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Old May 7, 2010, 11:14 PM   #1
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Default Birthday Present to Myself: E-PL1

I haven't posted in a few months but anyone who remembers me will know that, despite the fact that my DSLR kit is Pentax, I have long had a warm spot in my heart for Olympus. What's more, I always thought Oly and Panasonic were onto something big with micro four-thirds - although the price of entry was just a bit high considering I didn't want to sell my Pentax gear.

Well, May 2 was my birthday and the next day, I dropped in to check out one of the few local camera shops near my home in New Jersey (as opposed to New York City, where I work). The shop is The Photo Center in Brick, New Jersey... for anyone who lives in Ocean or Monmouth Counties.

And there in the glass case, surrounded by the typical Canons and Nikons, was an Olympus E-PL1 with 14-42mm kit lens. After handling this camera for about 10 minutes, there was no question: I loved it and decided to celebrate my birthday by buying it for $549 ($50 Mother's Day week promotion from Olympus).

This is an outstanding little camera and the price of admission to the world of micro four-thirds was finally low enough even for me. Image quality is impressive with the only fault being a slight tendency to blow highlights in very high contrast situations - and I'm talking about ultra-bright, blinding sunlight reflecting off bright, sometimes metallic surfaces. But I must say I did miss having a viewfinder when working in that same sunlight - although I could still see enough in the LCD to at least frame the shot.

Focus speed, while not the fastest I've seen, was certainly more than acceptable - and is now noticeably faster after I downloaded the new firmware update. And the camera seemed to have no trouble maintaining tracking focus. Did I mention the collapsable kit lens is a hoot? And, of course, there are those lovely Olympus colors and jpg renderings.

Next up: the VF-2 electronic viewfinder, which I also tried out (it's fantastic), and the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens. Other than this one Panny lens, I personally see no reason to not stick with Oly's micro four-thirds lenses. Like their regular four-thirds lenses, quality is quite good - especially considering the price, which in almost every case is hundreds of dollars less than the equivalent Panasonic lens.

So, here I am on the micro four-thirds train - and happy to be here. Oh, and BTW, here's an interesting write up on a real-world experience with the E-PL1 vs. the Samsung NX10 that just hit another photo Web site:

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2010/0...jonathan-wong/

Last edited by Biro; May 8, 2010 at 11:36 AM.
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Old May 8, 2010, 3:41 AM   #2
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welcome to M4/3, and yes the VF2 is awesome. It makes the camera way easier to use.
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Old May 8, 2010, 5:12 AM   #3
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Congrats on getting the E-PL1.

Steve's Forum will be probably have to add a micro-fourthirds forum fairly soon judging from the number of adopters of this new design.

Looking forward to some pics.

Zig

BTW, thanks for the link. A good read

Last edited by zig-123; May 8, 2010 at 5:23 AM.
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Old May 8, 2010, 10:02 AM   #4
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Congrats on your purchase, I just got one last night at best buy for $549, Going up the mountain here soon to try it out.
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Old May 8, 2010, 11:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biro View Post
... Image quality is impressive with the only fault being a slight tendency to blow highlights in very high contrast situations - and I'm talking about ultra-bright, blinding sunlight reflecting off bright, sometimes metallic surfaces...
I believe any camera, no matter how good/expensive they are, will produce blown highlights in some specific circumstances. Sun rays on metallic surfaces will always produce a hot spot (blown highlight if you will) and the only way to absolutely eliminate the spot is by reducing the exposure to extreme levels, which in turn will cause the image to go totally dark. I think there is a difference between blown highlights. Some are totally acceptable to me, such as hot spots created by metal or any reflective material (foliage, shiny surfaces, etc.). They are relatively small spots on objects. Others are not, such as loss of detail in large areas (i.e clothes that look absolutely bright white, with no shadows, etc). Having the EP1 myself, I think you'll be very happy with your EPL1 and you'll soon realize the its DR is much better than reviewers claim it is. Enjoy!
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Old May 8, 2010, 11:47 AM   #6
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congratulations on your new purchase. its a great camera.

i agree with what Tulio already said, metallic surfaces in sunlight will blow out any camera. i have been pleased with the dynamic range of my epl-1, i have not noticed a substantial difference between it and my 50D.
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Old May 8, 2010, 12:53 PM   #7
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Oh yes, I agree completely - almost any camera will produce blown highlights in the extreme situations I described in my original post - which is why I am not at all concerned. Clearly, the E-PL1 has been underrated by some - but not all - reviewers. I am thoroughly pleased - especially for the price. Now, do I keep the LX3 or not?
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Old May 8, 2010, 2:26 PM   #8
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I would keep it, there is times I still find the epl-1 a bit to large, and a pocket point and shoot works better.
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Old May 9, 2010, 12:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
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... Now, do I keep the LX3 or not?
Not. Sell it and get yourself either the Lumix 20mm f1.7 or the oly 17mm pancake for when you want a very small combo. There's nothing the LX3 can do that the EPL1 + 20mm can't. The 2.5x optical zoom of the LX3 is hardly a zoom anyway.
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Old May 9, 2010, 7:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Not. Sell it and get yourself either the Lumix 20mm f1.7 or the oly 17mm pancake for when you want a very small combo. There's nothing the LX3 can do that the EPL1 + 20mm can't. The 2.5x optical zoom of the LX3 is hardly a zoom anyway.
That little Panny 20mm is what the camera is made for. Small/Bright/Stunning

I doubt you could get it paid by selling a digicam, but in my case it was worth the price of admission.
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