Olympus PEN E-P1 review

Price when reviewed


Having said that, it’s a country mile better than any compact model. Results at ISO 800 sparkle with detail; ISO 1600 is perfectly usable; and even ISO 3200 is acceptable. Force it to ISO 100 and contrast, colour reproduction and detail are lovely – only someone used to a full-frame DSLR could seriously find fault. And if you want to extract a little more detail than default JPEGs, you can shoot in RAW mode and squeeze a little more out of it.

It’s just as well that low-light performance is good since – just like an old-style rangefinder – there’s no integrated flash (the PEN-specific one from Olympus will set you back £159 inc VAT). But, unlike a rangefinder, the EP-1 will shoot superb HD video in 720p at 30fps. Autofocus remains active too if you want, although it’s clearly audible on the soundtrack.

The EP-1 does lots of things very well and, just as important, it’s great fun to use too. The shutter lag is frustrating, though, it isn’t quite as compact as we’d truly like, and then of course there’s the price. In short it isn’t the ideal universal travel camera, but if you’ve been waiting for a true rangefinder-style digital at a vaguely sensible price, the PEN EP-1 fits the bill.


Image quality 6

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating 12.3mp
Camera screen size 3.0in
Camera optical zoom range 3x
Camera maximum resolution 4032 x 3024

Weight and dimensions

Weight 560g
Dimensions 121 x 82 x 70mm (WDH)


Battery type included Lithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard) 500 shots
Charger included? yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash? no
Aperture range f3.5 - f5.6
Camera minimum focus distance 0.25m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent) 28
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent) 84
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed 1/4,000
Maximum (slowest) shutter speed 1 mins
Bulb exposure mode? yes
RAW recording mode? yes
Exposure compensation range +/-3EV
ISO range 100 - 6400
Selectable white balance settings? yes
Manual/user preset white balane? yes
Progam auto mode? yes
Shutter priority mode? yes
Aperture priority mode? yes
Fully auto mode? yes
Burst frame rate 3.0fps
Exposure bracketing? yes
White-balance bracketing? yes
Memory-card type SD, SDHC
Viewfinder coverage N/A
LCD resolution 230k
Secondary LCD display? no
Video/TV output? yes
Body construction Alloy
Tripod mounting thread? yes
Data connector type Proprietary USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual? yes
Software supplied Olympus Master 2
Accessories supplied None

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