Feeds
75%
Olympus PEN EP-1

Olympus PEN E-P1 Micro Four-Thirds camera

Grown-up compact for DSLR lovers?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

In terms of performance, the PEN E-P1 proved to be impressive in some areas, but less so in others. Let’s start with the positive. This camera is capable offering excellent image quality, with sharp, clean images and vivid colours. We especially liked its performance when taking landscape shots. Noise levels are also low, even at ISO 800. The lens quality is superb, with minimal chromatic aberration or distortion.

Olympus PEN EP-1

The compact 14-42mm lens does not make for fast shooting

The 3f/s continuous shooting mode isn't the fastest around, but it worked well and you can take an unlimited number of JPEG shots - RAW files are restricted to ten frames. The image stabilisation system is highly effective, offering around three stops of compensation.

But the camera is let down by a sluggish contrast-detection AF system, which takes a while to settle down. When taking a close-up shot of our euro coin, the AF system often took ages to lock onto it.

The AF system also let down the PEN E-P1’s video performance, with the continuous AF mode having problems tracking objects. You do get a good range of high ISO settings for low-light shooting, but picture quality soon tails off after ISO 2000.

Verdict

When we looked at the Lumix DMC-G1, we asked whether the MFT system was in danger of falling between two stools. The PEN P-E1 merely confirms these fears. It’s too big to appeal to the compact camera user looking to upgrade, and the lack of a built-in flash will also put off a lot of potential buyers from this camp. Conversely, it doesn’t offer a massive size advantage over a DSLR, and while many enthusiasts won’t be put off by the lack of a built-in flash, they will be deterred by the absence of a viewfinder and a shortage of MFT lenses.

This is a shame, because the PEN P-E1 has the makings of a fine camera, although some of its ergonomics need fixing. The problem is that MFT manufacturers seem to be trying to make cameras that will appeal to purchasers from both the compact and DSLR camps, and in the process, they are in danger of appealing to no one. ®

More Camers Reviews...


Nikon
D3000

Sony
Cybershot
DSC-HX1

Canon
EOS
500D

Ricoh GR
Digital III

The essential guide to IT transformation

75%
Olympus PEN EP-1

Olympus PEN E-P1 Micro Four-Thirds camera

It’s not a compact, it’s not a DSLR and, in theory, should have wide appeal. But the E-P1 is in danger of missing the target with many potential buyers, despite offering some useful features and a good performance.
Price: Body only: £599. 14-42mm lens kit: £699 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.