There’s been a lot of buzz about this camera, people really want to get their hands on it, and with good reason, it looks great and for many it harks back to the days gone by where cameras were used by real men who knew a little about how to shoot photos. If you’re interested in this camera you already know what it looks like – and you’ve read the reviews, so I thought I would offer a personal look at how the camera was to use, in a real life situation. There is no techie reasoning here.. no pixel peeping.. just little old me, a pro(ish) photographer looking to potentially invest in something nice to take on holiday.
When the kit arrived (the 14-42 lens kit) I looked at it and thought ‘why do i need MORE kit’ I spend the afternoon thinking about who this camera is aimed at.. where it sits in the market, and if there is indeed a market for it. I still dont have an answer. I have a couple of DSLR’s and the lovely Leica S-lux 4 so I think I’m pretty happy with my photo tools. I just don’t know who would be buying this camera. Its not cheap – around 6/700 quid with the lens, so its a pretty major investment for a keen amateur, and to add lenses to this you have to be making a fairly major commitment to the 4 thirds system, so for someone like me who has Canon kit, I’m not sure I’m ready to be getting a whole other kit.
I thought that if I owned one, then I would use it instead of a DSLR and then take it to more places where a DLSR cant go. Here’s the thing though – take the EP-1, a flash (there is not one built in) and a couple of lenses, and I’m pretty sure it will be in a similar size bag to a xxD and a lens (even if you make do with a built in flash on the Canons)
So.. that was the initial thoughts.. of course I’d not taken any photos yet. The menus seemed to befuddle me.. you can customize pretty much everything which lots of people will like. Personally I had to actually read the manual off the PDF because it was too much – not very intuitive. I realised how we take for granted a great UI until we encounter one that is a little too complex.
So home the camera went.. took some snaps around the home.. the usual – cat, kitchen, some hight ISO shots.. the ones we all take when we get a new camera and its too late to go out and shoot something. Popped the card into the Mac.. problem 1 – Aperture doesnt recognise the Olympus RAW file. It will in time, but its a brand new camera so you will be tied to the Olympus software if you want to use RAW. I then switched to RAW and JPEG just so I could see what the camera is capable of.
The day after…It was time to go to a huge rock concert at Wembley Stadium. I decided to leave my Dlux 4 at home and take a chance with a camera I didn’t feel 100% comfortable with. I like the idea of shooting some HD video there too (hell why not). I was really debating whether to take the EP-1 or not. I wanted to get some nice shots.. but I wanted to take something more compact. THIS I thought was the real reason why I would have one of these units.
Bravely (well I thought it was) I toddled off to the concert EP-1 in bag, excited about putting it to the test.
OK.. it wasn’t like I was in the press pen, so i could get some amazing photos of the band, but I wanted to put it to real life testing. The people I was with needed to take a decent photo of me when I hand them the camera, and it needed to take some pretty good photos if it’s to live up to the hype.
Long story short. It was a mixed bag of feelings. The focus didn’t work a lot of the time.. it ‘hunted’ in any mode apart from full Auto, and would not lock focus. Took the lens off.. cleaned the contacts.. reset the camera.. and well.. no use. No matter what I tried it just didnt want to play.
I shot some video – it looked nice. Put some of the fancy built in filters on it.. was fun.. but well nice but not something I feel the need for in a camera but nice to have.
Once the light went, then the only thing we could take photos of was the stage because it was so well lit. We needed a flash badly for snapping us having a good time. ISO3200 wasn’t great.
I still dont know. I am desperate to really like the camera. If felt great – a good weight to it and seemed it was going to be a no brainer. I just feel a little underwhelmed. I think for many they are in love with the the idea more than the actual practicality and real life usage.
I also think its possibly people lusting after a rangefinder camera (read: M8) who will try this.. but its not the same beast. No way.
I will give it some more go’s, but right now I am not sure. If i was gonna shell out 700/800 quid for some more kit I think I’d think about a new lens (or even a 50D body) and keep on with what I have. I just don’t understand the market for this camera. I’ve spend 3 days trying to think of who would use it and why, and still can’t. Perhaps its me being a little dumb.
I’ve posted some images.. JPEG’s straight from camera.. as they are, some with the effects..one is taken of me by a stranger. They have been shrunk to keep the size down.. thats about it..
As always, over to you. Comments people?