A camera is normally looked upon as a nifty little thing which you can carry around in your pocket, slip it into your purse or dump it into your back-pack. Well, the digital device we are reviewing today cannot be pocketed but will surly cater to your photography fetish. The Olympus Pen E-PL1 takes you back to your retro roots and may even remind you of your first film camera as it sports that very same bulky appearance and weight. However do not be fooled by its size and don’t go pitting it against your slim digital camera gifted by your aunt. While companies like Nikon and Canon offer a plethora of dependable DSLRs and high definition camcorders, most are large and not suitable for casual users just looking to vent their photography skill by snapping away at people and objects anytime, anywhere. We observed that you need not be an Einstein to work this camera. With its simple look, self-explanatory menu and options, users observed to be novices at this type of photography can operate it without much fuss.
The Olympus Pen E-PL1 gives you the benefit of a large imaging sensor and interchangeable lenses while keeping the required bulk to a reasonable minimum. This allows you to have all the attributes found in a DSLR camera without needing to cart along a huge load. The device comes bundled with a Micro Four Thirds M.Zuiko 14-42mm zoom lens which is again easy to utilize. It smoothly twists into the front of the camera and can easily be detached by pressing a small button located on the right side of the camera. Offering users amazing 12.3 megapixels, the company also brings to the table other highlights such as one-touch HD Video and new Live Guide. We obtained the white colored model complete with silver thick line running along the edges and a beige protrusion which offers a great textured grip while capturing footage. The camera can even be acquired in two more colors namely champagne gold and black.
The front of the device is littered with just the company’s name in black bold letters and hogging up majority of the place is a wide lens opening that can be paired with Micro Four Thirds glass. Also featured on the face of the camera is the lens release button and self-timer light. Adorning the top of the device is the on/off button which emits a blue light when in standby mode as well as a shutter button, mic, slot for an individual flash, Live Finder or a Microphone Adapter and a thick mode dial. Taking the cake in this section is the concealed pop-up flash which must be activated manually with a slide button located on the back of the camera. Coming back to the mode dial, we see it sporting the options iAuto, Program, Aperture and Shutter speed, full manual, Movie, Scene with 19 options and Art. We shall explore and divulge into these factors in just a bit.
The rear of the Olympus Pen E-PL1 camera features a 2.7 inch HyperCrystal LCD monitor which was bright enough to view content even in sunlight. Alongside this were the dedicated play, Menu, Info and delete buttons. There is also a four-way controller with the OK button located at the center. The options here allow you to gain access to flash, exposure compensation, burst shooting and metering zone with the speaker sitting plush above these buttons. On the right side edge is a concealed compartment for USB and HDMI while the bottom of the camera consists of a tripod mount and dual compartment that neatly houses the rechargeable battery pack and SD card slot. The components in the box include three lens caps, one for the lens opening and two for the provided Micro Four Thirds lens. It also comes bundled along with a Li-ion battery charger BCS-1 and USB/Video Multi cable.
High quality pictures can be captured by setting the mode dial to iAuto and simply letting the camera do the rest. The i-Enhence automatically analyzes the scene and adds the appropriate shooting mode depending on the subject and environment. But if you wish to further customize the picture of your muse then simply press the start button and voila, there is a whole line-up of options such as change color saturation, color image, brightness, background, express motions and shooting tips at your disposal. This customization option is called the Live Guide which is certainly a feature to look out for in this camera. We found the ‘shooting tips’ rather helpful and believe that it would certainly appeal to photography enthusiasts who love to capture a plethora of still pictures.
As mentioned above, there is a dedicated Movie mode button which offers you 720p HD movie recording. The footage obtained is crystal clear while the voice and background sound are very audible. The device also enables you to start recording a video almost instantaneously. They can even be captured without the mode dial being on Movie mode. This can be accomplished with a simple press of the dedicated red circular recording button located on the back of the camera. Through this option, you can also easily toggle between still image and movie shooting.
There are six Art Filters for shutter-bugs to take complete advantage of such as gentle Sepia, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pin Hole and Diorama. In scene mode, you have 19 categories to choose from. These include portrait, e-potrait, landscape, land + pot, sport, night scene, nite+ pot, children, high key, low key, Dis mode, macro, nature macro, candle, sunset, documents, panorama, fireworks, beach and snow. Something for every occasion, situation, and personal preference ranging from a candlelit dinner to the fourth of July or even sports day at school.
Olympus has also endowed this digital camera with a dedicated one-touch Enlarge button. When pressed once, it displays an enlarged view and on further hitting the button, a complete full-frame field of view is obtained. There is even a high-performance image stabilization system integrated into the system which avoids blurring due to camera shake. While viewing your pictures through the camera’s LCD display, you are even given an option to enjoy them in a smooth slideshow mode. The videos can also be enjoyed through the clear monitor with sound options being available directly on the camera.
The digital offering sports a less bulky look when pitted against other DSLRs and HD cameras.
It boasts of a comfortable grip and overall great camera experience.
The retractable flash keeps the users’ fingers away from it while capturing an image.
The extra lens is an add-on to the bulk and should have also been bundled with a smaller lens for a lighter approach.
It could have also incorporated a more chic appearance for further appealing to style aficionados.
The Olympus Pen E-PL1 camera offers you a complete retro look embedded with loads of stunning features that can be expected in any DSLR camera or HD camcorder. The latest Olympus offering is your portal to capturing all the fun and snazzy pictures as well as bright reliable video in complete HD. It’s a perfect addition to any holiday or even great for special occasions or capturing everyday life in HD. The camera can even be paired with any Micro Four Thirds System lens. With its one-touch video mode and Live Guide options, we give this camera an 8.7 out of 10.
Great pictures at less bulk with the Olympus Pen E-PL1 camera are just Rs. 29,999 away.