It has an impressive dust reduction system and a durable lens-mounting structure that supports a wide variety of modern DSLR lenses and formats. At the match between teen star Melanie Oudin and No. 4 Elena Dementieva, I shot photos with a sports-ready 300-millimeter zoom lens from the roof of the tennis facility. While I don't recommend this unwieldy setup, the E-P1 worked surprisingly well.
When it comes to technology, the E-P1 doesn't disappoint. It comes with a 12.3 million-megapixel optical sensor that works with 12-bit lossless RAW files (the standard pros use) and the compressed format, JPEG. It has an impressive motion-stabilization system, high-speed range finders and autofocus, art filters and tons of other bells and whistles. The E-P1 can do just about anything you would want to do with a photo.
I was also impressed by its video capabilities. While it's far from professional, the E-P1 cranks out decent high-definition video with surprisingly good sound quality. Even better, its micro HDMI output let me see my clips of Oudin pretty much as I shot them.
What you don't get:
The camera's high price doesn't buy you the best quality and features.
The E-P1 is small and versatile, but it costs $799. That's lot of dough for a camera. J&R, for example, offers a fully outfitted Canon EOS Rebel for $750 on its
. That's all the camera you would ever need. E-P1 buyers are paying for the cool factor.
Also, if you get fussy with the E-P1, you will find its limits. The autofocus was too easy to confuse at long range. Olympus's photo processing features, called art filters, work well enough, but they're no substitute for
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Photoshop. And mastering all the functions is tricky. It was possible to push a shot two stops in 4-by-3 format, but it took plenty of tinkering.