Olympus Pen E-P1 first look review

  • Price When Reviewed: 520

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The E-P1 also supports regular four thirds lenses; you'll need the MMF-1 adapter. Olympus currently offers more than 20 four thirds lenses such as the ZD 8mm fisheye lens below. If you have older OM lenses stashed away in the closet, you can buy the MF-2 adapter to use those lenses on the E-P1, keeping in mind that you'll have to focus manually. The E-P1 comes in two flavours: a silver body with black accent, or a white metal body with tan accent.

There's no built-in flash, but you do have three accessory flashes to choose from. I used the compact FL-14 flash. It slides right into the hot shoe and looks great on the camera. In fact, I would often just leave it mounted during the course of the day in case I needed a little fill flash for portraits.

The E-P1 offers four aspect modes (4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 6:6). For full resolution, you should use 4:3. But if you don't mind giving up a few pixels, the other aspect ratios are fun to play with.

There are also six art filters built into the camera that can be applied to both stills and video. You can use them at capture, but I prefer to shoot in Raw, and then later play with the filters on the LCD to create new images. I also like the e-Portrait feature, which uses the camera's face-detection technology to smooth out skin tones while leaving other areas such as eyes and hair alone (this also can be applied in playback mode).

Initially for Raw processing, you'll need to use the Olympus Master 2 software that comes with the camera. There are both Mac and Windows versions. Up the road, however, I'm guessing that Adobe and Apple will provide Raw profiles for the E-P1.

Many photographers will ask if the E-P1 is a compact camera or a DSLR replacement. Quite honestly, it's neither. The Olympus E-P1 is its own breed of camera. For creatives looking for a great mix of photographic power and portability this could easily be the only camera they'd ever need -- especially if they add an extra lens and an accessory flash. Hardcore DSLR shooters who want a versatile back-up or a more discreet camera for street shooting will most likely be interested in adding the E-P1 to their bag of tricks. And, this could also be a good 'move up' camera for compact camera snap shooters.

But my guess is that demand for the E-P1 will be driven mostly by pure desire for a handsome, well made, flexible image capture device that delivers high quality for a reasonable price.

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