E-P1 First Impressions

Sunrise over Morganton, NC.<br><em>Click to Largify.</em>

Sunrise over Morganton, NC.
Click to Largify.

As I mentioned on Facebook, I got a new camera last week – the Olympus E-P1 I was drooling over a month or two ago. I would have bought it from the guys at B&H Photo, which is normally the only place where I’ll buy camera stuff, but they were sold out of them. Fortunately, NewEgg had a few left, and NewEgg is the only place where I buy electronics and computer gear, so it worked out OK.

I won’t be getting the telephoto lens for it until later this week, so I haven’t tried any wildlife or zoom shots with it yet, but I did get to shoot a few landscapes with it over the weekend. If you’ve looked at the photo galleries here on the site it won’t come as any surprise to hear that both wide-angle and high-zoom stuff are pretty important to me, so I’m not going to give the camera a final verdict until I’ve tried both.

But so far? So far I’m loving this camera. When you take it out of the package, the first thing that strikes you is how small it is. It’s nowhere near the size of a dSLR. In fact, it looks more like a point-and-shoot. Then you pick it up, and the second thing that strikes you is how heavy it is. I mean, this little sucker is dense. It’s like picking up a bar of steel, which makes sense due to the fact that it’s got an awful lot of stuff all crammed into a solid metal frame.

The Old Miller Homestead.<br><em>Click to Expandamate.</em>

The Old Miller Homestead.
Click to Expandamate.

There’s a bewildering array of options available with this puppy, and I’m not even going to pretend I’ve figured out half of them yet. As I learn the camera, I’m sure the image quality will improve dramatically, but even without knowing what I’m doing I have to confess I’m extremely pleased with the photos I’ve taken so far. The stock lens is very good, and the photos are sharp and vivid, even when the light isn’t perfect.

The most common question I’ve been asked has been “Doesn’t it bother you that the E-P1 doesn’t have a viewfinder?” The answer is that I’m actually relieved it doesn’t have one, if it saves on size and weight. My FZ50 had both a viewfinder and an LCD screen, but in over 3 years of shooting with that camera the only time I ever remember using the viewfinder was once at an airshow in Huntsville. I think LCD shooting is really superior once you get the hang of it, but I guess that’s probably a hard adjustment for some people to make.

Cliffside Steam Station.<br><em>Click to Inflaterize.</em>

Cliffside Steam Station.
Click to Inflaterize.

So now Vicki and Marshall are fighting over who gets the FZ50, and I’m looking foward to getting my telephoto lens and trying some wildlife shots. As I learn more about this camera I’ll let you know how it goes. Even if you’re not a camera geek like me, I hope you enjoy looking at the results.

By the way, the first photo is a sunrise shot I took Saturday morning just down the road in Morganton. The second is the Old Miller Homestead at Roan Mountain State Park in Tennessee. Vicki and I drove over there Saturday afternoon to get some photos of the mountain, but the top was socked in with clouds so we’ll have to try the mountain another time. The third shot is a picture of the Cliffside Power Plant. I’m managing the safety program for a phase of the project, so that’s where I’ve been spending all my time lately.



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