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Showing 1-10 of 207 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 289 reviews
on November 30, 2012
First, I should mention that I usually take pictures with my cell phone, and they are crappy, grainy, noisy, and or blurry 95% of the time. I've also owned 3 or 4 cheapo point-n-shoot cameras over the last few years that have also taken (for the most part) crappy pictures. Why? Because I really only take pictures of my kids and they really don't like to sit still. I've broken every one of those P&S cameras, too, which is why I often resort to the cell phone. Do you know how frustrating it is that all of your fancy-pants mom friends on facebook are able to post beautiful pictures of their kids every stinking day because they have their fancy DLSR's, while your only able to post a crap cell phone picture once or twice a month because you can never get a good one! It's frustrating.

Why did I decide to buy the Olympus E-PL1? Because I've wanted a DLSR for years, but never could afford a decent one, and didn't want to spend all that money on a mediocre one either. I also don't know the first thing about photography. Not to mention... have you seen the size of those monsters? Sheesh. I'm already carrying a baby, a daiper bag, and a purse everywhere I go. I don't need a camera the size of a small dog, too. I first discovered Compact Interchangeable Lens System cameras several months ago and have been reading reviews and watching prices ever since. I finally got a great deal on the E-PL1 from Amazon Warehouse Deals and went for it. I've had the camera for a few days now and I LOVE IT!

For those of you who are used to taking pictures of wild, fast moving kids with cell phones or crappy P&S's and are upgrading for the first time, this review is for you!!!

1. Quality: Pictures are crystal clear. Even the pictures of fast moving kids and animals are clear as day. I've been primarily using Auto Mode in my house at night where the lighting isn't that great. Out of the few hundred I've taken so far, only a small handful have been a litte blurry. I consider that a success, and there is no doubt in my mind that the blurry ones are a result of user error. After an adjustment or two, the next pictures are clear again. MUCH BETTER QUALITY THAN A P&S!

2. Ease of use: I find that this is just as easy, if not easier, to operate than a regular P&S. I can't compare it to DLSR's becuase I've never used one before. I've read some reviews on here about the camera lacking a dial. The E-PL1 definitely has a dial, so I think those poeple are reviewing the wrong camera. To me, the digital menu is easy to use also. Plus it has shortcut buttons that take you right the menu's you'd use the most (at last the ones I've been using the most). And you can create your own custom menu. After reading the manual once and messing around with it, I'm not finding it difficult to use at all.

3. Shutter Speed and Auto Focus: Several reviewers have commented about slow shutterspeed and issues with autofocus. Notice that they are downgrading from expsive DLSR's? As far as I'm concerened, both shutterspeed and autofocus are pretty darn fast! It takes a picture the instant I push the shutter button. And it autofucses really quickly, even in low light (like inside a house at night). As one reviewer mentioned, if it's really, really dim, it won't focus and therefore won't allow you to take a picture, even if the flash is turned on. This has happened once, but I didn't find it to be a big deal. The camera probably just saved me from taking a crappy, dark picture I'd delete anyway! The autofocus on this camera is great for moving kids because it keeps adjusting as your kids are moving. I've been getting seriously great shots. It also has a continuous shutter mode, which will keep taking pictures as long as the shutter button is depressed. I've gotten some great shots of the baby using that feature. Another reviewer mentioned that this camera takes forever to write pictures to the SD card (which would obviously hold you up from taking your next picture right away... if that were true). I'm calling bull-crap on that. First of all, memory cards each have their own write speeds. If you buy a cheapo memory card with a 15 MB write speed, its going to be slow! If you suck it up and get a memory card with 35 MB write speed, it'll be much faster. Trust me, it makes a difference no matter what camera you use and is totally worth the extra money. I've been using a 16 GB card with 35 MB write speed, and it's fast as lightning. I dont notice a lag at all before I can take my next picture.

4. Cool Features: The camera has a bunch of Art settings that allow you to take photo's with different effects. I have a jet black cat with yellow eyes, and for 8 years, I have never gotten a good picture of her. She's so black, she just looks like a featurelss blob with yellow eyes. I used the Sepia effect and have gotten THE MOST AMAZING pictures of her. I can see every hair! There are also 20+ different modes for settings like taking pictures of fireworks, or pictures on the beach. I haven't gotten a chance to play with those yet but I intend to over the winter and then I'll update this review at some point.

5. Flash/Lack of Viewfinder/LCD Screen: The pop-up flash is great! I haven't noticed any issues with the LCD nor have I missed having a view finder. If it's ever so bright that this becomes an issue, I'll probably just buy the electriconic viewfinder attachment. I've seen good deals on Amazon already, they aren't that expensive anymore.

6. Size: It's bigger than a P&S and smaller than DLSR. If you have big hands and a habit of dropping small electronics, such as cameras and cell phones, you will definitely appreciate the larger size and neck strap. It looks and feels very old school and seems to be of solid construction. It wont fit in your pocket, and with the lense attached, probably not your purse either. I bought a small camera bag for it and I'm going to upgrade to a neoprene neck strap because when I'm out and about, that's where I'll want it so I can take pictures whenever I feel like it. Although its bigger than most cameras, it is still portable enough to be taken and used everywhere without being cumbersome.

I am also going to buy the E-PL1 for Dummies manual so that I can try to learn more about the custom settings and functions. The user manual that comes with the camera is helpful, but since I'm not a photographer, I don't understand half of it. All in all, I'm having fun learning with this camera, and maybe one day, when I get a couple grand to burn, I might invest in a nice DLSR, but until then, this totally suits my needs! I LOVE IT! And in case your wondering, I've been burning up facebook with all my fancy photographs! Next stop, learning how to use photoshop (for Dummies, ha ha)!
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on May 8, 2014
Just got this camera (which is now 4 years old) and I am extremely happy with what I got for the price. I essentially got a $400 camera for $100! The speed, resolution, lcd screen and af capability of the camera may not be as good as the latest breed of cameras but it definitely delivers high quality photos, which I think is what counts. It even works great with the larger four-thirds lens on e-series slr cameras (given an adapter). I recommend the Neewer plastic AF Focus adapter. It's much cheaper than the Olympus brand adapter and works just as well. Overall if your on a budget, now is a great time to go for a used digital camera. Just 5 years ago going used was not a good idea because then, older digital cameras were still mediocre at best. But if you go 4 or 5 years back you're sure to find a great quality digital camera with 12 or so mega pixels at a great price. If you're not a professional photographer aiming to blow up your images to billboard size you definitely do not need a digital camera with more that 12 megapixels. Even that is overkill!
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on January 25, 2012
Although this can be a really good point and shoot camera, if the owner spends time getting familiar with it, it can really open up significant photographic opportunities that one wouldn't expect a point and shoot to be capable of. Even though the unit is not much bigger than some point and shoots, the larger-format four-thirds sensor produces images that even the best point and shoots may have to work hard to match, and the numerous control options can provide a level of customization to match mid-range DSLRs.

One drawback may be that Olympus hasn't developed too many lenses for their micro four-thirds line. While Panasonic has a number of lenses for their micro four-thirds line that will fit this camera, they have their IS mechanism in the lenses instead of the body like Olympus, which may explain what appears to he higher prices for Panasonic lenses.

While this camera has a built-in pop-up flash, unlike some of the other Olympus micro four-thirds cameras, it appears this camera will work with older Olympus dedicated flashes. For those who own these older flash units, it may open up a whole new set of possibilities. Of course, if someone wanted to use the camera's built-in flash unit to trigger remote flash units, which is not something one would find in many point and shoots, they can buy the newer R-spec Olympus flashes.

In conclusion, this camera can be a compelling value for specific shooters, particularly those who don't mind getting used lenses on Amazon.
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on January 7, 2013
Mainly, I was interested in this camera because of its small size and high definition (12.3MP). In terms of the high definition, I wanted a camera capable, as is the PEN E-PL1, of saving photos in RAW format which allows for maximum leeway in using computer software to adjust brightness and color of the photos while maintaining sharp focus. I am pleased that the 14-42mm zoom kit lens is capable of very sharp images with nice color. The zoom equals 28mm-84mm in 35mm-equivalent terms and so provides an ample gamut of zoom for most photographic work. The f/3.5 maximum aperture is not as open as some might wish, but it is capable of capturing bokeh; and, for those who want a lens with a lower f-stop, there are other lenses available for this camera at an added price.

In terms of size, being a mirrorless digital camera, the PL1 is small enough to be relatively unobtrusive. It comes with a strap that is quite adequate which attaches to each side of the camera so that it may be carried around the neck. But it is compact enough that I decided to attach a wrist loop to one of the brackets for the strap; I found that I could easily carry it in one hand that way while the wrist loop provides security to keep it from being accidentally dropped. With the 14-42mm zoom lens attached, it would be difficult to carry in a pocket; but with the shorter, 17mm lens (available separately) it could easily be slipped into a pocket or purse. I purchased a small camera bag which fits the camera with the kit lens attached and leaves room to carry another lens or the battery-charging equipment which comes with the PL1.

I have only a few complaints. The battery takes a good long while to recharge, so I will either have to plan ahead and have a charged-up battery whenever I plan to take the camera along. Otherwise I could shell out for a second battery (proprietary, of course) and always have a charged battery on hand. I also found a problem in focusing the camera in low light. I was doing a 3-second exposure with a tripod, and I found that the LCD monitor on the back of the camera provided no definition at that light level; even putting the camera on autofocus did not help. I didn't try illuminating the scene with a flashlight; that might have worked. What I did was take about 20 shots at progressively incremental focus; that did produce at least one well focused photograph. There are external flashes available for purchase which provide illumination for focusing; they can be attached by hot shoe. In bright sunlight it can be hard to see the LCD on the back of the camera. But there are viewfinders available for purchase which attach to the camera's hot shoe. Reviews on their functioning are mostly positive. Since all of my complaints can be addressed by purchasing additional equipment, I have not hesitated to give the Pl1 the best rating, especially since the basic price of the PL1 seems to me very reasonable for this very capable camera.

I have used this camera for about 2 weeks mostly in manual mode and am very pleased with the spot-on focusing and exposure it achieves. On the occasions I have used the auto mode the photos have also turned out very well. The boot-up of the program upon turning the camera on is very quick. And the shutter button, while not instantaneous, is very rapid for a digital camera, at least in manual mode which is how I have mostly used it. It has a built-in flash that can be flipped up which is adequate as a fill flash on short- to close-medium-range shots. The software that controls the camera allows for a wide range of options. Certain buttons can be programmed to various functions. I found that programming a button to make the LCD show how the shot would appear in black & white can be very helpful. The four-thirds format is new to me as I'm used to working in two-thirds format, but with 12.3MP there is plenty of room to crop to the shape and size the photographer wants, and the four-thirds format, just as it comes out of the camera, fits very well on an eight-and-a-half by eleven inch sheet of photo paper. There are cameras that can capture higher resolution, but the biggest paper my photo printer handles is 13 by 19 inches, and I can print at this size without any noticeable grain.

To sum up, I have found the Olympus PL1 to be a versatile camera, capable of seriously good quality photographs all in a compact package. I am happy with my purchase, and I feel I have received a great deal of camera for the price.
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on July 25, 2011
The Olympus E-PL1. A 12.3 megapixel mirrorless system digital camera. I have had the camera for a little over 2 weeks now, and I have to say that I'm very impressed with it. I bought this camera as a secondary "take everywhere" camera. I am primarily an action sports photographer, but I enjoy all types of photography, and you never know when a good photo opportunity will come about. Lets get to the review.

PROS:
Lightweight
Compact
Feels Solid
Fine Image Quality
Built-in Flash
Smooth Manual Focusing
HD Video
User Friendly
Easy to set Shutter speed, Aperture, and ISO

The camera is extremely lightweight without giving a "cheap" feel. Not as bulky as DSLR, but loads more customizable than a point and shoot. Nice build quality and construction. The large sensor allows for extremely elegant images. The built-in popup flash is great for action shots and other things, but I suggesting bouncing the flash, or it may be too powerful. The manual focusing ring is extremely smooth and does not add any additional shake when shooting video. The video shot by the camera is 720p HD footage. It looks pretty good! The menu system is very easy to get accustomed to, and is simple enough for an amateur photographer. The mode dial on the top allows for easy access to aperture priority, shutter priority, art filters, ect.

CONS:
Kit Lens Zoom
Slow Autofocus
Macro Mode
Low Light Performance?

The stock 14-42mm kit lens that comes with the camera doesn't always provide enough zoom to get close to your subject, so I suggest buying a telephoto lens if you plan on taking pictures requiring high levels of zoom. My main concern in buying this camera, is that I read the reviews, and boatloads of people were saying the autofocus is very slow. Being an action sports photographer, this concerned me. The focusing time varies by condition. The autofocus is decently quick in broad daylight, but gets progressively slower as light is removed, exposure is changed, ect. Autofocus isn't as terrible as some of the other reviews make it out to be... but I keep mine on manual focus 90 percent of the time anyway. One thing that upset me about this camera is the macro mode. I love taking macro shots, and this camera absolutely refuses to focus at close range even with the macro mode on. The shortest focusing distance i have achieved is about 6 or so inches. This is a drawback because I am an "in your face" macro photographer who likes to get right up on the subject. Lastly, the low light performance is just okay. In lower light conditions the camera struggles to focus and the shots look grainy even with the ISO maxed at 3200.

For more information, you should watch the DigitalRev review of the camera, it gives a lot of description as well as a street photography session.

All in all, the Olympus E-PL1 is a good camera with a nice pricetag. I would recommend it to anyone seeking a portable and elegant camera.

-Seymour
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on April 15, 2014
I bought this camera a year ago and I LOVE it! I have been able to capture some incredibly moments. The clarity is spectacular and the camera is lightweight which makes it perfect for on the go photography. This has truly been a fantastic beginner camera. It takes great macro, landscape, portraits, anything! Learn to use this camera and it can be your best friend!

The cons that I've found:

1. It doesn't focus as fast as I'd like and sometimes it refuses to focus on what you want. That's where manual comes in, but in nature photography getting the manual just right without a viewfinder took too long and I usually lost the subject.

2. No viewfinder! This was frustrating with my daylight shots. Sometimes I'd think I got it just right only to come home and realize the glare on the screen fooled me again!

All in all I've been very pleased with this camera and the quality of pictures it takes. It even gets incredible shots of the moon! If you're on a budget or you're just getting started in photography, this is your camera!
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on March 31, 2012
First off, when I grabbed this one it was on a crazy price cut. Here's the whole story though:

I started off with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GFKK3 kit. It was okay, kinda nice to have a touchscreen for certain things; a burden for others. The Panasonic cost me around $400 USD, which I would have been more than happy to pay except that the picture quality was so subpar it really gave me a heap big buyer's remorse. Luckily, the place I purchased it at (not Amazon) has a decent return policy. I ended up taking it back right after I saw the Pen at it's quite reasonable price.

The PEN arrived quickly with Prime, and as soon as I got it out and slapped an SD card into it, I snapped a few shots and sighed a huge sigh of relief. The picture quality was exactly what I was expecting it to be, and far superior to that of the Lumix. I had spent hours playing with the Lumix to ensure picture quality settings and video settings were set up properly to no avail - the Pen is far superior in picture quality, hands down.

Though the PEN lacks in the department of crazy features (like touchscreen and 3D capability), it excels in picture quality and (IMO) user-interface. Olympus glass (lenses) are always pretty great too, though this kit came with an L series (plastic lens mount instead of metal) kit lens (which is fine for the price), the quality of the glass itself is still great.

I paired this camera up with a compatible Eye-Fi card and it's been great so far! If you can get a good price on this camera, I would say shoot for it. It's a very practical for an amateur photographer and more portable than an SLR while sacrificing only a few SLR features that are not missed when the price is considered.
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on October 8, 2012
This is a great camera. I have used a SLR before, but never used it much because I preferred the convenience of a small point and shoot that would fit in my pocket or diaper bag so I never miss any "cute kid moments". I would often be disappointed with the quality of the point & shoot pictures when conditions weren't ideal (e.g. low light indoors), so when I heard about the olympus pen and the whole "compact camera system" category of cameras - I was really excited. I went with the PL1 for price, the newer models are significantly more $$ in my opinion and I wasn't convinced it was worth it. This camera takes awesome pictures. It's fast and easy to make adjustments and change settings while you're shooting. I LOVE the art filters. Only con so far is that it seems a little slow sometimes to process after your snap your picture. No biggie. I'm no photo expert. I just appreciate having some more control and the better quality pictures. Hands down beats any point and shoot. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
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on June 23, 2012
The Olympus Pen E-PL1 is an excellent bridge camera. This camera fits my need to move from point and shoot cameras to the interchangeable lens (ILC) world. I needed to take photos of jewelry to post online and was not pleased with the photos from my new 16MP point and shoot camera. I needed a camera I could manually focus and get great closeup shots. I did a lot of research and was reluctant to spend $500 and more for a single purpose camera. I, like most other shoppers, was focused on MP size thinking that would give me the quality photos I needed. Some of the reviews I've read mentioned larger MP size did not necessarily mean better photos. I had discounted the four-third cameras because most topped out at 12MP. I learned a great deal about the technology at four-thirds.org and decided to take a chance on the Olympus PEN E-PL1.

I have been extremely pleased with the photos from this camera. The quality of the photos surpass those of my 16MP P&S camera. The colors are as true as I've seen. My jewelry photos are coming out great. It is as easy to use as a point & shoot, but is much more capable. The iAuto setting is as simple as it gets, but as I learn more I am able to take advantage of the additional settings and take some really creative shots. This camera has opened a whole new world of photography beyond that for which it was originally purchased.

This has been one of the best buys I have made in a long time and at less than $300 is a terrific bargain! The size of this camera is a plus. It is not much larger than a point and shoot camera, so I think most people would be more likely to take this camera vs a large DSLR camera.

The only con is the price for additional lens. But with adapters you can use any of hundreds of lens out there. I was able to get a used 50mm f1.8 OM Olympus lens for $25 and an adapter for $23 and I now get great portrait photos with a nice soft background. The only trade-off is you must focus manually, but that is an easy compromise for the low price of a legacy lens.

I recommend this camera if you want to move up from P&S cameras at a low cost.
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on April 15, 2010
I was looking to replace the trusted Fuji-F31FD point-and-shoot, which was getting a bit old after 3 years of heavy use. My other camera is Canon 450D DSLR, which is most often used with Canon L EF 24mm 1.4 lens.
I became intrigued by micro 4/3 standard and checked reviews for the latest offerings by Panasonic and Olympus with the following priorities in mind:

1. Picture quality (both JPEG and RAW)
2. Size
3. Price
4. Ease of use
5. HD video

I did not care for a super-quick AF since will continue using Canon for sports pictures. Built quality is not as critical since I do not expect the camera to last more than 5 years anyway. In the end, I bought Olympus EPL1 with the kit 14-42mm lens and an additional Panasonic 20mm 1.7 pancake lens.

I find the initial results truly amazing:

1. Picture quality with Panasonic lens is much better than expected. In many cases, IQ is better than my Canon DSLR. Panasonic lens is incredibly sharp while the Olympus colors are gorgeous (may be a bit over-saturated). Actually, some of my friends are complaining that there is to much detail in their portraits taken with EPL1. Brought the camera to the local pro-photo store and the owner (professional newspaper photographer) could not believe picture quality from EPL1. Panasonic lens is excellent in low-light and Olympus in-body stabilization makes the combination even better.
2. The size is not as small as a regular P&S but comparable to super-zooms. I think it is good for hiking, skiing, city, and restaurant photos (people do not really like a huge DSLR lens pointed at them in a restaurant)
3. The price is good in comparison with the results
4. The camera is very easy to use. It has some learning curve due to many options (more than Canon). I find that AF speed with Panasonic lens is not an issue and the latest Olympus firmware upgrade is supposed to eliminate the problem completely (Update: 24-Apr-10 According to the latest DPReview comparison after the firmware upgrade, Olympus auto-focus with Panasonic lenses is the fastest in the class).

5. HD video is great (though MJPEG with 720P or 1080i and not MPEG4 or H.264 with full HD)

Cons:
1. The screen is relatively low resolution. Still the displayed image is clear and in my opinion better than Canon 450D.
2. I do not care much for the included IB software, prefer using Lightroom3 Beta2 instead.

Since the camera is new, it is a bit difficult to find the right accessories. After some shopping on the internet and in a local photo-store, I added the following:

1. A couple of MaximalPower replacement batteries
2. Transcend 16 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card
3. B&W 46mm Sky filter and Hoya 46mm multi-coated UV filter (for Panasonic lens)
4. Opteka Professional Wrist Grip Strap
5. Tamrac 5693 camera bag with belt loop. Perfectly fits the camera with either kit lens or the 20mm pancake with an extra pocket for spare battery and filter (but not much more).
6. Lens cap keeper

In short, I really enjoy the camera and with the accessories it is a nearly perfect solution for my needs

PS 17-Apr-10

After about a thousand pictures and one hiking trip:
1. Pictures are still amazing, both JPEG and RAW. I noticed that the camera encourages me to take more creative shots
2. Great improvement in camera size over 450D particularly for hiking
3. A wheel would be useful for quick aperture changes during hiking trips
4. A non-standard USB cord is a nuisance

Finally, I think EPL1 is a great little camera, may need to upgrade my 450D though
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