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)!