I started out writing a short piece on traveling to Mazatlan with the Olympus E-PL1 digital camera. However, that short article turned into a full review. That’s just as well since the E-PL1 and Olympus’ other Micro Four Thirds cameras deserve more attention. The Micro Four Thirds camera design eliminates the mirror and optical viewfinder in a digital SLR to make a smaller camera that can still deliver digital SLR-like image quality. The E-PL1 is Olympus’ third Micro Four Thirds camera. It has a 12-megapixel Live MOS Four Thirds sensor, interchangeable lenses, 720p HD video and plenty of creative controls. It’s an effective compromise between the performance of a digital SLR and the portability of a high-end compact camera – it could be the ultimate serious travel camera. I bet big on the E-PL1 for my Mazatlan trip and left all my DSLR gear at home.
Olympus E-PL1 Pros
- Light and compact
- $599 with a lens!
- Better image quality than a compact digital camera
- 720p HD video
- Built-in image stabilization
- Pop-up flash
- Live Guide creative controls
Olympus E-PL1 Cons
- Auto focus performance not as good as a digital SLR
- Image quality not as good as most digital SLRs
- No dedicated exposure controls
- Not enough dedicated lens options
- Not so great for action photos
- EVF (electronic viewfinder) is a $200 accessory