Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 in 2021

In my casual browsing of the local used camera listings, I found a used Olympus PEN E-PM1 (launched 2011) for the price of only a few cups of coffee! How could I say no to such cute, little thing, which can still perform really well today and deliver fantastic results? I thought this would be a good chance to satisfy my curiosity about the Olympus PEN Mini concept, which I did not have the chance to. I made a video to share my thoughts on the E-PM1 (video here). In summary, the camera is super small and light, the AF is superbly fast and reliable and the image quality is still great today, easily beating any flagship smartphone camera today, which I have proven in video. Here in this truncated blog entry, I just want to share some of my latest shots taken from the streets of Kuala Lumpur, all shot on the E-PM1. 

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  1. I had a pen mini since 2012, and still use it. Pros are: small and light, photos of good quality at 200 ISO, focuses quickly. Cons are: poor quality over 200 ISO, shutter shock with some lenses, ibis of modest efficacy. Overall a lovely little camera that you can keep in a pocket.

  2. I have the PM2, which if anything, is even better. I use it regularly, and think it is great, even in 2021. That 16mm sensor has aged very well.

    1. I also have an omd em10 Mark II, which I think may have the same sensor as the PM2 and is decidedly much Better than the PM1. Moreover, It has an elettronic shutter option that eliminates the shutter shock. But the PM1 Is lovely nonetheless.

  3. Sweet pussycat at the end of the video!

    It's interesting that the E-P3 is mentioned for the autofocus heritage of the E-PM1. My choice of E-M5 was influenced by meeting someone with an E-P3 who said that he had switched to mirrorless because the autofocus of that model was easily as good as the DSLRs he had been using up to that point. That confirmed various reviews and made the eventual coverage of the E-M5 believable enough for me to choose it when the time came to upgrade from a digital compact.

  4. Thank you for your video and great photos. It has prompted me to take out my 1st M43 camera, the E-PL2, and start taking it with me when I don't want to haul around an EM-5 III plus 12-40 F2.8. The 1 dial interface is not as convenient as 2 dial OMD models, but for use primarily in "A" mode, it's easy to change aperture and exposure compensation with the single dial and 4 way controller. Will likely use the 17mm f1.8 or 12mm f2.0 given the sensor's ISO limitation and the slow f5.6 kit zoom len. 10 year ago I configured the Sequential/timer button to activate the ISO setting. Still seems correct since it is unlikely I would use the camera for anything but single shot. If the camera works for me, I will consider getting a PM2 for its reduced size and the 16mp Sony Sensor. Thanks again!

  5. I love the pictures Robin - my mouth is watering already at the thought of the KL cafes that COVID has kept us away from over 2020-2021!

    The EPM1 was a huge step up from the EPL1 model and is still a fantastic pocket camera today if you get either the Olympus 17mm or the Lumix 20mm pancake lenses to go with it. Your review of the EPL1 was spot on - but then again, the photos you took with it were great too!

    I buy inexpensive old cameras to teach with and give to young relatives to get them started on their creatice photography journeys - and older M4/3 cameras seem to be a far better start for young creatives than early generation DSLRs today. So please keep the "affordable kit" reviews coming!