Olympus E-PL1 Review
As one half of the Micro Four Thirds consortium, Olympus was one of the originators of the mirrorless interchangeable lens or system camera. In a little under two years, this new breed has established itself as a credible alternative both to compact cameras and DSLRs. However, while manufacturers regularly talk to us about watching and wanting to exploit the gap between these two established types of cameras, all the models released so far have tended towards the DSLR-end of that space. So far we've seen models from both Panasonic and Samsung that have aped the functionality, handling and even appearance of entry-level DLSRs, while the small, rangefinder-styled MILCs (The E-P1 and GF1) have still behaved like DSLRs without mirrors, rather than compact cameras with large sensors.
Stepping in to fill this void is the Olympus E-PL1, a camera that brings a stripped-down body and simplified interface to the Micro Four Thirds format. This means no control dials (and therefore an awful lot of button-pressing the further away from the automated exposure modes you venture), but it also brings a simple results-orientated 'Live Guide' interface to allow you take control of the i-Auto for people happier to point-and-shoot (sorry Mr Spacey).
Its simplified, button-press based interface dictates that it'll be best suited to compact camera users who want to get better photos straight away and learn about things such as apertures in their own time. Experienced users who regularly want to take control of individual shooting parameters are likely to find themselves frustrated by the sheer amount of button-pressing induced by the loss of control dials.
The cost savings, which extend to a lower-cost, plastic mount version of the collapsible 14-42mm kit lens, means the E-PL1 comes to market with a suggested selling price some $200 (or €150) below that of the E-P1. The body manages to maintain styling cues from the E-P1, mixing them with hints of the company's fondly remembered 'C' series of high-end compacts. The I.S unit has also been simplified, with the company claiming only 3 stops of compensation, rather than the 4 ascribed to the E-P2.
However, it would be a mistake to assume from this that the E-PL1's specification is commonplace - although the body, screen, lens and interface have been pared-back, there are a couple of areas in which this entry-level/beginners model trumps the more stylish, more expensive PEN models. Most obvious is the addition of a built-in flash, which was one of the most glaring omissions from the E-P1 and EP-2. There's also a revised version of the TruePix V image processor, that's been tuned to take account of the lighter low-pass/anti-aliasing filter fitted in this model. The L1 also features the EVF/accessory port under the flash hot-shoe - a feature it shares with the E-P2 but absent from the E-P1.
- 12 megapixel Four Thirds sized sensor
- In-body image stabilization (with claimed 3-stop effectiveness)
- Simplified 'Live Guide' interface
- 2.7" LCD screen (230,000 dots)
- Built-in flash
- Direct record movie button
- 720p HD video (MJPEG compression)
- ISO 100-3200
- 6 'Art Filter' creative effects
- Accessory port for add-ons such as electronic viewfinder
E-PL1 vs E-P2: Key differences
Although the EPL-1 is a less expensive camera than the E-P2 that sits above it, it doesn't give much ground to its big brother in terms of specification. The biggest differences are the more compact-camera-like interface (and loss of control dials), the simplified construction, less sophisticated image stabilization system and the addition of the built-in flash.
- No control dials vs. 2 on the E-P2
- Built-in flash (external flashes only on E-P2)
- Mainly plastic body with aluminium skined front (Stainless steel and alloys for E-P2)
- Image stabilization with claimed 3 stop benefit, vs. 4 stops for E-P2
- Direct record movie button vs. movies as position on E-P2 mode dial
- Mono mic with option to add stereo using adapter vs. built-in stereo mics
- Maximum shutter speed 1/2000th sec, vs. 1/4000th.
|Christine by JP Zanotti|
from Car wreck
|Fangorn Forest by cand1d|
|Yosemite Falls with Moonbow by Jonathan Shapiro|
from Best Landscape of the Week 4
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more
The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Windows operating system by the autumn of this year. Read more
Sony's newest G Master telephoto zoom, announced alongside the a9, is the first of the company's FE lenses to reach 400mm natively. We had one in California and photographed horses, portraits, and landscapes - check out how it did. Read more
Garmin has entered the 360-camera market with the VIRB, which captures 5.7K video at 30p as well as 15MP stills. Read more
German media reports that the founders of the company behind the Panono 360-degree ball camera have filed for bankruptcy at a court in Berlin. Read more
With a claimed 800 new custom parts, Microsoft's updated Surface Pro comes with the latest Kaby Lake processors, better battery life, a new hinge, plus the Surface Pen is updated as well. Read more
DW Photo is attempting to resurrect the Hy6 medium format camera, though the legal tangles of its development may stop it being branded Rolleiflex.
The Kodak EKTRA, the company's 'camera first' smartphone, is now available to purchase in the United States. Read more
Apple and Nokia have settled their years-old patent dispute. Apple will make an undisclosed payment to Nokia and sign a licensing agreement related to digital health products with the Finnish company.
David Gibson, one of Britain's best known street shooters, shares all.
Photographers from the SKYGLOW project travelled 150k miles and took 3 million photos in increasingly rare locations: those without light pollution.
The world's fastest 200mm was produced for 16 years. In that time, only 8000 were made.
Photokina, the biennial photo industry trade show in Cologne, Germany, has announced that it will become an annual event beginning in 2018, and expand its focus to additional areas of imaging technology. Read more