Olympus E-P1

Last update (22 March’12):
- Panasonic GF1 vs Olympus E-P2 Comparison Review by WDC

Olympus PEN E-P1 is an Interchangeable Lens Type Live View Digital Camera features 12.3-mexapixel, live view autofocus, multiple exposure, art filters, in-body image stabilization, dust reduction system, face detection, supports all M.Zuiko lenses with four thirds system lens adapter. The camera weighs just 11.8 ounces and measures just 4.75” (W) x 2.75” (H) x 1.43 (D)

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ | Latest Price Info

Expert Reviews

Olympus PEN E-P1 Reviews

WDC compares the Panasonic Lumix GF1 to Olympus E-P2 and writes;
“When it comes to shooting though the GF1 is certainly the winner – it’s autofocus is considerably faster and more accurate than the E-P2.”
Rating: N/A

ePhotozine compares the Olympus PEN E-P1 to Olympus E-620 and writes;
“It’s been a close call throughout the test and in their individual tests, they both scored very highly…If you’re looking for a camera with a DSLR sensor but without the size then the Micro FourThirds is a great option and if this is you then you need to buy the Panasonc Lumix DMC-GF1.

Rating: N/A

H2HReviews compares the Olympus PEN E-P1 to Olympus E-620 and writes;
“If you already have a collection of Olympus lenses, the E-620 is the safest choice between the two. But if you are looking for a compact camera with excellent performance and have a lot of money to spend on it, then the E-P1 can satisfy your glam cam craving.”
Rating: N/A

Shutterbug reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“At ISO 6400 the image was noisy but, surprisingly, by 1600 noise was visible but not objectionable. I’m guessing that the TruePic V image processor is doing a pretty good job here..”
Rating: N/A

MacWorld reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“As a second camera for an SLR shooter, or as an advanced camera for the photographer who wants more than a point-and-shoot, but really needs the smallest camera possible, the E-P1 is a very good choice. Auto-focus is a little slow for some applications, but the image quality is very good”
Rating: ★★★½☆

Photoxels reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“noise at ISO 100, 200, 400 and 800 is under control. Noise starts to be visible at ISO 1600 but is still very usable… Overall, the Olympus E-P1 delivers very good image quality that matches what you would expect from a DSLR.”
Rating: N/A

RegHardware reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“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.”
Rating: ★★★½☆

CameraLabs reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“the E-P1 delivers the goods: the camera really does match (and in some cases slightly exceed) the image quality of models like Olympus’s own E-620 DSLR. Sure, like other Four Thirds models, Micro or otherwise, it may not match the noise levels of the best APS-C DSLRs at high sensitivities, but it’s a world apart from what you’ll achieve with a typical compact – and that in itself will be recommendation enough for many enthusiasts.”

Rating: ★★★★☆

PCAuthority reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“The Olympus PEN E-P1 may look like a throwback to retro photography, but it’s expensive and flawed. However, it’s beautiful image quality renders almost impossible to dislike.”
Rating: ★★★½☆

WDC reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“Using the supplied 14-42mm kit lens, results are well detailed and of adequate sharpness, though this lens doesn’t get the very best out of the sensor. That said, detail is maintained at higher ISO values with the help of noise reduction and noise filters, and fringing is, at most, minor in appearance.”
Rating: ★★★★½

PopPhoto reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“if the E-P1’s 3X optical-zoom and wide-angle lenses are enough for you, at least for now, this Olympus makes a fun choice either as a primary camera for snapshooters or as a versatile second camera for anyone looking for a break from toting a DSLR.”
Rating: N/A

ImagingResource reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“Olympus E-P1 with the 17mm lens hits the right spots for this photographer: great still image performance, very usable high ISO images, good optical quality, a prime lens with more to come, easy portability, and a certain charm that makes you want to take pictures. Hard to beat that. The Olympus E-P1 is a revolutionary design, and a Dave’s Pick.”
Rating: N/A

TechRadar reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
” the E-P1′s ISO 6400 maximum is a step too far, and it’s a bit dodgy at ISO 3200 too, but at ISO 1600 it’s very good by any standards… The E-P1′s JPEGs have a bright, clean look characteristic of Olympus Four Thirds cameras,”
Rating: ★★★½☆

KenRockwell reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“technical image quality is superb, while overall speed and handing are only in the class of pocket-cameras. The E-P1 is superb for travel, nature and landscapes, not really for weddings or portraits, and forget it for sports or action. “
Rating: N/A

DigicamReview reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“The Olympus PEN E-P1 really is a ground breaking, genius product, with a gorgeous metal body that fits in your pocket, compact lenses that retract inside themselves, and image quality and features to rival some of the best Digital SLRs. It not only lives up to the hype surrounding the product, but in my opinion, exceeds expectations, and is well worth the seemingly expensive outlay. Highly Recommended!”
Rating: ★★★★½

PDNGearGuide reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“Pros thinking about adding the EP-1 to their arsenal, however, might want to think again. While it’s a beautiful looking camera with a first-rate HD video feature with fantastic sound, the frustratingly slow autofocus speed and its image noise issue at ISO 800 and above will limit where and when you’ll want to use the EP-1. And if you’re the type of photographer who needs a reliable imaging tool at a moment’s notice, this is not the camera for you.”
Rating: N/A

PhotographyBay reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“it handles noise decently and produces solid images; however, there’s a lot more that goes into the process. We need a competent and reliable autofocus system in order to make sure we capture the moment. If you aren’t going to take photos of living subjects, I suppose you could make the Olympus E-P1 work for you. Alternatively, if you want to look cool and have people compliment you on how cool your camera is, you should check this camera out. “
Rating: N/A

LetsGoDigital reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“here is something very special about this camera. Not only its appearance, but something that simply cannot be explained. Don’t ask me why, but the Olympus E-P1 will challenge you again and again to take pictures…. Shooting with the Olympus E-P1 is anything but dull and boring, only positive. And that’s what it is all about: truly enjoying photography!”
Rating: ★★★★☆

DCI reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“Beyond look and feel, the strong suits of the E-P1 are superior color accuracy and very good resolution results. High image noise (typical of a small-sensor format) and limited dynamic range are problems, but the results aren’t scandalous — you just don’t’ want to push your luck with high ISO shooting. “
Rating: N/A

Wired reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“would you really be willing to drop $800 on a flashy camera when an enthusiast model like the Canon G10 will take comparable pictures, weighs less, has a retracting lens and costs at least $300 less? That depends on the importance you accord to sensor size, style or the ability to swap lenses. If any of those carry weight with you, you should at least make a visit to your local camera store to test out the E-P1. It’s an impressive camera, and we hope it kicks off a new trend.”
Rating: ★★★☆☆

DCRP reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“Exposure was accurate, colors looked good to my eyes, and sharpness was just how I like it — not too sharp, not too soft. Olympus has done a nice job with the high ISO performance of the E-P1. You can safely use ISO 800 in low light and ISO 1600 in good light, and you can take things a little higher if you shoot RAW and do a little post-processing. “
Rating: N/A

Olympus E-P1 Video Review by WDC;

TNYT reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“In the end, you’re sadder but wiser. So much beauty, such glorious pictures in good light, so much potential — but also so many eccentricities, lapses and misfires. You’ll fall in love with everything the E-P1 stands for — but you’ll mourn what might have been. “
Rating: N/A

ImagingResource reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“In terms of overall image quality the E-P1 is a bit of a mixed bag. Exposure metering is up to Olympus’s traditional high standard, and in good light the results are excellent. In high-contrast conditions it has more dynamic range than any compact I can think of, with detail even in dark shadows, although even in Raw mode it blows out some highlights that a good APS-C DSLR would catch. Colour rendition is also very good, with plenty of detail even in bright saturated areas. “
Rating: N/A

PhotoReview.au reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“Although low-light performance was generally good for ISO settings up to 800, where image noise started to become apparent, shots taken at higher ISO settings showed noticeable image noise…. We took some test shots in the Australian Night Life building at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, using ISO 6400 in near total darkness. These images were on a par with shots taken with the Pentax K7, which has a slightly larger sensor. “
Rating: ★★★★½

PCMag reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“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…the images produced by the E-P1 are extraordinarily sharp, competitive with or even better than most SLR’s in its price range. Noise was undetectable at ISO 100-1600, which is also better than more expensive cameras. “
Rating: ★★★½☆

Olympus E-P1 Preview Video by DigitalRev;

TOP reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“Will the Olympus PEN E-P1 be a “keeper” for me? Absolutely. Even with its shortcomings I’ve found it to be very enjoyable to use and a good camera. I look forward to future developments within this new (old) genre of camera designs. But for now I’m pretty happy with my E-P1.
Rating: N/A

GoodGearGuide reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“Overall, the Olympus Pen E-P1 is a great unit that’s ideal for users who want a compact camera that can also be used with interchangeable lenses. We like its picture quality for the most part, and its grainy film mode in particular…. We like it a little more than Panasonic’s LUMIX DMC-G1K Micro Four Thirds-based camera. “
Rating: ★★★½☆

LaptopMag reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“If you want the image quality of a DSLR along with a more compact design (and can afford to pay a premium), this camera is a compelling choice. The E-P1 is also a smart buy for serious photographers looking for something smaller than a DSLR but more advanced than a point-and-shoot. Although entry-level DSLRs often offer better speed and lower prices “
Rating: ★★★½☆

CNET.asia reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“The good: Refreshing retro and petite design; incorporates Art Filters in HD video mode; good picture and video quality; wide range of adapters for other lenses available. The bad: No onboard flash; writing time can be faster; confusing menu interface. The bottom line: The E-P1′s good looks and large sensor will appeal to enthusiasts, but general consumers may find some features lacking in this camera. “

Rating: ★★★★☆

PhotographyBlog reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“the Olympus E-P1 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 settings of ISO 3200 and 6400, 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

Gadling reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“I’m of the opinion that anyone in the market for a new camera should look at the E-P1. If I were to make the choice between a mid-range DSLR or the E-P1, I’d pick the E-P1. Having the features and quality of a large camera in a package this compact (and pretty) really is a treat. “
Rating: N/A

CNET reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“..I was quite impressed with the photo quality. Metering and exposures are very good; right in the middle, rather than the typical overexposed consumer or underexposed pro defaults. Its dynamic range seems solid, capturing detail in both highlights and shadows without clipping overmuch. Colors render accurately, and the automatic white balance is a lot better than many models of any class, indoors and out. “
Rating: ★★★½☆

T3 reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“A perfect camera for those who want to take a step away from compact cameras. The retro look will also bring your cool rating up a notch. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

Steve’sDigicams reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“While shooting outdoors, the E-P1 was able to capture tac sharp images, that showed pleasing contrast and color saturation. Exposure was good most of the time…for the level of sophistication, easy or use, and the level of features and performance you are receiving, I feel it still offers a great value. “
Rating: N/A

First look video review by WDC;

OutbackPhoto reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“So far we think that the image quality is nice and likely even better than the E-620 (and we like using E-620 a lot). “
Rating: N/A

First look video review by PhotographyReview;

Engadget reviews the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“When it came to video, we were frankly blown away. The 720p output is nothing short of breathtaking, and we’re looking forward to shooting some serious cop dramas with this thing. “
Rating: N/A

Biofos has a preview of the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“I’m very happy with the sharpness delivered from either lens. The high ISO shots are very good with the 6400 delivering a more than satisfactory result helped no doubt by the lighting inside the building. Of course there is noise but this is still less than my E-3 at ISO 3200.”
Rating: N/A

FourThirdUser has a preview of the Olympus PEN E-P1 and writes;
“E-P1 is not the most practical of cameras, but it is undoubtedly a cool and stylish object to own and use, as well as being an effective and capable photographic, and video, tool.”
Rating: N/A

User Opinions

More user opinions | Write your opinion

Olympus PEN E-P1 User Reviews

Small camera, big performance | Rating: ★★★★★
“….The bottom line to any camera is what it can produce. The E-P1 is not a D700, A900 or 5DII. Those are different kinds of cameras that excel at higher ISO and extreme resolutions. What the E-P1 is to me is a system capable of going toe-to-toe with any DX sensor system on the market in terms of deliverable results. No it doesn’t shoot 8 frames per second. Again not that kind of camera. This is a practical camera whose size and form factor make it usable in places that larger cameras wouldn’t work as well or possibly not at all. I’m seeing very detailed and sharp results up to ISO 1,250…” – by David

If I went to heaven… this would be what I would shoot with| Rating: ★★★★★
“Overall, this camera is a game-changer. By being able to carry it wherever, whenever, my photographic experience is taken to a new-level. Knowing I have a camera with DSLR IQ in my bag all the time without the bulk is a great feeling of freedom. I would place my bets that this *gem* of a camera will win many design awards and, dare I predict, be crowned `Camera of the Year’….” – by Smiley

More user opinions | Write your opinion


Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos

- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ Photoxels
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ CameraLabs
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ WDC
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ ImagingResource
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ DigicamReview
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos: ISO 1004001600 @ PhotographyBay
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ DCWatch
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ LetsGoDigital
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ DCI
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ DCRP
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ TNYT
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ Dpreview
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ ImagingResource
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos: 123 @ TOP
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ Gadling
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ CNET
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ Steve’sDigicams
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ Engadget
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ Dpreview
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog
- Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos @ FourThirdUser

Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Videos


Olympus PEN E-P1 User Manual (PDF)

Click to view or right click and select Save Target As..(Firefox) or Save link as.. (IE) to download

- Download Olympus PEN E-P1 Instruction Manual in English (PDF – 11.2MB)
- Download Olympus PEN E-P1 Instruction Manual in Spanish (PDF – 11.5MB)
- Download Olympus PEN E-P1 Instruction Manual in France (PDF – 11.7MB)

Olympus PEN E-P1 Brochure (PDF)

Click to view or right click and select Save Target As..(Firefox) or Save link as.. (IE) to download

- Download Olympus PEN E-P1 Brochure

Olympus PEN E-P1 Firmwares

Olympus PEN E-P1 firmware update version 1.3
- Resolved the issue introduced in firmware version 1.2 where LEVEL GAUGE display did not move when using MF (manual focus)…

* Upgrade history *

E-P1 Firmware Ver1.2
- Reduced time of the MF ASSIST enlarged display to improve operability.
- REC VIEW enabled when the monitor’s backlight is set to off.

E-P1 Firmware Ver1.1
Improved operation when using C-AF (continuous AF).
We recommend Version 1.1 or later of the lens firmware if you are using the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm F2.8 or the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6.


Olympus PEN E-P1 Specifications

Color options
Silver, White

120.5 x 70 x 35 mm

335 g

Optical sensor

12 megapixels

Light sensitivity
AUTO: ISO 200 – 3200 (customizable, Default 200-800) / Manual ISO 100 – 6400, 1/3 or 1 EV steps

Multi-segment/Multi-pattern, Center-weighted average, Spot

Creative controls

Other useful features
Art Filters, Sensor-shift image stabilizer, HD video recording with stereo audio

Connection (new)
USB, PictBridge, HDMI

Video out
Information not available

Battery type(s) (new)

Storage type(s)
Secure Digital, Secure Digital HC

Remote control


Still image format (new)

Digital video capture

Digital video format (new)

Max video resolution (new)
1280 x 720 @ 30 fps

Audio capture

Face recognition

See also: Digital Camera | Olympus

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Comment by John
2009-07-12 21:23:40

I’ve been dreaming of a pocket size camera with the ability of a DSLR and really glad when heard the news about Olympus releasing the E-P1.

Bought this camera a week ago and I am really satisfied with its ISO performance. I also own the original EOS 5D and I dare to say that you can compare high ISO pictures taken with 5D and pictures taken with this camera.

My wish list:
- Smaller zoom lens please
- Better LCD
- Faster AF
- Internal Flash

Should I buy this camera? YES!! Definately!!

Comment by Wayne
2009-07-12 22:59:02

Couldn’t agree more with John. Despite its slow AF performance, this camera is worth every penny. The high ISO images are mind blowing for a camera with this size.

Well done Olympus!

Comment by Agustinus
2009-07-14 13:20:26

Congrats for the new camera. I’m still waiting for mine.

How slow do you think the AF performance on this one compared to other Olympus SLR cameras?


Comment by Robert penn
2010-07-16 22:05:40

We can use iFunia Video Converter convert Olympus E-P1 recorded AVI movies to ipad and iphone. it’s designed especially for apple fans, iFunia Video Converter for Mac is a simple conversion solution that helps you converts AVI that supported by Olympus E-P1(The Olympus E-P1 records AVI movies at 1280 x 720 and 640 x 480 both at 30 frames per second) to iPod, iPhone 4, iPad, Apple TV and other portable devices. It also provides a series of practical editing tools: trim, crop, add watermark and effects. It’s a stable, mature application.


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