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A little praise for the "oldie" E-P1!
Old 11-23-2011   #1
efix
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A little praise for the "oldie" E-P1!

(I also posted this over at the dpreview Micro Four Thirds Talk forum, so I apologize if your read it twice )

I've had my E-P1 for two years now. Initially, I was only recording JPEGs, but as soon as I tried RAW conversion in Lightroom, I was hooked. Lately, though, I rarely ever process my E-P1's ORF, since the JPEGs are so good most of the time.

I use custom settings with "Natural" colour, sharpness -1, low noise reduction and contrast +1, and this yields very punchy but natural looking results. I even set my highest auto ISO setting to 2000, since I found the E-P1's JPEG engine to deliver pleasing results (suited for small prints) even at that setting. Paired with the 20/1.7 pancake, the E-P1 is my ultimate low light tool.

After shooting a late evening family gathering in dimly lit surroundings recently, I had to load the ORFs into Lightroom since I forgot to set a custom white balance, and also because I didn't bother with exposure correction. When I open the "Develop" dialog on the first picture and started manipulating the settings in the "Details" section, I was positively shocked. I had to dial in only very little noise reduction (luminance: 20, detail: 80; colour: 20, detail: 20) to get rid of most of the noise, and after tweaking the white balance and tone curves, I got very pleasing looking images that didn't appear to have been taken at such a high ISO setting.

Granted, viewed at 100% you can see slight colour blotches here and there - especially in the darker ares - as well as remaining luminance noise. But the former is really very subtle and hardly observable at display viewing sizes, and the latter is reminiscent of film grain, and in that light I would've use at least a 1600 ISO film, if not a 3200 (or a pushed 400 ISO film).

Here's an example, a picture I'm especially fond of since I find it turned out very nicely (partly due to the subject).



100% crop:



There is enough detail preserved, and I'm also quite satisfied with the colour rendition considering the circumstances. Yes, there is noise at 100%, but I find image quality to be /sufficient/ overall, and good for a 2000 ISO shot.

But the big proofing of the E-P1's high ISO capabilities has yet to come, when the pictures get printed in A3 size in a photo book. I am anxious to see how they hold up when printed this big. (I should probably print them in A4 at home first, to see if they need some more tweaking.)

So, essentially, what I wanted to say is that I am in now way reluctant to use my E-P1 at ISO settings as high as 2000. If the exposure and white balance are right, even the JPEGs will do for me, and when converting from RAW, the pictures demonstrate that the E-P1's sensor still delivers even when its output is amplified that much.

Will the E-P1 still be a good choice in 2012? Most definitely!
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Old 12-02-2011   #2
Jason C
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Very nice.

I myself have no intentions of letting my E-P1 go, it's a good tool.


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Old 12-03-2011   #3
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Interesting. Please let us now how prints will look like when done.
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Old 12-07-2011   #4
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Well, what looks good on screen, even at 100%, must not necessarily look good in print. I'm seriously underwhelmed by the prints in that photobook - even by my M8's pictures that I included. So either the printing wasn't very good, or my processing of the files lacked.

The photobook is a present for my grandparents, and for them the quality will not be an issue.

The pictures are soft, show a lot of residual noise in the shadows, and especially the E-P1's pictures have a mushy blobby look to them, like they came from a cheap p&s. They look much better on screen!

This was the first time I ever printed pictures that large, so I obviously have to learn a lot about the process. Also, I did not choose a super professional lab with sky high prices. As I said, quality is sufficient, but not overwhelming. Maybe I expected too much?
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Old 12-07-2011   #5
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Very interesting, since I have an E-P1, too, but with the Olympus 17mm lens.
What bothers me sometimes is how to set up the menus correctly, since there are a lot of them.
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Old 12-07-2011   #6
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i enjoy using the olly with manual focus lenses, often taking advantage of the 2x crop factor that turns my cv 75 to a 150, or my zeiss sonnar 135 to a 270. as such, i had to trade the ep1 in for an ep2 in order to get the external vf. now i pair it to complement my x100, and i have a great digital setup. while i like your results, my experience leaves me very displeased with the ollys low light performance, especially when compared to the x100, which, honestly, is hands down better in low light than was my 5d!
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Old 12-09-2011   #7
Philip Whiteman
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Following my trip to Scotland armed with E-P1, 17mm Zuiko and 50mm Summicron (a complete kit that fits in a space about the same size of my D200 and kit zoom) I printed my best shots A3 size: granted, almost everything was done in good light at 200 ISO - but the image quality is superb. The big DSLR has seen little use since the Olympus arrived (and what is supposed to be wrong with the 17mm lens? I have no problem with it!)
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Old 12-09-2011   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Whiteman View Post
I printed my best shots A3 size: granted, almost everything was done in good light at 200 ISO - but the image quality is superb. The big DSLR has seen little use since the Olympus arrived
I have no doubt! I guess I was pushing it a bit with printing ISO 2000 shots in A3 size ... the detail is there where contrast is, but in more homogenous parts of the picture there is a lot of mushiness going on. But it's acceptable, and it doesn't look like rubbish ...
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Old 01-09-2012   #9
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one fatal flaw of the E-P1 is that it doesn't have an AF light. When the light gets so low that you can't even judge focus in the LCD, how the heck do you take the photo?
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Old 01-09-2012   #10
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I like the idea of a camera that can mount LTM/M glass and has good OOC JPGs. These prices are tempting here: http://www.cameta.com/index.cfm?fa=d...keywords=e-pl1

If only they had a blue body only. Wouldn't ever need the kit lens.
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Old 01-09-2012   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ywenz View Post
one fatal flaw of the E-P1 is that it doesn't have an AF light. When the light gets so low that you can't even judge focus in the LCD, how the heck do you take the photo?
Actually, in over two years that I've been regularly using the camera, only a couple times I found myself in a situation where I would've needed an AF assist lamp. It would have to be almost dark for the contrast AF not work, and I rarely take pictures in total darkness ... So, for me, this has never really been an issue.
(If I ever shoot in VERY low light, I use manual focus, which works fine with 10x magnification.)

What is an issue for me, though, is the lack of a high-resolving EVF, which would facilitate the use of manual lenses tremendously. Using only the magnification can get tiresome at times. So I'm thinking about upgrading to an E-PL2 + VF-2 viewfinder sometime in the near future.
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Old 01-11-2012   #12
ywenz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efix View Post
Actually, in over two years that I've been regularly using the camera, only a couple times I found myself in a situation where I would've needed an AF assist lamp. It would have to be almost dark for the contrast AF not work, and I rarely take pictures in total darkness ... So, for me, this has never really been an issue.
(If I ever shoot in VERY low light, I use manual focus, which works fine with 10x magnification.)

What is an issue for me, though, is the lack of a high-resolving EVF, which would facilitate the use of manual lenses tremendously. Using only the magnification can get tiresome at times. So I'm thinking about upgrading to an E-PL2 + VF-2 viewfinder sometime in the near future.
Well I experienced the need for AF assist light a few days after receiving the Ep-1.. then changed to GF1 and then changed to GH1.. GH-series best m4/3... ergonomics, feature etc... only slightly larger than the grip-less models.
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