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You are hereHome > Best Digital Cameras > Olympus E-P1

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Olympus E-P1 Review

Review Date: Nov 23, 2009

Olympus E-P1
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Photoxels Editor's Choice 2009 - Digital Interchangeable Lens
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2009 - Digital Interchangeable Lens

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

The Olympus E-P1 celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the introduction of the first PEN camera in 1959. It is the world’s smallest Interchangeable Lens System camera and combines the photographic optics of a DSLR with the size and simplicity of a point and shoot.

The E-P1 delivers professional quality images without the bulk of a conventional DSLR thanks to its slim body and advanced high-speed imager AF (Live View) technologies. The micro FourThirds (mFT) lens mount enables the use of smaller and lighter interchangeable lenses that perform at the same level as larger DSLR lenses.

The E-P1 features 12.3MP resolution (on a 17.3 x 13.0 mm High Speed Live MOS Sensor), Sensor-shift Image Stabilization, Dust Reduction, an extra large 3.0-in. LCD (230K dots) and HD Movie (1280×720 @ 30fps) with stereo sound.

Beginner photographers will welcome familiar features such as Intelligent AUTO (auto scene recognition), Scene Modes, Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology. More advanced photographers will appreciate PASM modes, a Shutter speed range of 60 – 1/4000 sec. plus Bulb (up to 30 min.), Continuous Shooting at 3fps, RAW file format, Digital Level, MF Assist and a hot shoe. In a welcomed change for an Olympus digital camera, the E-P1 uses the Secure Digital (SD / SDHC) memory cards. Note that there is no built-in flash, no AF Illuminator and the tripod mount is (surprisingly) not centered or inline with the lens.

The Live View Autofocus system allows real time focus and composition on the LCD. Creative features include Multiple Exposure, six built-in Art Filters and ePortrait.

With the E-P1, Olympus marks a new era in digital imaging. It is packed with the features and convenience most appreciated on a point-and-shoot while providing the image quality of a DSLR. For years, photographers have been clamoring for just such a camera -- and Olympus has brought it to us first.

Take a look at Olympus E-P1's cousin, the Panasonic GF1.

- Olympus E-P2 adds a high resolution electronic viewfinder

- Visual history of Olympus PEN

- Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.6

- Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f2.8

Read our Olympus E-P1 Review...

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Olympus E-P1
QuickFact™ Sheet
  Olympus E-P1US | CAN | UK | Asia  
Type Type Interchangeable Lens Type Live View Digital Camera
Media SD Memory Card (SDHC compatible) Class 6 is recommended for Movie shooting
Sensor Size 17.3 mm (H) x 13.0 mm (V)
Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds Mount
Number of Effective Pixels 12.3 million pixels
Image Sensor Type High speed Live MOS Sensor
Total no. of pixels Approx. 13.1 million pixels
Aspect 1.33 (4:3)
Filter Array Primary colour filter (RGB)
LPF Fixed type
IR cut filter Hybrid type
Dust reduction Supersonic Wave Filter (dust reduction system for image sensor)
Recording Recording Format DCF, DPOF compatible/Exif, PRINT Image Matching III
File format RAW (12-bit lossless compression), JPEG, RAW+JPEG
Recording image size

[RAW] 4032 x 3024 pixels
[JPEG] 4032 x 3024 pixels - 640 x 480 pixels

File Size

RAW: 4032(H)x3042(V) (approx. 1/1.5 lossless compressed) approx. 13.9MB

Set1 (LF): 4032(H)x3042(V) (1/4 compressed) approx. 5.7MB

Set2 (LN): 4032(H)x3042(V) (1/8 compressed) approx. 2.7MB

Set3 (MN): 2560(H)x1920(V) (1/8 compressed) approx. 1.1MB

Set4 (SN): 1024(H)x768(V) (1/8 compressed) approx. 0.3MB

Recording (Movie) Recording Format AVI Motion JPEG(30fps)
Movie Mode Aspect 16:9
SD: 640(H)x480(V) Aspect 4:3 (VGA)
Compression ratio


File Size

Max 2GB (limited by AVI format)

Maximum Recording Time

HD: 7min, SD: 14min

Recording Sound Recording Format

Wave Format Base
Stereo PCM/16bit, 44.1kHz

Maximum Recording Time Picture with Sound: 30sec
Movie: depends on Movie Recording Time
Live View Type

Image Sensor (High Speed Live MOS) type

Field of View 100%
Display Mode

Normal Mode
Grid Line Mode
Histogram Mode (3 types)
Magnified View Mode
Comparable View Mode
OFF Mode (for OVF user)

Magnification Ratio x7, x10
Viewfinder Information Aperture value, Shutter speed, Auto Bracket, AE Lock, AF mode, IS, Shooting Mode, Battery Check, My Mode, Internal Temperature Warning, Face Detection, Histogram, Number of storable still pictures, Record mode, ISO, Sequential shooting, Self-timer, White Balance, Metering Mode, AF confirmation mark, Exposure Compensation Value, Spot metering Area
Only when E-system Flash attached, Flash Mode, Flash Status, Flash intensity Control, Super FP
Display of Face Detection Max 8 frames of face detection can be displayed
AF High speed imager AF
Image stabilizer System Built in (Imager shift image stabilizer)
Mode 3 modes (2 dimensional activation, 1 dimensional activation in landscape frame to vertical direction moving, 1 dimensional activation in portrait frame to horizontal direction moving ), OFF
Manual Function input focal length 8, 10, 12, 16, 18, 24, 28, 30, 35, 40, 48, 50, 55, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 100, 105, 120, 135, 150, 180, 200, 210, 250, 300, 350, 400, 500, 600, 800, 1000
Effective compensation range

Approx.4EV steps (in maximum effect with 50mm lens)

Shutter speed range 2 – 1/4000 sec. (Not available when Bulb is selected)
IS for Movie Shifting electronic image (so-called Digital IS)
Monitor Product Type HyperCrystal LCD AR (Anti-Reflective) coating
Size 3.0 inches
Total no. of pixels Approx. 230,000 dots
Playback field of view 100%
Brightness Control +7 levels and -7 levels
Color Balance A-B: +7 levels and -7 levels, G-M: +7 levels and -7 levels
Focusing AF system Imager Contrast Detection AF system
When non-high-speed imager AF compatible lens is used, it works as AF assist.
Focus Mode Single AF (S-AF) / Continuous AF (C-AF) / Manual Focus (MF) / S-AF + MF
Focusing point 11-area multiple AF with the contrast detection system (Auto, selectable in option)
Focusing point selection Auto from all 11 area, Single area from 11 area
Auto from 25 area when Face detection is ON
Free selection (from 225 points) when Magnified View Mode is selected
AF illuminator Not available
AF lock Locked at first position of Shutter button in Single AF mode
Focus tracking Not available
Manual Focus Assist When rotation of focus ring is detected under S-AF+MF or MF mode, LV is magnified automatically
Exposure Control Metering system

TTL Image Sensor metering system

(1) Digital ESP metering (324-area multi pattern metering) (2) Center weighted average metering
(3) Spot metering (approx. 1% for the viewfinder screen. Highlight / shadow bases are available)

Metering range EV 0 - 18 (Digital ESP metering, Centre weighted average metering, Spot metering)
(At normal temperature, 50mm f2, ISO 100)
Exposure Mode (1) i Auto (2) P: Program AE (Program shift can be performed) (3) A: Aperture priority AE (4) S: Shutter priority AE (5) M: Manual (6) Scene select  AE (7) Art Filter
Scene Select AE Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sport, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Nature Macro, Candle, Documents, Panorama, Beach & Snow,
ISO sensitivity

AUTO: ISO 200 – 6400 (customizable, Default 200-1600) / Manual ISO 100 - 6400, 1/3 or 1 EV steps, Movie ISO 160-1600

Exposure Compensation

±3 EV in 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps selectable

AE Lock


Exposure Bracketing

3 frames in 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1EV steps selectable

Metering Standard Value Adjustment

1/6 EV step, +/- 1EV range

White Balance Auto WB system

High speed Live MOS sensor

Preset WB

8 settings (3000K - 7500K)
Lamp (3000K), Fluorescent 1 (4000K), Fluorescent 2 (4500K), Fluorescent 3 (6600K), Daylight (5300K), Flash (5500K), Cloudy (6000K), Shade (7500K)

WB Compensation

±7 steps in each A-B/G-M axis (in Auto WB / Preset WB mode / One touch WB)

Custom WB (Kelvin setting)

1 setting can be registered at Kelvin temperature (2000K – 14000K)

One-touch WB

1 custom setting can be registered

White balance bracketing

3 frames in 2, 4, 6 steps selectable in each A-B/G-M axis.

Color Mode Color Space

sRGB, Adobe RGB

Picture Mode Mode

Vivid, Natural, Portrait, Muted, Monotone

Adjustment parameter Contrast, Sharpness and Saturation level available in 5 steps for Vivid, Natural, Portrait and Muted
Contrast and Sharpness level available in 5 steps for Monotone.
Filter effect

Yellow, Orange, Red or Green filter available for Monotone

Picture tone

Sepia, Blue, Purple or Green tone available for Monotone


4 levels (Auto, High key, Normal, Low key)

Shutter Product Type Computerized focal-plane shutter
Shutter Speed

60 - 1/4000 sec.
Bulb: up to 30 min. (selectable longest time in the menu. Default: 8 min)
1/3, 1/2, or 1EV steps selectable.

Self Timer

Operation time: 12 sec., 2 sec. (cancel available)

Remote cable release

Available (with optional RM-UC1 Remote cable.)

Wireless Remote Control

Not Available

Drive Drive Mode

Single-frame shooting, Sequential shooting, Self-timer

Sequential Shooting Speed

Approx. 3 frames/sec. in sequential shooting

Max. recordable pictures
on sequential shooting

RAW mode: Max. 10 frames.
JPEG mode: Depends on compression ratio and no. of pixels
(Large normal mode: approx. 12  with Toshiba Super High Speed type "Class 6" 4GB)

Integrated Flash Built-in flash

Not available

Compatible external flash

E-system Flash(FL-50R, FL-36R, FL-50, FL-36, FL-20, FL-14)

External Flash Control Mode

TTL Auto, Auto, Manual, FP-TTL-AUTO, FP-MANUAL

Flash mode of External Flash

Auto, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction slow sync., Slow sync at 1st curtain, Slow sync at 2nd curtain, Fill-in,
Manual (1/4, 1/16, 1/64), Off.

Synchronization speed


Flash intensity control

Up to ±3 EV in 0.3, 0.5, 1 EV steps

Art Filter Mode

Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale&Light Colour, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole

Multi Exposure Number of picture

2 frames


Auto gain, Live View, Exposing on Recorded picture

Multi Aspect Aspect Ratio



RAW: Aspect ratio is recorded as Exif data, JPEG: JPEG image is produced based on the aspect ratio

Level Gauge Detection



Rear LCD monitor

Color Universal design  

Only White version is approved by Colour Universal Design Organization

Super Control panel Information (shooting)

Battery information, Shooting mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure compensation value, ISO sensitivity, Exposure compensation indicator, Exposure indicator, Flash intensity compensation indicator, Date, Auto BKT setting, Drive mode, Flash intensity compensation value, Metering mode, Recordable still image number, Focusing mode, AF frame, Colour space, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Internal Temperature Warning Gradation, IS activating mode, Face detection, My Mode, Multi Exposure, Aspect Ratio, Super FP

Back light timer

8 sec.

Super control panel Information (Shooting)

Battery information, Exposure mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure compensation value, ISO sensitivity

Exposure compensation indicator, Exposure indicator, Flash intensity compensation indicator, Date, BKT setting

NR setting, WB, WB compensation value, Picture mode, Flash mode, Record mode, Image size, Card information

Drive mode, Flash intensity compensation value, Metering mode, Recordable still image number, Focusing mode

FP warning, AF frame, AF illuminator deactivated notification, Color space, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation

Gradation, IS activating mode, Face detection, RC mode setting, My Mode, Flash Charge, Multi Exposure, Aspect Ratio

Playback Playback modes

Information Display
Index Display (4/9/16/25/49/100 frames, Calendar)
Close-up (2 - 14X)
Movie (w/sound, FF/REW/Pause)
Picture rotation (auto mode available),
Slideshow (Still/Movie/Still+Movie, Slide show w/BGM/BGM+Sound/Sound)

Information display

Histogram (independent luminance / RGB available), Highlight / Shadow point warning, AF frame, Shooting information

Menu Languages Japan: Japanese, English (Additional one language is possible to download.)
Others: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Croat, Slovenian, Hungarian, Greek, Slovakian, Turkish, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Rumanian, Indonesian, Malay, Thai
Reset & Custom setting My mode

2 setting recordable

Image Editing Erasing function

Single frame, All, Selected frames (from Index)

Protect function

Single frame, Selected frames, All Frames, Release protect (Single/All selected)

RAW picture editing

RAW development based on settings of the camera (including Art Filter)

JPEG editing

Shadow adjustment, Red-eye fix, Trimming, Monotone, Sepia, Saturation (colour depth), Resize (producing another file, 1280x960, 640x480, 320x240), e-portrait

Image Overlay  

Up to 3 RAW images

Print Print function

Print reservation (DPOF), Direct print (PictBridge compatible)

Input / Output PC Interface USB 2.0 High Speed for storage and camera control through multi-connector (MTP mode is available)
TV Interface HDMI(HD/Stereo Sound), VIDEO-OUT(SD/Mono Sound)
USB/Video connector Dedicated multi-connector (Video: NTSC/PAL selectable, Optional Remote cable RM-UC1 is available)
HDMI Mini HDMI type-C (1080i/720p/576p/480p)
Flash attachment Hot shoe
DC-in No
Power Requirements Battery BLS-1 Li-ion battery (included)
Sleep mode Available (1, 3, 5, 10 min., off selectable)
No. of recordable pictures
(with 50% flash light)

Approx. 300 shots
(with BLS-1 and Toshiba Class 6 SDHC 4GB card under CIPA testing standard)

Power battery holder

Not Available

Dimensions / Weight Dimensions (W x H x D)

120.5 mm (W) x 70mm (H) x 35mm (D) /
4.74" (W) x 2.75" (H) x 1.37" (D)
(excluding protrusions)

Weight 335g / 11.8 oz (body only)
Operating Environment Temperature

0 - 40℃ (operation) / -20 - 60℃ (storage)


30 - 90% (operation) / 10 - 90% (storage)



Box Contents

Body,  Li-ion battery BLS-1, Li-ion battery charger BCS-1, USB/Video Multi cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Master CD-ROM, Instruction manual, Warranty card.

Optional Accessories

- Clip-on Optical Viewfinder (for use with the Micro Four Thirds 17mm f2.8 lens)
- MMF-1 Four Thirds System Lens Adapter (enables all Olympus ZUIKO Digital lenses as well as Four Thirds System lenses from Sigma, Panasonic and Leica lenses to attach to the E-P1)
- MF-2 OM Lens Adapter (to attach Olympus OM lenses)
- FL-14 flash unit

(Estimated Street Price)
Body only US $749.99 / CAD $849.99
with ED 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens US $799.99 / CAD $899.99 / € 749.00
with ED 17mm f2.8 plus clip-on optical viewfinder US $899.99 / CAD $999.99 / € 949.00

*Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. All trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective holder.

- Olympus E-P1 Sample Images

- Olympus E-P1 Sample HD Video

- Olympus E-P1 Sample Audio

- Olympus E-P1 Product Videos (Got to watch 'Will It Blend?')

- Olympus E-P1 Press Release

Product technical specifications (including MSRP and Included Accessories) are as represented by the manufacturer and subject to manufacturer's change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. Product color availability and included accessories may also differ by country or area. Please verify the latest specs from the appropriate manufacturer's site.

Before you buy, do your homework and verify a seller's reputation. One source you may want to check with is Resellerratings.com. And remember, if a price seems to good to be true, it probably is.


Though we make every effort to strive for accuracy in reproducing these specs, we do occasionally make mistakes, so verify with the manufacturer's site for the latest specs. Also, in the early stages of a product introduction, you can almost guarantee there will be some errors from the manufacturers themselves as they update their sites. If you see any mistakes, please contact us. We do appreciate your writing in with the corrections and thank you in advance!

Olympus E-P1
Body Only with ED 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens with ED 17mm f2.8 plus clip-on optical viewfinder
with ED 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens Clip-on optical viewfinder MF-2 OM Lens to Micro Four Thirds Adapter

Body Cap Flash FL-14  

with ED 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens (black lens) with ED 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens (silver lens) with ED 14-42mm & 17mm Lenses

Memory Cards

Batteries & Chargers

Cases & Bags





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