Olympus Pen E-PL1- The Camera For The Whole Family

Each person has his own needs and when it comes to finding your own camera, there are several types available for different users. Since each user has his own preference, it is hard to find a camera that will suit all needs. Some search for a simple and uncomplicated camera with a slim body and few navigation, yet there are also others who want top-notch, versatile and highly-functional digital cameras.

However, the new Olympus Pen E-PL1 claims to be the camera for the whole family. A digital camera for beginners and professionals alike will be out in the market this coming March. The complete camera kit costs about $600.

After 20 minutes of testing the product, it gave me a whole new camera experience and in my opinion, the camera holds a bright future in the digital camera world.

E-PL1 Specs

The E-PL1 is the most affordable and beginner-friendly digital camera in the Micro Four Thirds models from Olympus. Compared to E-P2’s dimension of 4.7 x 1.4 inches, E-P1 is less wide with only 4.5 inches, yet the camera is a bit boxier with 1.6 inches in diameter.

Specs of E-PL1 can match the $1100 worth E-P2 camera. Both cameras have a high-performing 12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor, in-body image stabilization, shooting in RAW+JPEG, 720p HD video recording at the rate of 30 fps, switch to manual or auto shooting modes, a hot shoe for external flash, built-in camera editing options, and motion-tracking capability.

All the mentioned specs are included in the $600 worth Olympus E-PL1, and you also get added features such as a pop-up flash, a video recording button, M. Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 zoom lens. Apart from these, E-PL1 is available in gold, black, and blue colors.

However, Olympus omitted some features in E-PL1 to cut the cost, including a secondary scroll wheel used to adjust in-camera settings, an electronic viewfinder (can be bought separately), inserted a 2.7-inch LCD instead of the 3-inch lens of EP2, removed a digital level and instead of a metal chassis, EP-L1’s body is made of aluminum polycarbonite.

E-PL1 Interchangeable Lens

Even though E-PL1 is a bit pricey in comparison to other entry-level DSLS cameras, the inclusion of interchangeable lenses, pop-up flash, plus a smaller body makes it a good camera.

Based on my E-PL1 hands-on experience, I can say that the camera can be used by both novices and professionals. The camera still has manual controls, yet it is not too complicated for beginners.

For novices, Olympus included English guides explaining some complicated modes like shutter and aperture priority modes, exposure options, and white balance. This is an option that advanced users can just disregard but is useful for amateur users.

When the camera is in auto mode and the user press the OK button found in the center of the directional pad, a “Live Guide” will be activated. This feature will give explanations on different camera settings and instead of explaining each term, the guide will provide a description of the photo when a certain effect is applied.

Adjusting an item will open a live preview of the image. For example, a soft background will appear when you use a shallow depth of field in the aperture setting; slow shutter speed will produce a blurry photo and color saturation changes due to exposure tweaks. The image metadata viewer will show the user the specific shutter speed, aperture data and exposure setting for the photo, so next time the same details can be used to achieve the same look.

E-PL1’s mode dial allows the user to change settings through full manual, shutter and aperture priority modes. For amateur photographers, the Live Guide is a special tool to learn different settings, until you master them. This camera can be used by the whole family, whether the user is an experienced shooter or just a novice.

With E-PL1, amateur shooters or even kids can hone their skills much easier. Although there are many cameras that offer manual and auto settings like Sony’s DSLRs, E-PL1 is still a revolutionary camera presented with an affordable price, portable, easy to manage and fewer complicated features.

Aside from the mentioned features, E-PL1 has art filter functions. Olympus includes six art filters that can be applied in still photos or video and can turn a photo into a work of art. Some of the art filters in E-PL1 are the Diorama mode (also found in E-P2) which can mimic the look of a tilt-shift lens, Pinhole setting, Pop Art mode, Sepia effect, Grainy look and Soft Focus art filter.

Olympus E-PL1 is a truly user-friendly, multifunctional and portable camera, yet it still has some flaws. The camera has smaller sensors, a unique set of lenses and no real optical viewfinder, and instead of a scroll wheel, aperture and shutter modes can be accessed through the directional pad. Some users, especially those who are accustomed to DSLR cameras might find these changes troublesome.

Nevertheless, these flaws are not really a big deal so if you want an affordable camera that can be used by your whole family, both beginners and professionals, Olympus Pen E-PL1 might be the right one for you.

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