Olympus E-PL1 Review

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

Quick Take
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
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.

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
  • 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



Other colors available include Black and Slate Blue:



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.