Olympus Pen E-P1 In-depth Review
Rear of Camera Controls
Inevitably, given its diminutive design and preponderance of flat surfaces, the E-P1's control layout has more than a dash of compact camera about it, but don't let that fool you; there's plenty of control on offer here and this, together with the extensive customization options, makes this a fairly photographer-friendly camera.
Whilst many SLR users will bemoan the lack of a front dial the two dials on the back system works pretty well once you get used to it (the upper, vertically aligned dial is a lot easier to reach so it's best if you set that to your primary function, be it changing aperture (or shutter speed) or exposure compensation.
Aside from the two dials you get a smattering of buttons (some customizable) giving direct access to the most commonly used photographic controls, plus a useful Function (Fn) button that you can set to any of a handful of useful functions (although inevitably, this being an Olympus, it ends up being used for One Touch White Balance, which is otherwise unavailable).
The control interface has changed slightly to reflect the lack of a viewfinder, with Olympus introducing a new live view menu system that's reminiscent of Canon's FUNC and Panasonic's Quick menus (no bad thing, they both work well). Pressing OK activates the new menu and you use the arrow keys and/or dials to navigate the various options. All in all it's a sophisticated and comprehensive control system that - though it takes a while to master - successfully marries compact and SLR functionality in a logical and efficient way.
|The new live view control system gathers together all the common shooting settings into a single unobtrusive menu that appears as soon as you press the OK button. From here you can change pretty much everything you'd ever want to fiddle with when out shooting pictures.||Pressing INFO when the quick menu is activated switches to the familiar Super Control Panel display, which looks and works in exactly the same way it does on E-series SLRs (you can move around it and change any setting directly using the dials).|
|Pressing any of the function buttons on the camera (ISO, AF, white balance, drive etc) brings up a small display of options along the bottom of the screen. You can change the behaviour of the four arrow buttons (for example they can be used to directly pick AF points).|
Buttons / Dials (Shooting mode)
|Auto Exposure / Auto Focus Lock
The AEL/AFL button can be configured in a variety of ways for different focus modes (Single AF, Continuous AF and Manual Focus). It can be programmed to be momentary AE Lock or Memo/Cancel AE Lock, it can also be set to perform and lock Auto Focus at the same time. In movie mode the AEL/AFL button activates the focus mid-clip
Enters a shooting priority play mode, you can return to shooting mode at any time by pressing the shutter release half-way or by pressing this button again.
Enters the camera menu (described later in this review).
|Fn||FUNCTION (Fn) button
This button can be customized to perform the following functions (some of which require the use of the main or sub dial):
• Depth of field preview
• One Touch WB
• AF home position (user defined 'home' position for the AF point)
• Manual Focus (to toggle AF/MF)
• RAW: switch from JPEG to RAW+JPEG or from RAW+JPEG to JPEG
• Test Picture (hold to take a shot without saving)
• Face detect on
• My Mode (hold to use recorded 'My Mode' settings)
The rotating dial is used to change exposure settings (shutter speed, aperture, program shift, AE compensation) according to the options chosen in Custom Function menu B. It is also used to navigate menus.
|4-way arrow keys
As usual the four-way controller is used to navigate menus and the 'Super Control Panel' on the rear screen, and to make selections (using the OK button). The arrow keys can also be used to select AF points when using the Single Area AF modes or can adjust the four functions assigned to them - White Balance, AF mode, ISO Sensitivity and drive mode. This functionality can be customized (see later).
Live Control setting change
Pressing OK also magnifies the image when in the correct display mode.
• 5300 K (Daylight)
• 6000 K (Cloudy)
• 7500 K (Shade)
• 3000 K (Incandescent)
• 4000 K (Fluorescent 1)
• 4500 K (Fluorescent 2)
• 6600 K (Fluorescent 3)
• Kelvin (2000 - 14000 K)
• Manual focus
• Single-AF & Manual focus
• Continuous-AF & Manual focus
• ISO 100 - 6400 (1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps)
|Drive Mode / Self Timer
• Center Weighted Average
• Highlight based spot
• Shadow based spot
'Super Control Panel' display
Buttons/Dials (Play mode)
In play mode the multi-direction controller is used to browse through images, left / right moves an image at a time, up / down jumps ten images.
|Protect / Unprotect
Protects (or unprotects) the current image, this sets the file system 'Read Only' flag which means you can't accidentally delete the image using the erase button, however this does not protect against formatting of the storage card (an extra 'This card contains protected images, really format?' dialog would be good).
|Fn||FUNCTION (Fn) button
In play mode the Fn button offers a fast way to magnify the image (jumps to 10x magnification view).
|Exit play mode
Returns to shooting mode, you can achieve the same by half-pressing the shutter release button.
Enters the camera menu (described later in this review).
Rotates through the six different levels of information display:
• No overlaid information
• Basic overlay (quality, filename, file number)
• Histogram with detailed information (Y, R, G, B histograms)
• Large histogram overlay
• Blinking highlights and shadows
Allows you to mark or unmark (tick mark) images as you browse, marked images can then be deleted or copied as a batch.
|Thumbnail index / zoom out
Rotate the top dial to the left to switch to thumbnail index view, the E-P1 provides a range of index views; four images, nine images, 16 images, 25 images, 49 images and finally a calendar view. If the playback magnification is active then turning clockwise steps out.
Rotate the top dial counter-clockwise to magnify the currently displayed image, there are a range of magnifications available; 2.0x, 3.0x, 5.0x, 7.0x, 10x and 14x. Use the multi-direction controller to move around the magnified image.
The E-P1 has a fairly unusual vertical dial that sits under your thumb when shooting. The dial is customizable but is normally used to change exposure settings (shutter speed, aperture, Program Shift, AE compensation), to navigate menus and to change the playback magnification.
The dial has distinct soft click stops making precise exposure control easy even if you're not paying too much attention to the information displayed on the screen.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Lenses
- 3 What's New
- 4 Specifications
- 5 Body & Design
- 6 Body & Design
- 7 Operation & Controls
- 8 Operation & Controls
- 9 Operation (live view)
- 10 Displays
- 11 Menus
- 12 Menus
- 13 Performance
- 14 Video
- 15 Art Filters
- 16 Photographic tests (RAW)
- 17 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 18 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 19 Photographic tests (DR)
- 20 Photographic tests
- 21 Lens tests
- 22 Lens tests
- 23 Compared to
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (JPEG)
- 27 Compared to (JPEG)
- 28 Compared to (JPEG)
- 29 Compared to (JPEG)
- 30 Compared to (RAW)
- 31 Compared to (RAW)
- 32 Compared to (RAW)
- 33 Compared to (RAW)
- 34 Compared to (RAW)
- 35 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 36 Compared to (Resolution)
- 37 Conclusion
- 38 Samples
- 39 Movie Samples
Aug 6, 2009
Jul 29, 2009
Aug 6, 2009
Jul 26, 2012
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