Topic: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

Just thought I'd put this out there for those thinking of getting the PEN series for manual focus lens usage.

I used to own a K100D and an E-300 and have a lot of 4/3 adapters for different mounts so transition was easier.

I did look at the alternatives:  Used G1 (No movie but loaded with features) and a G10 (no tilting LCD and poorer EVF)
I preferred the handling of the Panasonic G series, the grip helped with telephoto lenses and the EVF made it a regular shooting position.

so why the E-PL1?

+ Price - it was the cheapest option of all m4/3's cameras
+ Could adapt a new range of mounts (Canon FD, Konica, LTM, C-mount) - just adds to my LBA *sigh*
+ Image stabilization
+ Live view - I found VERY helpful no "darkening of the viewfinder" as you stop down - the LCD just ups the gain on the display
+ Accessory port - for optional (but very expensive epson EVF, or ext mic)
+ Onboard flash - which can be tilted back so you can at least bounce off a ceiling
+ One touch dedicated/programmable video rec button
+ Slightly less strong AA filter (I can apply less sharpening in post processing)
+ It's an Olympus! (very biased here! j/k)

what I didn't like:

- LCD resolution only 230K - whereas G1/G10/G2 are 430K and more fluid
- Shooting at half arms length is very awkward to me
- No builtin EVF (optional VF-2 is very expensive (more than half cost of camera itself)
- Size - it's too small for my fat hands (my pinky and next finger are kinda left dangling under the camera base) would be nice if it was 2.5cm taller
- No scroll wheel - you get used to the interface after a while and become second nature but at least even one dial would have been nice!
- Would have been nice to have a lower display magnification of 2X, 4X in addition to 7X/10X/14X
- Build quality isn't as nice as the E-P1 or E-P2
- Sensor is exposed to elements (normally open shutter)
- 2X crop (vs Sony NEX / Samsung NX)

The Ebay adapters are almost twice the price of the regular 4/3 ones.  So what I do is stack adapters X > 4/3 to 4/3 > m4/3.  There is a problem with play sometimes.

Anyways these are just my first impressions, I will add more and hope to post some samples from some FD lenses I acquired for a song.

[D]

Last edited by diesel604 (2010-07-09 17:48:35)

Bodies: Olympus E-PL1, Nikon D70s, OM1-MD, OM77AF, OMPC,  Ricohflex VII, Super Ricohflex, Canon AE-1
Lenses:  Zuiko 28/3.5, 50/1.8, 50/1.4, 135/3.5, Vivitar 90/2.8 macro, S1 35-85 f2.8, Hexanon 40/1.8, 50/1.7, Soligor 35/2.8, Canon FD 50/1.4, 85/1.8, Vivitar 70-210/4.5, Vivitar 28/2.8

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

I suppose this type of camera will have it's place,  but how  would you ever utilize much of a serious telephoto?

For me,  "we"  need what no one has as yet given us---a DSLR  with the viewfinder of an OM-1, regardless of sensor size

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

On 4/3 a rear view only screen is pretty useless for MF with anything longer than 50mm but little problem with the eyelevel screen of the G1 or 2 etc but I agree the Oly E-p1, E-pl1 etc are very handy pocket cameras, either with the pancake lens or a body cap (Lens in other pocket) Befor buying an E-pl1 I would look at the E-p1, IMo a much better camera all round and now available around the same price. I paid £389 for the E-p1 with 17mm lens and optical 17mm viewfinder.

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

Rob,  sounds to me like what is needed is one of these LCD  loupe hoods  so you can re-re-re-configure the LCD  to a "viewfinder."

(I recently picked up a 7D Canon,  and originally had no intention of using it for movies, but..........anyhow,  it's about useless trying to use the LCD for movie shooting, the only option on that camera)

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

440roadrunner wrote:

I suppose this type of camera will have it's place,  but how  would you ever utilize much of a serious telephoto?

For me,  "we"  need what no one has as yet given us---a DSLR  with the viewfinder of an OM-1, regardless of sensor size

That's what the E3 and the new E5 is for smile
If you have the chance, check out the viewfinder on these. It's OM-1 sans the microprism split-focus aid.

Cheers, Will.

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

440roadrunner wrote:

Rob,  sounds to me like what is needed is one of these LCD  loupe hoods  so you can re-re-re-configure the LCD  to a "viewfinder."

(I recently picked up a 7D Canon,  and originally had no intention of using it for movies, but..........anyhow,  it's about useless trying to use the LCD for movie shooting, the only option on that camera)

Well IMO what is needed is more than one camera. The Olympus is great for many shots sometimes better than the G1 but then the G1 is generally more versatile. Then of course there are times the DSLR is better, in my case I still use a Pentax K10D as it is weather sealed that always gets used in the rain. And I still use my Ricoh GRD 2 on almost every shoot I do. Tools for the job and all that. I'm afraid messing about fitting extra viewfinders etc would result in missing a shot or the continuaty you have got going. Yes I often carry 4 cameras. The E-p1 and Ricoh fit in a couple of pocket and have long safety straps fitted so they can be pulled out and dangle if I change cameras, I have another camera on my shoulder and the final one round my neck. Of course I only do this for shoots, on a daily basis I will carry the Ricoh in my pocket (All the time) and the E-p1 and a couple of lenses in a smal bag in the car. Using more than one camera reduces the need to keep changing lenses and for me it is an instinclive way of working.
Final point why buy another camera that costs more and needs extras which are expensive (Example Panasonic GF1) when you can buy two cameras and have so much more.
Cost ?  I have only just changed to 4/3 after a short time playing with the Samsung NX10. I spent over £1600 on a new outfit most of that was £499 for the Olympus M 9-18mm lens BUT it all cost me next to nothing. I sold a few PK lenses (Sold Sigma 10-20 for £310) and trade in my old (60K+shots) Pentax K100D.
I agree about movies. If I want to make videos I will buy a video camera.

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

Rob Leslie wrote:
440roadrunner wrote:

Rob,  sounds to me like what is needed is one of these LCD  loupe hoods  so you can re-re-re-configure the LCD  to a "viewfinder."

(I recently picked up a 7D Canon,  and originally had no intention of using it for movies, but..........anyhow,  it's about useless trying to use the LCD for movie shooting, the only option on that camera)

Well IMO what is needed is more than one camera. The Olympus is great for many shots sometimes better than the G1 but then the G1 is generally more versatile. Then of course there are times the DSLR is better, in my case I still use a Pentax K10D as it is weather sealed that always gets used in the rain. And I still use my Ricoh GRD 2 on almost every shoot I do. Tools for the job and all that. I'm afraid messing about fitting extra viewfinders etc would result in missing a shot or the continuaty you have got going. Yes I often carry 4 cameras. The E-p1 and Ricoh fit in a couple of pocket and have long safety straps fitted so they can be pulled out and dangle if I change cameras, I have another camera on my shoulder and the final one round my neck. Of course I only do this for shoots, on a daily basis I will carry the Ricoh in my pocket (All the time) and the E-p1 and a couple of lenses in a smal bag in the car. Using more than one camera reduces the need to keep changing lenses and for me it is an instinclive way of working.
Final point why buy another camera that costs more and needs extras which are expensive (Example Panasonic GF1) when you can buy two cameras and have so much more.
Cost ?  I have only just changed to 4/3 after a short time playing with the Samsung NX10. I spent over £1600 on a new outfit most of that was £499 for the Olympus M 9-18mm lens BUT it all cost me next to nothing. I sold a few PK lenses (Sold Sigma 10-20 for £310) and trade in my old (60K+shots) Pentax K100D.
I agree about movies. If I want to make videos I will buy a video camera.

Hi Rob,
I can't believe you are taking up the 4/3 system!
-Si

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

stingOM wrote:
Rob Leslie wrote:
440roadrunner wrote:

Rob,  sounds to me like what is needed is one of these LCD  loupe hoods  so you can re-re-re-configure the LCD  to a "viewfinder."

(I recently picked up a 7D Canon,  and originally had no intention of using it for movies, but..........anyhow,  it's about useless trying to use the LCD for movie shooting, the only option on that camera)

Well IMO what is needed is more than one camera. The Olympus is great for many shots sometimes better than the G1 but then the G1 is generally more versatile. Then of course there are times the DSLR is better, in my case I still use a Pentax K10D as it is weather sealed that always gets used in the rain. And I still use my Ricoh GRD 2 on almost every shoot I do. Tools for the job and all that. I'm afraid messing about fitting extra viewfinders etc would result in missing a shot or the continuaty you have got going. Yes I often carry 4 cameras. The E-p1 and Ricoh fit in a couple of pocket and have long safety straps fitted so they can be pulled out and dangle if I change cameras, I have another camera on my shoulder and the final one round my neck. Of course I only do this for shoots, on a daily basis I will carry the Ricoh in my pocket (All the time) and the E-p1 and a couple of lenses in a smal bag in the car. Using more than one camera reduces the need to keep changing lenses and for me it is an instinclive way of working.
Final point why buy another camera that costs more and needs extras which are expensive (Example Panasonic GF1) when you can buy two cameras and have so much more.
Cost ?  I have only just changed to 4/3 after a short time playing with the Samsung NX10. I spent over £1600 on a new outfit most of that was £499 for the Olympus M 9-18mm lens BUT it all cost me next to nothing. I sold a few PK lenses (Sold Sigma 10-20 for £310) and trade in my old (60K+shots) Pentax K100D.
I agree about movies. If I want to make videos I will buy a video camera.

Hi Rob,
I can't believe you are taking up the 4/3 system!
-Si

Yes. I needed to replace my aging Pentax K100D which I was using as a second body and after trying different cameras I went 4/3 with the Panasonic G1. I now have the GI an Olympus E-p1 9-18mm Olympus-M lens, Panasonic 18-45mm, Panasonic 45-200mm and Olypmus 17mm pancake. I love the whole system and see a great future for micro 4/3. Yesterday was the first time (An Airshow) for a month that I have used my Pentax K10D. I only keep it for bad weather days. Today I did all my shots with just the Oly E-p1 and the pancake lens, did 235 exposures and never even had a small should bag with me! Equipment sometimes gets in the way and being able to carry a couple of bodies and 4 lenses in your vest pockets is good (For me) The only thing I am waiting for now is a silent shutter. I still don't understand why they fitted mechanical shutters to these cameras.

PS One of my best friends thinks the same. He has a Leica M8 with 6 Leica lenses and a Nikon D700 with a fair few Nikon lenses. Last weekend we went to London and all he bought with him was his Panasonic Gf1 and the 20mm pancake.

Last edited by Rob Leslie (2010-09-19 23:15:26)

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

I recently acquired an E-PL1 as a cheap, lightweight addition to my trusty old E-3.  I bought the 2 lens kit as this had the low-spec 40-150 ED zoom for the 4/3 format with the M4/3 MMF-2 Adapter.  So all my old 4/3 lenses - and 4/3 adapters - could be used on the E-PL1.  I also added the EVF and the 17mm pancake lens and can easily put the camera in my pocket and forget about it until I need it.  Unlike the E-3 though, no way would I trust it or its lenses in the rain.

I've been playing with it using some C/Y lenses: 50 & 55 Planars and the 55 1.2 ML Yashica mostly but will be trying a few telephotos and long zooms shortly.  So far, I'm impressed.  Other than the Contax i4R, it's the first compact digital camera I've owned and I enjoy using it - I have no problems with AF and the LCD screen; the fast standard lenses have also posed no focusing problems either.  The real test will come with something like my ancient Mirotar 500 4.5, or the Tamron 55BB which is nearly 2 stops slower.  The EVF is impressive though in poor light so it may provide a workaround (albeit expensive) for smaller aperture lenses.  I'll report back....

Contax fan: 645+45, 80, 120, 140, 210mm; RTS, RTS Fundus, RTSII, RTSIII, Preview, 139, AX, S2b: Zeiss 15, 16, 18, 21, 28 f2, 35 1.4, 45, 50 1.4 & 1.7, 55 1.2, 85 1.2AE & MM, 100 f2, 135 f2, 180 2.8, 300, 500 4.5, 28-85, 35-135, 75-210;  Mamiya RZ67 ProII + 50 Z, M 65 f4 L/A, 75 Shift, 90, 110, 140 f4.5 Macro, 180 W-N, 250 Z, 100-200 Z, C 150 f4 SF  Fuji GX680III+50,65,80,100,125&180 f3.2,100-200.

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

Rob Leslie wrote:

Yes. I needed to replace my aging Pentax K100D which I was using as a second body and after trying different cameras I went 4/3 with the Panasonic G1. I now have the GI an Olympus E-p1 9-18mm Olympus-M lens, Panasonic 18-45mm, Panasonic 45-200mm and Olypmus 17mm pancake. I love the whole system and see a great future for micro 4/3.

Welcome to the m4/3rd world. That is a good setup, I would be happy with 20/1.7 and the 9-18mm.  I'll take my time evaluating the telephoto, there are too many of them from Olympus I think.

Rob Leslie wrote:

PS One of my best friends thinks the same. He has a Leica M8 with 6 Leica lenses and a Nikon D700 with a fair few Nikon lenses. Last weekend we went to London and all he bought with him was his Panasonic Gf1 and the 20mm pancake.

There is an irony somewhere in there... if only I could pinpoint it smile

Cheers, Will.

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

I just added a gh1 to my gf1 in order to be better able to do manual focus. And  I am so happy with it. The camera is in no way so nice as the GF1 which is a real jewel, but the big viewfinder makes quick manual focus a snap. Normally I don't need to engage focus assist which makes it a lot quicker. Only when I have the time I use focus assist. On my gf1 manual focus in bright situations was impossible, because of the screen.
best, blauwemac

Re: Olympus E-PL1 impressions with manual focus lenses

shadowfox wrote:
Rob Leslie wrote:

Yes. I needed to replace my aging Pentax K100D which I was using as a second body and after trying different cameras I went 4/3 with the Panasonic G1. I now have the GI an Olympus E-p1 9-18mm Olympus-M lens, Panasonic 18-45mm, Panasonic 45-200mm and Olypmus 17mm pancake. I love the whole system and see a great future for micro 4/3.

Welcome to the m4/3rd world. That is a good setup, I would be happy with 20/1.7 and the 9-18mm.  I'll take my time evaluating the telephoto, there are too many of them from Olympus I think.

Rob Leslie wrote:

PS One of my best friends thinks the same. He has a Leica M8 with 6 Leica lenses and a Nikon D700 with a fair few Nikon lenses. Last weekend we went to London and all he bought with him was his Panasonic Gf1 and the 20mm pancake.

There is an irony somewhere in there... if only I could pinpoint it smile

I hardly use my Panasonic 45-200 though it is a very good lens. I'm using the 17mm pancake and the 9-18mm most of the time. The M 9-18mm is a fantastic lens and a real eye opener after using the 10-20mm Sigma for a few years, the Olympus lens just blows the Sigma out of the water. However it is still all down to what you photograph and your shooting styles. I'm not so sure these cameras better a DSLR or even replace one. I would not dream of getting rid of my Pentax K10D and I am looking forward to seein what the K5 is like and how much it ends up selling for. To sum up if your a telephoto guy or do sports action etc, the EVIL cameras are still not great, but if your into taking lots of street shots and general photography they win hands. 
Don't get the old Olympus 4/3 9-18mm mixed up with the new Micro 4/3 9-18mm they are different lenses.

Taken yesterday 25-09-10 with teh Olympus E-p1 and 17mm pancake.
http://i159.photobucket.com/albums/t144/Rob-Leslie/Plough3.jpg

Last edited by Rob Leslie (2010-09-26 10:28:08)