1. All images were shot in RAW and developed to JPEG in Olympus Viewer 2.
2. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto, Gradation = Normal
3. Minimal post-processing applied to the images. Only exposure compensation (adjusted brightness/contrast) and cropping performed for better consistency and overall presentation. Apart from that, the images were as good as straight out of camera (color and sharpness)
Not having enough fun, just before returning the loaned Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 lens to Olympus Malaysia, I decided to bring the lens out for one last spin. This time, I brought along my own trusty E-PL1 together with the loaned E-P3 for a short, but enjoyable shooting session. I did not do any side by side comparison between the E-PL1 and E-P3, I have never intended to do so in the first place. This is not exactly a review entry either, because whatever I wanted to write about the 45mm, I have covered in both Part 1 and Part 2 of my user-experience reviews of the lens.
I was in the central city area, and I originally intended to shoot everything with E-PL1. I wanted to convince myself that the lens is good regardless of the camera body, and I should be getting the lens for my E-PL1 in the future (after months and months of saving up of course). I mounted the 45mm on the E-PL1, and started shooting away. After only 20 minutes, I decided to give up shooting with E-PL1 and switched to the e-P3 instead.
Chilli Pan Mee
E-PL1, ISO200, F6.3, 1/125sec
E-PL1, 100% center crop from the previous image.
E-PL1, ISO200, F1.8, 1/1000sec
E-PL1, 100% crop from the previous image. Possible slight miss-focus.
E-PL1, ISO200, F1.8, 1/2000sec
E-PL1 100% crop from previous image.
E-PL1, ISO200, F1.8, 1/1250sec
I loved the E-PL1, I really do. However, I do have to admit that there are so many flaws in the camera that can really get in the way of shooting. The main issue I had was focusing. The performance of the 45mm in terms of autofocus was about the same with the original 14-42mm Mk 1 version, it hunts, sometimes it hesitates, and most annoying of all occasionally it just gives up focusing. Most of the time it was quick, and it did lock on focus, but in comparison with what the E-P3 can do, I find it very hard to continue using the E-PL1 when I know very well I have the super lightning fast and reliable E-P3 in my camera bag.
Besides focusing, the razor sharp image quality of the 45mm as seen on E-P3 is not the same on the E-PL1, which produced overall softer images. The lens still managed to capture respectable amount of resolution and details, but you can see from the 100% crops that they were noticeably softer in comparison to what the E-P3 can do. There can be only three possible explanations: 1) the E-P3 really does benefit from a thinner anti-alias filter in front of the image sensor, allowing more details to be recorded by the sensor or 2) the E-P3 has a different sensor, or an improved or tweaked sensor from the E-PL1, producing a more optimized result, or 3) E-P3 has stronger default sharpening, which by now everyone is aware of, which could give a false impression that the images do appear sharper. Do bear in mind that those three assumptions are just possibilities which I came up with myself.
Another issue I had was not having the dials to control the aperture immediately. Although I have used the E-P3 for only few brief sessions, the absence of the oh-so-convenient direct dials really made a huge difference in shooting with the E-PL1.
Malaysian independence day is coming soon, hence national flags are proudly displayed everywhere.
E-P3, ISO200, F1.8, 1/1250sec
E-P3, ISO200, F1.8, 1/320sec
E-P3, ISO200, F4, 1/125sec
E-P3, ISO200, F1.8, 1/800sec
Ketupat is a type of dumpling packed with rice, made of coconut palm leaves. A local delicacy served widely during festive celebration of Hari Raya by the Muslims.
E-P3, ISO200, F1.8, 1/800sec
Decorative (not real) Ketupat for sale.
E-P3, ISO200, F1.8, 1/2000sec
After 20 minutes shooting with the E-PL1, I decided to keep the camera in the bag, and used the E-P3 for the rest of the session. The difference between the two cameras are so far apart, you will feel that those two are cameras from separate eras.
To fully bring out the potential of the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8, it is recommended to use the lens on newer Olympus PEN bodies, such as the E-P3. Will I still consider getting one for my E-PL1? Absolutely, because I feel that this is the lens that suits my shooting style and needs very well. For now, there is the Zuiko 50mm F2 macro 4/3 DSLR which I can use with my E-5.