Skip to main content

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.


Post a Comment

All comments are checked. Comment SPAM will be blocked and deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…

vm networking problem fixed

Over the weekend I upgraded to Windows 8.1, then discovered that networking for the virtual machines wouldn't work. Then I tried something incredibly simple and fixed the problem.

Checking the system I noticed that three VMware Windows services weren't running; VMnetDHCP, VMUSBArbService, and VMwareNatService. VMware Player allows you to install, remove, or fix an existing installation. I chose to try fixing the installation, and that fixed the problem. The services were re-installed/restarted, and the virtual machines had networking again.

Once network connectivity was established there was exactly one updated file for Ubuntu 13.10, a data file. This underscores how solid and finished the release was this time. Every other version of every other Linux installation I've ever dealt with has always been succeeded by boatloads of updates after the initial installation. But not this time.

Everything is working properly on my notebook. All's right with the world.

sony's pivotal mirrorless move

I'm a died-in-the-wool technologist, even when it comes to photography. I have always been fascinated with the technology that goes into manufacturing any camera, from the lenses (optics) through the mechanical construction, the electronics involved, and especially the chemistry of the film and the sophistication of the digital sensor. It's amazing that the camera can do all it's asked of it, regardless of manufacturer.

Of all the types of cameras that I've really taken an interest in, contemporary mirrorless (again, regardless of manufacturer) are the most interesting because of the challenging problems the scientists and engineers have had to solve in order to build a compact but highly functional camera. In particular I've followed the sensor advances over the years and watched image quality climb (especially with μ4:3rds) to exceed film and rival one another such that there's very little difference any more as you move from the smaller sensors such as 4:3r…