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Author Topic: Olympus E-P1 first impressions  (Read 7100 times)

cjmonty

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Olympus E-P1 first impressions
« on: July 10, 2009, 04:38:21 pm »

I just started working with my new Olympus, and I thought I'd throw up a few quick reactions.  I know several people are looking into the camera, so here's my opinion on a few issues I was interested in.

I have previously used the Ricoh GX-200 and Canon G10.

Form Factor:  great- it's better than I was expecting, but no better than the G10.  It feels e bit thinner and wider than the G10, which gives a secure hold with one hand.  That said, the non-retractable kit zoom lens adds a noticable inch.  This may be vying to replace the G10 (it certainly replaced mine), but you are no longer dealing with the easy to pack and protect brick shape of the point and shoot world.  There is plenty of room for case makers to come in and offer RF shaped cases for this little wonder, because no fitted point and shoot pouches will do the job.  Right now I've got it wrapped in a Jerry-rigged softwrap pouch with a YStrap.  Not ideal.

Live View:  works well, and I don't miss the viewfinder much.  Haven't tried any noon sun shooting yet though.  Olympus did do a brilliant job with the manual focus- it zooms into 100% on full MF, but the real joy is a AF/MF hybrid mode, which is basically AF that switches to 100% fine-focusing is you start rotating the focus ring on the lens.  Works really well.

Image Quality:  My G10 had already gone on via eBay, so I couldn't do a head-to-head IQ test.  So instead I set up my Phamiya P45 next to the Olympus, both on tripods and at roughly equal "normal" focal lengths.  Both shot a highly detailed print from 10 feet, 4th of a second at f/5.6, ISO 200.  Took several self timer shots with each, all RAW, processed with no sharpening in Capture 1 and the surprisingly similar-looking Olympus Studio Pro.
I down-scaled the Phase One tiff to the size of the 12MP E-P1 Tiff.  Bicubic regular resizing.

My unscientific results:
The Phase One images look sharper pound for pound, but not by leaps and bounds.  If you use even modest sharpening in C1, the difference becomes much greater- compared to the Olympus images sharpened either with the raw processor or Photoshop CS3.  All this is to be expected, given the MP and sensor differences.  More detail is always more detail.  All things considered though, I would be willing to use the E-P1 for a professional job, in a pinch.

But that's not news- the surprise is that these files were much, much cleaner in appearance than my old Ricoh and G10 files.  The small sensor files always seemed to end up with a stilted brick-work structure at 100%.  They were beautiful up to a certain size, but just betrayed a wrongness at fine detail.  The Olympus pixels just ended up looking like a fine grain structure at 100%.  
I imagine it might be similar to the Sigma performance, but with 12 instead of 5MP.  I've never used the DP1 or DP2, but now understand their devotees excitement.  Great files, small(ish) camera.
I'm happy.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2009, 09:42:11 pm by cjmonty »
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feppe

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Olympus E-P1 first impressions
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2009, 07:44:31 pm »

Thanks, nice brief write-up.

The image quality of compacts is what's been keeping me away from them - the detail is blotchy and smudged in all of the samples for even the ones which supposedly have highest quality in their class. But the samples from E-P1 are very impressive, especially from the prime. Sure, it's not a true compact, but seems to be small enough to be a reasonable compromise between a true compact and an SLR.

I'm mostly looking/waiting for more primes to be released for micro four thirds before re-considering the E-P1 (or its successor).

cjmonty

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Olympus E-P1 first impressions
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2009, 11:13:56 pm »

I found a decent, if not cheap, protection solution for the E-P1 today.

Artist and Artisan makes a funky pouch for Leica M-series cameras, called the Rina.  A bit over-sized for the Pen, but still compact, virtually weightless, and great for protecting the camera when you throw it in your bag or hang it on your hip.  

It also doesn't scream "camera bag", although it does look a bit odd.

at $120, you'd better like it.

http://www.photovillage.com/product.php?pr...at=0&page=1
« Last Edit: July 10, 2009, 11:14:11 pm by cjmonty »
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picnic

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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2009, 09:55:04 am »

I tried the EP-1 Thursday with my FD and Hexanon lenses.  Very nice.  Overall, found it quite a nice camera but I still have the issue with no VF (as I do with my G9) so will wait.  BTW--it should be much better than the P & S--it has the 4/3rds sensor--in fact, supposedly the best of them right now.  Same as the G1 (which I have).  There's no comparison with small P & S IMO--except for those that want a small cam with ability to shoot higher ISOs, better resolution, etc.  Also--its not as small as some would think--not really pocketable, but certainly smaller than a DSLR--and very nice in hand.   With the 17 f/2.8 pancake its a very slim package.  

I bought the 17 for my G1 which makes it also quite small/light.  Nice little lens and I shot quite a lot yesterday with it and my MF Hexanon 40 f/1.8 which keeps kit small.  I've found I shoot quite a lot with the G1 and leave my 5D at home--or carry both for travel, deciding on the day/situation which to carry.  

I didn't have the opportunity to try it in sunlight--it was pouring outside, but the salesperson said someone had been in that morning, took it outside to shoot in sunlight and after a bit came in and said 'yes--gotta' have it'---so, if that's any testament LOL.  

Diane
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MarkL

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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2009, 07:43:09 am »

How is the AF speed and accuracy?
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spotmeter

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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 11:49:02 pm »

Quote from: cjmonty
I just started working with my new Olympus, and I thought I'd throw up a few quick reactions.  I know several people are looking into the camera, so here's my opinion on a few issues I was interested in.

I have previously used the Ricoh GX-200 and Canon G10.

Form Factor:  great- it's better than I was expecting, but no better than the G10.  It feels e bit thinner and wider than the G10, which gives a secure hold with one hand.  That said, the non-retractable kit zoom lens adds a noticable inch.  This may be vying to replace the G10 (it certainly replaced mine), but you are no longer dealing with the easy to pack and protect brick shape of the point and shoot world.  There is plenty of room for case makers to come in and offer RF shaped cases for this little wonder, because no fitted point and shoot pouches will do the job.  Right now I've got it wrapped in a Jerry-rigged softwrap pouch with a YStrap.  Not ideal.

Live View:  works well, and I don't miss the viewfinder much.  Haven't tried any noon sun shooting yet though.  Olympus did do a brilliant job with the manual focus- it zooms into 100% on full MF, but the real joy is a AF/MF hybrid mode, which is basically AF that switches to 100% fine-focusing is you start rotating the focus ring on the lens.  Works really well.

Image Quality:  My G10 had already gone on via eBay, so I couldn't do a head-to-head IQ test.  So instead I set up my Phamiya P45 next to the Olympus, both on tripods and at roughly equal "normal" focal lengths.  Both shot a highly detailed print from 10 feet, 4th of a second at f/5.6, ISO 200.  Took several self timer shots with each, all RAW, processed with no sharpening in Capture 1 and the surprisingly similar-looking Olympus Studio Pro.
I down-scaled the Phase One tiff to the size of the 12MP E-P1 Tiff.  Bicubic regular resizing.

My unscientific results:
The Phase One images look sharper pound for pound, but not by leaps and bounds.  If you use even modest sharpening in C1, the difference becomes much greater- compared to the Olympus images sharpened either with the raw processor or Photoshop CS3.  All this is to be expected, given the MP and sensor differences.  More detail is always more detail.  All things considered though, I would be willing to use the E-P1 for a professional job, in a pinch.

But that's not news- the surprise is that these files were much, much cleaner in appearance than my old Ricoh and G10 files.  The small sensor files always seemed to end up with a stilted brick-work structure at 100%.  They were beautiful up to a certain size, but just betrayed a wrongness at fine detail.  The Olympus pixels just ended up looking like a fine grain structure at 100%.  
I imagine it might be similar to the Sigma performance, but with 12 instead of 5MP.  I've never used the DP1 or DP2, but now understand their devotees excitement.  Great files, small(ish) camera.
I'm happy.
Diglloyd in his review found focus problems with the camera, and could not recommend it for this reason.  Have you come across any focus issues?
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DaveCurtis

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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 04:36:59 am »

Yes, after reading Diglloyds review I'm not sure if I would by this camera.

Good image quality however  no view finder, poor focus, slow lens and more expensive than a low end DSLR.
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Guillermo Luijk

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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2009, 12:02:42 pm »


This is what an Olympus E-P1 looks like with a Leica Summilux 35 Aspherical:




And some samples (JPEG):





aefreedman

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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2009, 12:55:08 pm »

Just picked one of these up for my wife, and have not been able to put it down myself. I have sample images on my site www.aefreedman.com .

First let's not compare this to pro series cameras, it is not meant to be one, it is meant to be the ultimate in a travel camera, in size and options. I have also recently tested Leica lenses on the EP-1, and the results are really great. Being that this is the only AF sort of range finder available, I think Olympus has found a real niche. Even B&H lists the EP-1 under Digital Range Finders category. See http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/shop/15389/R...al_Cameras.html

Being that you can buy 9 of these for the price of 1 Leica 8.2 and you will still need lenses for your Leica, it is a bargain also, and for you video fans, this one will do video and the Leica will not. Now before everyone jumps on me thinking I am slamming Leica I am not they make some of the most amazing products, and there engineering prowess pushes other manufacturers. I am just simply saying in the economy you can buy an $800 camera body that work with all of your Leica M Glass (adapter needed). $6000 for a Leica 8.2 and with the 09/09/2009 release of the M9 what do you think the price of that will be? Maybe $9999.99.

I give this camera a Highly Recommended for what it is a great walk about camera, and your neck will not hurt at the end of the day.

There is one thing about the camera that is a bit annoying just so you know it is not perfect, you have to go into the menu if you want to manually change auto focus points. That is every time you want to select a different point you have to go back into the menu. This I am hoping will be corrected in a firmware update.
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250swb

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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2009, 04:45:14 pm »

Quote
There is one thing about the camera that is a bit annoying just so you know it is not perfect, you have to go into the menu if you want to manually change auto focus points. That is every time you want to select a different point you have to go back into the menu. This I am hoping will be corrected in a firmware update.

I just use the screen for shooting that has the green AF square on it (press the INFO button in shooting mode until it comes up). I then just press the rocker dial in the direction I want the AF target to move. No menu is used. The adjustment is in fine increments, making it slow sometimes to get to where you want, and also jerky if you keep your finger pressed down in one direction. If you press the OK button in this mode it will magnify the image for fine manual focusing.

Steve

DaveCurtis

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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2009, 04:55:00 am »

I see that Diglloyd has updated his review to include the  Zuiko Digital 14-35mm f/2 SWD. Look at the sample file the resolution appears to be truely astonishing. Mind you the lens does sell for around US $1900.

He says that it maybe the best wide angle zoom ever made.

Somehow to I would prefer to put a lens of this caliber on a camera with a viewfinder.
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feppe

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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2009, 04:42:44 pm »

Quote from: DaveDn
I see that Diglloyd has updated his review to include the  Zuiko Digital 14-35mm f/2 SWD. Look at the sample file the resolution appears to be truely astonishing. Mind you the lens does sell for around US $1900.

He says that it maybe the best wide angle zoom ever made.

Somehow to I would prefer to put a lens of this caliber on a camera with a viewfinder.

Do you have a link to that review? Their website is a nightmare to navigate or to find what's new.

DaveCurtis

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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2009, 03:51:17 am »

Quote from: feppe
Do you have a link to that review? Their website is a nightmare to navigate or to find what's new.


Hi Feppe,

Here is the link to his blog: http://www.diglloyd.com/diglloyd/index.html

You have to pay for his reviews:
http://www.diglloyd.com/dap/index.html#OlympusEP1
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Guillermo Luijk

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« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2009, 06:28:31 am »

An unusual combination: old Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 + Olympus E-P1. That's an eq. FOV of 1200mm!
The owner said focusing was an easy task thanks to focus zooming.



Some samples:






vgogolak

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« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2009, 10:38:13 am »

are those full size images or crops?

With the Leica R I modular I am always on the hunt for cameras that have higher ISO for higher EV (need stop down for DOF and speed to stop motion, if only vibrastion.

Victor
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Wayne C

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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2009, 03:07:19 am »

Wow, Bobby. Great images.

Wayne

Guillermo Luijk

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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2009, 07:32:29 am »

Quote from: vgogolak
are those full size images or crops?
They are full size.

The author only complains in his new E-P1 about noise over ISO800.

I always state that the reason for 4/3 (and now M4/3) sensors to be noisier than the APS-C ones for example, is not sensor size, but the sensor design itself. The Canons are better sensors in terms of noise and dynamic range than the Panasonics, it is not a question of size because both 4/3 and APS-C have sizes in a very similar range:



As soon as the 4/3 cameras mount appropiate sensors, they will be no noisier than any APS camera at high ISOs or in terms of dynamic range. Looking at the camera SNR curves in DxO Mark, it's easy to see that 4/3 sensors have a good SNR in properly exposed areas, but the SNR quickly vanishes when going to lower RAW exposures. That makes this cameras to have a poor dynamic range when compared to the competition.

Regards.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 07:37:45 am by GLuijk »
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