Monday, August 8, 2011

Olympus E-PL1 Experience

I bought an Olympus Pen E-PL1 about a month ago because I wanted something small to travel with.  My normal camera is a Canon EOS 550D which is small by SLR standard, but its still too large.  I do have an Panasonic Lumix TZ4, but I was never happy quality totally.  The Oly E-PL1 is ideal size for me, but the initial RRP of over £500 more than I wanted to pay.  Recently the cost is reduced to £280 and I ordered one in white from Amazon.  Overall I am very happy with the camera.  I am not going to post a review here but here is what I like and don't like about it.  I was also lucky enough to be given two Pentax PK mount lenses which I have used with an adapter.

Good quality.
The SOOC jpeg files are very good.
Has a hot shoe and my off camera trigger works well.
I am able to sync with flash up to 1/320s.
Works with my Nikon SB26 & SB28 flash in auto mode (need to shoot camera in manual mode).
Able to use manual focus lenses with adapter.
I quite like the art filters.
Build in wireless flash controller with compatible flashguns (up to 3 groups).

Don't Likes
Focus speed is a little slow, don't even think of shooting children running around.
The camera menu system is all over the place and hard to get to grip with even after a month.
The use of art filters make the camera very slow to operate.
The rear LCD resolution is low for a modern camera which can make manual focusing difficult.
The LCD is not bright enough for use bright sunny condition.

Here is a photo of the camera fitted with Pentax SMC-M 50mm f2 lens and lens.  Also shown is an Itorex 28mm f2.8 lens and the kit lens.

You may have noticed the bounce card which I made myself with a piece of white plastic card and tin foil glued on.  This allows me to bounce the build in flash.  All you need to do is to pop the flash up and then with a finger, move the flash to point up and you now can bounce the build in flash.  See photo below.

I also took it to Tenerife as the only camera while on vacation also with the manual focus lenses with the Nikon SB28.  I had great success with the Nikon flash gun even in day light as fill light.  Here is a photo taken at sunset using Nikon SB28.  The Nikon was set in auto mode and it performed really well.
I've also used the camera as a video camera at my children's school plays which I can not share here.  As long as you are happy to manual focus, it works well.  Overall, I am very happy with the camera.  I can see myself sticking the M4/3 cameras.  Olympus have released new cameras and lenses with much faster focusing. I can see myself upgrading in future, but not for a while.

Below are a photo I took using the E-PL1 during the shoot with Ania.  Its SOOC without any adjustment.

Here is a 100% crop of the eye from the same photo.

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