Olympus E-PM1: How will it stand up against my E-300?


So after the sudden death of my Olympus E-300, I ended up with an Olympus E-PM1 double zoom kit (M.ZUIKO Digital 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R and M.ZUIKO Digital ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R). It came in white color (body), with silver lenses, a combination that I don’t find really attractive; however, I didn’t have the choice since it was the only available model…

I have only spent about a week with the E-PM1 and I get to like it. It was not easy to compare it with E-300, as the latter was bulkier and had the style of a dSLR; on the other hand, the Pen Mini looks like a compact with interchangeable lenses! I tried to compile a list of things I like in Pen Mini and things I miss, compared to the E-300:

What I like:

  • It is more portable, so I suppose I will start taking it with me in my business trips (it has been a long time since the last time I took E-300 with me, due to the weight and volume needed)
  • It looks more fun to use, due to the interesting “artistic” effects and small size; I don’t look like a professional photographer now!
  • These filters will minimize the time for post-processing; I used to do the same with my mobile phone (shoot and then process photos with filters and effects), now I will do it in a higher-quality manner. With my mobile phone I used to shoot first and apply the filters later; with E-PM1 I can shoot using the filters in advance!
  • It shoots HD video, which is really appreciated. I already have a cheap but good HD camcorder but using one camera for both photos and videos is a plus.
  • It uses the widely used SD memory cards and not the obsolete CF ones.

What I miss:

  • Optical viewfinder: After almost 10 years of shooting through an optical viewfinder, I find it hard to get used to frame photos through the LCD screen.
  • Menu dial on top: Even though I usually do not mess with settings (Aperture/Shutter etc), I was using the top menu dial switch for changing between different functions. I find that doing that through the menu is more time consuming and confusing
  • The commands assigned to the dial on the back of the camera are not adjustable, so I am stuck with the predefined ones, which are not really convenient to me. I would like e.g. to have either a dedicated ISO button or at least a way to program one of the existing buttons to do so
  • There is no hand grip on the body of the camera (front/back), which makes it rather awkward to hold with my fat fingers. E-300 had an excellent grip which was really convenient for holding the camera either way.
  • Flash is not built-in, so I found myself looking for it in some cases (e.g. strong back light), when it was left in my camera bag.

That’s all for now. I guess that I will get used to it with time and I may get for once more into digital photography, a hobby that I have almost given up for many years now…

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