A new Micro Four Thirds with mainstream appeal.
When Size Matters
These changes highlight the major advantage of the Micro Four Thirds system: compactness. An E-PL1 body, the two new lenses, and the optional EVF ($280, street) can all fit in a modest-sized purse or bag.
Sure, it’s still more to carry than an all-in-one superzoom. But, with a sensor nearly 10 times the area of a typical superzoom’s, a Micro Four Thirds camera can produce images that put those cameras to shame. While you won’t get the extreme one-lens reach of the latest 30X ultrazooms (such as Olympus’ own SP-800UZ), you can always change the lens on a Pen.
There are no dedicated macros or fisheye lenses available yet in Micro Four Thirds mount, but adapters will let you use regular Four Thirds lenses in the meantime.
Still, for newcomers to interchangeable-lens camera systems, the current selection of native-mount lenses should be an adequate starting point.
All told, Olympus has made a nice camera that showcases the virtues of the Micro Four Thirds format at a competitive price. We’re looking forward to running a full production sample through the Pop Photo Lab soon.
Future Tests Will Reveal
- How the camera handles in the field.
- If the E-PL1’s res can match its siblings.
- Noise level of images at high ISOs.
- Whether Olympus has sped up the AF.