Olympus E-PL1 Image


  • Great resolution, detail and color rendition in the pictures
  • Easy to use interface that allows for manual control
  • Dedicated button for video
  • Good performance in high ISO shots, even in comparison to the T2i or the Nikon D3000 DSLR cameras
  • Camera-body with built-in image stabilization
  • Collapsible, small kit lens provides good quality images
  • PEN series camera with a built-in flash


  • Relatively low-resolution LCD
  • No control dial for changing exposure
  • Slightly complicated menu navigation
  • Shorter battery life
  • Unintuitive auto-focus point selection
  • Limited availability of lenses for the four thirds format. This is likely to become better with time.

Full Review

The Olympus E-PL1 is a micro four thirds format digital camera from Olympus that follows the larger E-P1 and E-P2 that came earlier. Introduced originally at a price point of $599, it can be found today for under 500$ which includes a 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko lens.

At this price, it provides a compelling value to users who want something more than the average compact point and shoot camera and would like greater quality and control in their photography without the longer learning period associated with using a full digital SLR camera.

Key Specifications

  • 12 Mega Pixel (MP) four thirds sized sensor
  • 2.7" LCD
  • 72op HD video
  • ISO 100-3200

The 12 MP four thirds sized sensor on the E-PL1 is significantly larger than such sensors on most point and shoot cameras. It provides for higher quality images and lesser noise in photography at high ISO settings.

While the E-PL1 is cheaper than the preceding E-P2 from Olympus, it retains a lot of the core functionality. The Olympus E-PL1 adds a built in flash which was conspicuously missing from the E-P1 and E-P2 and provides a direct record movie button. The camera however, is missing control dials for exposure adjustment, built in stereo mics that are available in the E-P2. It also has a slower maximum shutter speed of 1/2000 second when compared to the1/4000 second of the E-P2.

In Closing

The four thirds format continues to create a niche for itself between the point and shoot and digital SLR camera systems. The lens availability for the micro four thirds cameras continues to expand with the newer Zuiko ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 and the 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 lenses to compliment the 14-42mm lens kit lens that is included. Despite the fact that the E-PL1's autofocus performance is not as good as the Panasonic's G series, it excels in the most important factor - image quality. While the user who simply wants to point and shoot a high quality image will not be disappointed, the E-PL1 also provides plenty of options for the user who wants a greater degree of control, even if changing some settings are slightly tedious.