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Showing 1-10 of 208 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 290 reviews
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 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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on January 4, 2015
This would be a great camera, picture quality, features, etc. I took 2 months worth of pictures on it, and they were excellent. I could do some fun things with the camera.

But after 2 months, I got an error on the camera that is a fundamental malfunction. It is a Write Protect error, and is an issue with the camera. This particular error is sometimes an issue with the card settings or the formatting, or even a little mechanical switch on the card itself. But in my case, the error is a core malfunction of the camera. I can't take another single picture with it, and to fix it would cost as much as this camera is worth new.

I don't care how good the photo quality is, a camera needs to last longer than two months.
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on December 7, 2010
This camera should get some type of award like "Micro 4/3 Camera of the Year 2010" !!

It packed the IQ of expensive and bigger DSLR camera into a P&S format.

Last 2 months, I tried Fujifilm HS10, Canon SX20is and Pentax K-x. The HS10 (30x !!!) gave sharp picture at near end, a little soft at far end of the zoom, excellent macro, but with bad low night performance. SX20is is bad in every area except video with auto focus (not sure why people gave it high rating!? SX30is picture is even worse). K-x's picture is Okay and is very good in low night performance (up to ISO 6400 with no flash!!) but can't auto focus in video. However they all failed my special test; they can not fit into my winter jacket pocket or my wife's purse. I really don't like to carry big camera for day to day casual shooting.

Finally, I found Sony Nex 3 and E-PL1. The Nex 3 has very small body, very nice LCD, but the lens is much longer. Its lens is also proprietary. E-PL1 has bigger body (good size to me, heavier and feel very solid) and with a retractable lens (very smart!!). Picture by E-PL1 is also better than Nex 3. E-PL1 also has a build-in flash (I love it, it is bright enough for most casual pictures), a hot shoes (I need that for group pictures indoor), and better low night performance. It proofs that the bigger APC-S size senor in Nex 3 is not always better if its JPEG engine can not keep up. I did not try Penny CF1 because it is more expensive for its lens, no build-in stabilizer in the body, and its review is worse than E-PL1 for picture IQ.

Picture of E-PL1 is so sharp that it revealed all the defect of my face. Ladies should be aware of this :-) Every picture is very sharp when zoom in on my computer. I am just using M-normal size setting in this camera. The size of each file is about 1.2MB and I can still crop out very nice smaller picture from it to print. It proofed more pixel is not always better, it just wasted more storage. I (and most people) usually only print 4x6 pictures!!

All the iAuto, Arts and Scene modes are very usable!! Anyone from P&S world can use this camera (like me). Yet, it has all other manual mode for the advanced users (a lot for me to learn). I posted a sun set behind tree picture here. There are also many options in the menu; more than the HS10, SX20is and K-x.

I also like the Auto Focus with manual adjust mode. I can half-press the shutter button, let it perform auto focus, then use the manual focus ring to check. The LCD zoom into the center of the image for me to see. It is so easy!!!

With HS10/SX20is/K-x, the camera can take macro picture at very close distance (almost touching) to the object. E-PL1 can not auto-focus if it is less than 6 inches away. But I can zoom to the object from there, so it is not a problem. Just something to get used to. I posted a few "pink" and "red" flower macro pictures here.

The only thing I miss is a focus assist light so it can not focus in a dark room or dark night... E-PL1 also has hard time to take fast action picture. We know its LCD is hard to read under bright sun light, but I am always confident that it can take good picture every time even I don't see it well from the live view LCD. Its view finder is just TOO EXPENSIVE!! If the surrounding is very dark, the LCD shows lot of noise. I called the Olympus support; they pick up the phone right away. They said it is normal to see noise on the LCD in a room with very little night. I thought I had a defective unit....

The video from E-PL1 is nice but it records the sound from the lens when I adjust the zoom lens. It does not auto focus until I half-press the shutter button. So I still need a camcorder. This camera allows me to take picture during video recording!!! The HS10 and SX20is can auto focus in video mode in my test. HS10 is so cheap; I may buy it again if I need to shoot at 30x distance during a sport game. It is much cheaper than buying a 14-150mm or 70-300mm zoom lens for this E-PL1 :-)

I got my E-PL1 refurnished model via Amazon Market Place, the packaging is just okay but it is still like new. Now I need to save some $$$ for the 9-18mm lens (same cost as this camera!!!) and an external flash.

When the E-PL2 is available, I will be one of the first buyer!!! I hope Olympus adds the focus assist lamp sooooooon.
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