Finally I have bought myself a way in the CSC slash Mirrorless world by buying something different then expected. Because for me it was a big step to buy immediately something radical and expensive like the Fujifilm X100 or the newly introduced Fujifilm X pro 1, I decided that I could better buy a second hand camera in the same class to try and find out if the concept of a high quality sensor in a small body with a good quality lens would fit me. I wasn’t sure about it because it is completely different than what I was doing the last decade or so.
So first I planned to buy a Sigma DP2. A compact format with APS-C size sensor and a 41 mm (35mm equivalent) f2,8 prime lens. I had a victim and had set on a date to try and buy it, but before I could try it another deal came across and without giving the DP2 a chance I went and bought it. Later I would regret this, but that’s different story.
The deal that came across was definitely a good deal. I was offered a brand new boxed Olympus E-P1 with 14-42mm kit lens for less than the second hand Sigma DP2. The reason for being so cheap was that it was outdated, the E-P3 just came on the market, and the dealer could get rid of the older ones. (I thought) I didn’t mind buying an outdated camera, the camera was still fairly new so image quality could not be that bad and for me it was just an experiment to see if the concept was right for me.
I quickly found out three things: First I found out that the IQ wasn’t that good and second that I missed a viewfinder. The third thing I discovered was the most important thing: I loved the concept.
About the E-P1, why I don’t like it:
First the good things: The looks, I don’t have to say more. Its solid build quality, I found that out the first week I owned it. It is a aluminium body with metal details and that is something you feel. The fact that you can change lenses is of course a positive one, together with the fact that both Olympus and Panasonic have some great lenses available for this camera makes it a great concept. Another positive thing is that the image quality is very good, as long as the light conditions are very good.
This brings me automatically at the things I don’t like: The IQ goes down with in a similar way as the light conditions. As soon as the light gets a bit difficult, the IQ wil get a bit less good, and this happens quick! In cloudy weather the shutter speeds went down quick so the ISO (and therefore also the noise) went up. Without direct comparison I would put it at the same level as my Canon 10D and I expected a little more from a camera which was about 6 year younger.
Also I don’t like to shoot with your hands up in the air, like you hold your neighbours baby with a stinky diaper. I missed a viewfinder. For the E-P1 there is only one viewfinder available and that one is a fixed 17mm OFV which you slide on the hotshoe. I bought one aswell and I really gave it a good try, but no, this wasn’t going to work out for me.
So for now it will have to do, I will use it but I will definitely not sell my Canon 7D for this one.