Saturday 31 March 2012

Olympus E-P1

I have been going about the E-P1 since I got it and thought it best I write a mini-review of it. (I will be doing the same with my newer E-P3 at some point.

Firstly I should say that I am a mere amateur. In fact I wouldn't even say that. I am someone who has a basic knowledge of the basics of photography and like to dabble. So for all those pedantic pixel peepers, this is not a review for you.


The E-P1 in my opinion is a modern design classic, so much so that Olympus haven't drastically changed the look of the two cameras that replaced it - E-P2 or E-P3. I suspect they didn't have too as the first design was so good. It is a very handsome camera and I particularly like the raw aluminium finish and the reassuring weight. It feels just right in the hand and coupled with the pancake 17mm lens makes a surprisingly portable package. It screams premium product and is gorgeous to look at.

Build and handling

Housed in an aluminium case it feels solid and very well built. My E-P1 is getting on bit but all the dials and buttons are still tight. I get the impression that if I continued to use it regularly for a couple of years, things would stay they same. The camera is very easy to hold for extended periods of time and the different functions can be changed swiftly. The mode dial is internal and I prefer it to the dial located on top of the E-P3. The menus are very comprehensive and once you have the hang of them easy and quick to navigate.

Image quality

With just over 12 megapixels the files the camera produces are very good. Low light performance isn't as good as its more modern counterpart but if you're a day shooter as apprised to low light, you should be fine. With the 17mm lens you can produce fairly sharp results and a pleasing about of bokeh. There are a number of art filters you can use but some do tend to slow the camera down. I have been very pleased with the results I have obtained so far and certain that I will become even happier once I fully get to grips with it. I mainly shoot buildings or the odd bit of street photography and it seems great for both. The jpegs straight out of the camera are great and even though it can shoot in RAW I have tended not to need to use it as I have been so pleased with the jpegs. Autofocus is not as fast as the modern competition and not anywhere near as fast as the lightning speed of the E-P3 (which is incredibly fast)!!


Any camera that makes you want to take it with you wherever you go and is a pleasure to use can only be a favourable sign. For me the E- P1 is a great little camera. I used to have a hulking Canon DSLR but rarely took it anywhere as for me it was a hassle to carry around and wasn't very discrete. The Pen line of camera are not exactly something you could put in your trouser pocket (you could but people would be constantly asking mid you were please to see them) but I do tend to take it everywhere.

If you can get well looked after example you won't be disappointed. A good one on eBay with the kit lens might set you back £150 -£180. With the gorgeous 17mm it might be the top end of this price range or a little bit more. Well worth it and I haven't regretted getting one (although I was given it) and love it.


Just looked at my stats and saw that I am 500 page views short of 20,000 page views. Wow!

Friday 30 March 2012

Bloody Hipster!

Some of you may be aware that I recently bought an Olympus Pen E-P3 and completely love it in every conceivable way. I wanted to compete the smaller package and so bought a 'Pancake' 17mm lens and VF1 optical viewfinder on eBay. To my surprise the seller also included and older Pen E- P1! I contacted them to alert them of their error but was told that I could in fact keep it! I was dumbfounded to say the least but very pleased about it.

Naturally I wanted to test drive my new prize so I headed out with both cameras for a spot of street photography. I took my Raw Lacquer SL2 with me and both cameras. Somehow I ended up somewhere in Bloomsbury and stopped outside one of those hideous coffee establishments where people sit outside talking far too loudly for my liking, all wearing the latest fashions. I mumbled, 'bloody hipsters' to myself.

I parked my Brompton and took out the E-P3 and snapped away. Wanting to compare the two cameras I got out my E-P1 and took a few test shots. I therefore had a camera in each hand. To my horror I heard someone sitting at one of the tables - who had been talking very loudly about a new modern artist he had recently discovered - say the words, 'bloody hipster.' Was he directing this at me?

No. He couldn't be directing that adjective at me! It must be someone else? I looked around and considered in a very Robert De Nero manner whether he was indeed looking at me?! I swiftly came to the conclusion that he was not only looking at me but had directed that comment at me! I was outraged. What a generalisation. It then dawned on my that I had done the very same not two minutes earlier.

With great self control I carried on snapping and when ready packed up said cameras and rode off. Before I did I muttered that I wasn't a bloody hipster and that he should look a mirror. I mean really. What cheek!

Friday 23 March 2012

Keeping my Orange Brompton as it is.

Owning and really liking an SL2 Raw Brompton I have considered changing the gearing of my beloved Orange Brompton to that of a 2 speed. I have even considered changing the M bars for the flat S bars. This morning I went out on the Orange Brompton for the first time in ages.

I have come to the conclusion that I will keep the Orange one exactly as as it is. To change things that drastically would be costly and just not worth it.

I have written many times about how much I love the weight, agility and simplicity of the 2 speed and the lower more sporty riding position. Cycling through London this morning I really enjoyed the very different, more upright riding position. Added to this was the fact that with a huge amount of 'stuff' to take to work, I welcomed the cavernous capacity of the C Bag.

So, I have the best of both worlds. The more leisurely upright ride of the M and the lower, firmer and sporty ride of the S.

If I change anything on my M Type it will be to the newer 110 psi Marathon tyres that really do bring a nippier ride.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Out with my Pen EP-3 (and my Orange Brompton)

Today I was up early and saw that it wasn't thunder and lightning and looked rather good. I decided to take my Pen EP-3 out with my trusty Orange Brompton for a ride along the Grand Union Canal at an ungodly hour.

As you can see from the first picture there was a mist in the air. I took a picture of this pink narrowboat as I thought the colours I saw would be hard to duplicate in camera. I was wrong. What you see is a very, very accurate duplication of what I saw. This is also a Jpeg straight out of the camera and not a RAW file (which I couldn't be bothered with today).

Very accurate colours.
I managed to get quite close to this female Mallard and the sharpness of the feathers is great. Again this and all a the images are straight out of the camera with no tinkering from Photoshop.

Lovely and sharp.

I took this at f 5.6 to see if I could get that illusive BOKEH. I was very happy with the results.


The picture of the daffodil really does off the creamy BOKEH (love saying that word out loud) and was very apt, being Mothering Sunday.

Even more, BOKEH!!

This last picture of the trees reflecting in a lake was taken using one of the in-camera Art Filters. I like what it can do and can see myself using it quite a bit.

Very arty.

I got so carried away taking pictures of arty bits of scenery and nature I didn't take any pictures of my beloved Orange Brompton! I would have loved to see how vivid the orange would have come out.

This little Pen EP-3 is totally brilliant! In short I love it! The autofocus has a speed approaching that of the Millennium Falcon, when it makes the jump to light speed. I love the looks. I love that fact that it hasn't the weight of a hulking DSLR. I love the pictures it produces straight out of the camera. I love that it is shiny aluminium. I love its retro looks and I love that fact that i now own one!

(Have just come back to this entry after a cup of tea). Goodness me. I do like it don't I.

Saturday 17 March 2012

Busy times

I haven't been able to blog recently, mainly due to work commitments which have meant that I have been very busy. Hopefully things will ease off for a little while in a couple of weeks.

The warmer weather recently seems to have brought out all the fairer weather cyclists as on my daily commute I see a great deal more about. Such a shame that in London there doesn't seem to be any real drive at the moment to do something about safer cycling routes.

Mention of the BWC 2012 has already begun and thoughts of this will eventually sink in and induce me to train more often.

My Canon G11 has now gone and been exchanged for an Olympus EP 3. I must say that I love this little camera and it is now never far from my side. No matter what updates there are to it and what new models come out to replace it, this camera is definitely a keeper. I will be shooting with this for many years to come.

I hope to get out soon to not only test it out but take some arty shots of one of my Brompton's against the backdrop of London.