Affordable Interchangeable-Lens Camera
April 2010
  • live view
  • responsive
  • excellent image quality
  • comprehensive photographic features
  • highly customizable
  • well placed controls and buttons
  • built-in flash
  • good 2.7" LCD
  • 6:6 (1:1 square format)
  • Art Filter mode (special effects)
  • RAW files



  • slightly complicated menu
  • focus not bad, but could be faster

  • excellent and affordable, nomad's favorite

Unlike its older sibling, the Olympus Pen E-PL1 looks more functional than stylish. It doesn't have the luxurious feel of the the E-P2 but that is because it costs $400 less. However, affordability doesn't mean a reduction of quality. The E-PL1 performs as well as the E-P2 and it even has a built-in popup flash. While the placements of buttons and controls are different, the two cameras feel very similar in actually operation. We repeat what we like about the E-P2 here because the E-PL1 has the same features and performance.

The E-PL1 has comprehensive photographic features, controls and is highly customizable. External buttons and dials are easy to access and well placed; some are customizable which we find very useful. With so many features and options, the menu is slightly complicated - but not hard. To get the most out of the camera, it's worth to spend a little time to go through all of the features and options the camera offers.


Shooting is very responsive, even with RAW. Pure focusing speed is adequate, although the Lumix competitor focuses faster. However, we take advantage of the E-PL1 ability to customize the AEL/AFL button to pre focus - an excellent feature which enhances actual shooting performance in the field, by eliminating constant refocusing.


Some Art Filter effects like pinhole and diorama slow down the camera considerably but they are fun to use. The last 20 pictures in the San Francisco photo gallery were taken using the diorama mode.


Overall, we really like and enjoyed using this camera. It's an inexpensive, but serious and excellent interchangeable-lens camera that can grow as a system with additional lenses and accessories.


>> san francisco photo gallery

  • Micro 4/3 interchangeable-lens camera
  • price tested: $599 kit
  • kit zoom lens: 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6
  • colors: black, blue, champaign
  • CCD / sensor shift image stabilization
  • multi-format: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 6:6 (1:1)
  • 2.7" LCD 230K pixels
  • 720 HD video
  • SD/SDHC memory card
  • rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • 12.3 megapixels
  • body dimension: 4.51" x 2.84" x 1.63"
  • weight: 12.13oz
  • Olympus Pen E-PL1 info @