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Showing 1-10 of 57 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 76 reviews
on January 8, 2014
Bought this because the price was down to an incredibly affordable level, and I couldn't resist but to get one just so I could try it out and was thinking of returning if I was going to end up not liking it. Turned out quite the opposite, I like it, a lot ! At first, reviews all over the web mentioned something about the indepth menu system where you can do a ton of settings even to the extend that some cannot be found on an APSC DSLR, but I couldn't find it. I was looking around and found that not only did I have to update it with the latest firmware (from 1.0 to 1.4), I also had to enable that indepth menu. Once I did it, the whole thing became very capable all of the sudden, I was able to use the SCP or Super Control Panel to do many settings on one panel on the LCD screen, an extremely handy feature that was not turned on by default.

The quality of the pictures, JPGs are a bit too soft and muddy, even when I turned off all noise reduction and noise filter, especially in the darker and shadowy areas on a picture, there are a lot of loss of details. The magic is to shoot RAW, but only RAW. You can view it on Windows 7 and beyond PCs by downloading and installing the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack, then use the Windows Photo Gallery viewer to view the ORF files (which is Olympus's RAW format). Once you view your photos shot in RAW(ORF), you'd be amazed in how beautiful the photos are, there are zero to very low loss of details in dark areas, and things just look absolutely stunningly beautiful, and are so good that the result rivals the much costlier DSLRs ( I have a Canon T4i and a Nikon D5100 and a D90). I am absolutely in love with this camera, and have ordered a case for it but still haven't received yet. At this price point, the camera gives me amazing results (in RAW), I don't care much about not having a viewfinder, but even that I could buy as an add-on later if I really want one. I just take this Oly out wherever I go these days, in my jacket's pocket ! You just can't beat the portability of this camera with an M4/3 sensor inside that goes everywhere with you at this price !
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on February 27, 2014
Easy to use as a beginner right out the box. Set everything to Auto and you can take good pictures of still life and non action portraits.

With a little reading, you can take some really good Action/Sports shots. With alot of reading, you can take GREAT shots.

When you want to play around with all the filters, it is a breeze to scroll thru them all. I tend to use a tripod and take a pic, then scroll to the next filter and do it over and over until I have done them all. And I will do this for everything from Portrait to Landscape to Kids playing... Taking notes along the way keeping track of the amount of waiting after I press the button until I hear the click of the picture. It is usually pretty fast, but in my last outing to the Rally in 100 Acres Wood, I somehow went from Sports (8 frames per second) to Landscape/portrait without knowing it and ended up with a 2 second wait and a blurry picture of dirt and gravel and no car. It took all of 2 seconds to fix that back to Sports for the next car and I didn't have any trouble with it the rest of the day.

Battery life is great. But there is not an auto shut off or at least I haven't found it yet. Took 533 pictures, then left it on for 2 hours while we waited for the last rally stage to start. Battery was blinking when I took it out the case and still got 16 - 6 second 1080p movies of cars rocketing by with the night shot filter on.

The date issue: Every time I charge the battery, I have to go to setup and put the date and time in. Not sure about this.

Changing lenses is easy, just don't loose the back cap. The camera didn't come with a cover so you have to always have a lens on to protect the inner workings.
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on June 14, 2012
I bought this camera for a trip, not wanting to carry my Nikon DX DSLR around, but I was worried about image quality with a four-thirds, so I took it out and shot about 50 or 60 pics with it, and the same ones with my Nikon before my trip. I was very impressed. Honestly, even pixel-peeping at full-size images on the computer, the differences are negligible. I have no problem recommending the Olympus to ANYONE. I had no issues finding controls without ever looking at the manual, and, after a little more practice,
I think I could do almost anything with it that I can do with the Nikon.

This camera is ideal for a semi-pro shooting for fun- it's a LOT lighter than a DSLR- and, as much as I really wanted to like the Nikon better, I'd recommend this camera whole-heartedly, while giving the Nikon a list of "but"s. The Olympus, for instance, focuses MUCH faster than the Nikon, even in low-light situations, and on full auto "guesses" more accurately what part of the scene to focus on.

If you're just getting into photography, or want to move up from a point&shoot- you will LOVE this.

More interesting info-bits:
It also has HD video and stereo sound.
before I bought this, I didn't know about the "PenPal" accessory Olympus makes for this, which attaches to the camera for direct mobile uploads
ALSO, when this is hooked up to your TV, most TV remotes can be used to control the camera as well as the TV!
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on August 4, 2012
I've taken a few dozen pictures so far, and I see that I bought what I wanted - a point-and-shoot camera that allows the use of different lenses. I even bought an adapter ring to use the lenses from my 1985 Pentax Program Plus 35mm slr (manual focus, but that's what they were back then). The camera allows greater and greater manual control as desired. The pictures are rich and vivid. I also bought the 45mm f1.8 lens for portraits.

When I am using the E-PM1, I find that the only place for my thumb is right on the lcd screen. There is a screen protector film that's made specifically for this camera, but you'll need to buy 10 or 20 of them so you can keep replacing them as they rub loose, especially around the buttons. The camera is small enough that even holding it by the lens is tricky. I bought a flash bracket to give my left hand a way to hold the camera.

The little flash that comes with the camera does well for close shots (5-10 feet), but the reviews point out that, as with any camera, a much stronger flash is needed for long telephoto shots. Usually, a flash is put on the camera's hot shoe, but here lies a mystery. The little flash has a plastic foot that slides into the hot shoe, but it has no connections at all through the hot shoe, but rather is powered and controlled by an "accessory port" behind the hot shoe. Luckily there are also contacts on the hot shoe to control a dedicated flash. What does this "accessory port" offer that the hot shoe doesn't? The owner's manual doesn't mention anything about it other than a bluetooth-style file sharing gadget that plugs in there. Has Olympus released the power and signal patterns of this "accessory port" so that other companies can offer compatible products?

Olympus would like people to buy one of their name-brand strong flashes (FL-50R, FL36R, etc.) that work with the camera's so-called RC signal. Reviews say that this is not "radio control", but a special-signal-light-trigger (supposedly avoiding the slave-flash vulnerability of popping whenever anyone else's flash goes off). The second flash has to be able to "see" the little flash mounted on the E-PM1. That puts the second flash forward of the camera, possibly in the field of view. Why put such a restriction on a second flash?
I bought a 4-channel radio-control kit to control the newest FL-600R mega-flash. This solution lets the flash sit anywhere in the room, on a tripod, or on a bracket with the camera. Another option is to buy a hot-shoe extension cable, to control the mega-flash, which would be mounted on the bracket with the camera.

Altogether, it's the age-old trick: make an excellent product, but don't include things that would make it complete, then charge double the price for these necessary accessories. It's not unusual - alot of companies do this. And pretty soon other companies will begin making equivalent accessories that are priced way less than the name brand (I'm writing this in August 2012.) You'll be pleased with this camera - just make sure you make a list of what you want so you know the total cost when you decide to buy it.

Four months later (Demeber 2012), I'm concerned about the LCD panel on the back of the camera. It is not recessed - there is no frame around it that might hold it up off a tabletop if the camera were laid on its back. It is so prominent that a screen protector is essential, crucial, vital to the safety of the screen, yet the protector I used was also vulnerable and rubbed loose in a few weeks. Surely camera designers should think of such things - am I expecting too much? I'll support the screen protector industry as long as I have this camera.

Five more months later (May 2013), I have learned from Olympus Technical Support that the E-PM1 is not able to ask the FL-600R flash to light up its LCD light to augment the camera's little orange auto-focus lamp. The FL-600R flash has to have its LCD light turned on manually, but that leaves it on durinig the shot, which can confuse the auto-exposure on the camera. Luckily, the newer E-PM2 does make use of the FL-600R LCD light for auto-focus. The E-PM2 has a slightly recessed screen, touch-screen capability (including touch-focus change during movie recording!) and other features not available on the E-PM1. Reader be aware!

Other than the vulnerable LCD, the camera is great, but they've now made one better. That's why the price is half what it was. It's last year's model, and the company has moved on.
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on May 12, 2012
I am really enjoying this camera. The auto focus and shutter response are very fast, color is excellent, and with a little tweaking and getting used to the sparse buttons and wheels, most of the settings you'll use a lot are within quick reach.

Its small size is a giant asset, making it very easy to take with you anywhere. To compliment this, it only takes about two seconds from cold/off to be on and ready to shoot. I have larger than average hands (without a lens I can almost hide the body itself in my hand), and while I wish there was some sort of snap-on grip out there, I don't feel klutzy shooting with it.

The one downside is performance in low light, especially at the higher ISOs -- anything over 1000 and you can pretty much expect some noise. Also, the auto focus speed suffers dramatically, even when it fires a red LED as a sort of flashlight to find something to focus on.

I haven't had occasion to play with the detachable flash much as of yet, but at first blush it works about like any point-and-shoot flash. I know you can adjust it via the camera's setup menus but I haven't toyed with that yet.

I've taken a couple short videos at 1080p and it performs alright, although that feels more like an afterthought. There aren't many options there and the little built-in mic is better than a cell phone and not as good as a low-end camcorder, particularly if there is any wind or background noise.

All in all, it's great for a small camera to carry with you and take great stills under most circumstances. The 4/3 form factor is gaining popularity and there are a LOT of lenses and accessories for this camera, so for the price, you might be able to do better but I can't see how. If I could, I would probably rate it 4.5 stars for the low light performance and vanilla video shooting, but the value overall is so high I can easily rounding it up.
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on September 24, 2011
Update (4/27/2012)
Note about Olympus service. It turns out that my camera had an issue with taking picture at fast shutter speed (1/4000s). I called the service and sent it in. It was fixed by week's end, and was shipped it out by 2nd Day Air. It was all for free as my camera is still under warranty. I did not get a refurbished unit; I got mine back. When I tested my 'fixed' camera, I found everything was working as expected and no more problems at high shutter speed. Big kudos for Olympus service!

Update (2/6/2012)
One key feature I forgot to mention is the in-body image stablization (IBIS). Olympus has the IBIS whereas Panasonic only supports the IS built into the lens. There are PROs and CONs of IBIS. However this comes in handy in many cases, and I prefer camera having IBIS where some lenses do not come with IS built-in (OIS). Some of my lenses do not have OIS, and if I do not use IBIS on Olympus, images would not be as sharp. On the other hand, people say that IBIS is not ideal for the video recording. I have not noticed much, but I can see how.

On the other hand, Olympus will announce E-M5 (OM-D family) this week. This one will support 5 axis IS (still an IBIS) which is expected to be much better than the IBIS that current models have. Some on the DPREVIEW forum say that this one will be better than OIS... we'll have to wait for some product review for the verdict.

Important Update (11/21/2011)
Firmware version 1.1 is now available from Olympus. It was surprising from a company that is going through a financial trouble :) The firmware version 1.1 is supposed to address an issue with EyeFi (Wifi SD + memory) card. Although I do not use the EyeFi card, I thought I will give it a try and updated my camera with some worries as one reviewer on reported that camera became 'brick' after the update.

I used 'Olympus Digital Camera Updater' software that came with my camera. I used my Mac Mini to update the firmware. Everything took less than 2 minutes, and I got large "OK" sign on the LCD display. Upon recycling the power, the camera reported firmware version 1.1 correctly. I took about 50 shots after the update, and so far so good.

My original review
This is my fourth camera purchase this year... yet this is the best one. My other three cameras were point-and-shoot cameras that gave me some good photos but in-door shots with high iso gave me very grainy images. Nikon P300 is pretty good with F1.8; however image sensor was little too small and that results in lower image quality in some occasion.

I also have Canon T1i which takes photos with really good image quality; however I run into the portability issue. I'm not as big of a photo enthusiast (I know... I just love buying new camera) and I do not feel comfortable carrying my Canon T1i everywhere. It is simply too bulky.

My definition of 'perfect' camera is one that I can take most everywhere and take photos with good image quality in every situation.
I did a lot of research for the 'perfect' camera, and I quickly came down to the following selections:
1) Sony NEX family - Sony NEX 3, 5, C3, 5N, and 7.
These are wonderful camera. Small, and versatile, and especially with APS-C size image sensor, image quality (IQ) rivals regular dSLRs. However the limitations are the fact that they use Sony proprietary lenses and there are limited number of NEX lenses.

2) Samsung N100/N200
These are similar to Sony NEX. I haven't seen them in person; however these should deliver similar IQ with the APS-C size sensors. However they do have the same issue of using Samsung proprietary lens mount + format.

3) Nikon 1, Pentax Q, and Fujifilm X100
Ok, Fujifilm X100 has APS-C size sensor; however it has a single fixed lens on the camera. Good lens, but you cannot replace lens. Nikon and Pentax recently announced their new compact system cameras, however their system uses smaller size sensor. Pentax uses even smaller and Nikon uses sensor about 1/2 of Micro Four Thirds. I like Nikon but I felt the lens collection + size sensor was disappointment at this time.

4) Then there are Micro Four Thirds cameras... these include Olympus e-P1,P2,P3, e-PL1,PL2,PL3, and e-PM1 and Panasonic GF1, GF2, and GF3, and other G series cameras.
Micro Four Thirds cameras can use any lenses that adhere to the Micro Four Thirds standards. Therefore there are more lens selections available at the time of my research than any other compact system cameras.
My decision was more of my budget and my future direction... I want to build my lens library first; however I wanted to get best value for my budget. In my opinion, Olympus e-PM1 was the best choice.

My selection of Olympus E-PM1 was for its compact size and versatility of the camera. yes, it may not have all physical control buttons. That was problem when I was looking at the camera; however it's not as bad as I thought. You can get to the settings quickly and you actually have control of most of settings that you can think of... And you can easily set your focus area, if you don't want the camera to choose for you :)

Based on my research Olympus E-PM1 has pretty much the same hardware as more expensive and little bigger E-PL3. This means that it now has new dual core image processor (TruePic VI) and very fast auto-focus system. This all means that this Olympus E-PM1 is very responsive and good performer in everyday use.

It's been about a week and I took almost 900 photos with single battery charge(battery life is good). I now have Panasonic 20mm F1.7 pancake lens on the camera and that one is really good for photo taking. (I won't recommend it for video.. due to noise issue). With my F/1.7 lens, I haven't really had need for a flash on the camera. In fact, I have not even tried it yet. Camera takes good IQ and very fast auto focus. I love how i can control so many settings on the camera. I don't think I had this much fun with my Canon T1i.
NOTE: For Mac users out there, this ACHVD format on 1080i video would be little problem as there are no native support for the format yet.

Pros for Olympus E-PM1
- Compact size (smaller than other micro four thirds)
- Good Image Quality (comparable to dSLRs)
- Fast auto focus speed
- large number of available lenses (micro four thirds)
- Available Hot Shoe; you can use external flash

Cons for Olympus E-PM1
- no built-in flash (having something is better than nothing)
- not pocketable, unless you are talking about your winter jacket
- Limited availability of button control; it's ok but for some this would be strong 'con"
- Video format (ACHVD MTS format is not for computer... Mac software not as widely available)
- Built-in image stabilization may not work perfectly for the video; it works well for still images.
- (UPDATE 11/15/2011) It may be my camera, however I cannot use shutter speed 1/3200 or 1/4000s. Images get too dark at the bottom of picture. However I rarely need these shutter speed; therefore I do not see this is a show stopper.

* Image Sensor size discussion
Here are some measure of image sensors used on various digital cameras today:

Typical point-and-shoot, sensor=1/2.33", sensor size=~28.5mm^2, crop factor=5.62
Advanced point-and-shoot, sensor=1/1.6", sensor size=~48.6mm^2, crop factor=4.3
micro-four-thirds, sensor=MFT, sensor size=~225mm^2, crop factor=2
Canon dSLR, sensor=APS-C, sensor size=~329mm^2, crop factor=1.6
Other dSLR (Nikon,Sony), sensor=APS-C, sensor size=~369mm^2, crop factor=1.5

Olympus E-PM1 has micro four thirds format sensor, i.e. it has surface area of 225mm^2 which is significantly larger than typical point-and-shoot camera. Olympus E-PM1 has more than 4.6x bigger image sensor to pick up more lights than advanced point-and-shoot camera.

* Comparison between Point-and-Shoot and Olympus E-PM1
Olympus E-PM1, as a micro four thirds camera, has significantly bigger MOS sensor and you can go to ISO1600 and still have good image quality. I posted an example of image that was taken with ISO1600 with F11. This still has fairly good image quality even with high ISO. Of course, the image quality would be less accurate in dimly lit condition. However Olympus E-PM1 still has much better image quality than other point-and-shoot camera. I compared picture taken with Olympus E-PM1 and Nikon P300, and Olympus wins hands down.

* Olympus E-PM1 User Interface
As noted above, Olympus E-PM1 does not have as many manual control buttons. You don't even have 'mode' button. P/A/S/M has to be selected via menu button. Although this may be problem for some users, many users will find it adequate. There are even customizable buttons that you can assign "video record" button as "DOF preview". Other controls, such as changing ISO, aperture value, shutter speed, are fairly simple. Olympus E-PM1 gives you so much control over camera settings.

* RAW image format (Updated 11/15/2011)
Olympus E-PM1 has good RAW image setting (.ORF format). Included Olympus Viewer 2 software can be used to develop RAW images into JPG format images.

I am happy to report that the following software support E-PM1 ORF format:
- Adobe Element 9 with the latest update (ACR 6.5 and later)
- Aperture 3.2.1

Olympus E-PM1 is a solid camera with good functionalities. It is small enough to be almost pocketable yet provides many advanced functionalities that rivals entry level dSLRs. As a micro four thirds camera, there are good set of lenses from multiple manufacturers, and Olympus has built very responsive camera with good image quality (IQ) sensor with this E-PM1. This camera should appeal to those of you looking to move up to more advanced camera from their point-and-shoot camera or someone with dSRLs looking for a smaller, competent camera. I do admit that this camera is not 'perfect' camera; however this camera is one of the best value for a compact system camera today.
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on January 31, 2013
If you're wanting more control than a point-and-shoot but aren't as serious DSLR photos, then the mirrorless, Interchangeable lens system is a good place for you to fit.

I'm a novice photographer, who likes to get the best that I can afford. This camera has been perfect for me.

I'm learning how to play with apeture, shutter speed, ISO, etc., at an affordable price.

This camera produces great photos when adjusted correctly, although it does seem to struggle with low light situations. But that could also be because I'm still learning the camera.

That's what you have to keep in mind: There's a learning curve, no matter what camera you buy.

I took some photos with a friend's GF2 and like the E-PM1 photos better.

One concern I had was with action shots, because I read people complaining the camera wasn't fast enough. They're wrong. If you adjust your settings correctly, the camera will catch things in motion without blur.

Believe me, I did A LOT OF RESEARCH before buying this camera. I was torn between this one and th NEX5.

I don't think you can go wrong with either one.

And you won't regret choosing a 3rd party lens system. I've opted for M42 lenses with an adapter. They're fun to find, relatively inexpensive, and produce very good photos.

I'm having fun learning to be a better photographer with this camera. But I don't plan on ever being a professional photog nor want to spend loads of money for photos that I'm just going to email or post online.

But I do want to step up from P&S, and this camera performs very well.
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on June 18, 2012
was looking for an upgrade from my point and shoot - a camera which would enable me to really learn more about photography, but not be too heavy to carry around. I found what I was looking for in this camera - it has many auto scene mode features, but has interchangeable lenses available, live guides giving tips on taking particular photos, and manual, Aperture priority and shutter speed priority settings. There is also a good quality easy to use movie setting.
I am still learning about how to use this camera, but have taken it on three outings so far and have been pleased with the photos I took. It takes some time to choose which settings you want to customize and to get used to how to change settings, but for the most part, the menu is easy to navigate.
This is a great choice for someone who wants more than "snapshots", but isn't willing to carry a heavy-duty SLR digital. The photo resolution is great - I was able to get a couple of very good quality 5 x 7 enlargements.

The only drawback to me is that there is no viewfinder, making it somewhat difficult to see when the light is very bright. A view finder is available for separate purchase, however.
There are so many different options on this camera, I cannot name them all, but it is definitely a versatile and high quality compact digital camera.
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on November 6, 2013
I had an older SLR type Olympus and have love it for years but was looking for a smaller camera that was easier to carry. I saw a Black Friday deal on this one and thought I would give it a try. Only had it a couple days but it is very nice to use. I bit front heavy with the slim body and attachable lens but did not take long to get comfortable with it. Many nice features and the art modes are nice. I have not purchased any extra lenses but it is an option. Gives you option to do point and shoot or use in manual mode for more control. Again just started with it but have already captured some great pictures. One thing to note however is that it did not come with a camera card. Not big deal to go out an buy one but thought it would at least come with one card. So if you are ordering this, order a SD card with it.
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on April 30, 2012
First of all, i am so impressed about the fast shipment--it was shipped the second day of my purchase. However, the air bag was flat when i received it in an Amazon box--not a deal breaker.

The camera's lovely: perfect look, perfect size, light weight, fast actions, comfortable to hold. I bouth it as a gift to my mother. After careful reviews of several models, I chose this Olympus PEN E-PM1 because:
1. It is takes professional photos while much lighter and smaller than a regular pro camera;
2. It has a large 3-inch LCD so my Mom doesn't need to struggle to find the view window like other pro cameras;
3. There are fewer function buttons on this camera (my mother will hardly use any of those special effects, so fewer options means less confusion);
4. It is so fashionable--come on, mothers need some accessories!

However, my camera has a problem: It automatically turns off after one shot, and it happens frequently. If anyone can please help me figure out this problem, it will save me from an exchange.

Overall, it is an ideal camera for all ages.
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