearing of fine detail, low light image quality has been satisfactory to good.

• Auto white balance - really surprisingly good. Seems to be better than my Rebel (or various other P&S cameras).

• Video quality - other than tearing note, below, video image quality is really nice and superior to my SD780's alleged '720p' video mode.

Cons:

• Many settings can result in fairly 'processed' looking pictures for my tastes (although I am still adjusting to the various in-camera options). Contrast and noise reduction are fairly strong; perhaps too much by default (will be testing shooting with these turned off/down).

• Advanced controls - miss having some advanced control buttons and a control wheel. Most everything I want is available via menus, but can result in missed shot while pecking through the menus.

• Video - serious 'swishy' (tearing) effect when panning. Not unique to cameras like these, but effect seems worse than I expected. Noise during auto focus also distracting if set to continuous focus.

• Button confusion - After a few days of shooting I still get the shutter and power buttons mixed up (right next to each other, similar sized.

• Menu complexity - the nerd in me likes the menu complexity but, in reality, they are needlessly confusing and complex.

Sample shots:

Boris Moscow Contributing Member • Posts: 784
The proof is in the pudding

Looking at your pictures I thought, there is no way to pass buying the camera.
--
'Life is something that happens to you while you're making other plans'.
M. Millar

rube39 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,298
Re: The proof is in the pudding

Nice work. You should have no trouble in Ireland.
--
Rube
http://www.flickr.com/photos/71881102@N00/

charliewallace1 New Member • Posts: 22
Re: E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos

I just got mine, and here's a useful tip. You can easily do bounce flash, it works great. Just pop up the flash, and pull it back with a finger until it points up at the ceiling then take the shot - gives much softer lighting than direct flash. You don't need to do anything else, just pull it back and go.

I've been carrying mine around in my front trousers pocket with lens removed and body cap on. Yes, it's a bit inconvenient to have to put on the lens, but I find that it's the only way I can keep the camera with me all the time - this way it's small enough to not be a noticeable lump. And the best camera is the one you have with you... It's not so bad, and no problems yet with dust, the dust removal system seems good.

This in-pocket approach might make you look a bit less like a tourist in Ireland! PS I recomment Killarney, the lake is beautiful... and caves too!

 charliewallace1's gear list:charliewallace1's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL5
rube39 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,298
Re: E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos

! PS I recomment Killarney, the lake is beautiful... and caves too!

Heee. I spent a winter in Kilarney, working at a German hotel, playing rugby and basketball, and drinking in The Laurels. Wonder what it is like now. . .

chiane Veteran Member • Posts: 4,397
Re: E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos

So is this the camera you are going to take over the rebel?

John McCormack Veteran Member • Posts: 6,086
Re: E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos (Blurry?)

Thanks for the review. I'm seriously considering selling my Rebel Xt and a couple of lenses for the E-PL1 as my travel kit.

Maybe it's just my (new) monitor, but your images posted here just don't look real sharp. Anyone else see this?

David247
David247 Senior Member • Posts: 2,406
Re: E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos

Excellent mini review and some really nice photos.

Seems you are just trying to decide which camera to go with. Well it would be easy to say choose the E-PL1. However i would say ask yourself which camera are you going to "want" to carry with you most of the time and am comfortable carrying. The best cameras is always the one you have with you, so make sure you have a camera you don't mind having with you.

That is why I went to micro four thirds is because my GH1 kit is with me more often and is less of a burden to carry. I don't think twice about grabbing it when I head out the door for any reason. My DSLR spends a lot more time collecting dust then being used, even before I got my GH1.

No matter which you choose you will have good camera and gear. Choose that which you will want to have with you the most.

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 David247's gear list:David247's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Olympus E-510
David247
David247 Senior Member • Posts: 2,406
Re: E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos (Blurry?)

John McCormack wrote:

Thanks for the review. I'm seriously considering selling my Rebel Xt and a couple of lenses for the E-PL1 as my travel kit.

Maybe it's just my (new) monitor, but your images posted here just don't look real sharp. Anyone else see this?

They were crisp and clear on my 27 inch Monitor.

-- hide signature --
 David247's gear list:David247's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Olympus E-510
OP AronAD New Member • Posts: 22
Re: E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos

Thanks Rube - I'll look it up; I'm putting together the itinerary now

rube39 wrote:

! PS I recomment Killarney, the lake is beautiful... and caves too!

Heee. I spent a winter in Kilarney, working at a German hotel, playing rugby and basketball, and drinking in The Laurels. Wonder what it is like now. . .

OP AronAD New Member • Posts: 22
Re: E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos: UPDATE

Thanks for all who posted. I really enjoy the E-PL1 and find it to be a very capable camera in a variety of shooting situations. It also has the "it" factor in that it is just dang fun to use. I have zero problem recommending this to anyone interested and especially if they don't already have a DSLR & glass on another system.

That being said, I really struggled to justify this camera as my primary Ireland camera over my Rebel. I've heard a number of people say (including here) that they frequently grab their m43 cameras over their DSLRs because of the size and convenience. While I agree that there is a difference between the two in terms of size, I have to say that after 10 days of shooting, for my tastes, the size difference really isn't that signficant. So since I already have some great Canon glass, in the end, I decided (most sadly and reluctantly) to return the E-PL1. The decision for my big trip is now between the Rebel and a more, truly pocketable camera (or both). I'll defintely keep my eye on the m43 system and may dive back in again in the future. I got a ton of keeper shots in my short time with the system and I may end up kicking myself and bounce back to m43 in the future.

Cheers,

Aron

John McCormack Veteran Member • Posts: 6,086
Re: E-PL1 - Mini Review and Photos: UPDATE

Thanks for the update. I'm really torn about giving up my Rebel for a camera without a viewfinder and a slow kit lens. Can't see buying fast glass at this point, so for light weight travel I'll stick with my Pany LX3 for wide angle (24mm) shooting at f/2.0. Gotta love the little bugger all right.

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