Brunch With a Friend

A little real world comparison of the Olympus PEN EPL 1 and a 4 year old Canon Powershot G7.

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Foyer of the restaurant where a meeting of a point and shoot and PEN 4/3rd's system took place. This can only happen over a good meal.

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This real world comparison isn't based on anything technical or controlled. It is just based on a casual shooting scenario where the PEN was used to shoot a variety of subjects under daylight and night time conditions to the best of my knowledge.

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All photos on this post were all shot with the Canon G7 in jpg and then post processed in Photoshop. Unlike the PEN, the G7 does not shoot in RAW format. But for the sake of casual shooting this is sometimes a bit more convenient. Then again, for all my pro shoots nothing but RAW will suffice.

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The very cool looking pop up flash of the Oly PEN EPL-1. I find this flash doesn't do the job quite as well as my 4 year old Canon G7 on manual and shutter priority mode. Adjusting higher or lower flash output is already a couple of push button into the menu. Sometimes this will be a disadvantage as the moment has passed by the time flash output is adjusted.

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Macro mode on the G7 is only a button push away. The menu on both is very different and I found the PEN's menu really needs some getting used to. On program mode it is just turn on and shoot. If going on manual or any of the priority modes a basic understanding of photography and light is a must.

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Loved the design and form factor of the EPL-1. The weight and the form factor is perfect for those looking to upgrade from a point and shoot. It's great for travel and a pleasure to hold the sturdy construction of the camera.

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As I am so used to the Canon system it was hard to navigate through the Pen menu to get what I wanted. But there is only 1 mode dial on top with the rest of the functions on buttons at the back. Versus the Canon G series with various dials on top to control mode, ISO and +/- EV.

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The backside of the PEN where all feature navigation buttons are located. Very nicely placed buttons for various menu functions but would need to be very familiar with the menu system to achieve full potential of the camera. For convenience and faster shooting I would still prefer the Canon G series.

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The biggest difference among the 2 cams is the speed of locking on a subject on auto focus. The PEN takes longer to lock on and often times hunts for the subject. The G7 (my 4 year old p&s) seems more instantaneous.

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This breakfast was about the 6th time in using my friend's PEN. It still has great appeal in terms of the vintage design and convenience of the 4/3 rd's system-a DSLR type interchangeable lens camera without the bulk. The PEN is just a tad bigger (w/ lens attached) and heavier than my Canon G7.

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It all boils down to is the Olympus PEN EPL-1 worth puchasing for PHP35,000 w/ kit lens (USD599). Without my Canon DSLR's it would be a good buy. Getting into a new system of camera bodies, lenses and flashes is not an easy thing to do. For my own use, a new Canon G12 would be a better buy. Anytime a DSLR is a requirement it's only a matter of grabbing a bag and go.

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There are no winners. It is just a matter of switching form 1 familiar system to a new one. For first timers who are upgrading from a point and shoot the PEN would be a good buy. But to use the PEN to it's full potential one must be familiar with navigating the menu system and be aware of it's sluggish auto focus (compared to the Canon G series). The PEN is a good camera for learning the basics of photography as it is also a good camera for advanced users.