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Old 4th March 2012, 01:19   #1
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Smile A short E-PL1 review.

I recently got myself an E-PL1.
Its an old model. Now E-PL3 is in market.

If you are on a tight budget and do not mind digging out hidden features at cost of your time, then E-PL1 is a good choice for learning the ropes. Infact it is the best way to get into micro four thirds format.

The biggest difference between the E-PL1 and the E-PL2 , E-PL3 is the kit lens. The new kit lens is more silent and auto-focus is faster.
The addition of a control wheel is not a big thing for me cause I am anyways upgrading from a point and shoot. And never got to use it.

Rest of the stuff is mostly same between the three models.
Touchscreen is not a big news for me BTW.

Ok. Now lets start.

What you will like:

1. Very good straight out of the camera JPEG. I think this will be the biggest draw for the people who want better quality but do not want to mess around in Photoshop either because of lack of knowledge, sheer laziness ( like me) or lack of time.

2. The price. I got mine for 18k. Starting price for a DSLR will be 24k upwards.

3. The long list of features. You name it and it will be there somewhere in the menus. The most prominent one is in-body stabilization. So
any micro-four thirds lens you use, you get to enjoy at-least on stop of speed. You can latch on your legacy lenses with an adapter but it will be manual focus. Yes the stabilization benefit will be there too.

4. Size!! You won't look like a hunter out for a kill.

5. Evident cost cutting apparent when you see the LCD. Its resolution is less.

6. The flash!! Yes this is one of the trump card of this camera. The more expensive professional line, E-P series does not have an in-built flash. You need to carry it around in your pockets.

7. Good ISO performance. I am happy with the ISO 1000 shots.

8. The anti-alias filter on this camera is weaker than one on E-P1 and E-P2. Has a positive effect on the sharpness of the image.

9. Art modes. Nice, easy and sweet. I specially liked the black and white effect. But they are slow to apply.

No wonder it stole the thunder from E-P series when it was launched.

What you won't like:

1. The lack of control wheel will put off the experienced hands. Its all buttons.
Though point and shoot guys will be at home with this I guess.

2. The kit lens is slow to auto-focus. There are many times that you will feel frustrated because it will simply not auto-focus quick enough. Lack of auto-focus light adds salt to the wound. Though I must say that optics of this lens is good. Not ground breaking but good enough.

3. The menu system. Everything is there. But superbly hidden. You have to work your way through.

4. The build is mostly plastic. It is not flimsy but some people find it cheap. I did not.

5. Lack of good cheap primes like in case of Nikon or canon. There are two noteworthy primes, one is 17mm f2.8 Olympus pancake (14k something in India) and other is superb Panasonic 20mm f1.7 pancake. Though why it is called a pancake is not clear. It is almost same as the collapsed kit lens as far as size is concerned. And yes its very expensive too.

So who is this for?

I will say someone on a tight budget, looking for a compact system camera and willing to invest time and efforts in learning the camera. As someone on DPReview forum said "It won't sleep with you on the first night".

In the remaining sections I will list out some of the camera setting up I have done. Most of the stuff will be from DPReview site. I will list out the settings which have worked to my liking.
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Old 4th March 2012, 01:55   #2
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Default Deep dive into the menus

Well the menu system is weird enough to drive anyone nuts.
Get hold of this: The menu starts from A, B, C.........all the way till I, J. Each with around 5 parameters, give and take a few. So you can have a guess at the level of customization this camera can support.

So lets enable the stuff on this camera.

First we enable the Super Control Panel. It is a very useful thing which for some cosmic reasons is hidden by default on E-PL1.

1. Press Menu button.
2. Last option, with a spanner picture, click it and then go into the "Menu Display" option(one with gears picture). Make it "ON".
3. Click menu button. Go to the menu option shown as "Two Gears".
4. Go into the fourth option, Listed as DISP/PC something. Click it.
5. In the menu now open, scroll till you reach "Control Setting" on the other page. Click it.
6. It will show you three options. Click anyone. For example iAUTO. You have three options. I simply kept SCP on. Made others off. Similarly I did P/A/S/M and ART/SCN.

There you go. Now you can press Start/Ok button anytime during your shooting and you will see all the important parameters on the screen with easy option to change them.


I like my JPEG to look good strong and healthy.
So these are my settings:

Aperture mode.

Picture mode: Natural
Saturation: 0
Contrast : 0
Sharpness: -2
Gradation: Normal
IBIS: On in night. Off in daylight.
(Go to G option in the "gear wheel" menu to set Noise reduction and Noise filter)
Noise Reduction: Auto
Noise filter: Off
ISO: Auto, Limit: 1000

Now you are ready to take some beautiful colorful punchy JPEGs, straight from you camera.

Now next thing to do is to set up MyMode.
This allows you to set the camera up to you liking. You can have two different sets. And you can switch between them and the usual shooting modes as you wish. This is a feature I really cherish on my LX3. And something which Nikon and Canon thought below their dignity to provide on the starting line up of their DSLR's. Stay tuned. Why? Cause even I have to figure it out. If someone has done it he/she can chip in.

Last edited by download2live : 4th March 2012 at 02:07.
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Old 4th March 2012, 05:34   #3
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Default Re: A short E-PL1 review.

Some demo pictures will help getting a sense of quality. Was the only reason to look away from Canon/Nikon was budget? While going through some DSLR range i could find Nikon/Canon at ~25K, though not sure of the features.

Apart from pictures taken from the camera the picture of the camera itself will be helpful. I googled it and could see some pictures of the camera but they show it only from one angle.
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Old 4th March 2012, 09:39   #4
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Default Re: A short E-PL1 review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Some demo pictures will help getting a sense of quality.

Apart from pictures taken from the camera the picture of the camera itself will be helpful. I googled it and could see some pictures of the camera but they show it only from one angle.
Sure. Here you go. Forgive for the blown highlights.

A short E-PL1 review.-p1060112-large.jpg
Matchbox for size comparison.

A short E-PL1 review.-p1060113-large.jpg

A short E-PL1 review.-p1060114-large.jpg

A short E-PL1 review.-p1060115-large.jpg

A short E-PL1 review.-p1060116-large.jpg

A short E-PL1 review.-p1060117-large.jpg

A short E-PL1 review.-p1060118-large.jpg

A short E-PL1 review.-p3020027-large.jpg
ISO 1000 shot.

A short E-PL1 review.-p3020036-large.jpg
ISO 200 shot.

Note that both the images have been re-sized to kb size for easy uploading.

I won't go into the detailed feature list but rest assured that it is way too long compared to entry level DSLR. Bulb mode, Ability to tilt flash to bounce it off and vary the intensity, you name it and I am 90% sure that it is hidden somewhere in the menu.

For me most important are: Body based stabilization, Highly acclaimed Olympus sensor cleaning mechanism, Ability to have custom modes, Size and of course Price. Good value for money.
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Old 9th June 2012, 13:00   #5
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Default Re: A short E-PL1 review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by download2live View Post
I recently got myself an E-PL1.
Hi, how many shots do you get from the Li-ion battery, normal daylight shots without flash? Just ordered the EPL1 from Amazon in the US, and saw a replacement battery for $10 (selling for Rs 2000 on ebay india), only after ordering the camera.

Also, will this bag hold the EPL1 - http://www.flipkart.com/case-logic-d...5-cfc6c9cbf10b ?

Thanks!

Last edited by Cayman360 : 9th June 2012 at 13:08.
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Old 9th June 2012, 13:48   #6
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Default Re: A short E-PL1 review.

I did not count but the number of shots are respectable. Will let you know. Oh yes, I do not use flash too that much.

But if you want you can get battery. Not an issue.

Not sure about the camera case though.

In fact I bought something similar like a photographer vest. Not a Photographer vest as such because that has very big pockets and many such pockets.

I found it in forum mall here in Bangalore. Now when I search for it I find that it is made by a company which sells clothes and gear for hunting.

But it is working fine for me. I am now able to carry camera with me all times and also people don't notice it till I take it out. Notice the two large pockets in front lower part of the vest/jacket whatever you care to call it. I feel I look cool too in it.

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Last edited by download2live : 9th June 2012 at 13:49.
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Old 10th June 2012, 18:27   #7
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Default Re: A short E-PL1 review.

You are absolutely right. The vest definitely looks good. But beware people might think that you are a professional photographer or some journalist.
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Old 12th June 2012, 14:23   #8
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Default Re: A short E-PL1 review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by download2live View Post
In fact I bought something similar like a photographer vest. Not a Photographer vest as such because that has very big pockets and many such pockets.

But it is working fine for me. I am now able to carry camera with me all times and also people don't notice it till I take it out. Notice the two large pockets in front lower part of the vest/jacket whatever you care to call it. I feel I look cool too in it.

Attachment 938290
Hey great idea this!! I've never enjoyed lugging around a camera bad. Thanks for the tip. So I'm assuming the build of the camera is good enuf for casually carrying around in the vest pocket?
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Old 12th June 2012, 14:57   #9
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Default Re: A short E-PL1 review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cayman360 View Post
Hey great idea this!! I've never enjoyed lugging around a camera bad. Thanks for the tip. So I'm assuming the build of the camera is good enuf for casually carrying around in the vest pocket?
Camera build is good enough for that. But once you get camera in your hands i think you can be better judge. Just make sure that you keep the vest zipped up at least at the ends. Otherwise the camera tends to swing around and hit things/people. Also carry a plastic pouch in one of the pockets for rainy days.
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Old 17th July 2012, 15:50   #10
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Default Re: A short E-PL1 review.

In case the picture above of me with head chopped off was not hint enough, here it is. I have done the unthinkable and went ahead and bought Olympus 17mm 2.8 pancake for my E-PL1.

It was decision made on the fly.

This lens is not a top performer. Not razor sharp. Not too bright. In fact I was not too much impressed with the quality. So i kept quiet.

So why I am putting up this now?
Because I yesterday removed it and put back the kit lens. This pancake focuses very fast compared to the kit lens. Just that it is not bright enough to be called a proper prime. "I coulda been a contender" will be the story of this little known lens which came and went by.

The images are not tack sharp. Rather kind of soft with a signature of their own.

A short E-PL1 review.-2.jpg

Last edited by download2live : 17th July 2012 at 15:52.
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