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Because It's Fun

Olympus E-PL1 and M.Zuiko 17mm #1I like the Olympus digital Pens. I own two of them, an E-P2 and an E-PL1. I've used both extensively, and right now if I check the statistics of all my cameras the E-P2 has more shutter actuations than any other Olympus body I have, including my older E-3. The E-PL2 has only a fraction of the shutter actuations of the E-P2, but it's crossed the 2,000+ boundary and continues to keep on clicking along. I'm not a pro who can fire off thousands of frames/day, but I'm a steady shooter, and the digital Pens help.

It has taken me over two years to fully appreciate the digital Pen. In the process I find I much prefer using it over any other camera, especially the larger DSLRs from all the majors including the Olympus E-1 and E-3. It's small, nearly weightless, and fits in the palm of my rather large hand. Under nearly every circumstance I care about it's capable of producing remarkably good photographs. The photographs aren't Nikon D700 or D800, Canon 5DMk2 or 5DMk3 quality, but they're remarkably good enough, and at a fraction of the cost of those big heavy Nikons and Canons. And they're inexpensive these days. Very inexpensive.

I remember when I saw the mock-up of the Olympus µ4/3rds body how I thought it had "want" written all over it (at least for me). I wanted one as soon as they were officially available. When the E-P1 and E-P2 were released I was a bit disappointed that they didn't look quite like the mock-up. I waited until E-P2 was released with its expansion port built into the flash-shoe's base. When the E-PL1 was introduced you could see that they'd borrowed heavily from the mock-up, and it became an instant object of desire for me. The only thing that held me back was the cost compared to a lot of other µ4/3rds lenses that were coming out. I eventually purchased the lenses, and then, surprise, the price for the E-PL1 dropped to $150. At that point it was a no-brainer. I purchased one. And then one of my daughters thought it was really nice as soon as I purchased it, and I gave it to her. And then I purchased another copy for myself.

I've read how the Pen's design pays homage to the original Leica design, as one reason why it's so popular. That may be true, but I think that all those other similarly styled cameras pay homage to the Leica. When I see the E-PL1, I see echos of more contemporary camera designs, such my old Yashica Electro 35, the Minolta Hi-Matic 7S, the Canon AF35M, and the Olympus XA. Those cameras took the original Leica design and molded into a more comfortable and considerably more affordable camera. It'a also interesting that the focal length of all those cameras ran from 45mm (Yashica and Minolta) to 35mm (Olympus). With the M.Zuiko 2.8/17mm mounted on the body, the E-PL1 not only looks like the mock-up, but echoes all those other cameras in look, feel, and operation. All those cameras, like the E-PL1 right now, were inexpensive and a lot of fun to use out in the field.

I like these cameras so much I've got another on order and headed to Orlando. No, not the OM-D E-M5, but the E-PL2. It dropped down  to $250 and so I decided it was low enough to own a copy of that one as well. When it gets here it'll put a lens on it fairly permanently, and it will go into the bag with the E-P2 and the E-PL1. That Domke F6 still has some room left for a third Pen.

Technical

The top photo was taken with my E-3, 12-60mm, and a pair of FL50R's with Flashbenders for lighting. I then goofed around a bit with Lightroom 4.1 and decided on this look. It reminds me of an old camera poster from the 70s that's been exposed to the sun for too long, bleaching and shifting the colors.

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