Conclusion: Citation "Olympus E-P1 Camera Review," by Ryan Jordan. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364). http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/olympus_ep1_camera_review.html, 2009-11-24 00:05:00-07.
Summary: The final rating of this camera therefore depends greatly on whether it is being compared to a compact camera or against a DSLR. The differences between this one and similar models boil down to handling as they all currently share the same sensor and lens mount. So this is either the best performing compact camera ever, a good DSLR or an average (by default) interchangeable lens camera:
For the final rating, the E-P1 was put in the large digital camera category because...
Pros: Very good image quality, just below average for a DSLR, One of the smallest interchangeable lens digital cameras, Nicely saturated colors, Quite good metering, Good dynamic range, Above average automatic white-balance, Good built-in stabilization, 2-Axis Digital Level, Dual control dials, Excellent build quality
Cons: Reduced dynamic range compared to a DSLR, causes highlight clipping, Over-sensitive lower-rear control dial, Slow autofocus system, Not exposure priority, Long continuous drive display lag, No exposure display while showing digital level, Awkward menu system, Poor LCD visibility, No built-in flash, Short battery-life, Tripod mount not centered
Summary: It's hard not to fall for the E-P1's charms. The unashamedly nostalgic design combines with true SLR quality in a remarkably pocketable package. The lack of flash and viewfinder will put some off, as will the relatively slow focus, but overall this bodes very well indeed for the new system.
Pros: Excellent resolution, tons of detail in the shots, Appealing, bright and punchy out of camera results and well optimized JPEGs, Very clever collapsible kit lens that's small, but offers decent quality, Unique retro design puts SLR quality into a compact body, Good high ISO performance up to ISO 3200 and lots of control over noise reduction, Superb build quality, Decent handling, Dual control dials - unusual design that works well, Lots of external control, easy access...
Cons: Slow focus requires a more considered approach to shooting, Some highlight clipping (and poor dynamic range at ISO 100), Low resolution screen that's hard to see in bright light, No viewfinder, No built-in flash (and the optional flash is expensive and pretty basic), Complicated menu system not that easy to navigate, Preview image brightness doesn't always match the captured image brightness, Poor focus, slow lens and jerky live view image make shooting in very low li...
Summary: Extremely well built, with great lenses, the E-P1 is a good surprise… You will finally be able to reach DSLR photo quality in an extremely compact, but heavy camera. However, its price, as well as its limited video capability makes the E-P1 a bit difficult for anyone wanting to jump into the removable lenses camera world. At the same price you may get a better DSLR giving you better pictures if you go with a Canon or Nikon.
Conclusion: The Olympus E-P1 is probably the most anticipated Olympus camera since the announcement of the Micro Four Thirds system and the ‘wooden, compact interchangeable lens’ prototype shown by Olympus some time ago. When I first used the Olympus E-P1 and started to get accustomed to it, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the E-P1 and E620’s feature set with just a few differences here and there – almost as if Olympus put the guts of the E620 into a more compact...
Pros: Good image quality with low noise, high levels of sharpness and detail, Relatively compact, retro body design, Small, retractable kit lens of decent quality, Remarkably good build camera and ergonomics; uses SD/SDHC cards, Dual command dials (main dial + scroll wheel) a rarity among digital SLRs of its class, Full manual controls; RAW image mode, various bracketing modes and white balance tuning, Intelligent Auto and plenty of scene modes for beginners; fun features l...
Cons: Autofocus slower than nearest competitor (Panasonic GH1) and entry-level digital SLRs, No optical viewfinder, Low resolution LCD, No built-in flash or focus assist light, Mediocre focusing in low-light, especially with small aperture lenses, No real image stabilization and noisy AF when recording movies; cannot snap a still while filming, No settings to tweak Art Filters; increased processing times/lower screen frame rate when using them, RAW to JPEG playback tool is ...
Summary: Buying the E-P1 may look hard to justify at £700 (and a significant further price increase needs to be added when the optional viewfinder and flash are factored in) given it is not a DSLR but priced like one. True some may not see the point of this camera and it certainly may not get extra points for its value for money, but, when you start to factor in the handling, feature set, superb optics and the stunning picture quality, with well handled image noise; it starts to...
Pros: Image quality, handling, Super Control Panel, Comprehensive, creative feature set, Good dust reduction system, Retro styling, Build, Lenses.
Cons: No (built-in) viewfinder, No built-in flash, Price, screen hard to see in brighter conditions.
Summary: Some assembled journalists at the E-P1's launch baulked at the initial UK asking price - Olympus' reasoning being that it's an object of desire. The gripes are down to the fact it's still more than an entry level digital SLR would cost - admittedly one without HD movie capacity - and requires would-be users to invest in a whole new system of course.
Pros: Solid feel, fun built-in art filters as found in Olympus' very latest E-series digital SLRs
Cons: The camera's relative bulk, no built in optical viewfinder, no on-board flash (though both available as optional extras), the expensive initial asking price at £700
Excerpt: Think big; build small. That's the premise of the Micro Four Thirds system-big imaging performance from small cameras that have interchangeable lenses. And the first model from Olympus, the E-P1, delivers. In our tests, this $800 camera (street, with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens; $750, body only) produced color-accurate images, low noise through ISO 800, and solid 720p HD video. Combine that with a classic, petite design, and we've got a new go-anywhere winner.
Excerpt: The Olympus PEN E-P1 Micro Four-Thirds camera is a beautiful piece of hardware and something photo geeks can’t help but want. After all, it has lots of history behind it, it’s one of the best looking digital cameras on on the market, and it packs much of the power of a DSLR into a size close that of to a point-and-shoot. But it’s not a DSLR and it’s too big to fit into a pocket, so as a result the E-P1 falls into a middle ground where might not be just right for anyone.
Summary: Squeezing a big sensor into a small camera may sound like an easy thing to do, but involves over-coming a number of technical hurdles. Sigma was the first to achieve the physical goal with its DP1 compact, although this suffered from a number of operational caveats which ruled it out for many photographers.
The E-P1 achieves the same goal by adopting the Micro Four Thirds standard developed by Olympus and Panasonic.
Pros: Compact body with DSLR-sized sensor., Built-in stabilisation works with any lens., HD movie mode and HDMI port., Broad customisation and Level Gauge.
Cons: Leisurely autofocus system., No built-in flash or viewfinder., Average resolution screen., Collapsing kit zoom mechanism can annoy.