Olympus E-PL1

Olympus PEN E-PL1 front
  • 12MP - Four Thirds Sensor
  • 2.7" Fixed Screen
  • ISO 100 - 3200
  • Sensor based Image Stabilization
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • 334g - 115 x 72 x 42mm
  • Released May 2010
  • Later Model is Olympus E-PL1s
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Lenses
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Olympus E-PL1 overview

Olympus E-PL1 is Olympus's Entry-Level Mirrorless digital camera initially introduced on May of 2010. It has a 12 MegaPixel, CMOS Four Thirds sized sensor and has a maximum resolution of 4032 x 3024.

Olympus brought out the newer Olympus E-PL1s (Read Full Comparison) in order to improve this model.

The E-PL1 is rated #111 out of 117 in Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras and all-around #507 out of 1465 for cameras in our list. Remember to check out our Advanced camera filter to see camera results based on your customized criteria.

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The following is a diagram of specific criteria used in the scoring system.

Olympus E-PL1 history

The Olympus E-PL1 comes with a history of related cameras. Underneath, you can take a look at all past and newer models along with key specifications.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Olympus-PEN-E-P7 front thumbnailOlympus E-P7
E-PL1 vs E-P7
20MPFour Thirds8.7 fps2021
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10-IV front thumbnailOlympus E-M10 IV
E-PL1 vs E-M10 IV
20MPFour Thirds8.7 fps2020
European Users Can Now Disconnect Accounts to Comply with EU Regulations
Olympus-PEN-E-PL9 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL9
E-PL1 vs E-PL9
16MPFour Thirds8.6 fps2018
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10-Mark-III front thumbnailOlympus E-M10 III
E-PL1 vs E-M10 III
16MPFour Thirds8.6 fps2017
Olympus-PEN-E-PL8 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL8
E-PL1 vs E-PL8
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2016
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10-II front thumbnailOlympus E-M10 II
E-PL1 vs E-M10 II
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2015
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Olympus-PEN-E-PL7 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL7
E-PL1 vs E-PL7
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2014
Olympus-PEN-E-PL6 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL6
E-PL1 vs E-PL6
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2014
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10 front thumbnailOlympus E-M10
E-PL1 vs E-M10
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2014
Olympus-PEN-E-P5 front thumbnailOlympus E-P5
E-PL1 vs E-P5
16MPFour Thirds9.0 fps2013
Olympus-PEN-E-PM2 front thumbnailOlympus E-PM2
E-PL1 vs E-PM2
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2013
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Olympus-PEN-E-PL5 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL5
E-PL1 vs E-PL5
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2012
Olympus-PEN-E-PM1 front thumbnailOlympus E-PM1
E-PL1 vs E-PM1
12MPFour Thirds6.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-PL3 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL3
E-PL1 vs E-PL3
12MPFour Thirds6.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-P3 front thumbnailOlympus E-P3
E-PL1 vs E-P3
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-PL2 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL2
E-PL1 vs E-PL2
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-PL1s front thumbnailOlympus E-PL1s
E-PL1 vs E-PL1s
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2010
Olympus-PEN-E-PL1 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL112MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2010
Olympus-PEN-E-P2 front thumbnailOlympus E-P2
E-PL1 vs E-P2
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2010
Shutterstock and United Nations Host AI Image Challenge
Olympus-PEN-E-P1 front thumbnailOlympus E-P1
E-PL1 vs E-P1
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2009

Olympus E-PL1 Pros and Cons

Below is a checklist of advantages and disadvantages of the Olympus E-PL1 based on features which are usually viewed as useful in a digital camera.

above average min ISO (100)
change lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
has built in flash
has face detection focus
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
has tracking autofocus
includes HDMI socket
manual focus
saves RAW files
sensor size is nice (Four Thirds)
continuous shooting slow (3.0 fps)
doesn't posses selfie friendly screen
does not have external microphone socket
does not have headphone socket
does not have Timelapse recording
lacks phase detect auto focus
not so great battery (290 shots)
pixelated screen (230 thousand dots)
screen is fixed
sensor resolution not great (12 megapixels)
small screen (2.7")
video quality not great (1280 x 720 pixels)
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Olympus E-PL1 Sensor info

The Olympus E-PL1 is powered by the Truepic V chip. The sensor measurement in the Olympus E-PL1 is 17.3mm x 13mm (Four Thirds). The 225 mm² sensor is able to resolve 4032 x 3024 pixels and aspect ratios of 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. The camera boasts Image Stabilization (Sensor based). In body stabilization is more desirable than digital stabilization as the latter may lead to cropping.

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The CMOS sensor boasts 12 megapixels and has a standard ISO range of 100 - 3200. RAW photos are supported therefore the user has wider room to maneuver in post.

The graphic underneath illustrates the E-PL1's sensor dimensions when compared to other popular sizes. The E-PL1 sensor comes with a crop factor of 2.1 and is shown in green.

Olympus PEN E-PL1 sensor size OM System OM-1 Set to Enhance Autofocus

To get an understanding of various aspect ratios, you should refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Olympus E-PL1 dimensions

Olympus E-PL1 has a weight of 0.74 lbs (334 grams / 11.78 ounces) and features outside measurements of 115mm x 72mm x 42mm (4.5" x 2.8" x 1.7"). The weight of normal Entry-Level Mirrorless camera is 329 grams so the Olympus E-PL1 is on par when compared with its rivals.

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Down below is a picture of the Olympus E-PL1 alongside a soft drink so you can have a sense of its scale.

Olympus PEN E-PL1 dimensions scale

The top view underneath will illustrate the button design on the E-PL1.

Olympus PEN E-PL1 topview buttons dials

Olympus E-PL1 Lens info

The E-PL1 uses the Micro Four Thirds mount and has 162 lenses currently available. Below is a small number of the lenses we have in our collection which will work with the E-PL1.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Samyang-Reflex-300mm-f6.3-ED-UMC-CS-Micro-Four-Thirds lensSamyang Reflex 300mm f6.3 ED UMC CS300mmf/6.3 318g
Samyang-MF-14mm-F2.8-Mk2--Rokinon-MF-14mm-F2.8-II-Micro-Four-Thirds lensSamyang MF 14mm F2.8 Mk214mmf/2.8649g
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Panasonic-Leica-DG-Summilux-25mm-F1.4-II-ASPH lensPanasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 II ASPH25mmf/1.4205g
Olympus-M.Zuiko-Digital-ED-7-14mm-F2.8-PRO lensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO7-14mmf/2.8 534g
Sigma-56mm-F1.4-DC-DN-C-Micro-Four-Thirds lensSigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN C56mmf/1.40g
Olympus-Zuiko-Digital-ED-18-180mm-f3.5-6.3 lensOlympus Zuiko Digital ED 18-180mm f3.5-6.318-180mmf/3.5-6.3 435g
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Olympus-M.Zuiko-Digital-ED-12-200mm-F3.5-6.3 lensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm F3.5-6.312-200mmf/3.5-6.3 455g
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Olympus E-PL1 Connectivity

The E-PL1 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Cameras that come with NFC and Bluetooth connectivity can be used wirelessly through smartphones. You can transfer images and oftentimes adjust settings without connecting straight to the camera.

Some applications even enable a Liveview and click the shutter whenever you aren't near the camera. If the camera boasts a HDMI out, it can be attached to an external screen. The majority of cameras enable you to recharge the battery with the USB port.

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Olympus E-PL1 Video info

The maximum video resolution in the Olympus E-PL1 is 1280 x 720 and it can shoot in Motion JPEG file format. 720p is low by today's standards. You should target a minimum 1080p resolution for decent video. The camera doesn't feature a mic and headphone socket which means that you get little control over your audio. It is perhaps best to order a different model should you require better audio in your videos.

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Olympus E-PL1 Weather Sealing

Olympus E-PL1 doesn't include weather sealing so rainy conditions can damage the camera.

Olympus E-PL1 Screen and Viewfinder

The Olympus E-PL1 has a 2.7 inch fixed display screen supporting a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

Unfortunately the display screen isn't a touch screen.

Olympus PEN E-PL1 screen and viewfinder Playful Manatee Swipes Diver’s GoPro to Capture Hilariously Wobbly Video

The View Finder specifications regarding Olympus E-PL1 are below:

  • ViewFinder Electronic (optional)

Viewfinders can be very beneficial in sunny outdoor situations which can make the camera screen washed out and difficult to view.

Olympus E-PL1 Shutter info

Olympus E-PL1 is able to shoot continuously at 3.0 fps. The maximum shutter speed is 1/2000 seconds.

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Olympus E-PL1 Flash and Hot shoe info

Olympus E-PL1 boasts both built-in flash and also external flash ability. The max flash sync is 1/160 seconds.

Olympus E-PL1 Autofocusing info

Olympus E-PL1 boasts just Contrast Detect Auto Focus and does not have Phase Detect Auto Focus. Phase Detection focusing is a lot more quicker & precise when compared to Contrast Detect focusing. The camera has Face detection which is useful for taking portraits of people.

The AF system has 11 focus points to choose from. It also boasts Tracking Auto Focus for moving things. Olympus E-PL1 has manual focus in case it is needed in low light scenarios or you want to have more precise control on focus.

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Olympus E-PL1 Battery life

The battery (BLS-1) for the Olympus E-PL1 is made to last for 290 shutters with respect to the CIPA standards making it lower when compared to its competitors. The general Entry-Level Mirrorless camera battery life is 343. Fujifilm X-S20 comes with the highest possible (750) battery life in this type of cameras.

Here is a listing of Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras that have the best battery life:

Olympus E-PL1 for varying forms of photography

The following bar chart gives a overview of the Olympus E-PL1 for varying forms of photography. To learn more, go to the specific paragraph underneath.

Olympus E-PL1 Portrait photography features

The Olympus E-PL1 receives a rating of 60 which is decent, meaning that it is fairly appropriate to use for portrait photography. Photographing portraits favors heavily to sensor dimension, support for RAW files & ability to utilize off-camera flash.

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focusing manually
good sensor size (Four Thirds)
includes face detect focusing
saves RAW formats
low resolution sensor (12MP)

Olympus E-PL1 Street photography features

Getting a nice points total of 74, the Olympus E-PL1 is a good pick for street photography. A very good street photography camera has a fine balance of image quality plus portability.

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image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is decent (Four Thirds)
saves RAW files
screen is fixed

Sports photography with Olympus E-PL1

A horrible sports photography points tally of 45 means the Olympus E-PL1 is not very good for taking pictures of sports. A camera really should have great focusing plus shutter speeds for sports photography.

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image stabilization (Sensor based)
decent sensor size (Four Thirds)
has tracking focus
very slow continuous shooting (3.0 frames/s)
sensor resolution low (12 megapixels)
terrible battery (290 CIPA)
lack of phase detect AF

Olympus E-PL1 Travel photography information

Weight is extremely critical when choosing a travel camera. In general, the Olympus E-PL1 gets a reasonable 52 as a travelling camera which is relatively adequate to purchase for your holidays.

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built-in flash
missing Timelapse mode
low battery pack (290 CIPA)
sensor resolution low (12 megapixels)
does not have selfie friendly screen

Landscape photography with Olympus E-PL1

For those who are looking to pick a camera for landscape pictures, the most important aspect will no doubt be image quality. The Olympus E-PL1 and it's reasonable rating of 55 for a landscape camera is relatively adequate within the current market.

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you can focus manually
interchangeable lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is nice (Four Thirds)
supports RAW files
small screen (2.7 inch)
low megapixels (12 megapixels)
not so great battery pack (290 shots)
no Timelapse recording

Olympus E-PL1 Vlogging details

A vlogging camera preferably should have a moving screen, mic port and ideally IBIS. Considering everything, the Olympus E-PL1 is not very good as a vlog camera as it receives a horrible rating of 30.

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has image stabilization (Sensor based)
has face detection autofocus
does not contain selfie friendly screen
video quality not great (1280 x 720 resolution)
no external mic port

Olympus E-PL1 Alternatives

If you are in the market for replacements to the E-PL1, here is a selection of the top placed cameras that fall into the class of Entry-Level Mirrorless.

The graph followed below will give you a bird's eye view of the E-PL1 vs it's highest ranking competitors suggested earlier.

There are more cameras you may look into as alternative options. To go through a extensive comparison, visit the "compare" link.

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General Information
Olympus PEN E-PL1
Entry-Level Mirrorless
Physical type
Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Powered by
Truepic V
Sensor size
Four Thirds
Sensor measurements
17.3 x 13mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
4:3, 3:2 and 16:9
Full resolution
4032 x 3024
RAW support
Max native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Focus manually
Touch focus
Autofocus continuous
Autofocus single
Autofocus tracking
Selective autofocus
Center weighted autofocus
Multi area autofocus
Autofocus live view
Face detection focus
Contract detection focus
Phase detection focus
Number of focus points
Lens mount
Micro Four Thirds
Number of lenses
Crop factor
Screen type
Fixed Type
Screen size
Resolution of screen
230 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch friendly
Screen tech
HyperCrystal LCD AR (Anti-Reflective) coating
Viewfinder Information
Electronic (optional)
DXO scores
DXO All around score
DXO Color Depth score
DXO Dynamic range score
DXO Low light score
Slowest shutter speed
Maximum shutter speed
Continuous shooting rate
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manual mode
Exposure compensation
Set white balance
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash range
10.00 m
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Sync, Manual (3 levels)
External flash
Auto exposure bracketing
White balance bracketing
Maximum flash synchronize
Multisegment metering
Average metering
Spot metering
Partial metering
AF area metering
Center weighted metering
Video features
Video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Max video resolution
Video data format
Motion JPEG
Microphone port
Headphone port
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment sealing
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
334 gr (0.74 lb)
115 x 72 x 42mm (4.5" x 2.8" x 1.7")
Battery life
290 images
Battery type
Battery Pack
Battery model
Self timer
Yes (2 or 12 sec)
Time lapse shooting
Type of storage
SD/SDHC card
Card slots
Launch pricing