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Olympus Pen E-PL1

alaTest has collected and analyzed 1321 reviews from magazines and websites. Opinions about the image quality and usability are generally positive. The value for money and performance are also appreciated, but there are some less positive comments about the control panel and memory.

portability, performance, value for money, usability, image quality

viewfinder, features, storage, memory, control panel

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Compact System Cameras the Olympus Pen E-PL1 is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 84/100 = Very good quality.

Review analysis

(Based on 1321 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 228 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 228 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (413)

Expert review by:

Olympus PEN E-PL1 - Good Performance From an Average Looker


Olympus is one of the best known camera manufacturers in the market and though they may not be as popular as Canon or Nikon; they still have a significant name in the camera market. Olympus has had their PEN series cameras for more than half a century....

The Olympus E-PL1 sells at a market operating price of Rs. 22,999. While this may be a decent camera in terms of image quality; this is definitely not the newest. Olympus recently launched the E-PL2 which has a larger screen with more controls. On the...

Expert review by:

Olympus Pen E-PL1


Sitting somewhere between a point-and-shoot and a DSLR, compact interchangeable-lens cameras offer substantially lower bulk and weight than a DSLR, but more features than a pocket camera.

Fun-to-use Art filters, such as Diorama mode ; Reasonable price ; Small size ; iAuto Mode ; Built-in flash

Poorly-designed interface ; Confusing menus beyond its basic settings ; Sub-par LCD screen

Its image quality isn't quite on par with a DSLR, but the Olympus Pen E-PL1 is a groundbreaking and powerful interchangeable-lens camera that serves as an excellent learning tool.

Expert review by:

Olympus PEN E-PL1 Micro 4/3 Digital Camera Review


Micro-four-thirds cameras may be small in your pocket but their impact on your pocketbook can often still be significant. Stepping into the budget micro-4/3 market is the Olympus Pen E-PL1, packing much of the functionality from the 12.3-megapixel PEN...

With an MRSP of $599.99 – and a street price closer to $520 – the Olympus PEN E-PL1 is pretty much half what you’d pay for its E-P2 sibling. That’s despite using the same sensor and the same 720p HD video recording functionality. It’s tempting to see...


Expert review by:

Olympus E-PL1


The least expensive Micro Four Thirds camera to date is a solid step-up for point-and-shooters, with its compact size, built-in flash, and excellent image sharpness. Current SLR shooters may grumble about the relatively slow autofocus and $280...

We expect that, if the Micro Four Thirds format is going to achieve critical mass in the marketplace, it will be with cameras like the Olympus E-PL1 and Panasonic GF1. These two are intriguing step-up choices for point-and-shooters who want a larger...


Expert review by:

Olympus E-PL1 Review


As one half of the Micro Four Thirds consortium, Olympus was one of the originators of the mirrorless interchangeable lens or system camera. In a little under two years, this new breed has established itself as a credible alternative both to compact...

Excellent resolution with lots of detail in the shots ; Point-and-shoot interface that also allows user interaction ; Superb JPEG engine makes camera's full capability easily accessible ; Reliable metering and white balance (in natural light) ; Good AF...

Some highlight clipping (and poor dynamic range at ISO 100) ; Low resolution screen that's hard to see in bright light ; No orientation sensor means having to rotate every portrait image manually ; Exposure controls slow and awkward to use (by DSLR...

Olympus adds point-and-shootability to its retro mirrorless PEN range. A vast array of custom options don't undermine its out-of-the-box capability. Only compact-camera-like controls and build prevent it being a PEN for everyone.


Expert review by:

Olympus PEN E-PL1


It's hardly a secret that Canon and Nikon dominate the DSLR market. Rather than beating their heads against the wall by competing directly against them, other manufacturers are zeroing in a new type of camera—one with a large imaging sensor, smaller...

Excellent, natural stills ; Very low noise, even at high ISOs ; Compact, lightweight ; Loved the 17mm lens

Too expensive ; Not many lens options ; No viewfinder

Olympus’ PEN E-PL1 makes a resounding case for the emerging Micro Four Thirds format by shedding the bulk of DSLR but preserving outstanding picture quality.

Expert review by:

Olympus PEN E-PL1 (with 14-42mm lens, Gold)


The first round of interchangeable-lens cameras offered a lot to appeal to enthusiasts, but at prices upward of $800, they weren't quite a no-brainer for point-and-shooters in search of an upgrade. The bigger sensors in these models can generally...

Excellent build quality; very good photo quality; can shoot raw+JPEG in every mode, including Art Filters and iAuto

Slow, with sluggish autofocus; short battery life; low-resolution LCD

Reasonably priced for an interchangeable-lens model, with the same high-quality photos of its siblings, the E-PL1 nevertheless suffers from slow performance that makes it a poor choice for snapshooters looking to upgrade.

Expert review by:

Olympus E-PL1 review


It seems like such a simple thing now, but it took Olympus three revisions to finally get its "Pen" Micro Four Thirds series down below (or even close to) the magical $600 mark. Lucky for us, the E-PL1 doesn't skimp on functionality, and in fact...

Great value ; Built-in flash ; High-end video

Audible autofocus noise ; Cheaper construction than pricier versions ; Harder to access manual controls

Expert review by:

Olympus E-PL1


Priced at $599.99 (list, with 14-42mm lens), the 12.3-megapixel Olympus E-PL1 sets a new price floor for Micro Four Thirds cameras, putting these smaller D-SLR competitors within reach of photo enthusiasts on tight budgets. The E-PL1 offers excellent...

Currently the least-expensive Micro Four Thirds camera you can buy. Beautiful, sharp images. Newbie-friendly features

Sluggish autofocus. Noticeable shutter lag. Flimsy-feeling build. Proprietary USB port

A good value at under $600 with lens, the Olympus E-PL1 offers D-SLR image quality without the clunky build. But if you're looking for speed, sluggish focusing speeds leave this camera in the dust behind Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds offerings and D-SLRs.

Expert review by:

Olympus E-PL1 Review


Olympus has hit a home run with the introduction of their latestDigital PEN, the E-PL1. Not only does it offer all of the features welove about this line, but they added the much needed built-in flash andlowered the price to only $599US! Read more in...

Excellent build quality; Comfortable and stylish aluminium body; Captures tac sharp 12-megapixel photos; Excellent shooting performance; Capable Continuous AF tracking option; Versatile exposure and creative mode options; Great High ISO performance up...

Decent HD video quality; No more sub control dial; Smaller LCD compared to its siblings ; Bottom Line ; Olympus has hit a home run with the introduction of their latestDigital PEN, the E-PL1. Not only does it offer all of the features welove about this...

Olympus has hit a home run with the introduction of their latestDigital PEN, the E-PL1. Not only does it offer all of the features welove about this line, but they added the much needed built-in flash andlowered the price to only $599US! Read more in our

Product Specifications

Itching to take professional pictures but intimidated by SLRs? Then look no further than the Olympus E-PL1. This camera has it all: high quality, point-and-shoot simplicity, and chic PEN design. Whether capturing an HD movie or snapping once-in-a-lifetime moments, its six special art filters let you paint the world from a great perspective. And with a 100% stabilized body for crisp shots with all lens types, an accessory port and a integrated flash, the colorful E-PL1 really is ready for fun.

Audio Input

Microphone Operation Mode:Mono
Microphone Technology:Electret condenser


Battery Form Factor:Manufacturer specific
Manufacturer Battery Name:Olympus BLS-1

Camera Flash

Red Eye Reduction: Yes
Type:Pop-up flash

Digital Camera

Digital Camera Type:Prosumer
Supported Flash Memory:SD Memory Card / SDHC Memory Card

Dimensions & Weight


Display (Projector)

Diagonal Size:2.7in
Diagonal Size (metric):6.9cm
Display Form Factor:Built-in
Technology:TFT active matrix
Type:LCD display

Exposure Parameters

Shooting Programs:Documents / Low key / Anti shake / Night scene with portrait / High key / Sunset / Sports mode / Panorama assist / Fireworks / Children / Beach/snow / Macro / Portrait mode / Landscape / Nature macro / E-portrait


Packaged Quantity:1
Product Line:Olympus

Lens System

Lens Aperture:F/3.5-5.6
Lens for SD:Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm lens
Max Focal Length:42mm
Min Focal Length:14mm
Optical Zoom:3
Type:Zoom lens


Color:Black/Slate blue
Microsoft Certification:Compatible with Windows 7

Optical Sensor

Optical Sensor Size:13.0 x 17.3mm
Optical Sensor Size (metric):13.0 x 17.3 mm
Optical Sensor Type:High speed Live MOS
Sensor Dust Reduction: Yes
Sensor Resolution:12.3Megapixel

Optical System

Built-in Optical Image Stabilizer: Yes
Image Stabilizer:Optical (image sensor shift mechanism)

Storage Floppy Drive

Type: None

Video Input

Digital Video Format:MJPEG / AVI
Face Detection: Yes
ISO (Max):3200
Light Sensitivity:ISO auto (200-1600) / ISO 100-3200
Shooting Modes:Frame movie mode
Special Effects:Diorama / Portrait / Muted / Black & White Green filter / Black & White Magenta filter / Natural / Soft Focus / Black & White Orange filter / Black & White Blue filter / Vivid / Black & White Yellow filter / Black & White Red filter / Monotone / Sepia / Grainy Film / Pop Art / Pin Hole / Gentle Sepia / I-Enhance
Still Image Format:RAW + JPEG
Type:Digital camera