Breaking New Ground: The First Olympus micro-4/3, E-P1

by Miserere


Olympus E-P1

As most people know, professional photographers are all tall males with huge hands. Not only that, but they workout with weights everyday but Sunday. This enables them to handle today’s crop of professional cameras. Even most amateur photographers are pretty big, because you need to be in order to handle the high-end amateur DSLRs being sold these days. Did you know you have to be able to deadlift 405 lbs and benchpress 315 lbs in order to be eligible to join the Professional Photographers of America (PPA)?

In view of all this, I find Olympus’s most recent camera endeavour, the E-P1, to be both silly and commercially irresponsible. What do they hope to accomplish? They are going to offer a camera with a 4/3 sensor and a micro-4/3 mount (hence, no mirror or prism assembly) that is small and will accept interchangeable lenses. Seriously? I mean, how many do they hope to sell to us men? Maybe they’re aiming at the female market, with its dainty hands and soft skin. Us male photographers know that the camera is both an extension and a symbol of our manhood. We want big cameras, big lenses, big grips, big sensors and big price tags!

Olympus will be launching this puny, elf-oriented camera on June 16, 2009. They have 8 days left to realise their mistake and backtrack—Kikukawa San, please tell everyone it was a joke, a Japanese prank! I am posting this article with Olympus’s best interests in mind. I don’t want them to embrass themselves, trying to sell this type of camera to a male-dominated group of buyers who value hugeness and weight above all else (image-quality comes in a distant 3rd).

What is, after all, the purpose of this camera? It is small (smaller than a film SLR), light, has no onboard flash and with those tiny compact lenses they are promising to offer, is highly inconspicuous. How then, I ask, are we manly photographers meant to call attention to ourselves when out shooting in the streets? How then, I ask, are we manly photographers meant to be taken seriously when we whip out this camera at a family reunion if it is no bigger than Uncle Bob’s? How then, I ask, nay, demand to know, are we manly photographers meant to look professional if we are caught holding some cute camera that could be confused with a make-up case were it not for the lens? We will be the laughing stock of our local Photo Club!

Olympus, you may take away our mirror boxes, you may cut our lenses in half, you may even sell us a camera in cutesy chrome…but you can never, shall never, strip us of our manhood!


Now it’s official: Read part 2.

12 Responses to “Breaking New Ground: The First Olympus micro-4/3, E-P1”

  1. Does it come in red or pink? Seriously this is a great idea. A street shooters dream. The quiet and size of a rangefinder with DSLR quality. I can even see wedding shooters considering this as the “church camera” just because it will be so quiet. Looking forward to the reviews. Lets hope it lives up in the image quality.

  2. I gotta agree with Peter it looks like it will be a great little street shooter just right for a jacket pocket. Looking at the hotshoe I am wondering if they will release a cute little flash to go with it after all to add a Manly flash would look like you are just holding a flash and no camera.

  3. You definitely sound pretty much fired up there

    I would not mind such tiny quiet camera to use. Just like tampons. It is lighter, the better

  4. Haha.

    Excellent writeup. I too would love to have one of these, and I, like the great Ron Burgundy, am a man’s man! 😉

  5. A man’s man? … how yummy does that sound? 😀

    Well, I’m surely not a professional photographer – lacking any body parts that would qualify as manly, and from those really cute pictures … it’s a camera that would look great in my handbag – since it (the camera) is small, it’ll be easier on my shoulder than my pentax currently is, when I attempt to carry it around as part of my day-wear. I don’t have color preferences. I’m an equal opportunity type of girl.

    Now I’d made my mind up that I wanted the new K7 (Pentax) – and now Mis tempts me with a mini-Oly. Damn CBA…

  6. Was there any mention anywhere on how much the mini-oly will be priced?

    Mis, I can’t afford shoes – I’m saving for my new camera… (that, and buying birthday presents for all my friends, and friends’ kids. why does it seem like 8/10th of people have summer birthdays?! What is that all about? 8/10th of our society wink at each other and go ‘get busy’ on Labor day through Columbus day weekend?)

    • I can’t help you out with the kids issue, but I can tell you that the rumoured price of the camera body with a kit lens (probably not the pictured 17mm f/2.8 pancake) is $990. Again, this is a rumour.

  7. I would love to see a 70-200mm lens on that type of cam body. Ah the awkwardness….

    • Olympus are investing a lot of time and resources on their micro 4/3 system, so you might see a 35-100mm lens from them (70-200mm-equiv). But if you simply want the awkwardness, slap on a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 with an Olympus micro 4/3 adapter. People might ask you where you left your camera when they see you with your lens 😀

  8. Well being an old time Leica M and Nikon slr and currently a Canon G9 user, I find the Olympus E-P1 interesting only with the 17mm pancake lens and optical viewfinder as the best combo.
    I can’t imagine Olympus getting much traction on this camera with bigger lenses, you’d be better off with a small dslr.
    Real photogs don’t need any flash, never use mine on the G9.
    If it fits in my pants pocket, fine.
    To refer to a camera as a rangefinder camera is dopey unless it actually has one.
    The last small ones I’ve seen or owned was a Leica and the Nikon SP.

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