Olympus E-PL1

Last update (15 June’13):
– Review by About.com

Olympus E-PL1 is a 12.3MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens. The camera features built-in flash, In-body Image Stabilization, TruePic V Image Processor, ISO 100-3200, a direct button for HD movies, built-in photo effects, and a 2.7 inches HyperCrystal LCD AR(Anti-Reflective) coating. The camera measures 4.51 in (W) x 2.84 in (H) x 1.63 in (D) / 114.6 mm (W) x 72.2mm (H) x 41.5mm (D) and weighs 10.44 oz / 296g (body only).

The Olympus E-PL1 has won the 2010 TIPA Awards in Best Compact System Camera Entry Level Category

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Expert Reviews

Olympus E-PL1 Reviews

About.com reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Response times are excellent with the PEN E-PL1. It has a fast start-up, it has almost no noticeable shutter lag in photos that don’t use a flash, and shot to shot delays are minimal. This model offers good burst modes, too, allowing for shooting several continuous shots. “
Rating: ★★★★½

Photoxels reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Overall, the Olympus E-PL1 has impressive image quality including very good low light capability — much better than that of many entry-level DSLRs. This, in itself, is reason enough for you to seriously consider the E-PL1 as an alternative to the traditional DSLR.”
Rating: ★★★★½

TrustedReviews reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“This is a true bridge camera, even more so than the E-P2, the Lumix GF1 or even the Sony NEX-5. It sits mid-way between compact cameras and DSLRs, offering a good compromise between convenience and creativity, with good performance and superior image quality and at a reasonably affordable price. “
Rating: ★★★★½

AmateurPhotographer reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“While the E-PL1 has excellent image quality and a full complement of manual settings and different metering features, there are a few areas in which the handling and operation could be improved to make it easier for entry-level photographers.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

InsideHW reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Improved focus speed compared to PEN E-P1 and E-P2 models (although still slower than classic SLR cameras) and an excellent image quality is what makes this camera a logical choice for all buyers who don’t have serious intentions of delving deep into the SLR world”
Rating: N/A

PhotographyReview reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“just $100 more than a Canon G11, you get interchangeable lenses, better image quality and HD video. Unless you really need superior low light image quality or you’re a serious action shooter, the E-PL1 (or another Micro Four Thirds camera) should be on your camera wish list.”
Rating: N/A

NeutralDay reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“To my eye, ISO 1600 looks entirely usable, and even ISO 3200 has plenty of potential…For the E-PL1 we’re happy to say it’s “Highly Recommended” for both photographers moving up to a bigger sensor camera from a compact and enthusiasts as well, specifically those on a budget.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Video Review by TigerDirect;

Electronista reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“As a luxury second or holiday camera for an enthusiast, the E-PL1 has a lot going for it. If you were thinking about buying a high-end compact you should consider paying the extra for one of these instead. “
Rating: ★★★½☆

PCAuthority reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“As a luxury second or holiday camera for an enthusiast, the E-PL1 has a lot going for it. If you were thinking about buying a high-end compact you should consider paying the extra for one of these instead. “
Rating: ★★★½☆

TechTree reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Positives: Good image quality, sturdy build quality, simple interface design, auto modes work well, ability to save in RAW and JPEG simultaneously in all modes, 720p video recording. Negatives: Boxy design, small display, no built-in optical viewfinder, interface looks a bit dated, slow autofocus, bit expensive “
Rating: ★★★½☆

Adorama reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Field images were sharp and contrasty, and held up well under 100% magnification. Digital noise doesn’t become apparent (when shooting in JPEG with moderate noise reduction on) until around ISO 800-1,000. That’s not bad. “
Rating: N/A

DCI reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“the camera did a pretty good job in our testing for a model that tops out with a 1280 x 720 video resolution. The fact that Olympus beefed up the manual control features in the camera’s video mode is also a major plus. Overall, the E-PL1 is a darn good choice if you’re looking to experiment with a video mode on a Micro Four Thirds camera.”
Rating: N/A

SteveHuff compares the Olympus E-PL1 to Samsung NX10 and writes;
“what puts the E-PL1 so far ahead of the NX10 at the end of the day is the overwhelming confidence it gives the user to face any shooting situation, under any conditions. Paired with either the kit 14-42mm zoom, the 17/2.8 pancake or the brilliant Panasonic 20/1.7, it is always eager to prove itself as a camera that is superbly capable of capturing your special moments at high quality, first time, every time.”
Rating: N/A

CNET.uk reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“The Olympus Pen E-PL1 is cheaper and more plasticky than the Pen E-P1 and Pen E-P2, and ought to be worse — but it’s not. It handles better and does more, thanks to its built-in flash. It’s a Micro Four Thirds camera for the masses, and about time too”
Rating: ★★★★☆

DigitalTrends reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“We give Olympus well-deserved plaudits for blazing a trail with a new type of camera. We really enjoyed shooting the PEN and especially the results it cranked out. Although compact and loaded with features, the E-PL1—even though it takes very high-quality stills–is just a bit too expensive for our taste. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

TechRadar reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“If you want minimal effort, high quality, creative photographs from a portable camera with the option of interchangeable lenses, then you’ll love the Olympus PEN. If you’re a serious shooter who wants a PEN, don’t buy it, you’ll be frustrated with its clear beginner bias.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

PCWorld.au reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“The Olympus PEN E-PL1 is a decent interchangeable lens camera that’s capable of taking clear and vibrant pictures; its art modes are also a lot of fun…. If it was a couple of hundred dollars cheaper, then we’d be glad to recommend it. “
Rating: ★★★½☆

LetsGoDigital reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Olympus E-PL1 resembles the other models in the PEN-series a lot, which is a positive thing. Just like the other models, the E-PL1 offers excellent quality. Noise only becomes a ‘problem’ in the highest ISO values, but normal sensitivities work well. In any case, it is a lot better than a compact camera. That is also true for the dynamic range and the color display. “
Rating: ★★★½☆

DCR reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“the E-PL1 is a worthy successor to both those cameras, if not an improved one. With a pop-up flash, superior image quality, a size just slightly larger than a point-and-shoot and its powerful processor, the camera earns its niche between advanced point-and-shoots and entry-level DSLRs.”
Rating: N/A

Steve’sDigicams reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“I really enjoyed using the E-PL1. In fact, this is my favorite EVIL model to date (4/2010). Not only does if offer great performance and image quality, but the E-PL1 is simply Fun to use. If you’re in the market for a powerful, yet affordable, micro 4/3 camera or you want to step up from your consumer point-n-shoot, I strongly recommend taking a look at the Olympus E-PL1 Digital PEN. With a street price of $599 with the kit 14-42mm zoom lens, the E-PL1 is the most affordable m43 model on the market, and is sure to please”
Rating: N/A

CNET reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“The good: Excellent build quality; very good photo quality; can shoot raw+JPEG in every mode, including Art Filters and iAuto. The bad: Slow, with sluggish autofocus; short battery life; low-resolution LCD. The bottom line: Reasonably priced for an interchangeable-lens model, with the same high-quality photos of its siblings, the E-PL1 nevertheless suffers from slow performance that makes it a poor choice for snapshooters looking to upgrade.”
Rating: ★★★½☆

Geek reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Overall, I think Olympus did a very good job with the E-PL1 Micro Four-Thirds camera. There are some rough edges, but it takes very nice shots while being portable and simple to operate. You get interchangeable lenses and what’s proving to be a very versatile lens format, without the size or hassles of a DSLR.”
Rating: N/A

Review video by DigitalRev;

PhotoReview.au reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Shot-to-shot times averaged 1.7 seconds, a marginal improvement on the E-P2. However, adding flash extended the intervals to an average of 3.2 seconds. It took 5.7 seconds, on average, to process each JPEG file, 6.1 seconds for each ORF.RAW file and 6.4 seconds for each RAW+JPEG pair.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

CruchGear reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“I shot with the E-PL1 for a few weeks and I found it to be a great portable camera… While it won’t replace the shutter bug’s favorite piece of big glass, the E-PL1 is definitely worth some consideration.”
Rating: N/A

ePhotozine reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Saying that, the Panasonic GF1 is an excellent camera and for the money that the Olympus costs: £534 with the 14-42mm lens from Warehouse Express, I would still spend an extra £40 and get the GF1 and same lens.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

DCRP reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Those of you who remember my review of the E-P1 will recall that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with it, mainly due to its sluggish autofocus and lack of a built-in flash. Olympus has addressed both of those issues on the E-PL1 (though there’s still work to be done), and improved camera performance, image quality, and usability — for $200 less…Whether you’re upgrading from a point-and-shoot or want a go-anywhere interchangeable lens camera, the E-PL1 is a camera I can easily recommend.”
Rating: N/A

PCMag reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“… the E-PL1’s results are very good, making the camera a solid choice for shooting in low light. It also scored higher than the Panasonic GF1, which could only produce low-noise images up to ISO 800. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

PocketLint reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“Small-ish and easy-ish to use, Olympus is claiming “big camera” results from its latest Pen. Pictures from it are invariably a match for its acclaimed predecessors if they’re not quite, to our eyes, as sharp as a similarly priced mid-range DSLR with a physically larger lens can achieve..”
Rating: ★★★★☆

PhotographyBlog reviews the Olympus E-PL1 and writes;
“the Olympus E-PL1 produced photos of excellent quality. Noise is very well handled, being virtually absent from ISO 100-800 and not being too obvious at the relatively fast speed of ISO 1600. At the fastest setting of ISO 3200, noise is easily detectable when viewing images at 100% magnification on screen, but the images are still perfectly usable for small prints and resizing for web use.”
Rating: ★★★★½

Hands-on review by WDC;

Hands-on review by PhotographyReview;

Olympus PEN E-PL1 Walktrough;

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Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos

Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ Photoxels
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ TrustedReviews
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ PhotographyReview
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ NeutralDay
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ DCI
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ LetsGoDigital
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ DCR
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ Steve’sDigicams
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ CNET
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ LetsGoDigital
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ DCRP
Olympus E-PL1 Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog


Olympus E-PL1 User Manual (PDF)

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– Download Olympus E-PL1 User Manual (PDF – 7.05MB)


Olympus E-PL1 Features

Shoot movies at 30 frames per second, with high-quality sound, in 720p with available manual control over aperture and shutter speed. This new level of control allows you to express your vision exactly how you want in your HD videos. A Direct HD Movie Button switches you from still to movie mode with the press of a button. You can also capture HD video (720p) using one of the six Art Filters for more creative shooting options.

Seeing the results before you shoot can change the way you take a picture. Want more vivid or muted color in your shot? Want warmer or cooler hues? Want a brighter or darker subject, or a sharper or softer background? Or maybe you want to capture the fast-moving action of your subject with a little artistic blur, or perhaps freeze the action? Simply set the camera to iAuto, press OK to engage Live Guide, then press the up and down arrows on the back of the E-PL1 to easily slide through numerous photographic effects. Make adjustments and watch the LCD as the effects are made live — before the image is captured! Live Guide also features a Tips section on how to compose a shot or shoot kids, pets, flowers and more.

Use the pop-up flash to easily illuminate low-light subjects. The camera is also compatible with a range of optional external flashes including the Olympus FL-14, — and the E-PL1 has wireless flash control using the FL-36R and FL-50R — for dynamic lighting control.

With six in-camera Art Filters (Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama and our new Gentle Sepia filter) you can explore your artistic side while taking both still shots and HD video. The Art Filters can be applied as you shoot, no additional software required.

The E-PL1’s powerful 12.3 megapixel Live-MOS sensor packs a powerful high-quality imaging punch for such a compact camera, allowing you to capture more detail than ever before. The Live MOS image sensor delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity and fine image details in both highlight and shadow areas.


Say goodbye to blurry images. In both still and movie modes – the E-PL1 Image Stabilization excels. The E-PL1’s three-mode In-body Image Stabilization system compensates for up to three shutter speed steps in the still shooting modes with any of its interchangeable lenses: Mode 1 for general shooting, Mode 2 for creative high-speed horizontal capture, and Mode 3 for high-speed vertical capture. The camera’s Mechanical Image Stabilization automatically compensates for camera shake in low-light situations or when using a telephoto lens. In the Movie Modes the advanced Electronic Image Stabilization tracts the images both vertically and horizontally to achieve clear sharp movies, matching the performance of the in body IS.

We’ve packed a big sensor into a small camera. The stylish design of the Olympus PEN E-PL1 is much more compact than a traditional DSLR, but it still provides the option of interchangeable lenses — giving you the freedom to take great pictures wherever you go. Whether it’s around the block or around the world.

Slideshows have never been easier or more fun to create. The E-PL1’s enhanced playback functions allow you to employ effective fade-in/fade-out techniques, control the movie/still mix and speed, add captivating musical soundtracks, and much more.

Multiple Exposure makes heightened creativity an easily-obtained objective. Two frames can be combined to create an image uniquely yours. Images can be combined in playback mode or directly on the LCD

iAuto automatically identifies the scene you’re shooting – portrait, landscape, night portrait, macro, or sport – and adjusts the settings to optimize results. iEnhance can be used in any mode, and automatically engages when using iAuto to enrich color in any subject, just as the human eye sees it.

In addition to more detail, the image sensor, combined with the next-generation TruePic V Image Processor, delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity and reduced noise, all the way up to 3200 ISO.

The E-PL1 is equipped with 19 scene-select modes for effortless picture taking. Standard scene modes like Night-Scene, Portrait and Landscape are easy-to-use solutions for everyday shooting.

A Dust Reduction System assures spot-free images. Every time you turn on the camera, the patented Supersonic Wave Filter silently vibrates, flinging and collecting dust so that it cannot interfere with the picture imaging at any time.

AF Live View works as seamlessly as a point-and-shoot to display subjects, in focus, on the LCD the instant the shutter is pressed half way. AF Tracking locks your subject into focus right on the LCD, and constantly adjusts focus and brightness whether you or your subject is moving. With this mode, a simple push of the AF button and shutter release enables you to keep fast-moving and unpredictable subjects in focus


Make changes to your image after the shot, right in the camera. Adjust for red eye, crop an image, change the aspect ratio or saturation, change your image to black and white — and much more! In-Camera jpeg edit functions allow you to quickly tweak your images right in the camera so you can easily upload them to your favorite web site and share them with friends and family. (perfect!)

A Face Detection function reduces the chance of blurry faces when shooting groups of people—up to eight subjects at once—even if they’re moving while you’re pressing the shutter button.

Shadow Adjustment Technology corrects for extreme light variations with high-tech efficiency. It can also be used in post-editing.

The ePortrait Scene-Select mode is useful for smoothing out the facial features of your subjects, which is a tremendous plus for High Definition video playback, or apply ePortrait post shot via .jpeg edit.

The E-PL1 lets you select one of four Aspect Ratios (4:3, 3.2, 16.9 and 6.6) that help frame your images to whatever proportions you’d like. Aspect ratios are available for still photo and HD movie capture, for everything from conventional enlargements to viewing on widescreen monitors.

The E-PL1 includes a port for new accessories including the SEMA-1 Microphone adapter set and the VF-2 live-finder, a detachable electronic viewfinder. The viewfinder easily slides onto the camera’s accessory port and hot shoe to provide 1.15x magnification for a 100% field of view. The VF-2 rotates up 90 degrees which is useful when shooting subjects from challenging angles. The external accessory port also allows for connection with the new EMA-1 external microphone adapter for enhanced audio capture.

The Micro Four Thirds Mount on the E-PL1 provides many key benefits, including the effectiveness of a digitally designed image sensor, an ultra-compact design, and expandability and compatibility with all Micro Four Thirds Lenses and Four Thirds System Lens via the MMF-2 Adapter.

The E-PL1 is capable of recording video to SDHC media cards to accommodate large files. (SDHC Class 6 cards are recommended.) Videos, stills and high-fidelity audio can also be output via HDMI cable-direct to any HD television.

Underwater Housing
The new camera’s compact design makes it the perfect companion for all of your dive trips. The PT-EP01 underwater housing has been specially customized for the Olympus E-PL1 and is waterproof to a depth of 40 meters (approximately 130 feet). With its durable, high-quality polycarbonate construction, this Olympus housing protects the camera from water while also cushioning it from knocks and bumps on land.

Also Consider

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Olympus E-PL1 that competitive to sell photos online.

Sony Alpha NEX-5

Sony Alpha NEX-5
Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Samsung NX10

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Panasonic DMC-G10

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Panasonic DMC-GF1

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Canon PowerShot S90

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Olympus PEN E-P1

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Pentax K-x

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

4 Responses to “Olympus E-PL1”

  1. Jess says:

    Wow! Look at the size of this camera. This much much smaller than the E-P1.. Can’t wait to get my hands on this baby.

  2. Ryan says:

    Just read the expert review above that the Panasonic GF1 still beat this, any comments on that?.. Still deciding whether to get this or GF1.. Or should I wait till panasonic announces the ‘baby’ GF1, a direct competitor to this camera..

  3. Ryan says:

    It’s smaller but not by that much. What I love from this camera it’s got a built-in flash..

  4. Danilo Ingan-eng says:

    All things good for the price but designed for robotic user who shoots all day but cannot have a self shot self portrait due to lack of vari angle lcd. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

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