Thoughts on the Pen and the lens system

Bill Gordon

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I have been away to Nova Scotia with the opportunity to get used to the Pen 2 and the 17mm Zuiko lens.

My observations on the camera is a great learning curve from all other types of cameras that I have owned over the last 60+ years!!

First of all I feel that in bringing a new model of camera to the market place Oly have included far too many options for the average person to absorb. The menu is too big and too cluttered. Far too many options available that the average person would require or even want. I realize that it was designed for amateurs of which I do not consider myself or most of the people on this site to be. I think most of us are advanced enough to recognize the merits of the camera and the options that we are really not interested in.

I put the 17mm lens on the camera used it for the entire trip and I think that it is an amazing lens. I would like to see Oly make f2.8mm Primes, including aw/a of less than the 17mm plus a micro/macro 25mm...perhaps a 50mm and something in the 150mm range, again, all primes and preferable all pancake type. This would improve quality comp and that is what it is all about.

I look forward to replies on this subject which I am sure will be controversial.

Cheers
"Olde" Bill
 

Vidar

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I agree with you Bill, we need more primes. And I love my 17mm too!

Come on Bill, show us some pictures from Nova Scotia please.
 

pictor

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First of all I feel that in bringing a new model of camera to the market place Oly have included far too many options for the average person to absorb. The menu is too big and too cluttered. Far too many options available that the average person would require or even want.
The many menu options have to be activated by the user to be seen. People who are not interested in those options may never see them. The camera is easy to operate for beginners, if they use the modes for beginners. They just need to charge the batteries and press the shutter release without changing anything. The E-PL1 can be operated as easily as that. Advanced users know what they want and can configure the E-PL1 to their liking.

But what is the average person? The camera was intended for people who have used point and shoot cameras and want to upgrade to something more serious but not to anything bulky as a DSLR. However, sometimes a camera (or some other product) is intended for one target audience but bought largely by another not expected one. A lot of buyers of the E-PL1 are professionals, who use this camera for their own private photography, and advanced photographers, who do not want to carry heavy gear anymore, if they can have light gear with a much better image quality than good enough. I suspect that there may be more people who are downgrading to µ4/3 from heavy DSLRs than people who want to upgrade to µ4/3 from compacts.
 

kevinparis

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I have yet to find a digital camera that simply presents the 4 key variables in photography that i grew up with eg shutter speed, aperture, ISO and focus, in an easily accesible format

in the old days at least 3 of those were always available in an instant - ISO was usually a little less accesible... but then again you didn't normally change ISO mid film

K
 

Streetshooter

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Kevin,
That's almost funny.
A lifetime ago, I did an experiment in my darkroom. I shot a few rolls of Tri-x (400) 35mm in my Leica. Anyway, I always mixed my own developers so I mixed a custom batch of Rodinal. I exposed the film under various lighting from morning till late night at ASA 100 - 1600. I processed the rolls exactly the same . Once the contacts were dry I inspected the images and realized that I never needed a light meter again unless it was color or a money shoot. Some were over, some were under but all could produce an interesting image.

So, we really need that 3 point camera and not worry about ISO being adjustable.
I think you and I are showing our age.....
 

kevinparis

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street... when we were growing up the world was black and white and we had to hand tint our dreams :)

give me a small digital system with a FF sensor, a shutter dial, an aperture ring and manual focus with focus confirm and I will be a happy bunny

it shouldn't be hard to do... all the tech is there. its just the will to do it thats missing

K
 

kevinparis

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as an addendum to my original comment - just pulled an old OM-1 from the shelf... haven't ever used it - bought it for for the 50/1.4 lens it came with.

what do i find... manual, easily accessible controls for all 4 variables - even iso.. in a very hand friendly package

progress... its over rated

K
 

Brian S

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The M8 is as close to a film camera as anything that I have used. Set the shutter speed with the shutter speed dial, set the aperture with the aperture ring, focus with the focus ring and viewfinder, select ISO with the Menu. 3 out of 4 is pretty good.

I like the EP2, but the menu system is not well laid out. I end up cycling the Info button off "the green square for focus" to bring up the quick-set menu, then cycle back to the green square. If there is an easier way, they should have made it more obvious.
 

photoSmart42

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go buy:
leica M9
LOL very true. I had the same thought, then I calculated how many rolls of film I could get high-res scanned for the price of an M9 and a decent set of lenses, and decided to stay with film. I expanded to 6x6 medium format in addition to 35mm, and I'm moving to 4x5 large format down the road. Still plenty of life left in film.
 

JoeFriday

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Milwaukee, WI
I'll definitely buy an M9 when I hit the lottery. Until then, I've got my E-P2, M3 and Summicrons.

Some interesting points were made about the Pens, tho. I agree that the menu structure is very confusing. Basically, the camera has almost too many features. I love the way you can customize so many things, like the Fn button. But even I'm not sure how I did it (aside from using Brian's videos).

On the other hand, I convinced a friend with very limited photography experience to get an E-PL1 just the other day. I told her that it has all the functions you can ever need, but still can be put in auto mode, handed to a friend, and take great photos. The PENs are very versatile.
 

Streetshooter

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Brian,
I got the M8 on release. So I was lucky to have to that failed...then Leica replaced them, for free, no issues and then they failed also. The filter on the lens is inexcusable.
I actually prefer my Pens to the M8's...
The M9....now that's a camera...I'll never have one but I'd love to use it.....
It's actually made for me...just not my finances...
 

kevinparis

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I have tried the rangefinder experience - its not for me... when I look through the viewfinder i want to see what the lens sees - not some ill defined box that i have to get the subject in.

nice lenses though

K
 

Gwendal

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The M8 is as close to a film camera as anything that I have used. Set the shutter speed with the shutter speed dial, set the aperture with the aperture ring, focus with the focus ring and viewfinder, select ISO with the Menu. 3 out of 4 is pretty good.

I like the EP2, but the menu system is not well laid out. I end up cycling the Info button off "the green square for focus" to bring up the quick-set menu, then cycle back to the green square. If there is an easier way, they should have made it more obvious.
You can customize quite a number of things to make the above less of a problem, but I agree that this remains my biggest gripe about the Pens.
 

Brian S

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I have a general rule about cameras- wait until they are out for a while, let the bugs get worked out in the early production models. A year at least. Learned this lesson with the Nikon F2. A friend at work had experience with two of the first run F2's, they were used them on a field exercise, both locked up. The '71 and '72 run had issues with motor drives and backlash. 1973, kinks worked out. First production Nikon F5's- shutter curtains jammed up.

My M8 is one of the last batches. So far, it has been no complaints. About 4000 pictures in 6 months.
 

sparklehorse

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:thumbup::thumbup:

I am on board with this thread. I like my E-P1, but hate the menu system. Designed by engineers, not photographers. Just give me a camera with great glass, an awesome sensor, and a few basic controls. I'll do the rest. It's not rocket science after all.

Gordon
 

Bill Gordon

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It would appear that the majority agree with me...keep it simple....the M9 is the most simple of them all, yes, I have handled one and used to sell the original M series and those prior to it.

I am enjoying the Pen 2 and the 17mm and look forward to posting some of the results.
 

Brian Mosley

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Bill, you're right... there's an enormous amount of configurability and complexity there - it's just a shame Olympus weren't able to devise a simpler way to access that power.

Having said that, once you have the camera set as you wish... all that complexity drops to the background and you're adjusting two parameters - Aperture or Shutter Speed and EV compensation.

Cheers

Brian
 

igi

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Feb 24, 2010
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I don't think the user interface is all that bad... I mean you can't really "keep it simple" by just giving ready access to only the shutter speed, aperture and ISO. If that happens, the camera will be branded as having the worst digital camera interfaces ever! Reviews will bomb it with negativity and in the end, you'll not buy it and never enjoy it.

The super control panel is very nice. One press and all you need is right before you :cool:

Though I do have a few issues with the responses of some of the options... :rolleyes:
 

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