I just got my E-PL1 - questions!

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by photolover, May 31, 2010.

  1. photolover

    photolover New to Mu-43

    May 31, 2010
    At Shutterbug, Portland, OR for $529.00 with 14-42 lens kit.

    I agonized for weeks about whether to buy a new DSLR body to replace my D70 or to go directly to a m4/3. The D90 was awesome but I think Nikon is about to refresh the whole prosumer line, so the E-PL1 won out.

    Boy am I glad it did. I understand now why people are so upbeat about micro 4/3. For the price there really is huge photographic value in these cameras. I took the train from Portalnd back to San Jose and even though I was limited to taking shots out the window of a moving train, I was able to get some passable shots of the Cascade Mountain scenery.

    I'm impressed with the camera build quality. It has a good feel and balance for a small camera. The plastic bits don't detract from the overall satisfaction of handling the camera. I'm a little worried about the quality of the cover for the USB and HDMI ports, but heck its got those ports and they are useful. The lens uses ED glass and is tack sharp a in the center and out most of the way to the edges. The lack of a viewfinder leveler is a bit of a disappointment but not a huge loss. the manual is quite perfunctory and I can see I will be depending on this forum for tips and tricks for using the camera. Are there any other references for E-PL1 that are more useful.

    I'm finding the screen perfectly acceptable in most conditions including outdoors.

    Some questions for the E-PL1 vets.

    1. JPEG superfine. Should this be the standard JPEG format I use or is FINE good enough?

    2. I like to use the grid in the viewfinder. The standard Thirds grid however doesn't divide the scene into thirds, rather it takes a narrower center section. Is their an adjustment for this or am I too picky?

    3. The Olympus battery is $50 bucks. Is there a good alternative that's cheaper. I've seen the Maximal Power battery on Amazon. Any real-life experiences with this battery out there?

    4. The Oly pancake lens. Worth it? Go for the Pany pancake? Anyone have them in stock?
    5. The Oly EVF. Useful? Worth it?
    6. What add on flash other than the FL-14 do you recommend.

    7. Battery indicator. Any way to get a current status other than turning the camera off and back on. It disappears after a few seconds and there doesn't appear to be a way to review from time to time.

    8. Other than using the Super Control panel is there a way to view the other status icons on the main screen that disappear after a few seconds after you turn the camera off and on.

    Thanks, in advance for any insight offered.
  2. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    First off, congratulations. There are a lot of folks having a lot of fun with that camera - I sure am. Welcome to the crowd!

    I can't answer all of your questions, but I'll take a shot at the ones above.

    1. Only you can tell, based on what you plan to do with them. I tend to always go for the best resolution I can because that "shot of a lifetime" may come at any moment and I'd like to be able to do anything I want with it. Then again, I shoot in RAW, so I'm singularly unqualified to advise ANYone on what level of jpeg to shoot with.

    3. You'll hear the occasional horror story about someone blowing up a camera with a 3rd party battery, but most folks seem OK with them. I've got a couple that I think I paid $10 or $15 each for that are doing fine, thanks. Just get them from a reputable camera shop like B&H or Adorama or even Amazon and you should be fine - they're unlikely to risk their reputation by selling something they haven't checked out somewhat.

    4. Both pancake lenses are great. Tradeoffs abound however. The Panasonic is optically a bit better and its definitely faster, so better for low light. The Olympus has a wider field of view, is more than adequate optically, and is a good deal less expensive. I'm one of the people who has both, likes both, but rarely takes the Panasonic off the camera - there's just something undefinable about that lens - I like what I get with it. But you can't go wrong with either - just decide whether fast is more important that wider angle and, if so, is the price difference worth it? Both seem to be readily available if you want to part with your cash! :cool:

    5. Useful, yes, very. Almost essential in bright sunlight. I don't use mine at all except in bright sunlight, but some folks shoot through them all the time. Worth it? I don't know, they're pretty expensive. But the first time you find yourself unable to see the screen because of sun-glare, you'll wish you had one.

    7. The battery indicator is a real weak point for me. I'm not aware of any time you can view it other than when you turn on the camera (although it seems to me I saw it unexpectedly in some other mode, but I'll be damned if I could tell you WHICH mode). And, worse, it seems to just show you if the battery is almost empty or not - it doesn't show gradations. If it looks full, it might only be 1/4 full. When it show less than full, its almost cooked. So keep a spare battery handy whenever possible.

    That's all I got. Have fun!

  3. photolover

    photolover New to Mu-43

    May 31, 2010
    Thanks Ray.

    I appreciate the advice.
  4. dbledsoe

    dbledsoe Mu-43 Rookie

    May 28, 2010
    1) There has been considerable discussion on DP Review about jpeg SF vs. F and the consensus seems to be that SF simply makes larger files and eats up more card space while not producing any noticeable difference in image quality i.e., there is all the information necessary in jpeg fine and nothing is gained in SF other than, as I mentioned, larger files taking up more card space. I shot both and pixel peeped and could not see a difference so I shoot in fine and get a few more pics per card.

    4) I went with the Oly 17/2.8 pancake lens simply because of its price. I bought it for nearly half the price of the Pana 20/1.7. The additional speed of the Pana 20 wasn't important to me but price was, not to mention the Oly 17, being a bit wider, was important to me. There is no doubt the Pana 20 is a great lens but I find the Oly 17 to be an extremely sharp and excellent lens and I have no regrets buying it. It stays on my EPL1 99% of the time. If you need the greater speed of the Pana f/1.7 then that should be your choice but the Oly 17/2.8 is an excellent lens.

    5) I was reluctant at first to pay the price for the Olympus VF-2 EVF because I haven't, in the past, been a fan of electronic viewfinders (EVF) but I bit the bullet and bought one and am now glad I did. I find it a real plus under many shooting conditions (outdoors bright sunlight as well as indoors low light) thanks to its excellent resolution and it brightens what you're looking at in low light making composition easier. I highly recommend it if it is within your budget.

    Those are the only items from your list I have experience with and hope it is of help to you.

    • Like Like x 1
  5. moralesea

    moralesea New to Mu-43

    Jun 3, 2010
    Photolover, one more thing to keep in mind... The Panny lens will not autofocus on an Oly body. The oly lens is more than enough if your looking for a great street shooting camera.

    While that isn't such a big deal with pancakes since they're relatively easy to maneuver on PEN bodies, it's a huge issue for folks with standard four thirds cameras as well like yours truly.
  6. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    I'm sorry to be blunt, but this is completely WRONG. The Panasonic autofocus perfectly on any µ4:3 body, olympus ones included. To be complete, using the Pany 20 on olympus is even better than on Panasonic bodies, because this lens isn't stabilized by OIS, and therefore, the only way to have stabilization is by using it on an olympus body with IBIS.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. moralesea

    moralesea New to Mu-43

    Jun 3, 2010
    I must be mistaken then, I tried the 20mm a few months back and didn't have very good results on my EP1...could this have been part of the recent firmware upgrade?

    I even considered switching to the GF1 over the issue, but the GF1 wasn't fully compatible with my Zuiko 50mm f/2 Macro. I'm sorry for the mistake.
  8. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Panasonic Pancake DOES autofocus on my E-PL1...

    Thought I ought to mention that.

  9. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Isabel, I'm not sure why you're quoting this? The micro four thirds panasonic lenses work just fine on the Olympus Pen cameras.
  10. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Pancake does autofocus on my Pen...

    Someone in a previous message in this thread said that the Panny Pancake wouldn't focus on an Olympus body.

  11. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

  12. paulb

    paulb New to Mu-43

    Ditto on the panny lens working perfectly just got a deal on the panny 20 mm and whew, the autofocus works beautifully, even faster than with kit lens. It's a sweet lens, any talk of distortion at edges is not noticeable for all mere photography mortals.
    • Like Like x 1