Olympus E-P1: The Olympus Game Changer

With DSLR-like functionality in a package no larger than a rangefinder, the Olympus E-Pl is truly a game changer. The Micro Four Thirds camera offers spectacular image quality in a compact body, but its auto-focus is slower than expected slower even than some point-and-shoots. Regardless, this is an amazing first-generation camera; a product impressive enough to cause competitors to scramble to create something even better.

This camera is compact, measuring 2.8 by 4.8 by 1.4 inches (HWD) and weighing 1.2 pounds (with the 14-42-mm kit lens). Also,the build quality is simply fantastic. It was modeled after the 50-year-old Olympus Pen—with a metal chassis and leather-like grip. The E-P1 is compatible only with Micro Four Thirds lenses. There is also no optical viewfinder, making the 3-inch LCD's large size even more of a necessity.

Operating speed is a mixed bag for the E-P1; it can be very fast, but its sluggish autofocus causes the camera to slow down significantly. Boot up and recycle times are also affected by the slow focusing, with average scores of 3.2 and 2.5 seconds, respectively. However, images produced by the 12.3-megapixel E-P1 are spectacular, competitive with many SLRs. And the ability to shoot HD video is an added perk. Despite its slow focusing, the E-P1 offers one of the best experiences for photographers looking to balance size, image quality, HD video, portability, and nostalgia.

Olympus E-P1
$799.99 list
• ••
PROS :Sharp images from ISO 100 through ISO 800.Low noise from ISO 100-1600. Beautiful design. HD video capture C720p30).HDMI port. Three-inch LCD.

CONS :Noticeable shutter lag. Slow autofocus. Lens is noisy when focusing. Few Micro Four Thirds Lenses available. No optical view finder. No built-in flash.

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