Olympus E-PL1 Review

The Olympus E-PL1 is one of the best offerings in the micro four thirds digital camera format camera category. The Olympus E-PL1 uses the same large sensor that is used in larger digital SLR bodies by Olympus in the much smaller camera package. The E-PL1 follows the larger E-P1 and E-P2 from Olympus and can be had for under $ 500 with a 14-42mm f / 3.5-5.6 Zuiko lens. While missing the built in mic and control dials for exposure adjustment that is present in the E-P2, it adds a built in flash at an attractive price point.

What is the micro four thirds format?

The micro four thirds format was developed by camera manufacturers to enable consumers to have most of the benefits of digital SLR cameras in a more convenient package. The micro fourth third format cameras use a sensor that is typically nine times larger than the sensor on average point and shoot cameras. The larger sensor directly translates to higher quality images with less noise and better performance in low light photography. By removing a mirror box and enabling shooting exclusively with a live view on the LCD, the four thirds cameras are much slimmer than traditional digital SLRs. Basically, you get closer to digital SLR photo quality and control without the bulk of DSLRs.

Key Features

The Olympus E-PL1 has a 12 megapixel four thirds size sensor, a 2.7 "LCD and support an ISO range from 100-3200. It can also take HD video at 720p and up to 3 frames per second in continuous photo shooting.

Olympus EPL1 Pros

  1. Produces pictures with excellent color, detail and resolution
  2. Simple to use interface for beginners with scope for more manual control
  3. HD video button
  4. Image stabilization is built inside the camera
  5. Included kit lense is of good quality
  6. Built in flash

Olympus E-PL1 Cons

  1. LCD is of lower resolution compared to some competitors
  2. No dedicated dial for controlling exposure
  3. Menu navigation is a bit involved
  4. Battery life is average
  5. Selection of the auto focus point is not straight forward


The E-PL1 excels in the most important aspect of any camera – image quality. For users interested in finding the happy medium between your basic point and shoot and a full scale digital SLR system, the Olympus E-PL1 provides a great value. Olympus has recently added newer Zuiko ED 75-300mm f / 4.8-6.7 and the 40-150mm f / 4.0-5.6 lenses that are compatible with the four thirds format cameras so you will have quite a few options to expand your system if you want to. The EPL-1 is a definite contender to consider if you are looking to upgrade from a point and shoot or looking for a camera to compliment your bulkier SLR setup.


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