Long term review: The Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini

(hereafter known as the Pen Mini for simplicity.)

First things first: I don’t do measurement style reviews; there are other sites that do that much better than I can. I write from a shooter’s perspective: is it a good tool? Do I enjoy using it? Are there any critical flaws potential purchasers should know about? If you’re fine with that, read on.

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Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini, taped up for stealth and wearing the excellent Zuiko Digital 12/2. I’ve since switched to using a small lanyard strap, because a strap this chunky is overkill for such a small camera – and I wanted to use it on my M9-P.

At the end of 2011, Olympus introduced an interesting trio of cameras. Although they were ostensibly positioned at different market segments, just a couple of hundred dollars covered the spread, and they all shared the same sensor and AF system. Two of them even almost had the same body (the E-PL3 and E-PM1 only differ by a mode dial, flip screen and another button or two). The E-P3 had sightly different firmware, better build, and a greatly increased number of manual controls.

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Prague river evenings. Olympus Pen Mini, 45/1.8

Let me be honest upfront: I was not a fan of the original E-P1, nor any of its descendants or sub-lines. They were slow to operate and focus, had frankly quite poor image quality, and were neither small nor light. They were also ergonomically pretty poor.

So what changed? Firstly, the ergonomics. The Pen Mini is tiny. As in compact camera tiny, without a lens attached; and not much larger than a LX5 if you use one of the pancake lenses. The main thing is operation speed. The latest generation are fast. Fast enough that you’re constantly impressed that it’s found focus, and done so accurately. And fast in every other way too – navigating menus, playback, zooming review images, shot-to-shot, etc. Curiously, the small-bodied E-PM1 and E-PM3 are both faster than the flagship E-P3; they’ll shoot at around 5fps with the stabilizer off, but the E-P3 is limited to 3fps. Apparently it’s a limitation of the older shutter or stabilizer design. (But that’s not as fast as it gets; the new E-M5 will do 9fps with AF locked, and focusing is supposed to be even faster – not that you’d really be able to tell the difference.) Bottom line: you’re not waiting for the camera, and it isn’t what’s stopping you from getting the shot. After trying one in a store – a friend bought the E-P3 – I instantly decided it was fast enough; if the image quality was okay, then we’d be in business.

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Rush hour storm. Olympus Pen Mini, Panasonic 20/1.7

Autofocus is very fast indeed for static subjects in good light; I can’t tell the difference between the Pen Mini fitted with the right lenses (the new Olympus ones) and my D700. In lower light, there’s a difference; in very low light, sometimes the camera will fail to find focus at all. Forget about moving subjects; although there’s notionally a tracking mode, it’s essentially useless. Fall back to prefocus, timing and the larger DOF afforded by the small sensor in such situations. There is one quirk with the Olympuses (Olympii?) that I haven’t seen with other contrast-detect AF systems: it gets confused by extreme contrast (for example, focusing on the sun or a point light source) and just hunts, or perhaps reports good focus after settling at an intermediate point. That’s odd, because something that high contrast should be a perfect focusing target, right? Maybe it’s the pixel overload – blown channels – that stops it from working properly.

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The assembly of modernist cuisine. Olympus Pen Mini, Panasonic 20/1.7

The headline spec isn’t that exciting – just 12MP, and seemingly the same sensor as the previous generation of cameras. What Olympus did was increase the sensor readout speed to 60Hz, which has the effect of doubling autofocus speed (slightly more, actually, when the new focusing algorithm is taken into account) and making the view smoother. A good 12MP is more than enough for almost all but the most demanding uses; I’ve been plenty happy with the output of my D700, and guess what, that has exactly the same resolution.

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Afroman. Olympus Pen Mini, 45/1.8

A D700 it is not, however. The Pen Mini (and by extension, other cameras using the same sensor) produce detailed, sharp images when used with the right lens and within their optimum shooting envelope; in some ways the output reminds me of the Leica M9 at low ISO. The antialiasing filter is very weak, if there is one; single pixel detail is excellent, especially when paired with the right lenses – the Olympus 45/1.8 that accompanied the cameras at launch is a good example of that. I’d say the sensor provides clean output up to ISO 800; it’s useable at 1600, and perhaps 3200 in a pinch. What you see isn’t the increased luminance/ chroma noise (but maintained detail) of the M9; there’s definitely a gentle smeary noise reduction going on even for the RAW files which seems to kick in around ISO 1250. Fine detail structures are the first to go, followed by edge detail. It’s noticeably by ISO 1600, and annoying if you go any higher. More critical is the narrowing dynamic range as the sensitivity increases – by ISO 1600 you’re probably looking at no more than 6 good stops from a RAW file. Note the reduced dynamic range is also noticeable at base ISO – specifically, the highlight recovery slider in Adobe Camera Raw does very little if the image is overexposed, and what little it does is tinged with false color information. The shadow slider still shows that there’s a decent amount of information in the quarter tones, but at the expense of luminance and chroma noise.

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Arches, Vienna. ISO 1600 – looks good at this size, right? Visible edge erosion due to non-cancelable noise reduction at 100% though. Olympus Pen Mini, 45/1.8

You’d think this sounds pretty damning – it’s not. The files are punchy, and respond well to tweaking. However, the color palette is pleasing rather than accurate; something you need to take into account of if shooting objects, scenery or architecture. It excels at skin tones, however – in both RAW and JPEG. I’m a stickler for accurate color, especially after curve tweaking; it required quite a number of tries before I could accurately correct for the Olympus color palette (but still leave some residual camera signature in place).

Overall, image quality is right where you’d expect it to be for a sensor of this size: better than the 1/1.3″ compacts, but probably lagging a stop or so behind the best of the current APS-C cameras (Nikon D7000, for instance.)

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Cathedral reflections, Prague. Olympus Pen Mini, 45/1.8

Let’s talk about ergonomics. With a body that small, there’s no way you can fit a huge amount of external controls in. And they didn’t even bother trying. In fact, there are so few buttons on the back of the camera that you really HAVE to use the ‘super control panel’ screen to make settings changes – or suffer through the absolutely horrible menu system. I also find the camera quite slippery to hold because it has no thumb grip other than the movie record button and a vestigial rubber protrusion above the D-pad/dial combo; I fitted a spare ThumbsUp and haven’t looked back since. It doesn’t really fit properly, but it does the job well and hugely improves handling. I suspect one of those stick on front grips by Richard Franiec would also make a big difference. There’s only one programmable function button – the record button under your thumb. You’ll have to decide what your most frequently used function is from a rather short list. I’m using it for center AF point during shooting and instant delete during playback; you could also use it for the usual AF/AE functions and a few other things.

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Magritte strikes again. The camera really does quite lovely blues, especially sky tones. Olympus Pen Mini, 45/1.8

I have a love-hate affair with the menu. On one hand, the menu button brings up something that’s clearly aimed at a complete novice – you have a choice between scene modes, movies, PSAM, and a deeper-level settings menu. Curiously, the settings menu has two versions: the simple ‘idiot’ version with only basic options such as time, date, format etc – and a super-comprehensive version that makes the camera’s behavior more customizable than my D700. For instance, I can even adjust the LCD’s color temperature (!). The nice thing about this is you can set up the camera once to suit your shooting style, and not really touch it again after that. I shoot RAW, auto-ISO to 1600 with a lower limit of 1/60th (small cameras held at arms’ length mean higher propensity towards camera shake blur) and auto-WB. It’s in continuous high mode, with the stabilizer off, single point AF-C. The JPEG color settings do affect the RAW preview, so as usual I turn the saturation and contrast down, and crank up the sharpening so I can more easily tell whether what I’ve shot is in focus or not.

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New year’s eve rebel. Olympus Pen Mini, 12/2

You’re probably wondering why I don’t use the stabilizer: basically, it’s pretty much useless. I have much better results by shooting fast bursts and keeping the middle image. Turning the stabilizer on creates an odd double image effect that I suspect is an artifact of not being fully able to compensate for the shutter recoil. At higher shutter speeds, you shouldn’t be using stabilization at all on any camera, because it won’t react fast enough. And don’t even think about using the stabilizer for movie recording; it’s a digital effect and creates horrible rolling-shutter jello. That said, I tried shooting video once with the camera, and was horrified by the jellocam effect even with stabilizer off; sufficient to say, this isn’t a good choice for movie makers. This is rather odd, since the sensor can read out at at least 60fps; furthermore, the design of the cameras actually seems somewhat video-centric – why else would you fit a 16:9 LCD to a camera whose native aspect ratio is 4:3? That’s actually one of my pet peeves with the Pen Mini: you’ve got a lot of unused LCD space in normal shooting mode, so the 3″ LCD is effectively more like 2.5″. At least there are plenty of pixels, so the image is sharp and fluid.

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Architectural trees. This is about as bad as flare gets with the 45/1.8, with the sun in the frame – it’s not technically great, but it is very pleasing in a cinematic sort of way. Which suits my shooting style pretty well. Olympus Pen Mini, 45/1.8

Assuming you can figure out the menu and set up the camera to suit your style, the Pen Mini is actually a joy to shoot. I enjoy using it because it’s so small; it un-encumbers me and allows me to just be there with the option to shoot (without much compromise, if any) rather than consciously be shooting, as I would be if I was carrying a larger, bulkier camera. On a recent trip to Europe, I carried a Pen Mini and three lenses as my secondary/ backup system – all in the spare pockets of my jacket! I didn’t notice it was there until I needed a 90/1.8 equivalent, and out it came.

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Sushi. Seared isaki with momeji oroshii chili. Olympus Pen Mini and Panasonic 20/1.7

Ultimately, the make or break for any camera system is the available lenses; it’s why the NEX and Nikon 1 haven’t quite taken off with anything other than then beginner/ upgraded market, and it’s unlikely the Ricoh and Pentax systems will appeal to anything other than a very niche audience. Argueably, Micro Four Thirds is the most complete compact system; it certainly has the most lens options other than Leica M (and there are plenty of adaptors that allow you to use those lenses, too). I could find fast primes in the focal lengths I’d want to use, which is more than I can say of any of the other systems; better yet, I had a few choices. Fast and wide? No problem – there’s the excellent Olympus 12/2, or the compact Panasonic 14/2.5. And then there are a few zooms, too. I went with the 12/2, smitten by its clutched focusing ring (but finding later that it lacked sufficient resolution to be truly useful for zone focus, and wishing I’d bought the much smaller Panasonic instead). Midrange? Olympus 17/2.8 pancake, Panasonic 20/1.7, Panasonic-Leica 25/1.4, or the insane Voigtlander 25/0.95. All are good except for the 17, which is an utter dog. I went with the 20 for the size; it’s a fantastic and very versatile lens, except being an older model, focusing isn’t as fast as the newer lenses. The Voigtlander looks insanely cool and offers very close minimum focus, but is hugely impractical (magnified live view focus at arms’ length, anybody?) and expensive. The Leica is a nice option, but too bulky for my liking. I shoot usually 24/28 and a short tele pair; on the D700 for instance it’s the 24/1.4 or Zeiss 2/28 Distagon plus the Nikon 85/1.4 G. Olympus released a new 45/1.8 together with the trio of cameras; it’s probably the standout lens in their range. It’s light, cheap, fast to focus, has great bokeh, biting sharpness and a very pleasing overall rendition – what more can you ask for? Sure, metal build would be nice, but I’m happy saving that for the new 75/1.8 (150mm equivalent) exotic. I was considering a macro solution, but I have the D700 for that – and don’t think that will be changing anytime soon.

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Edible foam. Olympus Pen Mini, 14-42/3.5-5.6 IIR kit lens

I know in my mirrorless tips article I recommended using an external finder/ EVF for stability; I don’t with the Pen Mini for one simple reason: the stability I gain from bracing my face against the finder is negatively offset by the loss of stability caused by removing the ThumbsUp. Plus it makes the camera rather bulky, not pocketable, and fragile-feeling – I’d be constantly worried about snapping the finder off because it pivots through 90deg for waist level shooting, and doesn’t really lock in place all that securely.

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Graffiti. Olympus Pen Mini, 45/1.8

With all cameras, the ultimate litmus test for me is how much I use it: the cameras I like more tend to be workhorses or go-to cameras, either because I enjoy using them or they’re the best tool for the job. Anything that stays around for longer than around 2-3,000 exposures is a keeper for me; none of the other mirrorless systems I tried (NEX-5, X100, X1) lasted that long. The Olympus is rolling over 7,000 and going strong – which is nearly as much as I shot with the M9-P during the same period (since November last year). My D700 has seen just a couple of thousand frames, which is unusual.

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The embarrassment of having a pigeon crapping on your head. Olympus Pen Mini, 45/1.8

In conclusion, it’s a competent, fun camera. And at the current price of around $499 (I’ve seen it as low as $399 after rebates) in the US, it’s a no brainer. In fact, I’m thinking of picking up another one in electric pink to use as a spare or street photography camera; nobody is going to see me as a concern or take me seriously with one of those, which should make for some very interesting images. Micro Four Thirds has finally made good on its promise of smaller, just as good with this camera – its cheapest entry level option – not the flagship. I just hope the current corporate farce doesn’t kill the company, now that they’ve finally figured out how to produce a great product. MT

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Haunted house. Olympus Pen Mini, Panasonic 20/1.7

Comments

  1. Ming, how good is Pen Mini for portraits?

  2. Nice article! What did you use to tape the E-PM1? also what is that red strap you have? cheers.

    • Regular electrical tape, and it’s an Artist+Artisan.

      • Hi Ming, love your blog and reviews. Just recently came across your website and I’ve been reading it on the train to work ever since.
        I have a question concerning my possible next camera. I’m a big olympus enthusiast and I’ve been working with an analog OM-10 for for quite some time now. My ‘dream’ digital camera would be the OM (or maybe that brand new EP 5) because I love that vintage look and the great performance combined. Sadly, I’m on a budget, so when I read your review on the EPM1 I started considering the Mini.

        My main question for you is: Is it a good alround camera? I’m going to Argentina in December so I need something that’s not too big, that suits most situations (no flash maybe an issue here?). I started looking at alternatives like the Fuji X20, which seems a pretty good alrounder (I do want to shoot some HD video as well, not anything special), but it is a lot of money for a single lens camera and then I considered that getting into the M4/3 might be a better idea because of all the high quality lenses (and later on I can always get a new body + I might use some of those lovely analog lenses with it, they’re great)

        My second question is: Is the EPM2 a big upgrade over the 1? My budget restriction is somewhere around the 600 dollar mark, so I’m undecided whether to go for the EPM1 at 299 and get that lovely 45 lens with it (+kitlens +battery +sdcard +analog lens adapter). That should set me back 600 all in all. Or is the EPM2 really that much better and should I just buy that one at 499 (with kitlens) and save some more to eventually get the 45 lens. (This will mean going over budget) …

        Thanks for your time and invaluable advice! I have learned a lot just by reading your articles.

        All the best,
        Ralph

        • I thought the review adequately answered the question of whether it was a good camera or not! Put it this way: I wouldn’t bother using it for 10,000 frames if I thought it was a dog.

          The E-PM2 has a much better sensor than the E-PM1, but is pretty much otherwise the same camera. You gain at least one stop of high ISO, resolution and color accuracy.

  3. Mien, do you feel the E-PM2 is a worthwhile upgrade? Or is the E-PM1 still your pocket cam of choice these days?

    • Not sure who Mien is, but I might presume to reply – the E-PM1 was replaced by the RX100, and next will be a GR or A (I still have the A on loan and the full review will be up tomorrow). E-PM2 shares the same sensor as the OM-D, and is therefore capable of significantly better results than the PM1.

      • Ming, that was a terrible typo; my apologies – no disrespect meant. Thank you for your prompt reply. I am aligned with most of your equipment/photography views so I value your thoughts.

        • Haha, don’t worry about it. Just having you on :) I have autocorrect fails all the time – it’s a consequence of trying to make the most of your little pockets of time on the go…

  4. ” now that they’ve finally figured out how to produce a great product.”

    That’s the only sentence where I don’t agree with you… Remembering the original PEN, 35RC, the OM system, XA…
    Now that the camera is older, I think I’m going to run for a kit with an even better rebate while stocks last…

  5. Jet Tilton says:

    Have you had any exposure issues with the EPM1? Only had it around a month and it’s randomly over-exposing shots, and on some occasions it will actually DOUBLE THE ISO in Aperture priority mode! (not on auto ISO)…very disturbing because it will do this on iAuto mode as well as other modes, and I don’t know if there is a problem with the shutter sticking.
    THanks
    Jet

  6. Now I’ve got one myself (for considerably less than indicated here) I can agree with you totally. Don’t know about the lenses though… yet :)

    • :) Go have a look at the 45/1.8 first. The 12/2 is excellent but expensive. And actually the kit zoom isn’t half bad, either.

      • I’ve read you’re quite impressed by the 45/1.8, however, I’m quite charmed by the Panasonic G 20/1.7 pancake. Well, I’ve got some time to consider during saving. Good thing to know the kit-zoom isn’t half bad itself.

        • Both are good lenses, with the 45 taking the nod optically. Not too expensive, either.

          I have to be honest though, the longer lenses in the system are best used with an EVF – it makes framing precisely and handholding much, much easier.

  7. You said, “In fact, I’m thinking of picking up another one in electric pink to use as a spare or street photography camera.” Now that PM2 is available, would you consider getting the PM2 instead, while avoiding the PL5? Or are you still too much in love with RX100? :)

    • I like my RX100 :)

      • Akira Kaneda says:

        Great user friendly review! I’ve just picked one up with the 20mm 1.7 and I can’t wait to get out in the field with it!

        Your pictures are beautifully presented in the review and I just wonder what border/frames you use? I love the contrast and how it showcases the photos.

        Thanks for your time!

    • John Williams says:

      I’d go for the E-PM2 for sure. It has the best micro 4/3 sensor yet, like the one in the EM-5. The RX100 is pocketable, but it has a small sensor that lags behind in image quality, especially in low light.

  8. Hey there, i recently bought this camera, I was pleased with my results using RAW, but in other settings the pictures are quite poor. I tried shooting indoors in non RAW formats indoors the lighting was not dim but still did not get good results. Any suggestions or tips from you? Thank you

  9. Shawn Lund says:

    I recently trading in all my Nikon equipment and bought a e-mp1. I only had the camera for a month when I used it to take candid shots at a wedding. The auto focus drove me crazy and the quality of the pictures were disappointing. I need some help to adjust to this camera, what is the trick?

    • It wouldn’t be my first choice for a camera to use at a wedding because none of the M4/3 cameras have decent continuous AF. You can make it workable by spending some time working on your timing and anticipation skills though, and rely on the S-AF to do its job and focus quickly. Don’t use the kit lens, either. Image quality is fine up to 1600 if you’re shooting RAW.

      • Shawn Lund says:

        Good advice but too late! It looks like this camera does a nice job for stationary objects. You mention not to use kit lens, what do you recommend?

        • Well, the review and recommendation assumes some degree of technical knowledge as a photographer. Shooting a wedding with a kit lens is either exceptionally masochistic or overly trusting of the camera’s abilities…

          I use the 12/2, 20/1.7 and 45/1.8.

          • Shawn Lund says:

            I meant good advice, not to use it for a wedding. I used a 1.8 and a zoom 150mm. It was the focus that made the continuos shooting difficult. Since I only had the camera for a few weeks, I didn’t have time to research all the information about custom settings. I think this would have bee helpful.

            • Ah. C-AF doesn’t work well or reliably with any of the mirrorless cameras I’ve used yet, but at least S-AF is fast enough with the current generation of Olympus cams that you can just push the shutter all the way and have about an 80% hit rate – it feels very strange if you’re used to AF-ON or AF-C and lock, but it works.

    • I realise this is an old post. I used it at a wedding recently and it was great. I never use C-AF but have no issue with S-AF, it’s very fast and accurate on the EPM1. I’ll provide a link to some of the photos if anyone is interested. I love the EPM1. It has a touch of personality and magic. Much like my X100.

  10. What caught up with my attention is the “ThumbsUp grip” that you mentioned. You mind if I ask which model did you use on the PEN Mini and how much does it cost and where to get it? Thanks in advance.

    • It’s one of the older models with the cold shoe and ability to tighten the mount portion – so you can stop it from going all the way into the shoe and putting pressure on the LCD. Not sure what the model is, sorry – I’ve had it for ages from my first M8s.

  11. thanks for perfect read, I also hope that in today’s economy, Olympus finds a way to float the ship.

  12. I mirror your feelings about this camera. It’s a lovely little performer. And with the 45mm, it’s a world beater in that focal range.

    • It’s certainly a potent package. World beater, maybe not…that would be a full frame Nikon and the new 85/1.4G.

      • Ming, what are your thoughts on using the vintage canon fd lenses with a MFT adapter on Olympus E-PM1? Will manual focusing be difficult in practice?

        • Never tried, so I can’t say. I don’t think the optics are going to be that good; most of the current SLR optics don’t even do that well on the M4/3 bodies because of the pixel density. You’re better off sticking with native glass. Manual focusing isn’t too bad in general because you have stabilisation and magnified live view.

          • Thanks Ming. Compare IQ of M4/3 body + FD 50mm f1.8 lens with that of Canon AE-1 + FD 50mm f1.8 lens + Fuji Superia Xtra ISO 400 film scanned on flatbed scanner. ;)

  13. chipbutty says:

    Staggered to hear someone gets a thousand shots from a single battery. Olympus rate it for 330. Another reviewer managed 380. I struggle to get 150 with both of my batteries. I shoot in JPEG super fine + RAW so maybe that has something to do with it.

  14. Turn off them camera between shots. That’s all I did differently to you. It makes an enormous difference – I can get similar or better numbers from my OM-D, too. I think the record was about 2,400 on one charge – including a lot of long exposure work.

  15. chipbutty says:

    Interesting. I have the E-PM1 set to turn off after five minutes and the screen to dim fairly quickly. I wonder if I have a couple of dud batteries.

  16. Original batteries? Are you using either lens or body IS? I turned body IS off because it wasn’t that effective, and at the time I had no OIS lenses. That may have something to do with it.

  17. chipbutty says:

    I have one original battery and a non Olympus one. IBIS turned off. I use a Panasonic 14mm f2.5 and a Sigma 30mm f2.8. Neither of them have image stabilisation. Focus mode is S-AF-M.

  18. I’m at a loss, then. Other than art filters, there isn’t anything else that consumes that much juice.

  19. chipbutty says:

    Thanks for the input. Maybe a duff charger. I do use the zoom function quite a bit. Whether that consumes a lot of juice I’m not sure.

  20. Shouldn’t do. You are cycling the batteries fully occasionally, right? Too much cycling (drain to empty) can kill Li-Ions very fast, though.

  21. chipbutty says:

    I’ve had the camera for a week. I’ve been using the batteries until I get the orange battery warning symbol. The Olympus battery was manufactured in 2011. I wonder if it was stored fully charged rather than the recommended 40% and it has maybe deteriorated. I may see if I can hook up these batteries to the charger I use for my radio controlled helis and see what the true capacity of each battery is. I use it to charge Lithium Polymers but it does charge Li-ion.

  22. I store mine fully charged so they’re always ready to go. Too many batteries to charge last minute before a shoot. I cycle the ones I use in order to ensure all are conditioned as well as possible; it’s worked for me since my first digitals in 2004.

Trackbacks

  1. […] A few years ago I briefly owned a Canon G-10 as a small and easy to use backup-camera. It died on me two years ago and after checking out the market for a small and cheap camera with at least manual functions and good, RAW picture quality I went for the Olympus E-PM1. […]

  2. […] the second day of our weekend at the Opal Coast the battery of my Olympus E-PM1, after a meager 100 shots, was drained. On one battery charge one should be able to shoot at least […]

  3. […] the second day of our weekend at the Opal Coast the battery of my Olympus E-PM1, after a meager 100 shots, was drained. On one battery charge one should be able to shoot at least […]

  4. […] E-PM1 Pen Mini ($229, possibly less if you get lucky. Review | Amazon) – This camera is the bargain pick here: a very competent, large-sensor […]

  5. […] took this portrait of a scorpionfly a few months ago with my Olympus E-PM1 and a simple manual CCTV-lens. This 25mm f1,4 lens is only partially sharp and acts more like a […]

  6. […] on its own. When my Canon G10 died in December last year I bought a MFT (Micro Four Thirds), the Olympus E-PM1. I was swept away by the picture quality, the small body and the incredible tack sharp lenses.  […]

  7. […] E-PM1 hat die ganz große Review-Runde ja schon hinter sich. Ming Thein hat sie zum Beispiel offenbar geradezu lieb gewonnen. Oder Amy Medina (für Steve Huff). Testbilder […]

  8. […] now also incorporates automatic panning detection. Readers of my previous reviews of the E-PL5 and E-PM1 will know that I was not a fan of their IBIS systems, which just as often caused double images as […]

  9. [...] It looks like I will have to create a list of accessories that I would like to add to my brand-new Olympus E-PM1. [...]

  10. [...] was freezing cold but I was dressed for it. I enjoyed the walk, made a zillion photographs with my Olympus E-PM1 and found the work of Per Kirkeby. It is just a building, impressive and huge, made with bare [...]

  11. [...] use a wide angle. GR-Digital III served as my carry-everywhere camera for two years until the E-PM1 showed up, since replaced by the RX100. I digress: as excellent as the later generation GR-Digital [...]

  12. [...] fact, it was announced back in 2011 with the second-generation E-P3, E-PL3 and E-PM1 (full review here) – it still remains ostensibly the best fast wide option for Micro Four Thirds users. (It was [...]

  13. [...] faster and optically comparable. That lens made its way into my bag while I was shooting with the E-PM1 Pen Mini, turning the camera into a small and pocketable [...]

  14. [...] or two thicker, but nobody’s counting) – making the smaller bodies like the E-PL5 and E-PM1 very pocketable indeed. The lens was launched together with a number of other items at Photokina [...]

  15. [...] make no secret of the fact that I’m a huge fan of the original Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini (full review here); it brought big-camera speed and image quality to a very compact package. However, the OM-D [...]

  16. [...] This means the 24/1.4 AFS and 85/1.4 AFS on the D700; the Olympus 12/2 and 45/1.8 on the OM-D and Pen Mini; or some mixture of the Zeiss 28/2.8 Biogon, 50/2 Planar, Leica 28/2.8 ASPH and 50/1.4 ASPH on the [...]

  17. [...] Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini** (May 2012) – The best value M4/3 camera out there today. Decent image quality; great color and acceptable noise at ISO 1600. Very responsive and lighting fast focusing – same system as in its more expensive siblings. Incredibly compact body means you can slap a pancake on it, chuck it in your pocket and call it a day. And not notice it’s there until you need it. Surprisingly customizable once you find the hidden custom function menu – I can’t think of any other cameras of this size (or even professional DSLRs) which let you change the color temperature of the LCD. Great battery life, too – easily a thousand shots before you need to swap out packs. Design *looks* great but could use refinements – why on earth would you fit a 16:9 LCD to a camera whose native aspect ratio is 4:3? Most of the LCD is black and unused; the strap lugs are still idiotically positioned (this seems to be an Olympus design hallmark) and the ring on the back is fiddly. Other than that, I really do love this camera. It’s largely taken over from my Ricoh GRD-III. [...]

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