Serious ART
November 2011

We have always liked the Olympus PEN Micro 4/3 cameras. Their design is geared toward the serious photographers, they come with a comprehensive set of features and are highly customizable. The PEN E-PM1 is the newest, smallest, and least expensive of the PEN series, but it performs just as well as its bigger siblings, missing only the built-in flash of the E-P3 and tiltable LCD of the E-PL3.


The E-PM1 is comfortable to handle. It focuses and shoots quickly, even with RAW. The buttons and dial are easy to access and well placed; many 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.


Our favorite feature of the camera, however, is its 'ART' Filter mode which simulates effects like Pop Art, Pin Hole, and Diorama. We love the Pin Hole filter mode and shot our Chaudoc gallery entirely with it. We also like the combination of the E-PM1 and the fixed 17mm lens very much, their combined compact size and focal length are perfect for discreet street photography.


Overall, we really liked and enjoyed using the E-PM1. It's an inexpensive, but serious and excellent interchangeable-lens camera. However, there are other worthy competitors in the mirrorless camera field with their own unique strengths. Sony cameras have bigger sensors and better high ISO image quality. Panasonic Lumix cameras are well designed and use image stabilized lenses. While the PEN cameras have the cool Art Filter mode and real useful customization capability.


>> chaudoc photo gallery

  • compact, responsive, easy to use
  • very good image quality
  • comprehensive photographic features
  • highly customizable
  • well placed controls and buttons
  • built-in flash
  • good 3.0" LCD
  • 6:6 (1:1 square format)
  • Art Filter mode (special effects)
  • RAW files
  • Excellent optional external viewfinder
  • External flash hot shoe
  • Mini HDMI output port



  • slightly complicated menu
  • high ISO image quality

  • excellent and affordable, nomad's favorite
  • Micro 4/3 interchangeable-lens camera
  • price tested: $499 kit
  • kit zoom lens: 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6
  • colors: purple, silver, pink, white, black, brown
  • CCD / sensor shift image stabilization
  • multi-format: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 6:6 (1:1)
  • 3.0" LCD 460K pixels
  • 1080 HD video
  • SD/SDHC memory card
  • rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • 12.3 megapixels
  • body dimension: 4.31 x 2.50 x 1.33 in.
  • body weight: 9.34 oz
  • Olympus Pen E-PM1 info @