Olympus PEN Mini / E-PM1 Review
The classically-styled PEN series of Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens cameras has given Olympus the opportunity to draw attention to the small, popular half-frame models that it produced in its film heyday. But it wasn't just the size and style of the PEN and Trip cameras that lay behind their success - it was also their simplicity. And it's this ethos that explains the E-PM1, or PEN Mini as it is likely to be promoted to its target audience.
The Pen Mini really does live up to its name. With a prime or collapsible kit zoom lens mounted, it is very small indeed. It isn't quite pocketable, but it's undeniably more convenient to carry around than any DSLR.
To go with the user-friendly size, Olympus has opted for a beginner-orientated design and interface, with the bare minimum of buttons and dials. Hidden underneath, though, the E-PM1 retains much the same feature set as the enthusiast-targeted E-P3. The more-advanced functions aren't quite as easy to get at, but they're almost all there.
A such, the PEN Mini's appeal is potentially two-pronged. To novice photographers or compact camera upgraders its appeal lies in the fact that it is a small, lightweight and inexpensive (especially in the US, where Olympus's pricing is particularly aggressive) interchangeable lens camera which offers plenty of features without being intimidating. For enthusiasts, however, it is appealing because it offers a lot of the 'guts' of much more expensive models like the E-P3 and indeed the E-5, but at a bargain price and in a more portable package.
For $200 more, the PEN-E-PL3 offers slightly more direct control, a mode dial and a tilting LCD screen, but that is pretty much the extent of the headline differences between the two bodies. The E-PM1 can be used as a purely 'point-and-shoot' camera, but its specification does allow room for a novice photographer to develop. We can't see E-PM1 users leaving the comfort of their kit zooms to experiment with Olympus and Panasonic's wider range of Micro Four Thirds lenses quite as much as E-PL3 or E-P3 owners might, but the option is there. As such, despite its similar size and pricing, the E-PM1 stands apart from high-end compact cameras like the Canon Powershot G12 and Nikon P7100 by virtue of its position within a system.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 key specifications:
- Updated 12MP Live MOS sensor
- 120 Hz 'Fast AF' focus system
- Clip-on flash (included)
- Built-in autofocus illuminator light
- 460,000 dot LCD screen (16:9 aspect ratio)
- Dual-core TruePic VI processor
- 1080i60 movies in AVCHD format
- In-body (sensor-shift) image stabilization system
Differences between the PEN Mini (E-PM1) and PEN E-PL3
- LCD is fixed, rather than E-PL3's tilting version
- PEN Mini has no mode dial and fewer external controls
- PEN Mini is slimmer, due to fixed LCD, slightly smaller and lighter.
Compared to Sony NEX-C3
|The PEN Mini ends up being a very similar size to Sony's NEX-C3, but its collapsible zoom lens makes the overall package smaller and closer to being pocketable.|
Aug 20, 2012
Jan 19, 2012
Nov 23, 2011
Nov 22, 2014
TIME Magazine has named the Sony a7R III one of its top 10 gadgets of 2017. It was the only camera that made the illustrious list this year, receiving high praise from TIME, who dubbed it "one of the best mirrorless cameras ever made."
Thanks to Google Assistant integration, the Pixel 2's AI-powered 'Google Lens' camera feature will soon be easier and quicker to use.
Photographer Jenna Martin and her model friend Rachelle Kathleen set themselves a challenge: could they create beautiful portraits in an 'ugly' location? So they went to a local Lowe's hardware store and gave it a go!
The LG V30 differentiates itself from the competition with an expansive video feature set and a secondary wide angle camera, making it something of a Swiss Army knife for content creators.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Holding down the top position is none other than the Nikon D850 – by a landslide.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!