A Pileup of Pens

Louie, Dewey, and Huey
A Pileup of Pens
One of the joys of being an amateur is buying a piece of equipment without having to provide any real justification (except to the Wife, perhaps). I can buy a body or lens or whatever just because. I don't have to have the latest or the most expensive, but if it does come into my bag it has to at least be interesting. And Olympus' digital Pens are, if nothing else, interesting, as well as damn good cameras.

I started this odd-ball collection with the E-P2. I paid full price two-and-a-half years ago for a kit that came with the first generation M.Zuiko 14-42mm, the VF-2 viewfinder, and the body. I added the half-leather case about a year later to keep the black finish from flaking off and to add a bit more to grip. Yes, it's quirky in that I have to remove the half-leather case to recharge the battery or take out the SDHC, but then, that adds to the character of the camera. And I've yet to meet any camera that didn't have some kind of character. Because it is such a character I named it Huey.

Earlier this year I started to see the E-PL1 body drop in price, eventually reaching a ridiculously low price. I figured what the heck, I wanted a second backup Pen, so I picked up a copy. On a trip up to Tallahassee my youngest expressed an interest, so I left it with her along with the first generation 14-42mm kit zoom. She wanted something small and modest she could carry in her largish and somewhat stylish handbag. Which looks to have as much space as my Domke F6, but I'll never tell her that. The E-PL1s were still on sale at that ridiculously low price so I ordered another. Later, I found the M.Zuiko 14-42mm II MSC on sale for a ridiculous low price and snagged a copy of that. The second one I kept I named Dewey.

I guess Olympus Japan must have me on their O.B.I.T., because the next thing I knew the E-PL2 had dropped down to an equally ridiculously low price. Unable to resist the E-PL2's petite good looks I ordered a copy of that and it arrived today. I named it Louie.

So I now have three Pens named Huey, Dewey, and Louie. They all have various µ4/3rds lenses on them at all times, and they're always ready to be pulled out and put to work. I saw the Gold Box special for the Panasonic GX1 with X 14-42mm, but it wasn't quite as ridiculously low as the E-PL1 or E-PL2, so I resisted the temptation to purchase yet a forth µ4/3rds camera. I think three is enough, and everything fits rather cozily in the Domke F6, along with six native µ4/3rds lenses and one of my OM50s on a Fotodiox adapter. Besides, I now have my eye on the Panasonic/Leica 1.4/25mm...

I haven't had much time to try out the E-PL2, but so far I'm very impressed with it. While there's nothing wrong with the E-PL1, from a design and build perspective the E-PL2 is definitely a notch up on the E-PL1; the E-PL1 is good, the E-PL2 is better. From a quality perspective it rivals the E-P2. I doubt I'll collect/use the E-PL3 or E-PM1 cameras. I love the designs of the three Pens I have, but I don't care at all for the flat, slab-like minimal design of the E-PL3 and  E-PM1. The only Pen I would ever consider purchasing from that group is the top-of-the-line E-P3, and it's still too expensive. For that amount of money I might as well throw in a couple hundred more dollars and buy the E-M5. Which I plan to do around Photokina this year. The last time Photokina came around we got the E-P3 and E-5. I'm keeping my money close and waiting to see what everybody finally delivers this year, because whatever I get it's going to cost a goodly chunk of change, and I want to make sure it's a well-spent chunk of change.

I came home early (around lunch) because I had to drop off an important letter at the post office, and to open up my newly arrived E-PL2. After putting on the official Olympus camera strap I went out for lunch at a local Pei-Wei near our Whole Foods, and then strolled around and fired off a few exposures. On the way home, as the sky clouded up before the big afternoon rains, I stopped by St. Judes and grabbed a shot of the saint.
The Dials
St. Jude
I will probably spend an inordinate amount of time with the E-PL2 learning how it works, while the Huey and Dewey snuffle away forlornly in the Domke. And then, when I decide to head out for something really important I'll put on all my Pens and a Dorfman Pacific Safari hat and pretend I'm a latter day Dennis Hopper from Apocalypse Now.


  1. I just ordered another Pen body yesterday. If you asked me last year if I would ever be buying m4/3 you would have heard me laughing. LOve the PEN, and I always have a small camera at the ready now. For casual outings, so much better than carrying a 30lb gear bag.


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