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Customer Review

157 of 163 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great sensor, overall system needs work, July 31, 2009
This review is from: Olympus PEN E-P1 12 MP Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens (Silver Body/Black Lens) (Electronics)
First a little background. I have a couple of other SLRs and was mainly looking for something to give me close to SLR quality files but in a considerably smaller physical package. A couple of downsides you should already be aware of from the product description.:

1. There is no pop-up flash. Not a problem for me, I don't ever use them anyway (your mileage may vary).
2. There is no viewfinder. Again not a problem for me, got used to that very quickly.

Now some observations from having used the camera:

- The sensor image quality is excellent. Dynamic range is at SLR quality. Noise levels up to and including ISO 800 is very clean. ISO 1600 has a bit more noise than the Rebel XSI (also 12mp)with the noise increasing relative to competitors from there.
- The user interface is intuitive. I used mostly Aperture Priority and Manual and found it easy to use. Stuff in the menus were also easily found. Changing the settings were at times challenging (like ISO) because of the smaller buttons, but given the camera's small size its something I could forgive
- Its heavy, almost as heavy as a basic, entry level DSLR. Now the lens is light as a feather, however I feel a lot of heaviness comes because of the build quality of the camera, which is superb
- The RAW processing software that comes with the camera is useless. The interface is horrible and the stability even worse. Wait for your favorite RAW processing software to add support and use that.

The deal breakers:

- The kit lens is slow. Really slow. So slow in fact that I found the system to not be very useful when the light levels got low or you were indoors. Now this could easily be fixed by having a series of fast pancake lenses, which I believe are coming, but sadly they aren't here yet.
- The auto focus is slow and unreliable, especially indoors. I found the AF to be very slow and borderline frustrating. Again, this was mostly indoors and in low light levels, so a faster lens may alleviate the issue.

Overall, this is a fantastic start for Olympus and once the system is fleshed out a bit more (with lots of those fast pancake primes at various focal lengths) I may consider it again. However with the limited lens selection available today, its not for me. You need to figure out if you can live with the kit lens (or the 17mm f/2.8 prime) while waiting for more lenses to come out for yourself.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 26, 2009 6:21:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 10, 2009 6:49:45 AM PDT
Ayman says:
I read on dpreview that the Lumix 14-140 lens available from panasonic (the GH1 Kit lens) which fits the E-P1 doubles the AF speed of the E-P1 at the wide end and increases it by %20 at the tele end. The panasonic 14-140 lens is alot faster than either kit lens that comes with the E-P1. So for those who love the E-P1's form factor and features but are unsatisfied with the kit lenses provided with it, fitting the E-P1 with the Lumix 14-140 lens will be a perfect solution.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2009 6:32:33 AM PDT
I agree that the AF speed is slow, but an f3.5-5.6 lens is pretty standard as a kit outfit. It's by no means "fast", but for that, you are either looking at a much larger, heavier lens (anathema to the design purpose of the E-P1) or a fast prime, such as the 17mm f2.8.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2009 8:02:13 AM PDT
In general what you are saying is true, however even with the 17 f/2.8 lens the EP-1's auto focus is slow. Furthermore the Panasonic GH1 seems to focus much faster even with similarly slow lenses so it seems like its really a issue with the EP-1's autofocus.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2009 9:30:13 AM PST
T. Joyce says:
Olympus has a firmware update on the web site that resolves this issue.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2009 8:00:12 PM PST
Robert H. says:
I gave this combo serious consideration until I went into the store and had the physical experience of the E-P1 and Lumix lens together.

While the AF performance may improve with the Panasonic HD AV GH1 kit lens, the practical use of the camera diminishes significantly. The Lumix G HD 14-140mm F4-5.8 OIS more than doubles the size of the camera. It fits well with the (much) larger GH1 body. It totally dominates the smaller E-P1 and the new similarly sized GF1.

It's a nice idea, but in practical terms it doesn't work. The GH1 lens works great on the GH1 sized body. I would not recommend it though for the smaller M4/3 camera bodies.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2010 8:16:38 AM PST
Soundbuff says:
Do you remember the old SONY 707, 717 etc cameras with large swivelable lenses? I own a Lumix GF-1 and have both the "Pancake" lens for normal use and the G HD 14-140mm F4-5.8 OIS. My experience with the SONY 707 & 717 has proven that it is not a big problem to handle the GF-1 with the larger zoom lens, and that the advantages of the lens more than outweighs the slight disadvantage of the lens size and weight.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 5:31:00 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 23, 2010 5:31:13 AM PST]

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 5:31:42 AM PST
It has a very large CCD for this range MP which gives great sharpness but terrible low-light abilities.

Posted on Aug 23, 2010 8:26:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2010 8:28:00 AM PDT
I think the main difference in size compared to an SLR is brought by getting rid of the R part from SLR :-)
Therefore you are expected to trade the optical viewfinder for the comfort of reduced size.
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