Olympus E-PL1 Review

By

First Look posted 2/3/2010
Conclusion and samples added 4/12/2010

Quick Take
Pros
Excellent build quality; Comfortable and stylish aluminium body; Captures tac sharp 12-megapixel photos; Excellent shooting performance; Capable Continuous AF tracking option; Versatile exposure and creative mode options; Great High ISO performance up to ISO 3200; Finally a built-in flash unit; Accessory port for additional accessories; like the EMA-1 external microphone jack; Excellent price tag
Cons
Decent HD video quality; No more sub control dial; Smaller LCD compared to its siblings
Bottom Line
Olympus has hit a home run with the introduction of their latest Digital PEN, the E-PL1. Not only does it offer all of the features we love about this line, but they added the much needed built-in flash and lowered the price to only $599US! Read more in our Full Conclusion.
olympus_e_pl1_press1.jpg 

Welcome a new member to the Olympus Digital PEN series, the E-PL1. Like its siblings, the E-PL1 still has a more retro look to it, but with an added hint of modern flair. With additions like a meatier hand grip, built-in pop-up flash unit and a more compact all aluminium body, the E-PL1 shows its differences. Another big difference is the price tag. With a MSRP of  $599.99, it's $200.00 cheaper than E-P1, and $500.00 cheaper than its big brother E-P2.  For the money you get the same resolution (12.3 megapixels), the same movie size (720p @ 30fps), along with many of the other features found on the E-P1/E-P2. What do you not get for the money? Well, about all we see is a smaller LCD, monaural sound, six art filters instead of 8 (E-P2), no included VF-2 electronic viewfinder, and the aluminium body as opposed to the full metal/stainless bodies of its predecessors.

Olympus E-PL1 Features:
  • 12.3-Megapixel Live MOS image sensor produces large 4032x3024 pixel photo 
  • Direct button for HD movie recording
  • Choose from 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 6:6 aspect ratios
  • Micro Four-Thirds lens mount system
  • Compatible with Four Thirds mount and Olympus OM lenses using optional adapters (MMF-1 and MF-2 OM)
  • In-body (sensor-shift) Image Stabilization system
  • TruePic V Image Processor
  • Olympus System Supersonic Wave Filter Dust Reduction System
  • iAuto (intelligent), Program AE, Aperture/Shutter Priority, Full Manual, and Custom exposure control
  • 19 pre-programmed Scene modes as well as 6 "Art Filter" modes
  • Compressed RAW and JPEG (Fine/Standard) formats, including RAW+JPEG (Fine or Normal)
  • In-camera image editing options, including RAW processing
  • TTL Auto White Balance system with several presets, one-touch custom set, white balance compensation, and bracketing options
  • sRGB or Adobe RGB Color Space options
  • TTL 324-area ESP metering system, Center-weighted average and Spot options
  • Shutter speeds from 2 - 1/4000 sec. seconds and Bulb
  • Manual Focus Assist
  • 2.7 inch HyperCrystal LCD with anti-reflective coating
  • Accepts new VF-2 electronic viewfinder that attaches via the flash hot shoe, and articulates up to 90°
  • EVF monitor adjustments for brightness and hue (±7 levels each)
  • Record Motion JPEG (.AVI) movies at 720p HD (1280x720) or SD (640x480) resolutions (30fps) with stereo sound
  • Auto ISO sensitivity from 200 - 6400, Manual from 100-6400, 1/3 or 1EV steps (Movie mode 160 - 1600)
  • Built-in hot shoe for external units
  • SD/SDHC
  • Selectable video output with NTSC or PAL format
  • HD output via MiniHDMI Type C I/O port
  • monaural microphone
  • Optional EMA-1 microphone input jack for optional external mics
  • Accessory port accepts new VF-2 and EMA-1 adapter as well as future optional accessories
  • CEC compliant
  • USB 2.0 (High-speed) data and control interface
  • Included BLS-1 Li-ion battery and compact BCS-1 AC charger


The E-PL1 will be available in March, 2010 with an MSRP of US$599.99 in your choice of Black, Champagne Gold and Slate Blue body colors.

Each kit includes:

  • E-PL1 body
  • ED 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital zoom lens
  • Li-ion battery BLS-1
  • Li-ion battery charger BCS-1
  • USB/Video Multi cable
  • Shoulder strap
  • ib Software CD-ROM
  • Instruction manual
  • Warranty card

oly_E-PL1_Front_Gld_550.jpg
oly_E-PL1_Back_Gld_550.jpg

Other colors available include Black and Slate Blue:

oly_E-PL1_Blk_550.jpg
oly_E-PL1_Blu_550.jpg



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.

Buy related cameras and accessories from Amazon.com
Related Product Description Price
Canon EOS Rebel T2i 3in Clear View LCD Monitor Digital Camera Kit w/ EF-S 18-55mm 4462B003 Canon EOS Rebel T2i 3in Clear View LCD Monitor Digital Camera Kit w/ EF-S 18-55mm 4462B003 $1,100.00
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 50x Optical IS Zoom + 32GB Accessory Bundle Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 50x Optical IS Zoom + 32GB Accessory Bundle $519.99
Fujifilm X20 12 MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Black) Fujifilm X20 12 MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Black) $499.95
PowerShot SX700(9338B001) and SD Card (DA-2IN1-16G-R) PowerShot SX700(9338B001) and SD Card (DA-2IN1-16G-R) $469.99
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL6 Digital Camera Body Only (Black) Olympus PEN Lite E-PL6 Digital Camera Body Only (Black) $375.00
Olympus SEMA-1 Mic Adapter Set for Olympus Micro Four Third Digital Cameras, XZ-1 and XZ-2 Olympus SEMA-1 Mic Adapter Set for Olympus Micro Four Third Digital Cameras, XZ-1 and XZ-2 $89.99
25 Piece Advanced Lens Package For The Olympus E-P5 E-PL1 EPL1 E-P1 E-PM1 E-PL3 E-P3 E-PM2 E-PL5 PEN Mirrorless Digital Cameras - Will Work with the following Zuiko Lenses: 17mm f/1.8 & 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 Lenses - Package Includes 0.43X HD2 Wide Angle Panoramic Macro Fisheye Lens + 2.2x HD AF Telephoto Lens + 3 Piece Pro Filter Kit (UV, CPL, FLD) + 6 Piece Multi-Colored Graduated Filter Set + 5 PC Close-Up Set (+1, +2,+4 with 10X Macro Lens) + Flower Lens Hood + Deluxe Lens Cleaning Kit + 5PC Lens 25 Piece Advanced Lens Package For The Olympus E-P5 E-PL1 EPL1 E-P1 E-PM1 E-PL3 E-P3 E-PM2 E-PL5 PEN Mirrorless Digital Cameras - Will Work with the following Zuiko Lenses: 17mm f/1.8 & 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 Lenses - Package Includes 0.43X HD2 Wide Angle Panoramic Macro Fisheye Lens + 2.2x HD AF Telephoto Lens + 3 Piece Pro Filter Kit (UV, CPL, FLD) + 6 Piece Multi-Colored Graduated Filter Set + 5 PC Close-Up Set (+1, +2,+4 with 10X Macro Lens) + Flower Lens Hood + Deluxe Lens Cleaning Kit + 5PC Lens $89.95