This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

First Look: Olympus E-P1

About Video Transcript

First Look: Olympus E-P1

2:47 /

The Olympus E-P1 is an otherwise excellent enthusiast compact camera hampered by some performance problems and the lack of a viewfinder and built-in flash.

[ background music ] >> Hi. I'm Lori Grunen [assumed spelling], senior editor with CNET. And this is the Olympus EP1. The EP1's release coincides with the 50th anniversary of Olympus's pen film cameras. And that's not a coincidence. Olympus based the design of the EP1 off the pen. And while it works very well for a film camera, it means that Olympus had to make some sacrifices to do it with a digital camera. For instance, there's no on camera flash, nor is there a viewfinder, either an add-on optical which the company does ship with its 17 millimeter pancake lens. In terms of features though, those are the only sacrifices this camera really makes. In a lot of other ways, this is a really nice camera. It's very solidly designed, it's got a nice retro attractive body, comes in two colors, this silver with a black grip and white with a beige grip. The EP1 is a micro four thirds camera, which is the standard also used by Panasonic for a non-SLR interchangeable lens camera. That means that it doesn't have a mirror box, but it does support the ability to use lenses in the micro four thirds system, or in case of the Olympus with an adapter you can use four thirds lenses, like the ones used by the E30 or the E3, as well as another adapter which lets you use old Olympus OM lenses. This is the 1442, which is a 28 to 84 millimeter equivalent, because of the micro four thirds 2x multiplier. And Olympus designed the lens to collapse, so that it's fairly compact when you're not using it, and then it expands to be a real zoom lens when you are using it. The controls are laid out in a very typical digital camera design. Olympus even makes the microphone for video look like part of the design with these two small dots on either side of the Olympus logo. The camera also shoots 720P 30 frame per second video, which is nice, but the quality is not outstanding. The photo quality is also very nice, as a matter of fact, surprisingly good, and a lot better than we've seen in like the low end digital SLRs from Olympus. Unfortunately, it is really slow. The auto focus system is incredibly sluggish, it takes over a second to focus and shoot under optimal conditions. And if you're a pretty experience shooter, you can mark your way around the performance issues by I guess not shooting anything that moves, or having another camera to use for that. And this can be your conversation piece gadget. However if you're looking for a primary camera that's gonna be able to handle all your shooting situations, unfortunately because of the performance issues this isn't it. [ background music ] I'm Lori Grunen, and this is the Olympus EP1.

New releases

This pocketwatch smartphone is designed with inner peace in mind
1:24 March 4, 2015
We get our hands on a prototype of Runcible, an oddly-shaped phone designed to be less distracting and intrusive than regular mobi...
Play video
Firefox phones range from high end to super, super affordable
1:19 March 4, 2015
Why would you want a browser-based phone like a FireFox phone? Maybe because costs as little as $23. A look at three phones for Japan,...
Play video
We experienced the future of VR with HTC Vive
2:55 March 4, 2015
What does HTC and Valve's new VR gaming hardware do? We tried it out and were blown away.
Play video
LifeBEAM Smart Hat checks heart rate on your head
0:54 March 4, 2015
It's a hat. It's a heart rate hat. Why? Well, see for yourself. Heads-on in Barcelona.
Play video
High-tech dog collar does bark notification and streaming video
1:34 March 4, 2015
Motorola's Scout 5000 and Scout 2500 get you more data on your dog. Hit play to find out more.
Play video
NAD Viso HP50 headphone: An audiophile-grade headphone that won't break the bank
1:39 March 4, 2015
The well-designed and comfortable NAD Viso HP50 ($300) is all about clean, very accurate sound, making it an audiophile favorite.
Play video
Gorgeous Nokia N1 is iPad Mini's Android twin
2:25 March 4, 2015
This portable tablet impressed us with its matte silver finish and Android OS. Too bad it only sells in China.
Play video
Sony Xperia E4G does big battery on a budget
0:56 March 4, 2015
Sony says its new smartphone will last an impressive two days before it needs charging. We go hands-on at Mobile World Congress.
Play video