Olympus E-PM1 camera

Olympus E-PM1 camera

I bought a new camera. I’ve been taking out tiny Nikon and Canon point & shoots on my backpacking trips since about 2005 and they’ve been pretty good. But this last year’s trip to Miter Basin saw me critically review the images I brought back and made me wished I had more control and more pixels.

In typical fashion, I researched all the digital cameras out there and found that one camera with the best quality for the least weight — the Olympus E-PM1.

Weighing in at 13.2 oz with the stock 14-42mm lense, it’s a mite heavier than I would have liked, but it has a sensor that’s way bigger than the standard point & shoot. The sensor is 13 x 17 mm, which by dimension, is half the size of a full blown Nikon or Canon SLR at 24 x 36 mm.

So far I’m pretty impressed with the image quality, but less impressed with the interface. Olympus just does things “differently.” I think all of us are used to the four point wheel on the back of most digital cameras. For example, when we scroll through our images, we click right wheel button to go to the next photo and the left one to go back.

Not Olympus. Click on those same buttons and they zoom you in and out. You use the scroll wheel itself to see your photos. And that’s only one example, there are too many others. Have Olympus camera programmers been living on another planet this past decade?

I’m trying the “wax on, wax off” approach. I set in front of the TV at night and imagine I want to take a photo that needs a panoramic, or manual mode, or exposure compensation, or multiple exposures of the same image. I’m trying to memorize the movements much like a recruit in basic training might learn to field strip his rifle blindfolded. I’m making progress.

Took it out for the first time to Upper Bidwell Park to exposure it to real world shooting conditions and it did okay. The images were terrific, the interface still mussed me up at times. Good thing I like shooting things that don’t move.