Why buy the Olympus PEN E-PL1?

I did a quick informal survey of 11 E-PL1 owners to see why they had bought  the Olympus E-PL1. Here's the results:

  • Compact Size/weight  9/11
  • Good Price 4/11
  • HD Video 3/11
  • Live View 2/11
  • Interchangable Lenses 2/11
  • Larger Sensor 1/11
  • Image Quality 1/11
  • High ISO 1/11

Here's my own thoughts about these items:

  • Size & weight - this is definitely a small and lightweight camera, no question there - which makes it much easier for travel, covering family events, etc. For serious photography I personally prefer the feel of a more substantial camera body for stabilization and framing, but there's no questioning the appeal of small & light to many people. Of course, small is always better for underwater photography.
  • Price - ($599 in the USA with the kit lens) This is one reason I don't understand. Well, I've seen the price of some of those micro-four thirds lenses, they can be pricey. A used Nikon D80 + 18-55mm lens can be picked up inexpensively. So the price reason sort of surprised me. For more thoughts on the pricing, read our E-PL1 conclusions
  • Live View - I prefer the accuracy and clarity of a viewfinder, but I know some people prefer Live view. 
  • HD Video - I'm surprised more people didn't mention the HD video with auto-focus, I think it's one of the camera's best features
  • Interchangeable lenses - a great feature and I'm surprised more people didn't mention it, which makes me wonder if many people moving up from a compact will even buy more lenses
  • Sensor size - read our comparison to compacts and dSLRs for more info on the sensor size
  • Image Quality - see our Olympus E-PL1 image tests
  • High ISO - see our Olympus E-PL1 image tests

Back to the Olympus E-PL1 review

Olympus E-PL1 specifications