Surprising rise of Olympus E-P1

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by c._sharon, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. E-P1 seems to be really well and giving Canon and Nikon a run for their money according to website (Spanish website)
    <<The surprising rise of the Olympus E-P1 in the ranking of sales in Japan since its launch until July 5 has managed to capture 19.3% of the Japanese market, very close to the Canon 500D which ranks first with 20.7% participation. Migration seems to come from the Nikon users, whose joint participation of the D90 and D5000 (16%) not even enough to overcome the Pen E-P1.. BCN's ranking is the week of 26.Jun.09 at 05.Jul.09>>

  2. Good to hear it. 'Bout time Olympus hit a home run again. I remember when the OM-1 took the SLR market by storm in the early 1970s. :)
  3. Not sure how significant that data is, but as a Nikon user myself I'm interesting in the E-P1. Nikon has nothing that fits a specific niche I've valued for as long as I've been a photographer: a true miniature format camera for serious enthusiasts of discrete handheld candid photography. Olympus once mastered that niche, which is why I was a fan of the OM system and still use Olympus film and digital compact P&S cameras.
    The last camera Nikon made that fit that niche was during the 1990s with the 28 Ti and 35 Ti. None of the Coolpix models filled the bill. Neither does any SLR or dSLR, including the relatively small D5000 (which is still not as compact as the Olympus E-420).
    I'm very interested in trying the E-P1. I'm hoping for a digital equivalent to the Olympus 35 RC and similar film cameras I've used for years when nothing else was both discrete enough and capable enough in nearly impossible situations, such as live performance art photography from either the audience area or near the performance area without being a distraction or needing a sound blimp.
    I'm hoping the E-P1 is not only capable of meeting the technical specs and satisfactory resolution I've seen in sample photos, but also capable of performing in difficult lighting and doing so nimbly and quietly.
  4. I'm sure many photographers are waiting for a similar model that allows composition through a eyepiece-viewfinder. Surely if this is the digital PEN then a 4/3rds digital OM is no longer a pipe-dream?
  5. I've been waiting for the digital Canonet for years and the EP1 with the 17mm lens might fit the bill just fine.
  6. I thought the E-410/420 was the 4/3 OM? I guess I'm not current on the Olympus lineup. Those appear to be the closest in size and weight to the OMs.
  7. It isn't surprising at all. Every day I see posts asking "What compact (large sensor) camera for a pro or serious amateur?" The camera companies have completely ignored this market. Sigma has tried with the DP1/2 and some are happy with it but this Olympus is the first with interchangeable lenses.
  8. The E410/420 are basically OM size and weight. Of course not full frame, sigh. Ah well. I am glad the E-P1 is selling really well. I hope it encourages Olympus to develop a large lens group and follow on cameras with a few extra features (a good EVF please!)
  9. I'd like to know if anyone has used Nikon glass on an E-P1. This seems very possible as the converters exist, but I haven't heard reports of usage or seen images.
  10. When talking about a digital OM; I mean a digital with the classic, and functional, design ethic of the OM (I suppose it would it be too much to ask for the shutter speed and aperture rings like the OM4/ti??)
    E-series cameras are downright ugly; with hideous buttons all over the place; and a nasty plastiky feel.
    They are certainly not digital OMs.
  11. I tried the E-420, I wanted something between my G5 and 1Ds. My initial trial at the store had me buying it on the spot. Then I tried actually using it and returned it three-days later. I still have a want for mini DLSR for discreet and small carry.
  12. Peter, what did no you not like about the 420? The default setting; noise filter on, yields smeared fine details. Turn it off and lower sharpening as suggested in the DPR review and the image have true 'bite'. My e410 and 510 have supplanted my Pentax gear completley.
    e410 with 25mm Zuiko, F2.8, 1/20 sec ISO 400

    The EP-1, with pancake lens and OVF, just may well prove to be the Digital Hexar AF I've been looking for...
  13. It doesn't surprise me at all. The price is about twice what I paid for my Hexar AF however. Not everyone has the discretionary income. But is has sensual appeal for sure.
  14. Of course not full frame, sigh.​
    And that's the problem: being stuck in old paradigm thinking. If Barnack had handcuffed his imagination the way today's photographers do, the Leica would have been the size of a Koni-Omega. Because, obviously, no "serious" photographer would accept less than the fool frame of that era - big honkin' film.
    The 35mm format was embraced not because it was "full frame" - it wasn't, it was the crop frame compromise of its era. It was embraced because it suited the needs of miniature format camera enthusiasts.
    Forget fool frame. It's an unnecessary confinement on our imaginations and possibilities for accepting innovations in cameras.
  15. Exactly so, Lex.
  16. The EP1 has been panned by reviewers for its slow AF. It remains to be seen that the users don't get frustrated with the AF and its popularity and sales momentum continue.
  17. I think it's still unclear as to whether or not the E-P1 is as functional as the Panasonic G1 in terms of viewing and focusing ergonomics. I intend to try each of these cameras soon and get one of them, if the viewing / focusing ergonomics are good enough for serious use.
  18. I've been an Olympus addict since the early '70s and it took me a while to realize that given the respective sizes of their photo imaging parts of the parent companies, (Canon Nikon Olympus) that Olympus doesn't need to capture 20% or even 10% of the camera market to turn a nice profit.
    I now worry that the EP-1 is SOOO successful that that fact may actually hinder or delay the planned follow-on bodies. After all, the market is finite in size, and if they capture too much of it too fast, then where's the need to rush out more and different bodies?
  19. The EP1 has been panned by reviewers for its slow AF.​
    Which reviews? So far I've seen only two or three qualified previews/reviews, based on handling the E-P1 at the official Olympus event. None of them mentioned AF capability. Do you have links to the reviews you've seen? I'd like to read some other informed comments.
  20. Reviews on Imaging-Resource and Cnet
  21. Thanks, just read the Imaging-Resource article . Much more informative in terms of handling than the other hands-on previews I've read so far. But unless I overlooked something I'm not seeing any comments that could be interpreted as "panning" the E-P1 for slow AF. Can you point to a direct quote? What I found was this qualified appraisal of the AF performance, which I interpreted as neutral overall:
    "My favorite of the two lenses is the 17mm f/2.8, the only other Olympus lens made specifically for Micro Four Thirds. Its low barrel distortion made shooting with this pancake design a sincere pleasure, and its faster autofocus made me return to it again and again. While out shooting galleries with the Olympus E-P1, I had to remind myself a few times to get the 14-42mm lens mounted for a few shots; and after I got too frustrated with the autofocus from the prototype camera, I returned to the 17. Manual focus via the fly-by-wire focus ring, already difficult, is made more difficult thanks to the LCD's lower resolution. I struggled to notice any change as I turned the focus ring. I'm hoping production versions of the Olympus E-P1 perform better."​
    That qualified observation seemed to match the overall impression the author, Shawn Barnett, has of the preview sample of the E-P1:
    "I'm in love. I can't tell you just yet whether I'm in love with the Olympus E-P1 or the idea of the E-P1."​
    About to find the Cnet article...
  22. Okay, I've just read the two cnet articles I could find:
    A June 15, 2009, press release type type preview , with less info than some of the better articles written around the time of that release (most of the hands-on previews were published on or after 6/16/09). I'm not seeing any remarks in that article indicating the writer actually tested or at least used the camera to get an impression of the autofocus performance.
    From this June 30, 2009, article I see:

    "One of my worries with the E-P1 was with autofocus, since it lacks SLRs' snappy phase-detect systems. But in my brief test with the camera, focus was reasonable--and I quite like the instant 5X magnification mode for manual focusing."​
    Not to nitpick more than is appropriate for accuracy, but I'm not seeing anything in the three articles I've found so far that could fairly be interpreted as indicating that the "EP1 has been panned by reviewers for its slow AF", as you wrote.
    FWIW, I don't have a dog in this hunt. My most current Olympus is a seven or eight year old C-3040Z. I'm mostly a Nikonista. My only interest is in seeing whether the E-P1 will turn out to be the enthusiast's miniature format digital camera many of us have been anticipating. If not, fine, we'll move on to the next party.
    But so far I'm surprised at the amount of negative spin on's Olympus forum about a camera that very, very few people here have actually handled yet. Even the most negative of the nitpickers on the Nikon forum tend to wait until a few weeks after a new Nikon model has been on the shelves before declaring it a failure.
  23. Rather than amend my previous post I'll add this one...
    Ah, took some digging but I found the cnet article C. Sharon may have been referring to. I can see how that might be interpreted as a panning of the AF performance.
    "Unfortunately, the E-P1's performance, which seems to suffer from a sluggish AF system, cries out for a firmware upgrade. It powers on and shoots in about 2.2 seconds, a reasonable duration. But on CNET's performance tests , shot lag (the time it takes to focus and shoot) with the kit lens in good light runs about 1.3 seconds and rises to 1.6 seconds in dim light. While it doesn't feel quite that slow in practice--if it were, it'd be close to unusable for all but landscapes and still lifes--it still feels slower than it ought to. The lens even keeps moving briefly after the focus-lock beep and indicator signal that it's done. The continuous AF really is continuous; it never stops and locks, even when pointing at a stationary subject."​
    Unfortunately, as with virtually every review I've ever read anywhere online, with the exception of a handful of reviews by photojournalists and sports photographers, this review fails to specify the conditions of testing the camera's autofocus. Cnet's other methodology is defined in the link in the above quote, but not how the AF performance is evaluated. As far as I can tell, there was no mention of illumination in EV, color temperature of the illumination source, contrast range of the target... nothing that would be of any use in trying to duplicate their results.
    This has been a failing of dpreview and every other testing site online. If they do mention AF performance at all, they never apply the same testing methodology applied to testing of resolution, noise or any other measurable factor. AF performance is virtually always left to the actual users to evaluate. And due to inexperience, only a handful of users ever actually understand how to evaluate AF performance in a way that other users can replicate to test the soundness of their methodology.
    I'll wait for an evaluation of the E-P1's AF performance from an experienced photographer who understands sound testing methodology and can describe how the camera was tested and how it responded.
    It's also worth noting that Lori Grunin's cnet reviews for the E-P1 have been met with an unusual amount of skepticism. I'm not sure why that is, since I'm not a regular reader of her articles. But I noticed this back in June after watching her YouTube video.
  24. Lex: Can you point to a direct quote?​
    Here is a direct quote from the Imaging-Resource review of EP1's performance
    "The Olympus E-P1 showed full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) that ranged from 1.074 seconds at full telephoto to 1.230 seconds at wide angle when using the 14-42mm kit lens, which is slower than almost every current digital camera (with the possible exception of Sigma's DP series).
    The Panasonic GH1 was about 3-4 times faster at full autofocus. (The lens likely has a lot to do with that. Unlike the phase-detect AF systems used in SLRs, contrast-detect AF systems require refocusing the lens to determine optimal focus, so the focusing speed of the lens becomes a much larger factor in our measurements. We've heard that the E-P1 does much better when paired with the fast-focusing Panasonic 14-140mm HD lens, but unfortunately didn't have one available to test the E-P1 with.)
    With the 17mm f/2.8 prime, full AF lag improved to 1.038s, but that's still quite slow. When manually focused, the E-P1's lag time drops to 0.274 second, still on the slow side, but fast enough that it won't likely cause you to miss any shots. Manual focus lag also varied a lot more that autofocus lag (12% versus 3%)."
    It could be due to the lens. Other reviews could attest to that.
  25. ."...Unlike the phase-detect AF systems used in SLRs, contrast-detect AF systems require refocusing (emphasis supplied ) the lens to determine optimal focus, so the focusing speed of the lens becomes a much larger factor in our measurements. We've heard that the E-P1 does much better.."
    (...wlth the 14-140 by Panasonic he speculates )​
    I don't quite get that "refocusing " part. I guess I ought to know more about contrast detection,not only speed,but accuracy vis a vis other combo system. Technical comparison surmise with use of the GH-1 special designed 14-140 seems like pairing against a lens in a different class, maybe, maybe not,beats me. Perhaps 'slow' is relative,like 'sluggish.' ( I am sluggish on the subject is apparent :)).
  26. Having been dragged kicking & screaming into the digital camera world, I am still uncomfortable with the size of most DSLRs. I had a Canon 50D for a week, then traded it. Big as a brick. Handles like a schoolbus. I carefully avoided the mega cameras of the 1990s and early 2000s for the same reason. Plus I could give a *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* about autofocus anyway.
    I think there's a large segment of the serious-camera-buying-public that loves and must have anything that's the latest, and if it's also the biggest, so much the better.A Caddilac or a Hummer, if you will. A smaller but significant portion wants an excellent camera that's not so goddamned attention and space-grabbing. A BMW. They have until now been ignored. Personally, I will look at the EP-2 when it comes out (I hope)with an optical viewfinder.I use the LCD about 1/10 of the time on my DSLRs. I'm selling my Panasonic LX-2 essentially because it doesn't have an OVF.
    I totally agree with Lex re: the 4/3 format. If Luminous-Landscape can compare up the G10 , with its 1/1.7 sensor, favourably to full frame dslrs, well then mabe a 4/3, sensor, 5x as big, can make a passable print.
  27. Jack Lo,there is much wisdom in what you say. I delayed moving to autofocus fo years. Used a Canon T90. Every feature but AF... little big but well balanced Big... Even now I just barely trust those little confrimation green lights. And I want the decision to manually override the little computer bugger inside. And I always pre focus and still wonder who shoots like Matt Dillon... One wise owl said that precision in focus is much overrated...there is latitude. (That could be a whole new topic) I have learned to trust my E-1 and my ED lenses and know what few patterns drive it buggy.. theory and charts are horsehocky for me. I would never have bought my mini Coolpix P 5000 if I followed the recommendations on review sites. A sweet little item. Size wise. And has optical finder. And mini flash for the shoe. Now Olympus is making me want MORE in micro electronics. Got to have rational array of button and wheels. That is key as I get fussier as I get grayer.
  28. rdm


    (I suppose it would it be too much to ask for the shutter speed and aperture rings like the OM4/ti??)​
    William, have you ever seen the Panasonic DMC-L1 ?
  29. Interesting camera, but all of my minature format lenses are Nikon, so I won't buy one. Besides, Canon and Nikon will launch similar offerings if the E-P1 succeeds. But I'd bet they will come in closer to $500 - $600 in price.
  30. There's a rumor going around dpreview that Canon is working on a G10 replacement with an APS-C sensor but a non removable lens. Photokina 2010 at the earliest. I'd bet price to be about $600.
  31. jtk


    Non-removable (a-la Canon G-X APS makes much more photographic sense than removable. Less dust. Dust is an issue in much of the real world and no, dust removal systems don't deal with it 100%. Less than 100% can mean real grief if you're shooting a lot in situations that aren't likely to repeat. I'm not a toy-buyer, I'm into tools.
  32. For me the hang-up on full frame is this. I have quite a few Zuiko and other lenses that I like quite a bit that I would prefer not having to need to replace, and on the wide end I would need to fill that in. So far there aren't any particularly good super wide angle primes in 4/3rds. Until that happens I'll continue clamouring for a full frame olympus SLR (or E-P1 equivelent).
    I don't need a full frame, but if it isn't full frame I need a 14-18mm equivelent prime in the f/2.8-f/4 range, a 20-24mm equivelent prime in the f/2-f/2.8 range and a 28mm (or 24mm) equivelent prime in the f/2.8 and f/1.4-f/1.8 ranges. So until I see a Zuiko 8mm f/2.8, 10mm f/2.8, 12mm f/2 and 14mm f/1.4 or at least most of that I am not going to be real enthusiastic about it.

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