The Olympus E-PL1 is the latest in the line of PEN cameras, which prior models include the original E-P1 and the E-P2. The E-PL1 is the first PEN camera targeted at and priced toward the consumer market. As with the other PEN models, the E-PL1 is a Micro Four Thirds format camera and features a 2x crop factor over traditional 35mm sensors. That means that the 14-42mm lens feels like a 28-84mm lens on a full frame camera.
One of the biggest problems I experienced with the first generation PEN, the E-P1, was slow autofocus tracking, which spoiled the solid image quality the camera otherwise delivered. Overall, I gave the E-P1 rather poor marks in usability for all but a rather niche group. Time heals all wounds though – and the new E-PL1 provides a better overall experience even if it still has less-than-perfect autofocus.
To see where the Olympus E-PL1 shines and shames, read on. [Read more…]