First look: Olympus E P1 camera (update)

Amateur Photographer Editor Damien Demolder reports from the launch of the Olympus E-P1 'digital Pen' camera in Berlin.

Olympus launch
Page 1:Introduction

Amateur Photographer Editor Damien Demolder reports from the launch of the Olympus E-P1 'digital Pen' in Berlin.

Olympus E-P1 camera

Berlin, Germany -- It’s ironic that a camera aimed at consumers too frightened to buy ‘complicated and heavy’ DSLRs should create so much interest amongst hardened SLR users.

I suppose it’s because although we like the big camera that offers all the control, we also want small, neat, portable and stylish, and for the first time in a long time we are seeing cameras that offer all of those things – high style, highly compact and the sort of flexibility that only comes with an interchangeable lens system.

PEN - CONCEPT OR CON? - click here

The Micro FourThirds models we’ve already seen from Panasonic, the Lumix G-1 and GH-1, demonstrate perfectly the principle of SLR control in highly compact bodies, but with the launch of the Olympus E-P1 – the ‘digital Pen’ – we can see for the first time the potential of the new Micro FourThirds system and what it has been designed to do.

Brilliant though they are I suspect the Lumix products we have seen so far will not present a welcoming and friendly face to the millions of new photographers seriously choosing between a compact camera and an SLR.

To those who do not know that a DSLR needs a mirror to be a DSLR these cameras look astonishingly like...DSLRs. In their current body form they will appear just as frightening as fully grown SLRs, purely because of their shape.

The Olympus E-P1 however definitely does not look like a DSLR, and it definitely does not look complicated. It looks highly desirable and reasonably simple to use – at least as simple as most compact cameras. That it has a wealth of control on a par with a standard DSLR is neither here nor there; that it appears easy to use is all that counts.

The photographic press surround the E-P1 camera after its unveiling in Berlin

E-P1 press frenzy in Berlin

Page 2: Pen – concept or con?

Olympus E-P1 image

I was surprised when Olympus recently began circulating material about the old Pen system and associating it with the soon-to-be-launched E-P1.

Although aware that the concept camera we had seen before was just that, a concept, it seemed much bigger than a Pen. In fact, we had Tripman (www.tripman.co.uk) make us an orange Trip 35 so we could have the two cameras photographed together at the PMA show earlier this year. When we put them together they were about the same size (see picture below).

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When we first saw the Olympus concept Micro Four Thirds camera at the PMA show in March, we were immediately taken back 40 years to the original Olympus Trip 35. We had a Trip 35 re-covered in the same material as the concept and here they are together. The Trip 35 is being held by Yoshiyuki Oyama (far left). The concept model is being shown by Heino Hilbig. Thanks to Paul Lamb, at www.tripman.co.uk

Olympus Trip and E-P1 prototype at PMA

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