Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NEWS FLASH - Olympus Launches E-P1

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June 16th 2009 – Olympus has launched its first micro four-third interchangeable lens camera.

 Note: This is a first look preview - I will post more thoughts on this product when I have got a chance to handle it.

Olympus has launched their newest interchangeable lens camera - the E-P1. Now, why do I call it "interchangeable lens" camera rather than a DSLR? Its because it does not have any mirror! And so there is no mirror lock-up on shutter release. There is no need for a pentaprism to get the view back to the photographer behind the camera's view finder. What you see on the screen is actually what the image sensor is looking at! So its not a DSLR!

In fact it does not even have a viewfinder (too bad), instead it has a large 3" LCD screen which doubles as a view finder (not my favourite way, but saves space), which is what the LiveView is all about. But it promises to be as versatile as a any DSLR because of its ability to take on any Zuiko four-third lenses (with an adapter) and it will also have its own family of lenses (micro four-third lenses).

Which is a great news for Olympus E-System owners as they can take advantage of its small size for portability.

E-P1 based on micro four-third standard, which is an offshoot of four-third standard. This standard has already been adopted by Panasonic and E-P1 is Olympus' first foray in this standard.

E-P1 has a completely new image processor - the TruePic V. Which promises to reduce the noise at high ISOs that's the reason they could offer ISO up-to 6400

Its a given that I will own this one (or some later variant). However, the current price of $799 body only is, in my view, too exorbitant. I will wait for 6 months and see how it performs with the pros, who would no doubt be reviewing this new kid-on-the-block.

From what I have seen, here are the Pros and Cons

Pros

  1. Extremely small size with the power of SLR.
  2. Interchangeable lens - compatible with all Zuiko four-third Lenses (with an Adapter, sold separately)
  3. Completely new Image Processor
  4. HD video capability
  5. Has most features of any Olympus DLSR up to E-620
  6. Takes one SDHC Card (Olympus has finally done away with their unnecessary dual-card slot).
  7. High ISO up-to 6400 (it would be good to know the noise performance)
  8. A decent 3FPS continuous shooting
  9. Compatible with FL series flashes including FL-36R and FL-50R (not sure if it also supports wireless flash trigger though, if it does then it will be amazing!)
  10. Just 335 grams!!! for a power of armature grade DSLR - that's awesome!

Cons

  1. No Optical View finder – This will be much missed by serious photographer.  But then again, what’s the point ? It will only be any other DSLR!
  2. Although I don't really care about video capabilities in a still camera, but some may. So the HD quality of 720p and not 1080p may be an issue with some. When I buy one though, I wouldn’t care too much about the HD capabilities. Just the promise of small camera with power of SLR is sexy enough for me.
  3. No wireless remote support :-( (too bad!). This could be a major irritant, because if you consider the size of the camera and the lack of view finder, the photographer will be struggling to hold the camera with long and heavy tele-photo attached, for instance. Which is where the remote would come in handy with camera on a tripod. But to be fair, it does support remote cable release, same RM-UC1 which is supported by other Olympus DSLRs.

Here are some pics of the camera

EP1-1 EP1-Back
EP1-top Looks true Olympus baby -Simplicity in conception and design!







Image Source: http://www.dpreview.com

So, if you own an Olympus DSLR and lenses and want to augment that with a light weight interchangeable lens camera - then this sounds like great value for money.

Watch out for more!! Excited!!!

Ciao!