PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux

6Jul/092

I can't resist commenting on the E-P1

ep1-top
Launching with a prime! Kudos Olympus!

First off, I have to say that I haven’t seen one in person yet. These are just my thoughts based on having read a lot of comments from people who have seen one. You should also know that I’m not looking for the same things in my cameras as most people do.

Definitely A Milestone

Yep, it makes history. The E-P1 is a milestone camera in a similar way as the D1, 300D, 5D and D3 were (*). I classify the E-P1 as the first Digital P&S camera with interchangeable lenses, possibly the first P&S ever with interchangeable lenses (including film here) but I might be wrong.

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This is really what makes the E-P1 special.

It’s also a “meta-milestone” by being the least expensive milestones we’ve ever seen in digital photography, with inflation adjustments probably the least expensive ever. That potentially means that a lot of people will get one. If that happens then it has a shot at being yet another kind of milestone, the one where Olympus recovers to their former glory (but I won’t hold my breath).

(*) For those keeping tracking that’s: first ground-up DSLR, first affordable DSLR, first affordable FF DSLR, first Nikon FF DSLR.

But Is It Any Good?

Oh yes. The pictures look great. I think it’ll please everyone who’s attracted to it.

I don’t think I have anything more to add. I have no doubt as to the quality of the camera itself, and the pictures it outputs.

Am I Attracted To It?

No. The glowing LCD isn’t discreet enough for my taste, and it won’t make a good platform for operating manual-focus lenses hand-held. I don’t see myself shooting at arms’ length, ever.

I have these scenarios in my head that my next camera needs to handle. The camera needs to basically reflect and emit no light itself, make essentially no sound, and have very-small manual moderately-fast wide-angle lenses of ridiculous quality. The E-P1 fails too many of these criteria.

I don’t hold that against the E-P1, I’m also willing to pay 5x more than an E-P1 kit costs for my kit. So the E-P1 is simply a fantastic camera that I do not desire.

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  1. A friend of mine has the E-P1. I have been able to take some test shots with the 14-42 mounted and have played with the 17mm at a dealer. It is indeed an impressive little package. The camera is *much* heavier than you would expect for being so small. Image quality, color and detail are all very good. Auto-focus speed & accuracy seem ok, but more tests are needed. This is critical as I could not focus accurately in manual mode. The menus are dense and there are, for better or worse, a *ton* of options.

    Ultimately, in the application for which I would use the camera – namely discreet street photography – I think I will stick with the Ricoh GR-D. (v3 of which was just announced!) Although when my friend gets the 17mm lens, that might change my mind…

    Olympus definitely has a winner on their hands, though. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this camera popping all over the place. I think it will be a HUGE hit in Japan.

    Anyway, that is my $.02 🙂

    -JMK

    ps- Great blog — I’ll be back!

    • Personally I would use a film Leica for discrete photography. In fact that’s exactly what I’m gearing up to do right now! Film is fine. It’s a hassle but once you get it into your routine to drop rolls for development and get them scanned… it’s almost fluid too.

      Not to throw more oil on the raging fire around Dante Stella’s review of the E-P1 (http://www.dantestella.com/technical/e-p1.html), but I think broadly in the same terms.

      Thanks for the kind words J.M.!

      Olivier


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