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E-PL1 Honeymoon Over?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by scantron, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. scantron

    scantron Mu-43 Regular

    May 10, 2010
    I've been shooting with an E-PL1 for about 6 months now, mostly with a Panasonic 20mm and occasionally with some Minolta legacy glass (from my trusty 35mm X-700). I used to use a Canon 20D and I'm kind of missing it's performance- but not it's bulk.

    I generally shoot in A, M, or Art Filter mode. I'm getting a little fed up with the EPL1's slow autofocus and inability to autofocus at all indoors or in low light. Using the LCD to manually focus is not much fun in those situations either. This camera could really use an autofocus assist lamp. I'm wondering if the VF-2 evf would help me love this camera again, but sinking another $250-$300 in the VF-2 doesn't sound too exciting to me.
    The Art Filters are fun but end up looking kind of fake- like an iPhone shot or something.

    I do still love the small size & portability, jpeg IQ (although I've been liking the RAW files more lately), and HD video capabilities.

    I guess the purpose of this post is to see what other users still love and/or have grown to dislike about the camera after using it for a few months.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. linkedit

    linkedit Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2010
    New Jersey, USA
    For me the focus speed of the e-pl1 is the biggest disappointment, so much so that I've been seriously thinking about getting rid of it for a GF1.

    For those out there that have used an e-pl1 and gf1, how much faster does the gf1 focus?
  3. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    I'd have to agree that the low-light AF can be annoying, though there are workarounds like focusing on a point of high contrast and then re-framing.

    I can't imagine why Olympus left off the AF assist light - every $99 and up compact and many dslrs have it, and it helps greatly for many situations.

    All that aside, I still think that my E-PL1 is my favorite camera body ever and, paired with the 20/1.7, is a great combo.
  4. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    I've only had mine for 3 weeks, so I don't know how I will come to feel about it. Like any new bit of tech the novelty period will wear off.
    I have no trouble autofocusing in my (small) flat which is lit by a 60w equivalent bulb (do you live in a candle-lit home?). I don't intend to shoot a lot of quick erratically moving subjects. For the static things I like to photograph the focus speed is not an issue. My compact is quicker to focus, but I gladly will sacrifice speed for better image quality.
    I don't care about the art filters and haven't even tried them because I can do that sort of thing with the software I have.
    Of course there are things that could be better about the EPL but I did a lot of research before I bought it and I am confident it was the best camera for me in my budget range.

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UPzhidedFU"]YouTube - GF1 vs EPL1 Shooting Performance[/ame]

    The GF1 appears to be better in that regard, as the reviews I read of the two suggested. And I saw that video before I bought. If the faster auto focus was all that important to me I would have bought accordingly.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've had the EP1 for over a year, though technically I bought, sold and re-bought three times before settling in.

    The Olys have their warts, but I'm not sure there's really anything better out there. The GF1 might AF faster (though I'm not convinced it's that much faster, if the real issue is comparing it to a DSLR). But, you'll lose IBIS and so you'll have a different issue.

    If you've got the itch to try something different, try getting a new legacy lens perhaps, or the 9-18. I wouldn't move around bodies just yet. I've considered it myself, but I'm going to sit tight into the spring and see if an EP3 shows up.

    Having said all that, I do have to admit I own a DSLR as well (a Canon 5D). I picked up a used one specifically for indoors low-light around my house, and action outdoors shooting, so perhaps I'm cheating a bit :D 
  6. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    The body stabilisation was a big plus for me on the EPL compare to the GF.

    I suppose you view of the EPL will depend somewhat if you coming up from only ever having something lesser, as I am. Or whether you are getting the EPL mainly for compactness compared to having used a big SLR (which I never have).
    I'm not likely to miss features I've never had and the EPL is all extra compared to what I did have, and it allows me to do the all the things the photo how to books talk about that I couldn't do before.
  7. Chuckr53

    Chuckr53 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    Estero, FL
    E-PL1 Target Consumer

    I think the differing experiances/opinions between Scantron and Spuff confirm the initial description of the target consumer for the E-PL1 provided by Olympus...that it's primarily targeted at the consumer who until now has been a digicam shooter as an upgrade. Here's a quote from the Feb 3, 2010 release announcement from Olympus: "This third-generation PEN is built for shutterbugs who always wanted better pictures and considered a DSLR, but were intimidated by the bulky size and complex interface."

    It provides quality and a feature set exceeding what he was accustomed to using a digicam.

    For the dSLR user like Scantron, it may be somewhat disappointing in some regards and found lacking because of those shortcomings. I suggest you focus on and exploit the strengths, and accept that it isn't the end-all solution.

    I suspect (hope) that the next version (the E-PL2 ?) will have improved AF performance.
  8. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2010
    Does the gf1 have focus assist lamp?? I have e-pl1 and its was really annoying to work the auto focus in low light. But I think I am getting used to it. Last family gathering I had very good shots that i would not have when I first bought it. I think if one shoots smartly keeping in mind the low light focus then they can still get good results by focusing at high contrast areas first.

    I agree e-pl1 might be for consumers but what about e-p1 and e-p2. I am sure they have low light focus problems too just like the e-pl1.
  9. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    You are generally right. But I wanted the best camera I could afford, and the EPL was it. If I could afford a flagship product I would have gone straight for that.
  10. silverbullet

    silverbullet Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 10, 2010
    Back from Istanbul here a small selection of rainy day, indoor (mosque and the big bazar) shooting. Ok, my D300 is better, but the E-P2 isn't soo bad....

    Colours of Istanbul - a set on Flickr
  11. Boyzo

    Boyzo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 3, 2010
    Small battery much smaller than the GF1
  12. DjordjeJ

    DjordjeJ Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 19, 2009
    Belgrade, Serbia
    Last year I had E-P1 which is great but later I sold it because i missed EVF. this autumn I bought E-PL1 with VF-2. Then I bought some Minolta MF lenses. Yesterday I got adapter for these lenses. I can tell You it is different camera than. I dont like m.zuiko 14-42, but with VF-2 and Rokkor 50 f1.7 it is completly different camera. I had D90 before, and it is much easier to manually focus with E-PL1 than with D90. Buy VF-2 and some legacy lenses. You will love this camera again.
  13. scantron

    scantron Mu-43 Regular

    May 10, 2010
    Good points made regarding the marketing of this camera.

    For me size was the biggest issue. I hated lugging around my Canon 20D DSLR (and all it's associated stuff), and ended up leaving it at home most of the time. People didn't like having it pointed at them, either. So I wanted a tiny DSLR with tiny lenses. The viewfinder on my Minolta X-700 SLR absolutely rocks and I realize that I'm going to find that quality in any crop-sensor camera. I've been spoiled by that camera.

    At first the small size of the EPL1 was a joy in comparison to the 20D. I could live with the lack of manual controls. I love the ability to change lenses and shoot legacy glass with IBIS. I do find that I'm really missing composing through a viewfinder though.

    Anyone want to sell me a VF2 for cheap?They're getting harder and harder to find these days. Smells like Olympus is going to have one built-in on the next gen of E-P cameras.....
  14. FaradayCage

    FaradayCage Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 22, 2010
    The EVF makes a huge difference if it's either very sunny or very dark. MF is your friend.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Chuckr53

    Chuckr53 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    Estero, FL
    VF-2 on E-PL1


    I agree..the VF-2 on the E-PL1 rocks.
  16. FaradayCage

    FaradayCage Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 22, 2010
    Yeah... the quality is amazing. So much so that you don't even need to zoom in on live view to check your focus if you are using an old manual focus legacy lens.
  17. scantron

    scantron Mu-43 Regular

    May 10, 2010
    I'm thinking that the VF-2 will help me love this camera again...
    • Like Like x 1
  18. FaradayCage

    FaradayCage Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 22, 2010
    It really does make a difference, especially with manual focus legacy lenses. Much higher resolution LCD than the one on the back of any EP series camera.
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I bought the EPl1 because I wanted to use legacy lenses so AF speed really wasn't much of an issue. The EPL1 with the VF2 is a great combo. I chose the EPL1 vs the GF1 because of the VF2 and IBIS. As many have said, every camera has its warts. If you are constantly looking for the perfect camera you'll never find it (I know, I've been down that road many times). Settle in with what you have, learn to work around the weaknesses and exploit the strengths.

    FWIW the other day I got to play with a Leica M8. It was very cool and immediately I started to lust after it...it's all roundish and heavy and has the little red dot on it. I'm a huge RF fan but have avoided playing with any Leica digital M's because I cannot afford one and figured once I touched it I would be so smitten that I'd sell off a kidney to get one. It was cool but I found it didn't wow me like I thought it would. In fact, I found that I didn't like the RF as much as I thought I would (or as much as I like the VF2).
    • Like Like x 1
  20. youry

    youry Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2010
    Winston Salem, NC
    I had the same problem and sold my P1 for a GF1. Gf1 was fast but the jpegs looked retarded, dull, no color.
    So I sold the GF1 and purchased again the P1 (P2 was too expensive for only a few improvements over P1).
    I got frustrated again with the AF speed and sold it for a G1. Same story this time I ended with a P2. I simply cannot stand the Jpegs from Panasonic cameras. Meanwhile I tried a G1 and a GH1. Sold them right away. Last is the GH2. Ordered one on the 19th and on the 21st my card was charged.
    No tracking number as of now but I hope it's in the mail. If this Panasonic camera is as retarded as the others (jpegs) I will get rid of it and never look back. I only hope Olympus would came with a P3 with much better video and obviously AF speed.
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