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: 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: 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.
Conclusion: Olympus E-P1 Micro Four Thirds system camera The Olympus E-P1 has made a daring move. The E-P1 is in many ways a very special camera. First of all, its appearance; retro and modern at the same time. For me, its design is as successful as the retro-design of the Volkswagen Beetle or the Fiat 500. While Panasonic hesitated to give the first Micro Four Thirds camera a different look, Olympus took on the challenge. And that deserves a huge compliment!
Summary: Not a writing instrument as you may think from the title, but a D SLR camera, this designed to look like an SLR of a long time ago. It takes brilliant images in daylight; alas I cannot tell you about night time shots as no flash was supplied.