Olympus PEN E-PL1 camera and PT-EP01 Underwater Housing
First look at the new micro four thirds E-PL1 camera from Olympus, and the PT-EP01 underwater housing
By Scott Gietler
While walking around the PMA conference, I played around with the Olympus E-PL1 camera ($600 retail with a 14-42mm lens) which takes 3 new micro four thirds format lenses, which are very small. There is also an adapter ($175) that allows you to use any Zuiko lens on the camera.
It's quite a small camera that seems like a regular compact camera, except it takes these small changeable lenses, and has a much larger sensor size. The camera seemed to focus and fire faster than a regular compact, but not as quick as a dSLR. I also used it with a Zuiko 50mm macro lens and the required adapter. I found the auto-focus was usually quick but could be a little jittery and took a second to lock. It was fairly easy to set the manual controls on the camera.
Olympus micro four thirds cameras are smaller than dSLR's because they don't have a mirror box, meaning there is no viewfinder, only live view. There is an electronic viewfinder you can purchase, but you are really just seeing the live view and the experience is not the same as a real viewfinder.
Noteable changes from older Olympus PEN four thirds format cameras are an internal flash, and a lower price tag.
Olympus E-PL1 quick specs:
12 megapixel sensor
Sensor size: 17x13mm (same size as Olympus dSLR's)
dSLR Crop factor: 2x
1280x720 Motion Jpeg
In-body image stabilization
RAW & JPEG modes
Size: Compact camera size
Click here for the full Olympus E-PL1 review
Olympus PT-EP01 underwater housing for the E-PL1
I also played with the Olympus PT-EP01 underwater housing (also $600) for this camera, which seemed quite large given the small size of the camera, and did not allow port changes, so there is no dome port as of this time. The port is actually part of the housing and does not come off. The underwater housing had 2 built-in fiber optic ports, and will do TTL with Olympus strobes. An external strobe will be required. It works with only 2 of the 3 micro four thirds lenses - the 14-42mm and 9-18mm, both behind the flat port. It does not work with the micro four thirds 40-150mm lens.
How to purchase the E-PL1 underwater housing
Support the UWPG and get the housing from our sister company, Bluewater Photo