Features & Controls
Like the E-P1/E-P2, the E-PL1 uses the same micro Four-Thirds (mFT) lens mount system. There are several models from both Olympus/Panasonic that use this specification. Because this is a mirror-less system, these manufactures have been able to reduce the distance between the mount and the image sensor from 40 mm (standard Four Thirds System) to approximately 20 mm. This allows for a much smaller camera bodies as well as lenses.
For those of you who are concerned with the fact that dust might fall
on your image sensor, Olympus has included their effective Supersonic
Wave Filter Dust Reduction System on all of their Digital PEN models. This system is designed
to prevent dust from adhering to the image sensor by using ultra-sonic vibrations, helping the filter repel dust and other particles.
The dust is then trapped on an adhesive absorber at the bottom of the
filter so it doesn't return to the sensor later on.
On top is the Mode Dial with positions for iAuto (Intelligent Auto), Program, Aperture priority, Shutter speed priority, Manual, Movie, SCN, and ART. To the right is the Shutter release, and the On/Off button.
We tested the E-PL1 as a body/lens outfit, which included the very nice M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 3x optical zoom Lens.
One unique feature about the 14-42mm kit lens is its ability to collapse down when you are carrying or transporting the camera.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 (35mm equivalent focal length: 28-84mm) Micro 4/3 lens provides 3x zoom performance. To maximise the mobility this lens features a retractable parking mechanism and the result is a total length of just 43.5mm. Compared to the standard 4/3 ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 this lens is only 65% of the volume and 80% of its weight. This ultra compact lens delivers high image quality and has a excellent close-up shooting capability.
Other features include:
- Compact and lightweight design
- Choose from 2 colors (Silver or Black)
- ED and aspherical lens elements for excellent quality
- Close focusing distance of 25cm
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake (35mm equivalent focal length: 34mm) lens is even smaller than the already compact pancake lens for standard 4/3 bodies. This Micro 4/3 lens boasts a mere 22mm in length and 71g in weight. The circular aperture diaphragm with 5 blades enables natural and smooth defocusing. This wide-angle pancake lens with its ultra compact design is ideal for daily snapshots and as travel companion.
To use some of your existing 4/3 system lenses, Olympus does offer the
MMF-1 4/3 mount adapter. This lens adapter makes it possible to mount
any existing Four Thirds lens on a Micro Four Thirds digital camera. AF
shooting using Live View is possible with lenses featuring contrast AF
compatibility. When a contrast AF incompatible lens is used, the AF
assist function engages.
Olympus also offers the MMF-2 UM lens adapter, which permits the use of Olympus OM lenses to be used on a Micro Four Thirds digital camera.
- Autofocus(AF) is not available.
- Stop-down metering is used.
- Although it is possible to use A (aperture priority AE) mode in auto exposure, the aperture display is not available.
- In P (Program AE) or S (Shutter speed - priority AE) mode, the shutter releases, but the auto exposure does not work.
- The distance scale on the OM system lens may not indicate the actual distance. Always use the viewfinder for focusing.
Built-in Flash Unit
Unlike past models, the E-PL1 offers a manual pop-up flash unit that is tucked away inside the body. This unit offers a guide number of 10 at ISO200, and 7 at ISO100.
Here you can see the built-in flash from above, along with the flash release located at bottom of the frame above.
Hot Shoe for External Units
The Olympus FL-14, FL-20, FL-36, FL-50, FL-36R or FL-50R external
flash units can be attached to the E-PL1's hot shoe and offer full TTL
flash control. This shoe is also used to attach the optional VF-2 EVF and the optional EMA-1 microphone input jack as well as future accessories.
At the bottom you can see the new accessory port that was first introduced on the E-P2. This port has been added for connecting new accessories like the optional EMA-1 mic adapter or the VF-2 viewfinder. Olympus also commented that this versatile port will allow them to offer other accessories in the future.
While designed specifically for use with their Digital PEN cameras, through our testing we found that the super compact FL-14 external flash unit is also compatible with other E-series models, like the E-620. With an equivalent GN (Guide Number) of 14 at ISO 100 (or 20 at ISO 200), you can accomplish pleasing flash shooting without having to carry around a bulky external unit.
The FL-14 also features an energy circuit that improves recharge rates (approx. 5 sec. recycle time) and enables the flash to operate on just two AAA batteries. In addition, the FL-14 incorporates these features:
- Compact and stylish silver metal exterior
- Guide Number 20 at ISO 200
- 28mm equivalent coverage
- AAA batteries x2 provide about 80 shots at full power
- Approximately 5 second recycle time
- 3 modes: TTL-AUTO, AUTO, Manual
Olympus also offers an optional, detachable electronic viewfinder (EVF). The
VF-2 is a detachable viewfinder that offers 1.15x magnification, a 100%
frame coverage, and can tilted up to 90 degrees, enabling you to shoot
from several different angles. The built-in diopter adjustment and high
magnification of this unit offer easy viewing with or without
Here you can see the EMA-1 external microphone adapter. For those who want to capture enhanced audio, the new EMA-1 external microphone connector can be plugged into the new camera's external accessory port. The connector will accept the optional Olympus ME-51S stereo microphone or any microphone of their choice.
Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.