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E-PM1 as a hiking camera

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by dhazeghi, May 26, 2012.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I took the E-PM1 on its first real hiking trip last weekend - a 2 day venture to Mt. Shasta in northern California. I also brought the VF-2, kit 14-42IIR, 20/1.7, 45/1.8 and 12-60, plus 3 batteries.

    On the whole I found it worked quite well as a replacement for my much loved but oversized Nikon D700 and the compact but lacking-in-quality Olympus XZ-1. I was mostly pleased with the image quality, the handling and the general convenience. For once the EVF actually proved quite valuable (metering was all over the place thanks to mixed sun/clouds and lots of snow). The only significant drawback I found came after the fact - the re's not much room in the shadows for PP.

    In short, at this point I don't expect to take the D700 (or the XZ-1) on too many more hiking trips of this sort with me.

    A few other observations:
    • Battery life was fine. Did 500 shots on one battery, never even got to the second one.
    • Used a piece of string to secure the EVF which worked great.
    • Managed okay with thin gloves, as the only setting I regularly accessed was EC.
    • Extra lenses were pointless. There were very few opportunities to change and none where a prime seemed more suitable than a zoom. I don't know how hikers with multiple lenses do it.
    • Was very pleased not to have a mode dial. My friend managed to bump the one on his DSLR several times by accident.
    • Shadow noise is the achilles heel of the 12MP sensor. Images that didn't need PP were okay. Start lifting shadows though and the whole thing fell apart, even for web-sized images (2000x1500). Fortunately managed (mostly) to avoid that.
    • The 14-42II is an okay lens, but the collapsibility was actually more harm than help. Also, I did rather miss the wide-end (24mm EFL).

    Photos in followup.


    • Like Like x 1
  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Another group, ascending.

    E-PM1    ---    15mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    ISO 200

    A bit of afternoon light.

    E-PM1    ---    14mm    f/8.0    1/80s    ISO 200


    E-PM1    ---    14mm    f/5.6    1/125s    ISO 200

    After sunrise.

    E-PM1    ---    14mm    f/5.6    1/80s    ISO 200


    E-PM1    ---    14mm    f/5.6    1/1250s    ISO 200


    E-PM1    ---    23mm    f/8.0    1/250s    ISO 200

    Coastal ranges (westward).

    E-PM1    ---    42mm    f/8.0    1/500s    ISO 200

    A view.

    E-PM1    ---    14mm    f/8.0    1/500s    ISO 200

    Mt. Lassen (60 miles south)

    E-PM1    ---    42mm    f/8.0    1/800s    ISO 200

    Backside of Mt. Shasta.

    E-PM1    ---    14mm    f/8.0    1/800s    ISO 200

    From below.

    E-PM1    ---    35mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    ISO 200


    • Like Like x 2
  3. mnhoj

    mnhoj There and back again

    Dec 3, 2011
    Los Angeles
    John M
    Nice rundown. Looking forward to the images.

    Wondering what you used for carry.

    Edit: Wow. Answered both questions. Well done!
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Just the standard shoulder strap. When glissading down, I stuck it in the pocket of my windbreaker.

  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Really fine shots -- I particularly like the sunset. Excellent!:2thumbs:
  6. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Wow, awesome images. Looks like you got up to or above 10,000 feet on that behemoth sized mountain. Did you take all those photos with the 14-42 II kit zoom or the 12-60 zoom + adapter?
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA

    We made it up to about 12000 ft. to the top of Shastina (plenty of snow in spite of the dry winter). All the photos here are from the 14-42II. I did take a couple of shots with the 12-60 but the difference in quality (range aside) wasn't that large. I probably won't bring it again on this kind of trip.


  8. PointZero

    PointZero Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2011
    I just went on a lite hike with my EPM1 yesterday, and I would agree with most of the conclusions that you've drawn. There were very few times when I found changing a lens necessary. I brought my EPM1 with only the Panasonic 14mm equipped. A surprising revelation for me was the use of the digital tele-converter zoom feature. Being able to switch from wide-angle to near normal was a godsend - especially when not needing to change lenses. I had a 35-70mm legacy lens on me as well, but I did not find a useful time for it.

    The AWB of the EPM1 was also much appreciated. I owned a Panasonic GF1 in the past, and even in daylight, it had questionable AWB choices - needing adjustment in Lightroom. Exposure choices made by the camera seemed fine to me. Center-weighted metering with some exposure compensation wasn't too bad. I actually would have appreciated having an EPL3 for the tilting LCD and physical mode dial.
  9. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Agree 100% with this, and an EPMx with the new OMD sensor would just kick butt as THE compact camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    Makes me kinda wish I had gone for E-PM1 instead of the E-P3 I just HAD to have, saved some money. Well the E-P3 with "kit" zoom is a great "have a camera with me all the time" piece of gear.

    And that 14-42mm "kit" zoom is a lot better lens than most give it credit for.

    Thanks for sharing those pics.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Bruce, I have them both; however, for an upcoming vacation, the E-PM1 looks like it will nudge the E-P3 out of first place to be the compact camera in the kit. The size isn't hugely different, but the E-PM1 just feels a lot smaller and more spontaneous.
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