March 31, 2012

My thoughts after a week with the E-P1

M. Zuiko 12mm F2
Photo taken with E-P1 and Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4
So after 1 week of having the E-P1 with me everyday I would like to share my thoughts. It makes a big difference when I'm carrying light weight gear. Even if I'm carrying all 3 lenses (12, 25 and 45) it feels like it's not even there. I don't feel any stress in my wrists even after using it for a while. That is the biggest difference for me. I like it very much and I'm enjoying every second shooting with it. There's no doubt the Canon 5D Mark II has better image quality than the E-P1 but if you can compromise, I believe the E-P1 is the best in its class before the next generation PENs were released. Even Ken Rockwell has a review of the E-P1 and according to him it has the technical image quality of a DSLR or better, it's just not good enough for sports and action which I don't shoot.

I must say that I'm not trying to convince people to switch. My intention is to share my experiences so that it may help others in case they find themselves in the same boat as me or perhaps some are just looking for a second system. If I have the money, I will say it again, I will still have my 5D Mark II with me or maybe even upgrade to the 5D Mark III. For what I do and my style of shooting I find that a m4/3 system is enough and has satisfied my likes up to 90-95% of the time.

The good:
  • Small and light weight makes a big difference for me.
  • Auto Focus is fast and I like the contrast detect logic. Often times it picks the right focus point for my liking.
  • Image quality is great. With good light I don't see a difference with my Canon 5D photos.
  • More choice of lenses now and more coming. When Ken Rockwell reviewed the E-P1 there were only 2 lenses available for it.
  • The rest of what I like are in my first impressions post a week ago.

The bad: (I believe the following are shortcomings of an old or obsolete camera. Take note I'm using an E-P1.)
  • Noise at higher ISO like ISO 400 and up. It's even sometimes present on ISO 200 when you pixel peep. 
  • The big advantage of the 5D Mark II and perhaps bigger sensors would be in dynamic range. In good light there is no issue but for long exposures at night specially when the light is gone then the 5D is definitely better. 
  • LCD is 240K only.
  • The aperture blades would sometimes open and close even when I'm not trying to focus or half press the shutter button. I was told this is normal but it gets annoying sometimes specially if it's noisy (like the Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4). I think this is a waste of battery power.
  • There's no way to override the focus point without having to do at least 2 button presses. I was used with the 5D Mk II where I can easily change the focus point selector while I'm composing the shot.

The ugly: 
  • There's none really. The bad points above I'm hoping the OM-D E-M5 will address. I know it has better Dynamic Range, it performs well in high ISO, it has an OLED touch screen and more.

Below are some photos of a barn I spotted while driving one day. All are taken with the M. Zuiko 12mm F2 mounted on the E-P1. When I saw the barn the first time I drove by it I immediately thought it would make for a good subject and my plan was to go back there and do a long exposure so that I can catch some moving clouds with it. When I went there I thought it was pretty much walk to the barn and shoot all you want. After just a few shots a lady came out from a nearby house with a husky and quite a big one. She was saying something but I couldn't understand it. With the dog in a leash I figured she was trying to make me go away so I simply walked back to my car and drove away.


  1. The good news is that the "bad" is really temporary for you. The E-M5 will resolve most of those items with the exception of dynamic range which I'm willing to bet the 5D MkII will still come out on top.

    1. Thanks Kenny! From what I've seen the DR on the E-M5 is pretty good but I will have to test it myself. I'm with you on the DR on the Mk II, the bigger sensor has this advantage.