Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   Olympus Micro Four Thirds (
-   -   Convince Me, users of the Oly E-PL1 (

KulaCube Sep 11, 2010 1:28 PM

Convince Me, users of the Oly E-PL1

Have been reading your comments, thoughts about the E-PL1, I am this close to just going out and buying one.

But here's the thing, all the local camera outlets/stores (Toronto area) seem to discount the Olympus brand. Some claim it is a service issue, where others sniff dismissively at the brand name. And the overall reaction when I express my interest in the PL1 is that they think I'm bonkers. "If you are going to spend that amount, get a real camera" as they haul out the usual gang of DSLRs.

I don't like the modern DSLRs -- to me they are bloated, over mechanized point and shoots -- the lens don't even have an aperture ring! Great cameras to be sure, marvelous images etc, but just too big. And the better point and shoots may have good image quality, long'ish zooms and tiny sensors with too ambitious pixel counts.

I'm looking for a camera to shoot Life, the Universe and Everything and produce images that are satisfying. The camera has to be portable enough to easily be with me, auto enough for my wife and manual enough for me. So that is what has lead me to the E-PL1. Now I just need convincing from you, the owners/users.

Many thanks

sdcs Sep 11, 2010 2:06 PM

I just talked to my wife this morning: "The best thing about this camera is that you too can use it too." Of course she shouted out: "I'm not a fool."

I don't have experience with Panasonic GF-1, so I don't know how much worse its JPEG output is compared to EPL1, but its video is certainly sharper and finer, much more satisfactory (again, I still prefer Oly's color style). You can get a body only for $390. This is the only alternative to EPL1. Sony NEX-3 is for Sony fans (most of them are idiots).

I started photography in my university days, but did not do it much in the last 15 years, because, as you said, there were simply no good cameras worth of this hobby. EPL1 changed this and got me back to this fun. Before it, they were all either too large, to pricey, too hard to use or images/video too bad.

Hards80 Sep 11, 2010 2:49 PM

Well Kula.

I have owned my EPL1 since it was released and really have come to enjoy the camera. The JPEG image output rivals my much larger Canon 50D. The Oly has arguably the best JPEG engine out there. The colors are great and the balance of noise reduction to detail preservation at higher ISO's is about perfect for my tastes. It has worked out well enough for me that I rarely shoot my 50D these days, as for my normal shooting needs, I gain nothing from bringing the larger camera. Keep in mind that just like DSLR's you will need to use the right lens for the situation. The collapsable kit lens is quite sharp and is a good lens for normal shooting conditions where a normal zoom is preferred. If you wish to shoot in lower light conditions, Panasonics 20 1.7 is a good fast prime to add to the kit, and Panny's 45-200 is a quite nice telephoto if that is something you need. If you are looking for an all-in-one superzoom lens, Olympus' 14-150 is a very capable travel zoom lens.

You can check out my Flickriver (see my signature) for some examples of the EPL1, shots from it are mixed with shots from 50D, just click the photo to view more details on each.

shoturtle Sep 12, 2010 1:12 AM

I too am a dslr owner, but when my wife lets me use the epl1. I completely enjoy using the camera. The dslr is my action and extreme low light camera now. And the epl-1 has become the carry around tool.

My wife flies about 300k miles a year, and I fly about 150k miles a year. That is why I got her the epl-1. She complain about the IQ with all the point and shoots we have. And this camera was the solution to all her issues with point and shoots. It is a great little camera, match with different lenses. It does 90% or what I shoot and 100% of what my wife shoots. And being small and compact, and the m4/3 lenses are the smallest lenses on the market. It was just the perfect travel tool. I will be heading to on vacation for a month in december, we will most likely bring only one camera. And it will be the epl-1 with the kit lens, panasonic 45-200mm and 20mm 1.7. And it will cover all our travel photography needs.

Here is just one example of how well the epl-1 shoots compare to a t1i.

If you want to see some epl-1 samples with the different lenses. I can give couple more links showing you the epl-1 shots next to canon t1i shots. They are very telling how good the epl-1 is.

So if you want something that you will not mind carrying around. Which will cause you to use it more and get deeper into photography. The epl-1 is just that tool. The only thing it is really not suited for is action and extreme low light.

Tullio Sep 12, 2010 10:27 AM


Originally Posted by KulaCube (Post 1140082)
... "If you are going to spend that amount, get a real camera" as they haul out the usual gang of DSLRs.

I kind of agree to some degree. I recently bought the EPL1 and I must say I'm not that impressed with it at all. To me, it's a P&S delux. Although IQ is very good, I don't think it's as responsive as some top P&S cameras. The kit lens produces good quality images but it's flimsy and cheap. The LCD is small and low res. Even shutter lag is higher than some P&S out there and BI flash is pretty weak. I just bought the Lumix 20mm and had high hopes for the combo. Now, it is possible that I have a(nother) bad copy of the camera (and I say the camera because what I'm going to describe does not occur with the lens mounted on the G1) but several shots taken indoors in regular ambient daylight, were not properly focused (even though the camera locked focus). Sure the fast lens helped keeping the shutter speed at very acceptable levels but I have noticed this behavior with the EP1 as well, so it is possible that the IBIS is not as efficient as Oly claims it to be. The EPL1 also does not offer auto sensor orientation, so images taken vertically, remain horizontal. And I can go on and on. It is very possible that I'm way too picky or I build up too much expectation as I read all the good comments and opinions, so take my words with a good grain of salt.

IMO, the EPL1 is a good spare (more portable) camera if you already have bought into the m4/3 system or if you want a very compact system that offers choices of lenses. However, if this is your very first camera and you do not want any P&S (or P&S-like) camera, then I'd say look for a DSLR or one of the Panasonic G models (the GH1 is without a doubt the best m4/3 camera to date). They have a lot more to offer in just about every respect. The VF is one of their biggest asset (you'll pay $250 for an EVF for the EPL1 in case you can't deal with its pathetic LCD). They will focus faster, have virtually no shutter lag, offer a ton more lens choices and some of the new models are very compact.

sdcs Sep 12, 2010 11:36 AM

If you want to pay much more and do raw to jpeg, gh1 is the one. To me, for $450 and this good jpeg, I can't ask for more.

That said, I agree fully about the focus issue: it is too slow to capture any moment and it simply wont focus sometimes. Many EPL1 photos posted in this forum are not focused, back from africa for example.

So If you can't afford of missing an invaluable moment, you should not get the EPL1. Again I don't know how much better GH1 is on this regard. I want a GH1 mainly for its 1080p.

KulaCube Sep 12, 2010 12:02 PM

Thanks for the feedback. 3 to 1 in favour.

Focusing seems to be an issue. As to the speed of getting a focus lock, or the attempt at getting a focus lock, I dare say it will be a great improvement over my little Sony W1. I cannot count the number of times the photo just did not happen as it tryed to focus, or the subject was gone by the time the shutter decided to trip.

Where focus is critical to me is using the manual focus. Too many times I have being trying to capture a specific blossom in a cluster and the dear W1 decided on the wrong plane of focus. Glad it is digital so you can keep banging away until the brute finally gets it right.

So, how is the manual focus, how well does it work? I was trying a Sony NEX 5 and the manual focus was near unusable. Low light, hand held. As soon as you rotate the focus ring, the live view screen magnifies and becomes extreamly grainy. Being hand held the image bounces so much it was next to useless.

sdcs Sep 12, 2010 1:01 PM

I actually like the magnified live view, it is a must without an EVF. You can turn this feature off on EPL1, but then the screen is way too bad to do MF. I still rely on AF because, when it works, it does a better job than MF.

Greg Chappell Sep 12, 2010 2:11 PM


Originally Posted by KulaCube (Post 1140424)

So, how is the manual focus, how well does it work? I was trying a Sony NEX 5 and the manual focus was near unusable. Low light, hand held. As soon as you rotate the focus ring, the live view screen magnifies and becomes extreamly grainy. Being hand held the image bounces so much it was next to useless.

I was at the Dallas Museum or Art earlier today with my E-PL1 and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. I was manually focusing and it works splendidly. As soon as you start turning the focus ring you get an enlarged center area and, with the Panasonic 20mm f1.7, the image snaps right into and out of focus. Much easier than focusing with a manual focus film SLR ever was.

sdcs Sep 12, 2010 2:22 PM

BTW, I was browsing in the panny forum trying to figure out which adapters I need for the 4 SLR lenses I have. The photos posted there remind me why I bought EPL1 - I don't like panny and sony colors.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 7:02 AM.