Freedom to shoot - my amateur e-pm1 review

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Brubache, May 14, 2012.

  1. Brubache

    Brubache Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2012
    Freedom to shoot - my amateur e-pm1 review *Update 06/18/12

    First I want to thank this site and its users. A fantastic resource for the uninformed such as I. The following is a tale of my first steps back into love.

    I like many of you, and many more to come, was recently (5 days ago) liberated. I don't really know how I got tangled or weighed down in the expensive and heavy world of camera gear but I did. I also found out along that way that I lost the love.

    I remember my first digital camera many years ago, a Minolta Z2. It started the fire of creative digital photography for me that led me to the Sony A200 a few years later. The disease started easily enough, dissatisfaction with the kit lens led me to a Sigma 28-200. That led me to an enormous flash that I am certain I needed those 2 times. A grip followed soon after and a 70-210 F4 Minolta a few months later. A venerable 50mm 1.7 arrived sometime later and with it left my joy of shooting.

    In two short years I had gone from amazing myself with what I could create to dreading picking up the camera to get my shot. I started noticing hunched over photogs with 40lb backpacks and massive white lenses with sad faces and bent backs, and realized I to had fallen in to the same lie.

    Hello my name is ***** and I am a gear o holic. Every time an event arrived or an opportunity to shoot came up I found ways of leaving it at home. And so my carefully and lovingly assembled kit sat unused for months on end.

    I am not certain what caught my eye but I decided it was time to sell the gear. I mean what use was it to me anyway? But then a chance field trip with my son and a decision to take the camera and the 50 along for the day got my head engaged again. The day went well, the pictures mostly lacked, but I realized the passion was still there. I was simply trapped by gear.

    The hunt began. What was small and compact yet produced great results? What was fast and easy to use that would not get in the way of photography? Easy... the EM-5. I finally tracked one down and got my hands on it. What an incredible camera. Simply amazing to touch and handle. I felt like I had found my answer. I was wrong. I decided it was to much like a dslr and that I would end up a gear o holic rather that a photo holic once again.

    My local Best Buy had the answer this week with an offer that I could simply not refuse. The E-PM1 kit on sale for $350. Perfect timing as I had sold off all my gear the week prior and was headed away for the weekend and would have a great chance to re ignite the passions.

    And here I am. The Monday after a torrid affair with my little E-PM1 that has ignited in me a rebirth of sorts. You could call it the afterglow perhaps but what I do know is that this is a serious camera. Now I am no expert. I am an amateur at best but what I do know is when a company designs something for a particular task and when it works well. That my friends describes what Olympus has done with this amazing tiny powerhouse.

    Buried deep inside its tiny frame is a menu system that is unmatched. It is as flexible and as daunting as you wish it to be and as simple as you would care for. It places, through very clever thinking, all of its most crucial tasks almost completely at you finger tips despite having only 4 buttons and a dial. I spent many hours sorting out what works best for me and had so many "AHA" and "WOW" moments that I could not recount them all.

    Perhaps the E-PM1's greatest strength is its ability to simply fad into the process and let me see what I see and capture it in astounding detail and beauty. The colors are perfect, the white balance is a revelation, and its speed is absolutely spot on for keeping track of my kids or a random humming bird.

    So, that's my story, a simple guy who lost his love, then unexpected discovered it again in a tiny white package that fits in the palm of his hand. Thanks Olympus.

    Feel free to look at my results from the weekend if you wish.
    Flickr: Brubache's Photostream
    • Like Like x 13
  2. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 12, 2011
    I can relate - though only slightly as I only ever took my big Nikon out twice. Thankfully I never got much invested beyond a 50mm. And then I found a PEN.

    Great E-PM1 pictures you have on flickr.

  3. Crn3371

    Crn3371 Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2012
    Reading your thread prompted me to register so I could reply! I was in the same exact boat as you were. Canon dslr and a bag of nice glass. Got so tired of lugging everything around that I found myself increasingly making excuses to not take my camera with me. Couldn't bring myself to go the P&S route as shooting for 40 years with some sort of viewfinder has made shooting with only the rear LCD unacceptable. After doing much research (most of it here) I picked up an Epm1 kit with the VF2. I feel liberated. The performance and IQ of this little camera exceeded all my expectations. As someone who needs reading glasses I love the ability to make all menu changes using the EVF. No more putting on glasses every time I need to change a setting. I'm seriously thinking of picking up the 14-150 and using it as my only lens. Don't miss the lack of buttons, wheels, and dials one bit. Actually find the control function of the Epm1 to be easier to use than my dslr. Activate the SCP and unlock the rear wheel and you're good to go.
  4. Brubache

    Brubache Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2012
    Hey man welcome here! I am new as well but very happy to see it touched a nerve with people.

    I have also been thinking about an additional lens and the vf. But for now I will restrict myself to simplicity to force myself just to shoot and not get caught up in the gear again ;) Glad your enjoying yours!
  5. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Real Name:
    Which lens did you get as part of your kit?
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Welcome to m43! I really like that lady in the hat shot. Great B&W!
  7. Brubache

    Brubache Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2012
    The basic 14-42mm.
  8. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Real Name:
    That was a great sale! The kit is $500 on today.

  9. Redridge

    Redridge Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 17, 2012
    Good on you mate.... here, here.... sold my d3 setup for these little cameras. I'm hooked on my little epl3 and the 20mm 1.7 and like you... have awaken the passion. I find the omd a bit to dslr'ish.
  10. ryansinibaldi

    ryansinibaldi Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2012
    Awesome thread OP. I know what you mean. I left big and heavier DSLR Nikons for my E-PL1 and couldn't be happier.
  11. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nice story, very well written. You have a real giant-killer of a camera in the E-PM1. One thing I might add though is to not be put off by the appearance of the E-M5; it is just as much the "anti-DSLR" as it's (slightly) smaller siblings.
  12. Brubache

    Brubache Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2012
    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. Just helping to clarify. Personally I love the E-M5. But right now on my current path the simplicity of the E-PM1 is letting the creativity back. Although I am certain an E-M5 is in my future, the little one is igniting the passion.

    Thanks to all for your kind comments.
  13. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Real Name:
    Wonderful story! I echo what everyone else said, with one tiny suggestion: spend $160 and get the 14mm. Your life gets even simpler and it even fits in your pocket. You will be amazed at what a ridiculously tiny combo can do.

    Good luck, and we look forward to reading more of your thoughts in here.
  14. DizzyV6P

    DizzyV6P Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2012
    I went through the exact same search you did. First Canon Rebel in 2003. Then came all the lenses, white and black. After lugging my 40D, Tamron 17-50, 580EX flash, and Canon 85 and pushing 2 kids in a stroller around Disney for 10 days, I came home and sold everything. I'm now a proud owner for a GF3, 14 and 45-200 while waiting for the E-M5 to arrive. I knew it was bad when I started taking more pictures w/ my iPhone4. It's nice to be able to take your camera out with you again.

    BTW, I love your pictures. I'm actually considering splitting my zenfolio album to just having a section for m43 pictures ;)
  15. m43_user

    m43_user Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 4, 2010
    Looks great. Are these JPGs from the camera or RAW files converted in software?
  16. Brubache

    Brubache Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2012
    I laughed out loud at this one! Thats exactly what happened. I WAS taking more pictures with my Galaxy than my camera!

    All pictures are jpgs straight out of the camera. Zero edits.
  17. Brubache

    Brubache Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2012

    The E-PM1 is gone. It has been replaced with a shinny new E-PM1 without the shutter locking up like the first one ;)

    I have had a great chance to get some basic shots together and am very happy with the results. Updates on my flikr feed for those interested.


    I find the handling of this little gem spot on. It is completely unobtrusive. It is also extremely accurate. The colors are just right and frankly I am in love with it. I definitely need some shallow dof though... perhaps a prime of some sort.

    This camera also really excels with a fast memory card. Highly recommend using a decent card as the whole camera is much snappier with a class 10 vs a class 6 card.


    Having to return the first one. Apart from that... NONE!

    Flickr: Brubache's Photostream
  18. drp

    drp Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    Virginia, USA
    Real Name:

    Really enjoyed your photos and your review. Thanks.

  19. Brubache

    Brubache Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2012
    Okay so a bit more seat time with the E-pm1 and here are my observations:

    Color... to use a worn out expression.. omg. Its just right on. What I see the camera seems to translate perfectly well. Really pleased with the colors this thing captures.

    Handling... its small and discrete and I have no problems standing next to the pro as I know I will get the shot I want and the camera doesn't get in the way at all in the process. It really does fad into the creative moment rather than being the moment itself.

    Lens... you know... i really miss some bokeh but to be entirely honest... the stock lens is a great carry around and gets great results. Especially on lower iso settings. So far it is one of the better out of the box lenses that I have used. Definitely deserves a spot.

    Menu... I cannot stress this enough. The super menu is spot on. Once you get the camera setup it is so perfectly natural to change settings quickly and easily. The menu earns top marks from me.

    Check out the the latest shots this weekend:
    Italian Show 2012 - a set on Flickr

    Very pleased.

    Viewfinder... i have wanted one of these but have found that so far I have not really missed it. If I had it I am certain I would use it but over all you adapt pretty quickly.

    Prime... a good solid easy on the pocket book prime. That will make it about perfect

    Half Case... I would like a decent low profile half case just to protect it a tad.

    Flash performance... now this is only a dislike because I haven't spent much time trying to make this work well. For now I switch to auto and let the camera judge it. I only use the flash for snaps sometimes so its not a deal breaker.

    Rain... this has nothing to do with the camera... but the weather has been TERRIBLE!

    Well hopefully someone finds this update of value.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. 6x6

    6x6 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    Originally Posted by crsnydertx
    Which lens did you get as part of your kit?

    I know what you eperienced. I worked my way down, too.
    Currently its a Pen with just one lens, the 1,7/20. Highly recommende, it frees oneself even more!

    Travel minimalism: one lens to go
    "So what’s all of this talk about a single lens?** Or single camera?....
    The main advantage, however, is that it frees up your mind from having to think about what perspective to take for a scene."