Olympus EP-1 “PEN” Camera: Hands-On Review


Addressing the growing market for a smaller camera with professional features, Olympus recently introduced the compact, lightweight Micro Four Thirds EP-1 a.k.a. "PEN" digital camera. I never go anywhere without a camera, but schlepping the bulky DSLR is not always convenient and my iPhone camera quality isn't always acceptable. Interchangeable lenses, a range of in-camera filters and the option to use full manual settings lend the beautifully-designed stainless steel shooter a wealth of creative options.

High-tech features include sophisticated light metering, image stabilization, dust reduction and leveling assistance to help get the best shot possible. Of course, there's full manual control and RAW image recording to satisfy the demands of a pro. In addition to capturing stills it also records HD video for those moments better served by moving pictures. The only thing the EP-1 lacks is a built-in flash, but Olympus offers a range of flash units that are all controllable from the EP-1's software.

In the short time since its release the EP-1 has become very highly regarded among pros and consumers alike. After using one recently I totally understand why—it makes for a fun, versatile camera that takes gorgeous pics. Check out some of my sample shots below from recent travels in France, Italy and Vermont.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

The E-P1 runs about $800 from Amazon or CameraMall.