Who are E-PM/E-PL/E-P aimed at?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Wizard Steve, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Wizard Steve

    Wizard Steve Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2013
    Provence, France
    David Ricketts
    I've been tempted by the cheap E-PM1s that are around at the moment but don't want to make a rash purchase just because they're cheap.

    I'm not clear what markets the three smaller PENs are aimed at.

    As far as I can tell, the E-PMs are the PEN minis with the least controls but the greatest pocketability. The E-Ps seem to be the enthusiast models and the E-PLs fit somewhere in between.

    Could someone explain the differences better? Not in terms of features but in terms of how they're each used and to whom they are each targeted.
  2. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    I think you nailed it. I loved the E-P3, and E-P2 I've owned in the past because of the controls and overall handling -- but was less sanguine about the E-PL1. The E-PL5 wasn't bad because of the extra control from the tilting touchscreen and more button programmability. But I traded it for a Panasonic G5. I love my OM-D E-M5 Olympus though.

    I had an E-PM1 and it annoyed the heck out of me. I might as well have bought a lower end NEX which were great cameras that made me crazy every time I used them, lol.

    Still the E-PL1 can make some serious pictures. If you want to get into micro four thirds, get the E-PL1 and spend the money you have left on better lenses.
  3. OpenCS

    OpenCS Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    They're all very similar, even in terms of size. "Pocketability" is really not an issue further than lens choice. Before I write any more, I should say that this is all written with the caveat that it's a personal point of view, and certainly won't apply to everyone. I use an EPM1 and and EPL3.

    I use my Mini when I'm working exclusively with autofocus lenses (or the bodycap, with no focus controls) and when conditions are less than ideal in terms of weather. That's because it was the cheapest, and I don't worry about it picking up some battle scars. I'm amazed at how much you can actually do with so few controls (that said, rather than using the traditional manual controls I used on SLR, I'm using aperture priority with one of the back buttons set to AEL - it's effectively manual, but requiring a bit of swinging about to get the metering right).

    I use the Lite when I'm using manual focus lenses, because more programmable buttons means I can easily get to the magnification controls while retaining the AEL button I can't live without.

    I personally didn't see the point of spending money on the full E-P; it didn't offer me anything which wasn't already done better by the Canon 30D which this kit replaced, other than being smaller. I couldn't justify the extra expense for more dials and a load of features that I'd never use. This said, I work almost exclusively with landscapes and still scenes. If I was a portrait shooter, I'd want both dials in manual.

    I paid £99 for a second hand E-PM1 with a couple of dings on it, and it's probably my favourite camera I've ever owned. Again, this is for the sort of work I do - your mileage may vary. If you use manual all the time, it won't really suit you. What I can say, though, is that when it comes down to it, there's not a massive difference between the shots it takes and the ones I got from my £3,000 worth of 30D and Canon lenses. Certainly not £3,000's worth of difference.
  4. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    I think the e-pm1 is the best of the bunch. Light, flexible and good looking. I also think the e-pm1 is the best camera I've ever owned (but then I've only had the om-d for a month!).
  5. poisson rouge

    poisson rouge Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 13, 2013
    Of course the E-PM1 in Olympus marketing lingo is called the super entry level camera for those upgrading from simple P&S cameras, but for me the E-PM1 is my :43: enthusiast's camera :D
  6. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I think this encapsulates the segmentation pretty well. To me, the E-PMx (a.k.a. PEN Mini) and the E-PLx (a.k.a. PEN Lite) are aimed at users moving up from point-and-shoots while the E-Px (a.k.a. PEN) are targeted and suitable more for those moving down (at least in size) from SLRs as they have more of the types of external controls "power users" will appreciate.

    The differentiation between the Mini and Lite lines has always been a bit ambiguous to me beyond a slight size difference. In terms of features the only real difference has been the tilt screen and a couple of extra buttons on the Lite models.

    Since Olympus has the OM-D series to address the high end of the market, I would guess that we will eventually see the PEN series reduced to just two models. It wouldn't surprise me if the E-PL5 is the last model in the Lite line.
  7. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    How come Olympus doesn't make answers to the OP's question apparent?
  8. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I think the E-P3 is the best of these lines - but I prefer the level of control offered and the way the controls are laid out. I also prefer the slightly larger full - it feels more substantial and fits my large hands while still being considerably smaller than most DSLRs. In the end, which model any individual thinks of as "best" will be determined by personal needs and preferences. :biggrin:
  9. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    They do to some degree, but it's pretty subtle. I suspect the reason why they're so careful about how they do this is that they don't want to pigeonhole consumers. This applies not just to Olympus but to any manufacturer.

    If you look at the videos on the Olympus site for their I PEN My Life campaign it gives you an idea of the demographic for each of the PEN lines. The E-P3 video shows an older gentleman using the camera to create his "timeless vision," the E-PL3 shows a young father capturing his "innovative vision," and the E-PM1 shows a young (presumably single) female creating her "stylish vision." Those are the themes Olympus uses pretty consistently for the PEN series: E-Px = timeless, E-PLx = innovative, E-PMx = stylish.

    Of course, the day after I post this the rumors of a pending E-PL6 announcement come out. :rolleyes:
  10. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    Though Panasonic has multiple lines as well though -- GH for the pro level, and then G, GX, and GF. Though I think there is more distinction between them, given the different body style of the G and GH from the GX and GF, and the way that the GH bodies are deliberately limited by not taking accessories.
  11. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    You're obviously right that Panasonic has just as many lines, but I agree they make a bit more sense to me: GF = small and light, step-up from P&S; GX = "rangefinder" style pro-sumer cam; G = mini-SLR style pro-sumer; GH= pro-level cam with an emphasis on video.

    An alternate way to segment the Panasonic lines: G and GF are the "consumer" models with the difference being the VF while GH and GX are the "pro" models with/without a VF.

    Maybe the three PEN lines make sense to Olympus (obviously they can decide based on the sales figures), I just think that it's kinda tough to draw a distinction between the P and PL lines.

    I'm curious what you mean about the GH being "deliberately limited". Did you mean to say GF?
  12. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 29, 2013
    Columbia, MD
    So that's why my pictures aren't coming out so well. I should have gotten the EPx since I "stepped" down from DSLR and not the E-PL1. :biggrin:

    Seriously though, I got away from the DSLR to m4/3 due to camera size and lugability. In hindsight, I may have gotten the EPx, but I didn't know what I didn't know and the E-Pl1 seemed to fit the bill. I think you need to evaluate the type of shooter you are, and your personality. I like to shoot landscape and wildlife. I do miss my 500L with 1.4 TC, but I only took it out when I was going to shoot wildlife, and I only really did that 2-3 times a year seriously. I had a 24-70 lens that was for landscape, and walking around. That lens was seriously big, 77mm lens cap. That coupled with the DSLR body was not all that fun to lug around and watch my kids.

    I have found that now I am shooting again I take my camera everywhere, and it isn't a pain to pull out. For me it is the best camera I have owned to date simply because the best camera is the one you will use. :smile:
  13. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I agree with this statement 100% and I think nearly any :43: makes a great carryaround option (with the possible exceptions being the GH2/GH3 and a fully gripped OM-D).
  14. AceAceBaby

    AceAceBaby Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    It looks like there's been some feature creep and more overlap in the models since the originals. My E-PL1 is a lot simpler than an E-P1, but my E-PL5 seems to have similar controls and features to the E-P3 (even the grip is compatible).
  15. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I agree. The big "innovation" of the E-PL1 was the Live Guide feature. It was really just a sort of "dumbed down" E-P2 (with an on-board flash).
  16. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    Sorry, I meant the GF. The way they removed the hotshoe with the GF3, for example. It seems they wanted to enforce a distinction between the GF and GX lines.
  17. AceAceBaby

    AceAceBaby Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    Speaking of on-board flashes, the E-P series grew one, the E-PL series dropped it.
  18. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Which speaks to the somewhat haphazard (IMHO) blurring of the distinction between PEN and PEN Lite series.

    Maybe the E-P6 will be an E-PL5 plus a thumbwheel, a high-res OLED display and an on-board flash. That would be a very compelling camera for me, but that doesn't seem like enough difference to justify a very big price gap.
  19. TEMA

    TEMA New to Mu-43

    Apr 26, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    Appears Olympus follows a Good, Better, Best marketing strategy for PEN, and the models are priced according to the features.

    E-PMx, E-PLx, EP-x

    x = generation model

    I own E-PL5 and my fiancee has a E-PM2

    E-PL5, fits my needs. 16MP sensor, touch to shoot, hot shoe, top dial to switch between Mysets, articulating LCD screen for composure, under $500, Expert User, Pro photographer.

    E-PM2, fits her needs, 16MP sensor, touch to shoot, hot shoe, under $350. nice to haves: the articulating screen and top dial. Point and shoot user.

    We've setup the cameras as close as possible in terms of the live histogram, and colors.
    Settings are easily accessible via press on OK to access the Super Control Panel.
    I prefer switching modes via the top dial on the E-PL5, but it's easy enough to tap at the bottom left of the LCD to get to another mode on the E-PM2.

    Mainly we wanted to have the same image quality and same digital workflow. We can also use the same lenses and accessories.

    We use these as our everyday cameras. They are portable, lightweight, responsive, and have very good image quality. Everything we think a mirrorless camera system should be. :2thumbs:

  20. BLT

    BLT Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    I like buttons. From that standpoint, my limited time with an E-pm1 left me frustrated with touchscreen operation. Other than that it is as good as any 12mp oly camera.

    I think you nailed who the cameras are marketed at.
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