Olympus E-PM1: Conclusions

October 21, 2011 by Jim Keenan Reads (12,732)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 7
    • Features
    • 7
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 5
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Expandability
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 7.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Olympus started the mirrorless interchangeable lens digital movement and with three new entries into this market niche shows no sign of wishing to cede this territory to more recent arrivals. While the PM1 is nominally the entry-level model in this newly introduced triumvirate, a lot of the performance hardware and features of its higher-priced siblings are present in the PM1 as well.

There’s a fairly quick autofocus system, good shutter lag time and full manual controls to go with the requisite automatic and scene shooting options. Still image quality is good and video performance is very good. Menus and controls are simple and intuitive, and the live guide feature allows users a degree of input into automatic captures not usually found in most digitals.

The finish on the camera body has a somewhat slick feel to it and does not inspire confidence in one’s grip – the PM1 is a definite candidate to always wear its camera strap. ISO performance, while good in the lower sensitivities was a bit disappointing at 3200. It’s also a bit slow to power up and get off a first shot, and single shot to shot times are slowed by a brief monitor blackout after each capture.

If you’re already shooting a PEN camera you’ll be the best judge of whether the latest generation brings enough to the table to get you to move into a new body. If you’re looking to acquire your first mirrorless interchangeable lens model the field is getting more crowded with brands and models, but the PM1 offers some fairly impressive performance at a fairly bargain price.


  • Good still image quality
  • Very good HD video quality
  • Good AF and shutter performance
  • Relatively low price in the class


  • A bit slow to start up
  • Somewhat slick feeling finish
  • Average high ISO performance (3200+)



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