The photography community is abuzz with the latest camera from Olympus: the E-P1. Surely this camera has taken a long time in coming. The early digicams (non-SLR digital cameras) spotted some interesting designs that were not possible with film cameras (e.g. movie mode, live view, articulated LCD). However, but many of these features took a long time to be incorporated into the DLSR's when they first appeared about 10 years ago. Many in the photography community had wanted to see a camera like the E-P1 emerge. So, what is so special about this camera?
The E-P1 is like a cross between a digicam and a DSLR. Like a DSLR, it has a big image sensor that is used in the DLSR, and it uses interchangeable lens. Like a digicam, it has live view and it is able to record HD movies (although these features are now making their way into the newer DLSRs). So what we have is a digicam-sized camera that potentially has the capability of a DSLR. I look forward to Nikon coming out with a similiar camera, although I doubt it would be any time soon. This is because we are talking about a whole new system of lens mount and short "pancake" lenses that go with the new Micro Four Thirds system. That's quite an act for anybody to follow any time soon. Olympus has developed "pancake" lenses some time back.
Would I buy the E-P1? Probably not. It is not because there's anything wrong with it (the reviews are still being carried out by DPreview and others). I would give it a serious thought if I owned an Olympus Four-Thirds system, which just needs an adapter to go with the E-P1.
Another interesting camera to watch out for is a normal digicam that has a DLSR sensor. Sony came out with one a few years ago, but it was not well received for various reasons. I think it is time to give it another go. Let's see... it should have a twist and swivel form factor like the classic Coolpix 990, or an articulated LCD like the Canon G5. A built-in flash and a hot shoe would be useful. A fast F2.0 lens , optical image stabilization would do nicely. I could live with a 24mm-120mm type of zoom. High definition movie would be a bonus. That would be my dream camera.
E-P1 is revolutionary, but it has come a decade too late for me.