Olympus PEN Mini / E-PM1 Review
Record mode displays
As usual Olympus allows you the option of defining how much information you want to see on the E-PM1's screen when shooting.
Sadly, though, the PEN Mini still forces you to cycle through multiple screens using the Info button, and you simply can't combine options even when it makes perfect sense to have them shown at the same time (for example the highlight/shadow warning with the histogram). This type of behavior dates back to Olympus's early live view DSLRs, and is now looking distinctly dated in the face of increasingly-slick interfaces from the likes of Panasonic. Luckily the various screens can all be enabled or disabled via the Custom menu, so you only have to cycle through the ones you actually use.
|From the simplest live view option which shows the image only...||...pressing the info button presents useful shooting details.|
|In addition, you have the option of displaying grid lines over the image preview to aid with composition and alignment.||You can view a luminance histogram; the white version represents the whole image, with the area under the active AF point shown in green.|
|There's also a shadow/highlight exposure warning screen. Blown highlights are shown in red, blocked shadows in blue. You can even customize the levels the camera will use as the cutoff (0-10 for shadows, 245-255 for highlights).||A 'Multi View' screen allows live on-screen comparison between a range of exposure (shown above) or white balance variants, so you can pick the one you like best.|
|Pressing the 'Magnify' button enters a new display mode for zooming-in to a selected region of the image. You can move the highlighted area freely around the screen with the arrow keys...||...then press Magnify again to zoom in. The rear dial is used to change the magnification, allowing you to check critical focus. You can autofocus on the selected area in this mode too.|
Live Control and Super Control Panel
In terms of its on-screen operation and controls, the E-PM1 works in almost exactly the same way as the E-PL3, with not just one, but two methods of providing quick access to commonly-used functions that don't have their own direct-access buttons. A 'Live Control' menu is on hand for rapid access to key shooting settings via a compact-camera-like interface.
The Live Control screen is activated by pressing the 'OK' button at the center of the camera's 4-way controller. Also available is the 'Super Control Panel' (SCP) which was first introduced in Olympus' E-series DSLRs. The Super Control Panel gives you a slightly expanded selection of camera settings in a single screen, overlaid semi-transparently onto the live view display. You navigate through the parameters using the 4-way controller, and can change their settings using the rear dial. Whether you prefer Live Control or the SCP is ultimately a matter of taste, as both provide an excellent interface for changing those less-accessible options. Live Control is active by default. Annoyingly though, the custom option which enables the SCP is bizarrely well hidden.
To enable the SCP, you must enter the main menu and scroll down to the custom settings line, then across to the 'D' section, which deals with display/live view functions, and then across again to 'Control Settings', then across to whichever exposure mode you want to allow the Super Control Panel to be visible in (you can't select 'all'), then across again, and down to the teasingly abbreviated 'SCP', and then - finally - across again and you'll see an option to turn it 'on'.
|By default, changing 'top level' shooting controls in PASM shooting modes is achieved using the 'Live Control' screen. Just press 'OK' to display the screen then navigate using the 4-way controller.||The Super Control Panel offers a DSLR-like at-a-glance status screen. Once enabled, pressing the INFO button cycles between this and any other options you've activated in the custom menu.|
Independent Shadow /Highlight Tone Control
As with the other current PENs, the PEN Mini offers the ability to tweak the shadow and highlight tone curves used by the camera's JPEG processing independently, with the result previewed live on screen. It's still a remarkably well-hidden feature, but one we could see being useful for dedicated JPEG shooters. Shadow and highlight adjustments can be freely combined, which can result in some odd combinations if you're not careful.
|To access the tone curve adjustment controls, you first have to press the Exposure Compensation button and then press 'Info' to bring up this tiny tone curve adjustment icon. Initially the control changes shadow tone.||You can change the tone curve to either open or deepen the shadows, with a wide range of adjustment from +7 to 7. Your chosen adjustment value is displayed below the icon.|
|Press 'Info' a second time to access the highlight tone control. Its adjustment value sits above the tone curve icon.||You can change the tone curve to either brighten or darken the highlights, with a range of adjustment from +7 to 7. Your chosen adjustment value is displayed above the icon.|
|Spring evening by Kaappo|
from Landscape #1
|Bringing Home the Bacon by Domenick Creaco|
from My Best Photo of the Week
Well-known photography educators Tony and Chelsey Northrup recently won $40,000 from an Australian company who used one of their most popular portraits on product packaging without so much as asking permission. Check out the video for the full story.
The Sigma 105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens—colloquially referred to as the 'bokeh master'—will cost just $1,600 USD when it ships for Canon, Nikon, and Sigma mounts in 'late June.' That's $600 less than the Nikon 105mm F1.4E.
'Recall shooting functions' lets you recall previously saved exposure settings (including shutter speed and aperture) by simply pressing and holding specific controls. The function is designed to allow for quick shooting parameter changes in variable light conditions.
Zeiss has announced a new lineup of 13 'Supreme Prime' lenses for large format cinematographers who want smaller and lighter glass that still produces top-quality results. The kind of lenses that make your salivary glands work... and your wallet groan.
The new HP DesignJet Z6 and Z9+ supposedly offer "the fastest printing capabilities available on the market today," all while using fewer ink tanks, and featuring useful add-ons like a built-in vertical trimmer.
In an effort to streamline production and minimize confusion, RED has announced that it is simplifying its product lineup to three main cameras. As an added bonus, this change dramatically drops the prices for all three options.
Fujifilm's new X-T100 is an SLR-style mirrorless camera that takes the internals of the X-A5, including phase-detect AF, and adds a fully articulating LCD and high-res OLED viewfinder. The X-T100 is priced at a very reasonable $599/€599 body-only and $699/€699/£619 with a 15-45mm lens.
Panasonic's latest firmware update for its GH5S, GH5 and G9 series of cameras was leaked in Japan earlier today and is now being officially announced a week early. But don't get too excited – you still won't be able to download it until May 30th.
We've been saying for years that the term "lens compression" is misleading, but Lee Morris over at Fstoppers has put together a useful video that explains why this is the case, and demonstrates it with two easy-to-understand examples.
Last week, some 'leaked' photos were published online that purported to show a DJI Phantom 5 drone with interchangeable lens camera and several prime lenses. The rumor was widely reported, but DPReview has learned that those images do not, in fact, show a Phantom 5 at all.
The bezel-free Vivo Apex concept phone with its pop-up camera might be more than a concept. A new teaser video and ad seem to hint at a similar smartphone to be released June 12st.
Skylum has teamed up with its sister company Photolemur to create Skylum AI Lab, where the duo will work on AI-powered image solutions including image segmentation, tagging and upscaling.
Award-winning fashion and celebrity photographer Markus Klinko recently tested out the Godox EC-200 flash extension head. Actually, he tested out four of them, creating a quad-flash ring light alternative that works great for both beauty and close-up work.
According to a recent investor presentation, Sony intends to occupy the top slot in the overall camera market by the end of 2020, beating back Canon and Nikon by boosting its interchangeable lens systems.
HTC brings back the dual-camera on the newly-announced U12+, which features a secondary tele-camera with 2x zoom factor, as well as 4K video recording at 60 frames per second.
Google has finally added the ability to mark your favorite images in Google Photos, so they can be filtered into a dedicated album. The service is also planning to a social network-like "heart" button that lets you like other people's photos.
We've been messing around with Apollo, an iOS app that allows you to add 3D lighting effects to images using depth information, and have to say we're impressed with what it's capable of – but that doesn't mean we don't have a few requests for the next version.
The new lightweight laptop packs a whole lot of photo- and video-editing punch. The laptop can be specced out with a Core i9 processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, NVIDIA graphics with 4GB of GDDR5, and a 4K display with 100% Adobe RGB coverage.
It looks like Canon is getting into sensor sales. The three specialized CMOS sensors the company recently demoed—including a 120MP APS-H model and an ultra-low light sensor—have been listed for sale through a distributor in the US.
Instagram has finally launched a "Mute" button, and is testing an "All Caught Up" feature that will let you know when you've seen all new post from the people you follow from the past 48 hours.
45-year-old photography magazine Shutterbug announced today that it is shutting down its print publication, focusing instead on reaching its readers online as a web-only publication.
Kodak Alaris has launched a new single-use disposable camera in Europe. Called the Kodak Daylight Single Use Camera, this 800 ISO film camera is supposedly ideal for parties, weddings, and similar events.
Computer vision company Lucid and cinema camera maker RED have partnered to create an 8K 3D camera that can capture 4-view (4V) holographic images and video in real-time. The camera is designed to work with RED's upcoming holographic Hydrogen One smartphone.
If Canon and Nikon do get into high-end mirrorless, it's almost certain that they'll do everything they can to maintain compatibility with their existing mounts. But, asks Richard Butler, wouldn't it be more interesting if they built a small, niche system to live alongside their existing DSLRs?
It seems RED's Hydrogen One super-phone will make it into the hands of customers in the near future. The phone is now officially slated for a Verizon and AT&T release in the US sometime this summer.
You know that feeling when you're already all suited up and out on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station, and only then do you realize you forgot to put the SD card in your GoPro? No? Us either... but one astronaut on the ISS sure does.
From 2015 to 2017, filmmaker Macgregor and his crew spend many months traveling back and forth on the famed Mauritanian Railway—the so-called 'Backbone of the Sahara—to document the grueling journey endured by merchants who regularly travel atop this train. This beautifully-executed short doc is the result.
You can now insert another user's Instagram post into your own Stories as a customized sticker, the first official "regram" feature we've seen from the Facebook-owned photo sharing app.
Synology has added a new 6-bay NAS to its DiskStation+ series, and it's aimed squarely at photographers and medium sized businesses. The DS1618+ can handle up to six 12TB drives, giving it a max capacity of 72TB, or up to 60TB in RAID 5.
Our original gallery for Tamron's new 70-210mm F4 had portraits, slow-moving wildlife and city scenes, but was sorely missing fast action. We remedied that by photographing some motorcycles flying through the air.