Customer Review

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deal of the century, May 21, 2012
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This review is from: OLYMPUS 262855 12.3 Megapixel E-PL1 Pen Camera (Black camera body) (Electronics)

This is the steal of the century. Don't pass up the little camera.

I was originally looking to spend about $1500 for a DSLR. I've had film SLR's and a nice DSLR before. But they were always to bulky and heavy. That always bothered me. So I rarely lugged them around as much as I would have liked. A lot of missed opportunities. Kind of pointless if the camera is not there for the shot. I ended up getting some of my best shots with my little point and shoot. Because it was always there. But the quality of the shot took a hit. And I didn't have the control over the shot I really desired. I sold my last DSLR a long time ago because of the size and weight. And did without. But I always had a longing for better quality photos.

I narrowed it down to what I wanted. But I just couldn't pull the trigger. It was a lot of money for that DSLR. Although a little smaller now and lighter I just knew it wasn't going to be enough. I worried it would end up sitting at home like the rest.

Then I saw this little camera by chance. The OLYMPUS E-PL1. I had heard a little about this micro four thirds format. Did some more reading. Read all the great reviews and happy photographers. Read all about the converts that left behind their DSLR camera's for the smaller format.

I was still skeptical. But I thought wow what do I have to lose for $150?? Is it really only $150 that can't be right! Well I'll give it a try and I'll just use it temporarily until I pull the trigger on a 'real' camera.

Well let me tell you. After some time with it, this is as real as they come. What an amazing little camera. The build quality is outstanding. Feels very solid. There is nothing cheap feeling about it at all. I was worried about the controls but they are very intuitive and easy to change and adjust. The JPG's are fantastic. I've heard about the Olympus colors and it's all true. And you get RAW also for those times you want to be more discriminating.

It starts up much faster than my point and shoot. It's just ready to go for that unexpected shot. The size is fantastic. I can bring it anywhere. It's got all the control I could ask for. And full manual when I need it.

I bought it with the 20mm 1.7 pancake lens. If you get one lens get that lens. It's an incredible match for this camera. And the short size of it keeps everything really compact.

I have to say I'm so happy with this camera and this micro four thirds format that I have no intentions of ever going to DSLR again. I don't even feel the need to buy a more expensive camera. I love this thing. When I'm not shooting I like to just hold it and start it up sometimes. It just feels great to hold.

Don't let the price fool you. This is not a cheap camera or a 'beginners' camera. This is top notch quality. You really can't go wrong with this purchase. Before you consider anything else give this camera a try, you won't regret it.


After using this camera for some time here are some more thoughts:

The focus is terribly slow. And really bad in low light. If it can't get a focus it won't let you take the picture.
The noise at higher ISO degrades pretty fast.
Would be nice to have some manual dials for quicker adjustments
I've been shooting video with it now. Wish it was 1080p. The video is always to high of contrast. Wish it was more neutral. But it still looks great though.

Still love the camera. Amazing deal for what you get. Not worth spending 8 times the price for only a little bit better camera on the more expensive lines.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 24, 2012 11:08:59 PM PDT
Macuser says:
You're absolutely right. The E-PL1 is a sleeper camera. Even beats top of the line $1099.00 Olympus E-M5 I also own (and the Canon Rebel T3i I used to own) in regards to detail resolution and sharpness in bright light conditions. E-M5 beats E-PL1 only in lower light and for video.

Posted on May 28, 2012 4:45:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2012 5:12:34 AM PDT
I appreciate your enthusiastic review, Todd. I'm trying to make up my mind on buying this and reading your opinion was helpful.

I have a question for you on chance you bought your E-PL1 body from Cameta, but ALSO here on Amazon, buying body and lens separately:

Did your E-PL1 camera body arrive in a normal printed box, as you would find in a store . . or were you shipped the camera body in a white box??

The camera body costs a little more here because you have to pay for shipping. But the camera body offered on the Cameta website, with free shipping, is "white box", which I don't like at all. Refurbs often come in white boxes. That's why I'm asking. It might be worth paying for shipping here on Amazon to get a camera body you know is top shelf and "right".

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 9:44:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2012 9:53:45 AM PDT
Todd CK says:
Hi. Yes it did come in a white box. I bought it from Cameta camera though Amazon. But it is not a refurb. It was packaged like any other brand new camera. This is what Cameta camera says on here: "Brand New! NOTE ON PACKAGING: This camera body was originally packaged by OLYMPUS AMERICA in a plain white box. This package does not include a printed retail box. It includes ALL original accessories (Olympus America Warranty Card, battery, cables, manual, etc.)."

Everything was exactly like opening a brand new package from the factory. I don't believe they would use false advertisement or lie. Otherwise many people would be upset and you'd find bad complaints and reviews for the store. And I doubt they would sell different ones in white boxes on their site and Amazon. I believe buying from stores though Amazon gives you better protection either way though for any product. But from what I read Cameta seems to have good reviews and service. You can always call Cameta also and ask them in person.

They do sell some refurbs but this is not it. The refurbs are clearly marked and even cheaper. They appear to be selling refurbs for $129.95 with free shipping.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 10:27:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2012 10:31:59 AM PDT
Todd, thanks!! Very helpful.

I believe you received a new camera body. It's interesting, though:

Cameta sells this camera body through their proprietary website and also on eBay. In both ads at those sites there is a prominent warning about the white box. Some people care about such things.

Yet here on Amazon, with precisely the same product offering, the white box warning is omitted. Strange stuff.

But thanks, again.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 1:37:07 AM PDT
Great review!! I bought my first m4/3 system ( Olympus epl 1 ) in 2011 for $200, the guy who sold it to me used it just once for his sister's wedding so it was good as new. I bought my first dslr ( Nikon d1h ) back in 2002 for around $3000!! Seriously, nowadays my d2x and d5000 just sit in their big, bulky bags at home, waiting for me!! It's insane how this little guy can do almost everything my dslrs can do plus it's fun to use. I was in dc at the smithsonian museums with the kids for spring break and it surprised me how popular dslrs have become, everyone had one around their neck, from 10 year old to grannies. Even more surprising is that I didn't see one Olympus pen systems!! I am very fortunate to have used and owned some of the finest dslr, some of which took me years of saving my hard earned cash. Honestly, if for some reason I have to choose to keep just one camera out of all the systems that I have, there's no doubt in my mind it's the Olympus, yep its that good. I really don't need the 8fps d2x any more since the kids are teens now ( tho. I love the shutter sound). The epl1 is somewhat similar to my old vw beetle, cool, fun, different, dependable and it gets the job done. So sad to see the epl1s are going as low as $120 these days, cheaper than a new point and shoot!! Pick one up now!!! It's the deal of a life time, yep its really that good!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 11:53:17 AM PDT
$149 with free shipping from Cameta directly is the lowest current price for a NEW E-PL1. The $120 price is for the refurbs. And unlike your "only used at wedding" purchase, some of the so-called "refurbs" have very high click counts. Others, admittedly, are like new, like your camera was. Thing is, when you buy a refurb from a dealer there is no way to know in advance just exactly how used your camera will be. The dealers themselves do not know because the cameras are pre-packaged by Olympus. And if you end up with a camera having high click count your only recourse is to return the camera for a refund.

For me it just made more sense to buy new. And believe me, the very first thing I did upon receiving my new E-PL1 camera was to check the click count. It was OK, BTW. But nothing can be taken for granted.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2013 5:37:30 PM PDT
Timothy Lee says:
Macuser, my E-PL1 blow me away it performs on par with my Pentax DSLR. I was thinking get E-M5 as upgrade. base on you post, I can save the $$ for a good lens. tim.
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