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Showing 1-10 of 208 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 290 reviews
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)

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 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 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 July 31, 2010
I've been a pro photographer for 5 years now, and I never know what to tell average people when they ask me about what camera they should buy if they aren't asking about DSLR's. To me, point and shoots produce noisy files, they have the flashes in the precise place to maximize the potential to make you look awful, and given my choice, I'd probably rather shoot with my iPhone instead.

Of course, it's not like I haven't had to deal with them- my wife still has her Canon SD600 and until last year, I had a Leica D-Lux3, which had nice glass but couldn't be trusted above ISO 200, because of the blotchy noise that would show up, largely from putting too many pixels on a sensor that's a quarter the size of a postage stamp.

When the Leica was lost, I put off replacing it for the longest time because I didn't have to, and I just couldn't commit to a Canon G11, which could work with my pro flashes on its hotshoe, but was still pretty bulky.

Then I discovered the Pen.

I've always liked Olympus cameras for great color rendering, ease of use, but hated their insistence on using their proprietary xD card format-- hard to find and too expensive. But the Pen is SD/SDHC memory, and even better, it has this HUGE (for a point and shoot ) sensor- a touch smaller than a crop frame DSLR, and about 5x larger than most p&s cameras. That makes the images sharp, the higher range ISO choices usable, and in general, the files don't look point and shoot-like.

The Pen is part of an interchangeable lens system, but I didn't purchase anything beyond the lens that's included, a 14-42mm lens. I might buy a 17mm prime lens for it, as the camera is a little thick (about 2 inches from screen to lens cap) in the closed position, and is not a pocket camera configured thus. It runs on the Four Thirds format, but I immediately told it to shoot stills in 2:3 ratio for easy 4x6 printing, and set the video capture (720p HD, for those of you scoring at home) to 16:9 widescreen. My feeling is why set yourself up for disappointment when your framing of a photo/video leads to you having to crop out something important just to make it usable.

The menus give you tons of control if you want it, with ability to set ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, and all the things pros like, but it also has some simple modes like Intelligent Auto and some scene specific things for people who know what they're hoping to shoot but don't know how to get there without hand holding. It even has tips for improving your shot built in for newer Photographers.

But for me, the big pleasant surprise was the flash. Olympus gave you one that pops up on a spring loaded arm, but they tucked that under the flash when not in use, so that when it opens, the flash head is brought up and forward. I discovered that I could use a finger on my left hand and bend the flash arm back SO I COULD BOUNCE THE FLASH OFF THE CEILING. It's a whole new world when your flash opens up the room instead of microwaving your subject. (I recommend an extra tick of exposure compensation for this.). There's also a hotshoe for external flashes or radio controllers.

Video was very smooth, microphone nice and sensitive. It looks much better than other P&S HD video, again, sensor size makes a massive difference.

I've had mine for a month, and used it as a walk around camera for 4 days at Disney World, and used it as a location scouting notebook for a job. The client liked the Pen images so much she ordered 7 of them as 20x30 and 40x30 canvas prints! What other P&S could you blow up files that large with?

I am completely thrilled to death with the Pen. Now all I need to do is convince Apple to support the Raw files in iPhoto...
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on February 29, 2012
Originally, this camera was too expensive for me. After waiting for a few months, the price dropped into the 270 range and I decided to buy one. It was a great decision to buy this camera! I compared it with all of its siblings( EPM1, EPL3, 2, etc). My main concern was image quality. Since all the cameras have the same sensor, i expected similar image quality. Using DPReview, I found that the image quality for the EPL1 was actually alttle better than the rest(just alittle). one point for EPL1

Also, this camera has a pop-up flash--which is removed from the EPL3 and EPM1. I think this a great feature that I love, the flash is strong and you can bounce it off walls. I personally have not had any problems with auto-focus speed. mine focuses fast and is a joy to use. Overall, this camera is simply the BEST!! for its price range($265-300)!!!!. no other camera can competitive with it. The only difference between this camera and the EPL2 is MKII kit lens(for quiet autofocus, IQ is the same) and the new button layout on the EPL2. For me, this wasn't a upgrade, and wasn't worth $330 extra.

in terms of autofocus speed, the EPL3 and EPM3 did significantly increase the auto focus speed. However, the pop up flash was removed along with the hand-grip. since IQ was most important to me and the auto-focus speed on the EPL1 is good, I decided to go with the EPL1. it wasn't worth over $380 to get slightly faster autofocus and a loss of flash and handgrip.

Overall, I am very happy with my purchase.
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on March 21, 2017
I love this camera. I have had it stolen and replaced it with the same model, as it suits my needs perfectly. The vintage look is nice as well.
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on March 14, 2015
Been using it for more than 4 years now.

Some parts are now starting to fall off after months of backacpking. But it's still shoots amazing photos and is light.
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on March 18, 2010
I've been wanting a new camera for awhile and my wife and I have been looking at DSLRs but have been hesitant as we have no idea how to use all the features/settings of a DSLR. After speaking with friends who have a PEN-1, we went ahead and purchased this camera and are extremely pleased with it. The pictures are amazing. Very easy to use. Feels sturdy in your hands. The video camera is also wonderful, and has replaced our dedicated HD video camera (what's the point anymore of having one?)

Would I purchase this camera again? YES!
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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 January 30, 2011
I purchased the E-PL1 after deciding that for my needs a full-size SLR was not necessary, while a simple pocket-size point-n-shoot was just not up to par. There seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding the Micro 4/3 camera and the niche it is intended to fill. At first glance it seems this camera is some kind of "in between" for consumer and pro SLR grade cameras, however I would have to say from my experience that this leans closer to SLR in terms of performance and picture-taking quality.

What I think about using it

Since I am not a pro photographer, nor do I have any aspirations to be be one, I like a camera that will work well without me having to spend months figuring it out. I should say that while I don't want to be a pro, I like getting pro-level results and that's what I like about the E-PL1; it does exactly what I want (most of the time), and using the iAUTO setting allows you to take really great photographs without having to pay a lot of mind to advanced settings. I think it is important to remember that for about $400 you are getting a camera that will take absolutely beautiful photographs - not just mere snapshots. The best of the consumer pocket cams will not even come close to what you can achieve with the E-PL1 in terms of photographic quality. The pictures are certainly on par with what my friend's Nikon D90 can achieve.

Lenses and Add-ons

Being able to swap lenses is great, it adds a lot of flexibility to the camera. While I really like this ability, and I do have multiple lenses for my E-PL1, this may be one of the weaker points only because the selection of 4/3 lenses is relatively small. All I have right now are the Olympus zoom lens that came with the kit and the Lumix 20 mm pancake lens which I use most of the time. The pictures turn out great with either lens, but the Lumix lens does a better job of capturing the subtleties of the scene. I am considering purchasing a wide-angle lens sometime in the future but for now I am more than content with the two I have. The lenses for this camera are very small and light, so taking them with you is not a problem. You don't need a massive camera bag if you just want to bring one or two extra lenses. In addition to lenses you can get other accessories like a flash or viewfinder. Personally, I found the LCD screen to be more than adequate even in bright, sunny conditions. I was recently in Southeast Asia where it's always hot and sunnny, and had no trouble framing shots during the day...or night for that matter.


Some people may complain that this camera is too big or heavy, but really, for what it is, it is perfect. You don't need to put it in a bag, just get a padded strap and wear it on your shoulder or neck. You can stuff extra lenses into your pockets or a small bag, and since there is an integrated pop-up flash you do not need to bring an externally mounted flash. A quick word about the integrated flash - it works great, has decent range and the camera does a good job of balancing the exposure to prevent washed-out photographs when using the flash. On the down side, the flash does take a big long to "warm up" before it is ready to go. Overall the E-PL1 is giving you SLR-quality results without having to lug around a big full-size camera, and for most people the E-PL1 will be more than they ever need.

Auto Focus

As others have mentioned, the auto focus on this camera can be a little "iffy" at times. Even in well-lit scenes, the camera can hunt around before finally locking in on focus...but it does have a constant AF mode which will attempt to "track" the subject as it changes focal planes. Personally, I stick with the standard AF mode. This camera is able to capture fast motion shots without giving you a blurry mess, but if you are doing something like sports photography you will certainly want to use the continuous shooting mode. Combine that with a quick SDHC card and you can capture pictures sequentially as the action happens, increasing your chances of getting that perfect shot.

Video Recording

The E-PL1 does record 720P video and it does so well. Although a dedicated camcorder is still better, this camera records high enough quality video that you can leave the camcorder at home and not really regret it. If video recording is not your primary objective then you will be content with the results you get from the E-PL1. I do believe there is a stereo mic attachment you can get to improve the sound quality of the video recordings - that is something you should get if you plan to do more than just the occasional video, because the sound quality with the built-in mic is not that great.


The final point I'm going to touch upon is build quality - which is excellent. This camera is very durable and feels solid in your hands when holding it - not cheap and flimsy like many newer electronics do. It does feel like it could take a few hits but I would not want to drop mine to find out. The camera body may survive but the fragile lenses would most likely be damaged on impact. Overall I would expect my E-PL1 to last a long time and provide many years of quality photography.

My conclusion is that the E-PL1 is an ideal camera for both individuals who want to take high quality photos as well as pros who want a camera they can use "most of the time", saving the full size SLRs for studio work and such. I really love mine and I have absolutely no second guesses about buying it. It's not often that such a high quality product is made available at such a reasonable price...but as far as cameras go this one deserves high marks because despite its minor flaws, it excels where it counts the most.
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