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New Toy!

While attending a couple recent shows, The Wedding Present and The xx, I attempted to take some pictures with our Canon PowerShot SD1000.

While the shots from The xx show turned out OK (The xx Flickr set) because I was right at the front. The shots from The Wedding Present show didn't (The Wedding Present Flickr set). Partly because of my distance to the stage and partly because the Canon just wasn't cutting it in the low-light environment.

I enjoyed taking photos at the show but I knew the Canon wasn't really up to performing well in that type of environment. I have to admit I was jealous of my wife's new Canon DSLR (sorry, model escapes me). I wanted something that would perform almost as well as a DSLR but not be a burden to carry. So, I got the bug for a micro four thirds camera. I was willing to live with any image quality and manual control compromises if it meant I'd get a better performing camera that was still relatively compact.

But which one to get? At this time, I think the only candidates are either from Panasonic or Olympus. I didn't really have $800 or more to spend so I was willing to compromise on some features. Plus, I wanted a built-in flash. That left only one option, the Olympus PEN E-PL1.

Olympus PEN E-PL1 (lens collapsed)
(taken with my HTC Touch Pro)

Due to some good timing, Best Buy had the camera and kit lens marked down in a recent Sunday sales circular. Perfect timing! Then, on Monday, while at work, I received Micro Center's mailer that had the camera and kit lens marked down even more than Best Buy. Sold!

But, you know what? I didn't go to either place. I went to a local store that specializes in camera and video equipment, National Camera Exchange and Video. I knew they had a price matching policy so I was OK on pricing. The biggest benefit to buying from them is that any new camera purchase includes free entry into four of their photography seminars. I would get some lessons on getting the most out of my new camera that I would probably never get around to really doing on my own.

They offer 3 classes on DSLRs but my vouchers can only be used for the first two levels. Which ended up working out to my advantage again, because Shelly and I are going together. We'll both get to learn more about our respective cameras.

The first-level seminar that fit into our schedule isn't until the end of June. But, in the meantime, I've been taking any chance I can to play around with my camera. I've been doing a little bit of reading to at least understand the rudiments and just generally messing around.

It's been fun so far.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 27th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC)
Oooh...thats a good deal. Actually, I'm almost surprised you have time for classes considering the amount of work you got at work. But take pics man and post a couple on lj please. Wanna see how they turn out especially concert or action shots - pics of landscape in the sunlight are a little too easy i think.
May. 27th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
Luckily, the camera store has seminars on weekend mornings. They're two-hour sessions so it's not like I'm taking a community college course or anything. So, my mom's coming over to wrangle the kids while we go off and do this.

At this point, I only have one image up on Flickr that I've taken with the camera. You can find it at http://www.flickr.com/photos/joetron2030/4621793521/. Someone on the GR boards noticed that there is a ton of EXIF data in the image, too.
May. 27th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)
Neat! I hadn't even heard of this nifty genre but it looks like it might be just the ticket for me, too. I'd just gotten the bug to get something more capable than the Sony DSC-H10 that I've made good use of for some time, but didn't think I wanted to take the whole leap to a giant DSLR. I miss having real lenses.

I'll be interested to see how you like this guy.
May. 27th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
Hey, Lori! How's the new house? Looked gorgeous from the pics I saw of it.

You can see one test shot that I uploaded to Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/joetron2030/4621793521/. I've been enjoying it so far. My biggest complaint at this point would be the placement of the shutter button. When you have the camera strap attached, the finger that you would use to hit the button has to do a bit of yoga to get at it.
May. 28th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Costco has the E-P1 on sale for $499. What's the real diff with this and the E-PL1 other than no flash? The E-PL1 is newer and looks easier to use, but did you research this other one, too?


The house is great! Will have to post more pics of it.
May. 28th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC)
Lori, the dpreview.com review of the E-PL1 (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusepl1/) mentions some differences between the E-PL1 and the E-P2 (which might be the next version of the E-P1; might be wrong on this). The E-PL1 doesn't support a remote shutter release. Not sure if that will be an issue for you or not.

It looks like the biggest difference between the E-P1 and E-P2 is that the E-P2 supports an EVF (Electronic View Finder) accessory.

Their E-P1 review is at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusep1/.

Their E-P2 review is at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusep2/

You can do a side-by-side spec comparison at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sidebyside.asp and selecting the cameras you're interested in.

I didn't bother looking at the E-P1 because I really wanted that built-in flash. I didn't want to haul around a hot shoe flash.

You'll have to let me know what you think of the E-P1 if you end up getting it!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )