Olympus PEN E-PM1 Review

Have you ever wanted to take really awesome photos but thought you just didn’t have the talent to do so? Well the Olympus PEN E-PM1 might just turn you into the next Annie Leibovitz after all. Recently we were asked to participle in the Pen Ready Project. Our challenge if we chose to accept it, was to take 20 amazing photos and then share it with the Pen Ready Project community.

The Olympus PEN E-PM1 is the ideal camera for those who are ready to take the leap from standard digital compact cameras, but just aren’t quite ready for a D/SLR yet. Similar in concept to the Sony Nex-3, the Olympus PEN E-PM1 is also a interchangeable lens type digital camera. The included lens is a M.Zuiko MSC Digital ED m14-42mm kit lens which may not be the most robust lens, but for newbies to this type of camera, it is certainly suitable.

The 12.3 MP PEN E-PM1 has some great features that will turn average photos into works of art, like built-in art filters that will give your pictures that extra umph or polish. Effects go from the traditional black and white to pin hole to vibrant, accentuating reds and other vivid colors turning your images into paintings.

For the amateur photographer, the special effects are easy to access and a pleasure to use. You can almost never take a bad picture. In regards to the camera, it is a small package with a lot of gusto for producing quality images quickly and almost blur free every time. The PEN system’s menu and interface is unfortunately its Achilles heel. If you plan on using the PEN to simply take pictures in auto focus and nothing more, then the menu system won’t bother you all that much.

Reviewing images after we took them didn’t seem natural and was cumbersome at times. The lack of external controls is nice for simplicity sake, but the fact that the controls are not intuitive was just plain frustrating at times. When I thought I was viewing the next picture, I was instead zooming in on the same one. In order to move from picture to picture, you have to scroll through them with wheel jog that doesn’t move to well in the process.

If you plan on taking your E-PM1 PEN to the next level, you will probably want to play with the custom menu settings which isn’t for the faint of heart or those in a rush, as it takes a lot of time to program the menu just the way you want it to be.

While the PEN E-PM1 may have some flaws in regards to menu system and intuitiveness, it is still a very handsome looking camera and feels nice in the palm of you hands. It’s quick focusing and built-in art filters really take it up a notch and add fun and creativity to your photos. Furthermore, its retro styling and feel will appeal to both men and women. The Olympus PEN E-PM1 retails for $449.00 on Amazon. It’s also available in a lovely selection of colors – including black, brown, purple, silver, and white.

Olympus PEN E-PM1 Sample Photos

Check out our gallery below with sample photos taken with the Olympus PEN E-PM1. For more photos, check out the Pen Ready Project.

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