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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Comments

Decisive Moment Camera?

The decisive moment for me was when I arrived at the point in the description that announced that this camera DOES NOT HAVE A VIEWFINDER!

That makes it just another PG&S (Point, Guess and Shoot) digicam!

A Pen-F it is NOT.

The Panasonic M 4/3 might be a little bigger, but at least it is functional.

Cheers! Jay

Viewfinders of the sort on the Canon G10 are of very marginal usefulness. When I had a G7 I got used to using the LCD but the viewfinder/shutter combined lag was a persistent problem.

I doubt we're going to see a DMD with a finder of the quality of the Leica CL (an equally small camera), but wouldn't that be nice!

I had a CL for a while, but its rangefinder wasn't good enough to reliably focus a 90mm F2.8. It was a nice size package though, and I liked the side strap concept.

I love everything about it... except the glass. Where's the 20-25/1.4-1.7? Where's the 40-50/1.8-2.0? Without fast primes like that I have no interest.

Fatal flaws:

1) Horribly distorted lens (requiring software correction)
2) Slow-ass lens

For these reasons, this camera cannot be compared to the great historical Pen cameras.

I'm pretty sure I am the target market for this camera, yet I have no interest in it. Fail.

Wake me when they have a 24mm or 28 equivalent prime.

What's wrong with the clip-on viewfinder shown in the photo? At least, Olympus doesn't charge an exorbitant amount for the added viewfinder, like Leica does ...

I don't see any fundamental reason why the LCD shouldn't be perfectly functional as a viewfinder. They're going for small, and small means compromises. Frankly I like the look of it. But hey, if it doesn't suit your needs then that's fine.

Make me a K-mount adapter (hopefully one that will allow effective metering) and this would be an interesting option for a second body.

I would like to see a DoF markings range bars on the manual focusing scale. Depending on aperture and focal length, those markings can change. It is a simple question of firmware programming. It would be great for prefocusing.

One question, it seems obvious, but just to be sure: You can manually focus by turning the lens ring, right? Does it stop at infinity and at closest range or does it spin endlessly like some camcorders?
Thanks

Hmm, not sure about the lack of a viewfinder myself. I've really grown to appreciate not having to hold the camera at arm's length like an idiot, after the initial novelty of having an LCD screen at the start of the digital camera revolution.

The other thing I'm a little worried about is the AF module; apparently Panasonic decided to not share their toys and so the EP1 will not have the G1/GH1's AF system. I hope it won't end up dog slow like current DSLR contrast AF systems (or even just slightly slow).

Videos posted by DPReview don't look too impressive either. They have that awful sharp and high contrast look belonging to video cameras.

Lat night, before going to bed, I'd decided I'd buy the whole kit. This morning, I changed my mind. Eamon notes that it's not pants-pocketable, and with anything other than the 17, I'm not sure it has any advantages over the G1...and now there are rumors than Panasonic is pushing forward its compact m4/3 version, and will release it this fall. Since the rush for the Oly will probably be intense...I may wait and see.

Some random thoughts:

The external OVF seems of limited usefulness; an extra bit to carry for that one lens, makes the camera bigger, and makes it look weird, which will attract the eye. Since you're going to have to use the LCD for everything else, might as well learn to use it for the 17 as well.

I don't think the camera has to be black or Zone 3 -- the Oly color schemes make it look like an ordinary P&S, which is its own kind of camouflage.

The "slow" lenses aren't too big a deal -- if the camera is really good to ISO 3200, there's your fast lens. Of course, you lose some ability to isolate that you get with a really fast lens. On the third hand, supposedly there's a fast 20mm Panasonic prime coming along in September.

The low-res LCD strikes me as a money-saver, along with the missing internal flash. In addition to everything else, Oly seems to have hit an interesting price-point -- I wouldn't have been surprised to see this kit priced at $200 to $300 more, especially given Oly's history as a premium pricer.

Really needs a wide.


Eamon,

Do you know if the VF-1 OVF has a 1.0x magnification factor? I've read somewhere that if that's the case, you can shoot with both eyes open (i.e., without squinting). Is this true?

Thanks,
Arjun

I received an e-mail ad from Amazon just this morning, announcing that the Olympus E-P1 is available for pre-order. I'm sure Mike will be kind enough to insert the actual link so you can click through directly from TOP.

Only time will tell whether the E-P1 is all we might hope it to be. I think my hopes are relatively easy though: reasonably low noise and good image detail at ISO 400, low shutter and viewfinder lag, a quiet shutter, and a sharp lens with low distortion. Is that too much to ask?

I think far too many "Decisive-Moment"-oriented photographers are slavishly wedded to the HCB model of shooting ("raise the camera to the eye...").

In many decisive-moment situations, a camera that need not be raised to the eye to compose a shot has a clear advantage (for example, I personally find the waist-level-viewable digicams unbeatable for street-shooting in every respect except responsiveness and IQ). And I defy anyone to frame more precisely using the viewfinder of any non-SLR than one can frame using the rear LCD on the E-P1. The composition you see on that LCD is exactly the composition you will get.

To each his own, but to pass on this camera solely because it doesn't have a viewfinder might be to miss the only DMD train that's likely to come along for quite some time.

Jay-

Just think of the LCD as a really big EVF that you look at with both eyes!

Clearly this is a step in the right direction.

I’m late to the tiny digital camera game, but when the latest iterations came along I thought it was time to try one. Alas, my LX3 is going to have to find a new home and other LCD-only cameras are no longer under consideration. I tried hard to like the rear screen, but a trip to the sunny southwest sealed the deal for me. I don’t like the arm’s-length stance but could have put that aside if I’d been able to see the subject. Maybe I’m missing something but until LCD’s can be easily interpreted outside in daylight then a finder-less camera like this new Olympus won’t find a place in my pocket.

They've certainly got me interested. I'd take slightly more bulk for a faster lens and optical VF, but a 35mm-e 2.8 pancake and an OVF is a good compromise. Let's hope the IQ at 1600 is decent to make up for the unremarkable speed of the lens.

Hey, thank you for that sneak-peek impression, Eamon. I just happened to be up and working on the computer early this morning when I received official notice of the Olympus E-P1. In a purely reflexive gesture I ordered one immediately. (I just couldn't quite be impractical enough to order the tan grip, but now in the light of day I kinda wish I had.)

My experience with an Oly E-420 suggests that the E-P1 will likely be a so-so imager, probably in the suck zone at ISOs higher than 800. But who cares? I may not even charge the battery! It's a (slightly) bold new (old) design, and kewl-looking camera, that will still be much fun to have. I salute Oly for having the spherical diameters to take such an unconventional step and explore some greatly needed new ground in camera designs.

"Just think of the LCD as a really big EVF that you look at with both eyes!"

Yeah. I put one of those Delikin folding shade things on my little Fuji F20 to make it 1/2 way usable (for me). No thanks :)

The firmware/software correction of lens distortion puts me off a bit. I hope it isn't too drastic.

One more point: an OVF is worthwhile only if it's really a good one. My G9 is claimed by Canon to have an OVF, but that is simply not true. It's a useless inaccurate tiny window that serves to collect dust and bulk up the camera, while simultaneously increasing the camera's cost and complexity. When i bought the camera I had hoped the finder might have marginal utility; it does not. But it turns out that that's o.k! The G-9 is a terrific camera, and the E-P1 will be as well. Not perfect; but terrific.

Unfortunately for those of us with failing eyes even holding a camera at arms length will not bring the screen into focus - this is one reason that a good viewfinder is an essential for those of us with failing eye muscles - now if they could invent a screen with a clever dipotre blur setting to compensate - hmm..!

Well Robert, this camera doesn't have a waist-level view of any kind unless you stick a mirror to it.

The 230k dot LCD is also a minor disappointment. AFter using the full VGA LCDs it's hard to go back to lesser LCDs...

Wow, this is a tough crowd.

The Oly isn't perfect, but assuming the IQ is good, it sounds like the camera I'd hoped the Sigma was. And even if the IQ is only average, if the shutter lag is as good as Eamon says, it's definitely the camera I've been waiting for.

I'm willing to make some comprimises for a digicam form factor (which I need for some of my work) but the shutter lag of most compacts is always the hardest thing to take.

It might not be the perfect DMD, but if it's reasonably quick and agile in the hand, they've got my money.

For all who are complaining about the lack of a viewfinder--for street photography, don't underestimate the advantage of looking like a dorky tourist, holding a camera at arm's length while slowly walking down the street.

I shot these this weekend, with a little cheap Canon+CHDK: (public FB link)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=130573&id=669300699&l=bb9664b567

BR George:

Just what I was thinking, a really big, washed-out, glare ridden EVF that I would have to squint at with both eyes before I finally made a wild-a** guess and pressed the shutter...hoping I got the shot.

If I want to do that, I could spend a lot less than $800.00! A nice big photo sensor doesn't amount to much if you can't read your settings, and accurately frame/focus this shot.

First Sigma, now Olympus. If we keep buying cameras like these, the rest of the manufacturers will think we actually want them.

Cheers! Jay

To look at the E-P1 for people who grew up in the '60's and 70's is to drool as it triggers all sorts of fond memories but desire does not always translate wisely into action.
For about the same money as this camera is already being offered by retailers here in the UK I could buy a Canon G10 as a relatively sophisticated carry everywhere / holiday camera (pockatable, zoomable, with flash) and have enough money left over to buy a Voigtlander Color Skopar 20mm f3.5 lens which would work well with my D40X. This would give me a pretty compact SLR with a full APS size sensor and no serious viewfinder issues. Since neither the Olympus nor the Nikon are truly pocketable the fact that the D40X + pancake is slightly larger than the Olympus ditto is not really a deal breaker for me.
Just my first reactions to this camera, but there are probably many people out there with the D40 size camera who might like to consider this alternative.

Looks very promising, and sexy.

What I don't get all the time, not just here, is why everyone implies that the dslr is the standard for image quality as if the obsolete mirror design had anything to do with it.

A DMD should have dslr like quality? Why not the quality of a reasonably sized sensor?

And I don't think that dslrs will be always better for certain things. It is just a matter of EVFs improving to the point where they replace the matte screen.

I could live without raising the camera to my eye. I do that today with my Canon A610. But if I have to live without an EVF, then I'd really like an articulating LCD (like my A610 has). I imagine sooner or later I'll take a look at this camera & I'm sure I'll read reviews that talk about how the LCD does in bright light.

There's been little mention of compatibility between the Panasonic G1 lenses and this camera. You'd think they'd be compatible. In which case, the pre-announced Panasonic 20mm lens would be more to my liking than the 17/2.8.

F/2.8 is certainly nice - I could settle for f/2.8. But I'd have to take a serious look at the Panasonic LX3. (The Panasonic 20mm is supposed to be faster IIRC).

I'm not sure if it's the camera for me, but it's definitely nice to see on the market. And maybe I'll end up with one. I'll look forward to reading experiences with Oly OM lenses. Though I'm sure the prices of those will go through the roof now :( I could see shooting with the 17/2.8 pancake and a 50mm OM lens for portraits.


>Tyler Ball wrote:

"Wake me when they have a 24mm or 28 equivalent prime."

Olympus did make a point to ask me about desired focal lengths in future lenses (although I don't kid myself that they care too much what a schmuck like me thinks). I told them a 14mm (28mm-e) and a 28mm or 30mm (55-60mm-e) would do just about everything I care to do with a camera these days, if the longer lens opens at least as wide as f/2.

My semi-educated guess, after many, many years in the camera business is that they will hear a fairly loud call for a 10mm or 12mm wide prime, so I don't think that's too much to hope for, eventually.


>Pedro Estarque wrote:

"One question, it seems obvious, but just to be sure: You can manually focus by turning the lens ring, right? Does it stop at infinity and at closest range or does it spin endlessly like some camcorders?"

Yes, there's a manual focus ring on the lenses. If you have focus assist magnification enabled, as soon as you begin to turn the ring, the focus area is magnified on the LCD (I don't remember how much). In conference room light, it made manual focusing easy and quick.

I'm about 98% sure that I remember that the focus ring free-wheels—i.e. spins endlessly like some camcorders.

>YS wrote:

"I hope it won't end up dog slow like current DSLR contrast AF systems (or even just slightly slow)."

I feel safe saying it's not dog slow in reasonable light—i.e. pointed out a window in a midtown Manhattan office building at 10 a.m. on an overcast day. Beyond that, I just didn't get enough time with it to say.

>Arjun wrote:

"Do you know if the VF-1 OVF has a 1.0x magnification factor?

I don't know what magnification the E-P1's OVF has. I only looked through it for about 5 seconds, so have little to say on it at this point.

> Robert Noble wrote:

"In many decisive-moment situations, a camera that need not be raised to the eye to compose a shot has a clear advantage (for example, I personally find the waist-level-viewable digicams unbeatable for street-shooting in every respect except responsiveness and IQ). And I defy anyone to frame more precisely using the viewfinder of any non-SLR than one can frame using the rear LCD on the E-P1. The composition you see on that LCD is exactly the composition you will get."

Yeah, I agree with this. I love old cameras, but I'm perfectly ready to embrace new viewing and framing options. An LCD has a lot of advantages, as you point out. I don't want to be chained to an eye-level shooting position. But LCD's can be a hassle in bright light, and, as I said, I'm going to have to see how happy I am using this particular LCD on this camera, trying to shoot serious pictures in varied conditions.

Much as I dumped on the Sigma DP2 the other day, and can still see somewhat limited utility to using one of these, boy does this camera look like a great toy. I have a lot of respect for Olympus's ability to coax refined color from their digital files, and their menu layout and useability (for lack of a better phrase) is first rate. This looks like a large pocket camera that I'd want to have just because it looks and feels great. It resembles a Contax G1, doesn't it?

Wouldn't it be great if a camera maker could just get it right the first time instead of dragging us along, like paying guinea pigs, for their toe-in-the-water experimentations. I mean if WE all know what's wrong with the E-P1 it's a stretch to think that Olympus doesn't know as well. Instead the camera makers put us through this painful frustrating beta-like evolution and still not get it right, most notably the Sigma DP2. Of course I'm skeptical, and I know what this all about, and I don't like it, not one bit.

"I mean if WE all know what's wrong with the E-P1..."

What makes you think we do? Eamon doesn't, and he's held one and shot with it, unlike me, and (I'm guessing) you, and 99% of everyone else who's pontificating all over the internet right now. It takes three months of exclusive use to really get to know a camera. And that's the crash version. For most people, a year, minimum. I'm sure some people are actually going to be able to figure out how to take pictures with Micro 4/3 cameras. For the rest, there are other choices.

Mike

This thing looks pretty cool to me. I'd go with the pancake lens and the OVF, I'm sure. I'd be quite happy with a fixed lens camera. All I want is a digital version of my Hexar AF, but that means really fast, really accurate AF, which I haven't seen in a digicam yet...

Gary

If it's supposed to be a rangefinder analog (which, onsidering the name...), and at the pricepoint it's at, you'd think that at least one piece of truly fast native glass (1.4 or better) would be available at launch, and a coupled rangefinder and/or DOF scale on the lenses, rather than the hotshoe viewfinder. Either one. I'm not a Leica-phile, but rangefinders do certain things really well. The strengths of rangefinders are size, quiet operation, and unobtrusiveness. The E-P1 scores on the first two, but that third item is killer. If you can't focus w/o looking at or lighting up a 3" LCD, unobtrusiveness flies out of the window in a lot of situations. You can't shoot in any vaguely dark environement without drawing attention, you can't zone focus and hip shoot on the for candids on the street. It's a sophisticated P&S, but the viewing systems makes it impossible to do a lot of the stuff it's supposed ancestor was good at, and takes it out of the realm of more than a casual camera.

The only thing wrong with the EP-1 is that it's not in my hot little hands.

Cheers everyone...cameras are cool including this one!

Thanks Eamon and Mike

"We want a small camera! But we want a real view finder!"

So which one is it, guys? A real view finder doesn't fit on a camera this size. It does fit on an M8 or Epson RD. So get one of those if you want a DMD.

I like what I see in this little Oly; the image quality and speed of a DSLR, in package I have no excuse to leave at home. 17/2.8 is what I have wanted Oly to make ever since I first got the E-1. It is still not there for my E-3, but it is just what I need on this camera.

For a camera like this, LCDs work just fine as a composition tool. Most likely the loudest nay-sayers have never really tried it for more than 5 seconds holding someone else's camera.

I hope it will show up on these Australian shores before long 'coz I have my wallet ready to go; a DMD at last!

The first accessory I would look for if I owned this camera with pancake lens is a "slip-in" holder that clipped to my belt. Then it would be a carry anywhere camera. Or ,perhaps, I could get my wife to make me a big shirt pocket. But seriously, we need an evaluatation of the LCD useability in low light and intense light situations if this is to be the camera that DSLR owners use when they don't want to "shlep" a big/heavy camera. Or do we have to wait for the rumoured second iteration with an EVF even if it must me slightly larger.

Olympus are on a roll here. The E-620 is about to replace my old and much loved OM4. The E-P1 looks set to be a Pen replacement. When can we expect the the 4/3 XA replacement? Soon I hope.

1. Do I understand that I could use my old manual focus Zuiko OM lenses on this new camera, but not on an Olympus digital SLR body? That was my bitch about my Nikon D70s, that I could mount my old AI and AI'd Nikkors, but they dumbed down the metering to make it a pain. 2. I do not get not having an optical viewfinder, or at least a shaded EVF. Otherwise, the basic idea sounds good. Not likely to have the interface quirks of the Sigma DP's.

Regarding slow lenses, these are your choices:
1. Fast
2. Zoom
3. Compact
Pick any two.

The lack of a proper viewfinder is a potential problem. I have a Canon G9 with its worthless optical finder, and have big problems with the rear screen being unusable under some lighting conditions. Perhaps, for the next iteration, Olympus could look at the Ricoh GX100/GX200 and produce an optional EVF that fits into the hot-shoe? That way, the camera remains nice and compact, but an eye-level EVF can be attached when needed. Plus, if it's like the Ricoh, the EVF can tilt, giving more flexibility in shooting.

"A real view finder doesn't fit on a camera this size. It does fit on an M8 or Epson RD. So get one of those if you want a DMD."

higher end film p&s cameras had pretty good viewfinders, and they were about the same size, if not smaller.

If the camera relies on software to correct lens distortion, is it going to be fully compatible with other manufacturers' micro 4/3 lenses? Hard to see Olympus being in a rush to tell it how much adjustment is needed for a Panasonic lens.

Still, nothing that can't be dealt with in photoshop I guess.

I was so looking forward to this camera..and now I'm disappointed. It's not the lack of a fast lens - I'm sure that will come. It's the lack of viewfinder - even a clip on like Ricoh have for their GX100/GX200 compacts..

I've used the Panasonic G1 with both of the kit lenses, and also with Minolta MC/MD lenses with 2 adaptors (wish someone made a 4/3-MD adaptor..) - I was surprised I had no trouble focussing using the viewfinder without magnification when using a 58mm/1.2 MC PG lens wide open.....

When I tried using the screen to focus without magnification I couldn't get a sharp photo....

Maybe the E-P1 Mk II will have a viewfinder??

Olympus - are you listening to us??????

This looks like a game changer to me. But sure and soon enought, canon, nikon and others will jump onto the mirrorless bandwagon.
And once they do that, the p&s shooter will rather buy those.
critiques and photographers will be on this cam's side only if olympus gives fast primes. which means 28 1.8, 50 1.4 and 85 1.8 at the very least.
A very interesting bit that i read about E-pen is that it has a weak low pass filter. That means it should translate into sharper out of the cam pictures.
Not sure, and interested in knowing about the flash features...one thing i couldn't get was, howcome the flash sync speed so low...this being a live-view camera like G10 or LX3?
anurag

Does this marvel of a camera have a "focus confirmation light" ala Ricoh GRD?? - something which is of great value when using the OVF and the LCD turned off. Really hope so..!!

"So which one is it, guys? A real view finder doesn't fit on a camera this size. It does fit on an M8 or Epson RD. "

Fortunately, Mike Johnston posted a handy http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/.a/6a00df351e888f8834011570ed2a82970b-800wi>illustration just a few days ago that refutes this notion.

And the Olympus XA had a range/viewfinder, (not just a viewfinder only) whilst being just as small as the Rollei. Or this latest Olympus mini-wonder.

"I had a CL for a while, but its rangefinder wasn't good enough to reliably focus a 90mm F2.8." R. Chomko.

But the CL was never meant to focus an M camera 90/2.8 reliably. Thus, its matching 90mm C mount lens was a 90/f4 which it focuses perfectly well.

To Bas: my Leica CL is almost exactly the same size as the E-P1, and it has a rangefinder in addition to a very nice viewfinder, not to mention the "sensor size" is 24mm x 36mm. I'd have been happy if the 17mm finder was built into the body and Oly had required me to use the LCD for zooms and such. My only other gripe is that they went cheap on the LCD resolution. Other than that, I really really like it. My dilemma is between getting it or waiting for the EVF model, whenever that's going to be. I tend to be a perfectionist, though, so I'll probably hold out for a while longer. My Leica CL is perfection, which is why I've had it for 35 happy years. I just want a digital version, that's all. And an M8 is not a digital CL, no matter what anyone might say.

"If the camera relies on software to correct lens distortion, is it going to be fully compatible with other manufacturers' micro 4/3 lenses? Hard to see Olympus being in a rush to tell it how much adjustment is needed for a Panasonic lens."

This information is part of the lens firmware and passed to the camera, so it should work fine no matter what combination of body and lens you use.

I'm curious what the "more-featured" version of this camera will look like/include.

That camera will be released by the end of the year right?

This camera is creating quite a stir online! This is the 3rd article I have read today!

"higher end film p&s cameras had pretty good viewfinders, and they were about the same size, if not smaller."

"And the Olympus XA had a range/viewfinder, (not just a viewfinder only) whilst being just as small as the Rollei. Or this latest Olympus mini-wonder."

While both these statements are true, I'd want to see the internals of the E-P1 before claiming that a viewfinder (especially an EVF, which seems the only logical option for a system that includes zoom lenses) or an internal flash could easily be added without increasing the external dimensions of the camera.

@Dennis: The DPReview image gallery has a bunch of shots with the G Vario 7-14 f4, so we know that the Panny lenses work just fine on the E-P1.

@Dave Ralph: Your OM lenses can be easily adapted to Canon EOS and regular 4/3rds mount, you get stop-down metering in Aperture Priority and Manual modes. OM Wides on Canon 5D's are actually quite popular.

I purchased an LX3 about two months ago so I didn't have to lug around my bulky DSLR and lenses. I wanted something I could carry all the time so I could make at least a photo a day and put it on a blog.

At first, I found the lack of optical viewfinder distressing and the LCD screen and arms length stance awkward. But I have to say, seeing the image at arms length gives me the opportunity preview to fine-tune composition in a way I previously wasn't able to with an OVF. I shoot b@w and and I can see the product immediately too before I push the shutter. Give it a try.

Player: as you may have have noticed, we do not all agree. In particular, some think the lack of viewfinder is a killer, and the rest of us think the lack of viewfinder is fine. So which of us should Olympus listen to? (Yeah, I know, "my" faction, for each value of "my" :-)).

Mani: that problem with the 90mm lenses killed any interest I had in the Leica CL when it came out. I already had the 90mm Summicron, and was monumentally uninterested in spending more money to lose two stops. In general, to me the point of a Leica was fast lenses in a quiet, low-shake package.

Large sensors (I assume) use more juice than a small P&S sensor. One compromise in building a small camera with a big sensor is in battery size and therefore capacity. Running a 4/3 sensor with a 3" LCD as viewfinder could result in serious limitations. I'm going by my experience with a DP1. A lot of criticism has been levelled at that camera design-wise but I think the folks at Sigma got a lot right in dealing with the compromises. In this case they anticipated the power issue by allowing for stripped down shooting: LCD off, OVF, and (importantly) a manual focus wheel. The little battery lasts a long time that way. Power consumption will be something I'll be looking for when the E-P1 user experiences start coming in.

By the way I'm a true fan of Olympus and have high hopes for this camera. Will never let go of my E-1, Stylus Epic, and Pen EE.

"That camera will be released by the end of the year right?"

No one knows. There are only people who say they know and people who say they don't know. Sometimes the companies announce release dates themselves and then don't meet them. Until it happens, there's no (accurate) predicting.

Mike

It's funny how the most recent entries in the small camera/large sensor market segment--the Sigma DP2 and the Olympus E-P1--end up being such similar cameras at what are essentially the same price points. The Olympus apparently has faster write speeds for its files, both have relatively clunky autofocus, both have low resolution LCD's, both lack viewfinders. The Oly apparently makes zone focusing difficult if not impossible. It seems asking for everything in a small package at less than $1k is unreasonable.

Dave Ralph, I use my old OM Zuiko's on both my E-300 and E-410. From the 24mm f2.8 to the 200mm f5. Granted focusing is a bit dicey due to the toothless screen but they work fine on "A", aperture prefered auto, manual stopdown and thats even with the cheap $25 OM to 4/3 adapter from Hong Kong.

This is a nonstarter. No viewfinder and a viewing screen that is substandard compared to most any offering at half the price. For those who say that one can't get a viewfinder on a camera this small, I can refer you to at least 50 different P&S models. I fully expect that only a tiny percentage of TOP readers habitually rely only on a rear screen framing or focussing (and those very few who do no doubt have a better quality screen than this). But who cares about most fundemental mechanics of how you have taken every photo you have ever taken? Amazing what a little cosmetic design work can do to generate loss of focus.

Panasonic has a plan to make a pancake lens 20mm f/1.7 (using Lumix brand, not Leica...). Perfect for your request on a fast small lens. The prototype of this lens does not look as beautiful as the Olympus 17/2.8 and we have to see if it has the same image quality as the Zuiko, but it looks like a good option as a normal lens on this little beauty (the Oly EP-1!).

David, if the E-P1 had a built-in viewfinder everyone would be happy. I hate to admit this, but I just assumed that the folks who had no complaint didn't really know what they were saying, or they were just smitten with the camera's beauty. The slow lenses aren't an unsurmountable problem.

"And the Olympus XA had a range/viewfinder, (not just a viewfinder only) whilst being just as small as the Rollei."

We probably have different definitions of what a real viewfinder is. I have done a fair bit of XA shooting and will take a large LCD over that tiny excuse for a viewfinder any day!

While it needed space for film, the XA didn't need space for interchangeable lenses, big batteries, memory cards, processors, LCD, etc. etc. etc.

Comparing the two on outside size alone rather over-simplifies the situation.

And of course, that XA viewfinder only needed to serve one, fixed lens. This one would need to support interchangeable lenses, including zooms. YOU might be able to work it but the vast majority of potential users would be terribly confused and rave about how stupid Olympus was for including a viewfinder when it is not usable with anything but the 17mm lens!

hey juan those are GORGEOUS shots! thanks for sharing. i currently use a panasonic lumix dmc-tz5 and wish i could capture the moments that vividly.

i love the camera, it's barely pocketable but a larger sensor would make me giddy so this ep-1 has my attention.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=71464&id=656381311&l=b659fe6d32

> John Emily wrote:

"This is a nonstarter..."

For *you*, fine.

".. But who cares about most fundemental (sic) mechanics of how you have taken every photo you have ever taken? Amazing what a little cosmetic design work can do to generate loss of focus."

See this is where I get annoyed. I don't share your preference so, in your view, I am not just different but also deluded or stupid.

I've got a photography resumé as long as both of your arms put together--including reviewing hundreds of cameras for magazines over the past 10 years--and using an LCD for framing is not, a priori, a non-starter for me. It will have its benefits and drawbacks, but I believe there's a good chance it'll work well enough to make me happy when I'm using this camera.

Your preference is different. Fair enough. I will pay you the basic respect of not calling you deluded for having it.

And if it had a built in EVF people would be complaining about that and wanting an optical viewfinder.

Basically, you're not going to have an optical viewfinder without seriously limiting the range of lenses you can use, also limiting mass-market appeal - and that's where the money is.

If you want an optical viewfinder AND that 200mm zoom, then buy a DSLR.
If you want an optical viewfinder and are happy to limit the range of lenses you can use, buy an M8.
If you want an EVF, buy a Panasonic G1, or wait and see what Olympus come up with next.

I'd rather look at the screen on the back of a camera than have a pokey little viewfinder that I can't see all of anyway because I wear glasses!


Someone needs to start making reproductions of the old folding viewfinder hoods of yore. That's what this camera will need to be even slightly usable in strong sunlight outdoors. The current plastic folding hoods are no substitute. Besides being tacky plastic and fragile, they shade only three sides of the rear screen. I'm talking about something like the folding hood on my old Linhof's ground glass. Despite its bronze-age materials (mostly leather), it managed to be sleek, pleasurable to use, and four-sided, so as to block glare from ground level (or from the side, when shooting in the oft-ignored portrait format). It's a sad comment on our present state of technology that we can store hundreds of photos on fingernail-size cards, but we don't bother to produce a proper folding sunshade.

Not having a viewfinder a flip & twist LCD is essential, especially for street or hand held close up work.

Getting there... but still, as with any camera, only 2 control dials: film-age thinking! I want 3: shutter, aperture, iso.

Mike,
Although this is a "system" launch for Olympus, there's a lot of talk about the camera body and very little about the lenses. From the samples available around the web, neither of the new lenses seem particularly good performers, especially the 17mm. The samples I've seen taken with the zuiko digital 50mm macro simply shine in comparison and do the camera justice.
I wonder if the shorter flange distance imposes increased difficulties for lens design.

OK - so after shooting the whole week-end through my G1's EVF and realizing once again how useful that thing is and how much I would find life without it, I...

...caved in and just ordered an E-P1.

And I'm already gnashing my teeth that it has not arrived *yet* :)

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