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What are the main features of the E-PL1?

The OLYMPUS PEN E-PL1 is tailor-made for people who live active lives online and offline. It blends the high-quality imaging of a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera with High Definition (HD) video capture, stereo Linear PCM audio recording and creative in-camera multimedia tools into an ultra-compact, yet stylish, retro black metal body. No longer must you choose between powerful and portable; the E-PL1 will make you re-think what a small camera can do.

The E-PL1 retains the best technologies from the acclaimed PEN Digital series -- a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS image sensor; 11-point autofocus (AF) system; intuitive, Live Control operation; in-camera image stabilization; the proven Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF®) dust-reduction system; creativity-boosting Art Filters, which can be applied to still images and movies alike; and a 3-inch, color, HyperCrystal LCD screen -- and efficiently packages them all into a miniature frame. It also introduces some bellwether features and technologies of its own.

The E-PL1 adds an accessory port that accommodates the VF-2 electronic viewfinder (included) or the optional external microphone adapter (SEMA-1).

In addition, the Imager AF Live View autofocus system now features continuous autofocus (C-AF) tracking and AF target registration. Now you can lock your subject into focus, and the camera will constantly adjust focus and brightness on your subject whether you or your subject is moving. This mode helps you to keep fast-moving and unpredictable subjects in focus – from left to right and from back to front – automatically.

The E-PL1 also includes a new picture mode called iEnhance that automatically selects the correct exposure settings for subjects such as close-ups, sports and action scenes, landscapes, portraits and night scenes, and then applies additional adjustments to color or contrast, as needed, to make good images exceptional.

You’ll also notice two new Art Filters: Diorama and Cross Process. The Diorama art filter gives users a miniature model photo feeling by narrowing the depth of focus and enhancing color and contrast. The selective focus that this filter offers lends intimacy to images of even the largest subjects like canyons or cityscapes. The Cross Process art filter gives images and videos a surreal look by changing the color and contrast of subjects. All six art filters can be applied to still images and to video, and you can preview the effects on the Live View LCD before shooting. What you see is what you’ll get.

The E-PL1’s manual movie mode (30 frames per second at 720p) allows for independent control of aperture and shutter for expanded creative control. This fine control allows you to express your vision exactly how you want in your HD videos.

Once you’ve captured your works of art, seamlessly mix your still images and videos in-camera to create a multimedia slide show. Dub in one of the available background music options to provide a soundtrack for your cinematic creation, and play it back in the camera or on any HD television. (HDMI cable not included.) When connected to an HDTV, you can use the television’s remote to navigate camera menus and perform playback operations by activating HDMI CONTROL.

Finally, like all of Olympus’ PEN digital cameras, the E-PL1 supports all Micro Four Thirds-compliant lenses natively. With the addition of optional lens mount adapters it can also support Olympus’ Four Thirds-compliant E-System lenses and OM-series film lenses – as well as legacy lenses from a variety of manufacturers. No matter which lens you choose, the E-PL1’s in-body image stabilization ensures you’ll have Olympus’ best anti-blur protection.

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When recording movies I can hear the sound of the lens focusing, how can I reduce this sound?

When recording sound in a movie, the sound made by the lens and camera operating may be recorded. This is due to the proximity of the microphone to the lens. If desired, you can reduce these sounds by shooting with [AF Mode] set to [S-AF], or by limiting the amount of times you press the buttons. If your camera has the ability to use an external microphone this would allow you to extend the microphone away from the lens. If you are using a non-MSC lens, you may want to consider a lens with this type of mechanism which is near silent during AF operation.

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What types of memory cards does the E-PL1 accept?

The E-PL1 accepts Class 6 and Class 10 SD and SDHC memory cards up to 32 GB capacity.

Memory cards are optional accessories and must be purchased separately. Olympus does not manufacture SD or SDHC media. For a list of memory cards that have been tested and are known to be compatible with the E-PL1, please click here.

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What is the composition of the E-PL1 body?

The front panel is made of aluminum, and the rest of the body is constructed from engineering-grade plastics.

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Is the E-PL1 body splashproof?

No, the camera is not designed to be used in extreme environmental conditions. The Olympus E-3 would be more appropriate for use in severe conditions.

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The E-PL1 features Live View. What is it, and how does it work?

Live View is the technology that allows you to use the LCD monitor to compose shots or to shoot while viewing an enlarged display on the monitor.

Live View uses the Imager AF system to secure focus. Using IMAGER AF, autofocus is acquired via contrast detection. The camera searches 11 AF targets to find the one that contains the greatest contrast and then focuses on it. Typically, this will identify the subject nearest to the lens.

The shooting sequence is as follows:

  1. Pressing the shutter button halfway activates contrast detection using the image on the sensor.
  2. When the focus is locked, the AF confirmation mark is displayed briefly in the upper right corner of the LCD. If the AF confirmation mark blinks, focus could not be obtained. Re-compose the shot, then press the shutter button halfway to try again.
  3. When the shutter button is fully depressed, the shutter fires, and the image is captured.
  4. The image is displayed on the LCD screen.
  5. The shutter reopens, and Live View is restored.

IMAGER AF can only be used with Micro Four Thirds system lenses and Four Thirds system digital lenses that have compatible firmware.1

Compatible lenses can be identified by their AF confirmation mark. For compatible lenses, the AF confirmation mark looks like this: . The AF confirmation mark used with other Four Thirds system lenses looks like this: .

It is possible to pre-select a specific AF target. Doing so reduces shutter lag2 because the camera does not need to search for a subject in all AF targets. When selecting an AF target, choose one that contains an area of contrast. If the camera is unable to detect contrast (e.g., if the selected AF target is facing a stark white wall), it may not be able to take a picture.

To select a specific AF target, use the AF AREA function, which is accessible from the Custom A menu icon menu and the Super Control Panel. (The Custom menus and the Super Control Panel are not displayed by default; the user must configure the camera to use these navigation options.)

While using Live View, it may be desirable to magnify the subject on the LCD monitor. This is especially useful when using a Four Thirds system lens that is not compatible with IMAGER AF and/or when focusing manually because it makes focus confirmation and adjustment easier. If necessary, adjust the focus by rotating the focus ring. (AF MODE must be set to S-AF + MF or MF).

To view an enlarged display while using Live View, first press the [magnifying glass icon] button. A green box will be displayed in the center of the LCD screen. Using the arrow buttons to move the box around the screen, select an area to enlarge. Press [magnifying glass icon] to enlarge the selected area, and press it again to return to the normal display. To return the green box to the default position, press and hold the [OK] button.

While viewing an enlarged display, the degree of magnification can be set to 7x, 10x or 14x by pressing the [INFO] button and then pressing the Up and Down arrows. Press the [OK] buton to register the setting. Press [OK] again to cancel the enlarged display.

1 To view a list of compatible lenses, click here. Depending on the date of the purchase, a compatible model may require a firmware update in order to support high-speed IMAGER AF. In the future, Olympus may add high-speed IMAGER AF support to other Zuiko Digital lenses via firmware updates.

2Shutter lag can also be minimized by acquiring and locking the autofocus prior to pressing the shutter button.

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Why doesn’t the E-PL1 have a built in optical viewfinder?

The E-PL1 does not offer a traditional viewfinder because of its compact size. The VF-1 and VF-2 are available accessory viewfinders that attach to the hot shoe of the E-PL1. The VF-1 is an optical viewfinder, intended for use with the M.Zuiko Digital 17mm lens. The VF-2 is an electronic viewfinder that attaches via the hot shoe and accessory port.

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What is the origin and meaning of the Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF™)? Where does the dust go?

The filter is so named because it shakes dust off the image sensor using supersonic wave vibrations. The displaced dust is affixed to dust-collection components around the filter.

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Is it necessary to clean or change the dust-collection components?

It is not necessary to clean or change the dust-collection components under normal use for several years. The dust-collection system can easily deal with the particles that are a shaken off using the dust-reduction system.

If the camera is used constantly in severe conditions, Olympus recommends that the camera body be sent to an authorized Olympus repair service center approximately at an interval of three to five years.

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What are the advantages of lenses that are designed specifically for digital camera use?

Although the small size of the individual pixels in CCD, CMOS, and Live MOS image sensors enables them to capture even more detail than film, the sensitivity of the sensor elements is highly directional. That is, they respond best to light that strikes the elements straight on. With lenses designed for use with film, the light rays passing through the periphery of the lens strike the image sensor at an angle, and this tends to degrade picture quality at the periphery of the image area. On the other hand, lenses developed specifically for digital cameras are designed to match the imaging characteristics of CCD, CMOS and Live MOS sensors, ensuring high image quality at both the center and the periphery of the frame.

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Can I preview the adjustments I make to camera settings on the Live View LCD monitor and VF-2 electronic viewfinder?

While setting up a shot, changes made to the (exposure compensation) and WB (white balance) settings are displayed on the Live View LCD monitor so their effects can be checked before shooting. The effects are previewed in all shooting modes, including those in which the camera automatically adjusts exposure and/or white balance. LIVE VIEW BOOST must be set to OFF.

When LIVE VIEW BOOST is set to ON, the camera automatically adjusts the brightness level and displays the subject on the monitor for easier confirmation. The effects of exposure compensation adjustments are not shown on the monitor.

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What are the purposes of the different record modes?

Record modes allow photographers to quickly and conveniently vary the quality settings used to capture and save images in-camera. While it is possible to always shoot at the higher-quality settings and process the images down to lower file sizes later using a computer, it may be more convenient in some situations to shoot at other than the higher-quality settings. For example, it may be preferable to shoot using a lower-quality settings when the shots are intended for use on the Internet, where small size is more important than rich detail.

The E-PL1 offers several record modes, whose benefits are outlined below.

  • RAW:This is the highest-quality record mode available in the E-PL1, and it allows the photographer the most creative control in post-production. Images are saved to the memory card from the camera sensor with minimal image processing. Factors such as white balance, sharpness, contrast, and color are unchanged so they can be modified later on a computer. Some photographers prefer to shoot RAW all the time for all subjects, while others may shoot RAW in situations that pose complicated exposure problems.

    Each camera manufacturer has its own version of RAW tailored to its cameras; therefore, special software is required to process RAW files and convert them to other image file formats such as JPEG and TIFF. The OLYMPUS ib, OLYMPUS Master® 2 and OLYMPUS Studio® applications contain RAW processing and conversion software for the Olympus RAW format, which bears the file extension *.orf. Third-party imaging software and operating systems may use RAW plug-ins or updates to process Olympus RAW files. Without them, they would not be able to read RAW images from Olympus digital cameras. Most photo kiosks, printers and photo labs cannot read unconverted RAW images.

  • JPEG: Four record modes create compressed JPEG image files. When the camera processes a captured JPEG image and saves it to the memory card, it uses algorithms to discard some of the data to make the file size smaller. The process of mathematically reducing a file's size by discarding some of its data is called compression. The greater the compression ratio, the more data will be discarded and the smaller will be the file size. When the image is opened on a computer, the JPEG algorithms reconstruct the discarded data.

    The camera permits customization of the JPEG record modes by mixing and matching their quality settings. The factors that define a JPEG record mode are image size (determined by the number of pixels in the image) and compression ratio.

    The table below shows all of the combinations of image size and compression ratio available in the E-PL1.

    Customization of the quality settings is performed via the option, which is found in the menu. The controls on this screen are used to set image sizes as either L (Large), M (Middle) or S (Small) and to set compression ratios as SF (Super Fine), F (Fine), N (Normal) or B (Basic). The PIXEL COUNT menu item, also in menu , further customizes the Middle and Small image size settings by offering a choice of display resolutions.

  • RAW+JPEG: Four record modes in the E-PL1 save both a RAW and a JPEG image when a picture is taken. This can be advantageous when shots are intended for use in multiple media or when the medium in which the images will ultimately be published has not been determined.

    The quality settings used to process the JPEGs in the RAW + JPEG record modes are tied to the quality settings defined for the corresponding JPEG record modes on the  menu. The first RAW + JPEG record mode uses the JPEG settings of the first registered JPEG record mode; the second RAW + JPEG record mode uses the JPEG settings of the second registered JPEG mode; and so on. Changing the JPEG quality settings via the and PIXEL COUNT menus affects both a JPEG record mode and its RAW + JPEG record mode "counterpart."

To activate a Record Mode, use the  function in the Camera 1 Menu icon menu or select the record mode directly from the display in the Live Control or Super Control Panel control view. You can also quickly toggle between a JPEG record mode and its corresponding RAW+JPEG mode if you pre-register that function to the Function Button icon button. This is accomplished via the Fn FUNCTION item in the Custom Menu B submenu.

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What are the compression rates and what size are the image files in each record mode?

Still pictures

The following table shows the approximate values when shooting still pictures in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

Record mode Compression rate Number of pixels File format Number of storable pictures in a 1GB SD/SDHC card File size (approx.)
RAW Lossless compression 4032x3024 ORF 54 14MB
Large SF (SuperFine) 1/2.7 JPEG 101 8.4MB
F (Fine) 1/4 145 5.9MB
N (Normal) 1/8 320 2.7MB
B (Basic) 1/12 477 1.8MB
Middle SF (SuperFine) 1/2.7 3200x2400 154 5.6MB
F (Fine) 1/4 255 3.4MB
N (Normal) 1/8 504 1.7MB
B (Basic) 1/12 747 1.2MB
SF (SuperFine) 1/2.7 2560x1920 269 3.2MB
F (Fine) 1/4 395 2.2MB
N (Normal) 1/8 776 1.1MB
B (Basic) 1/12 1143 0.8MB
SF (SuperFine) 1/2.7 1600x1200 673 1.3MB
F (Fine) 1/4 993 0.9MB
N (Normal) 1/8 1893 0.5MB
B (Basic) 1/12 2753 0.4MB
Small SF (SuperFine) 1/2.7 1280x960 1044 0.9MB
F (Fine) 1/4 1514 0.6MB
N (Normal) 1/8 2884 0.3MB
B (Basic) 1/12 4038 0.3MB
SF (SuperFine) 1/2.7 1024x768 1594 0.6MB
F (Fine) 1/4 2243 0.4MB
N (Normal) 1/8 4038 0.3MB
B (Basic) 1/12 5507 0.2MB
SF (SuperFine) 1/2.7 640x480 3563 0.3MB
F (Fine) 1/4 5048 0.2MB
N (Normal) 1/8 8654 0.2MB
B (Basic) 1/12 10096 0.1MB


  • The same image (Olympus' standard image) is used to calculate the number of storable pictures and file size in each mode.
  • The number of storable pictures depends on the image quality and the type of memory card.
  • The number of storable pictures in this table differs from the number of remaining pictures displayed on the LCD. This table shows the approximate number, but the camera shows the maximum (up to 9999).


Record mode Image size Frame rate (frames per second) Recording time in a 2 GB SD/SDHC card (with sound)
HD 1280×720 (16:9) 30fps approx. 7 min.
SD 640×480 (4:3) 30fps approx. 14 min.


  • The maximum file size of a movie is 2 GB. This is a limitation of the AVI file format. The shooting may stop before it reaches the capacity (the maximum file size) depending on the memory card you use.
  • A Speed Class 6 SD or SDHC card is recommended for movie recording.
  • When shooting movies with an Art Filter, the frame rate varies based on the selected filter.
  • When attaching the camera to a lens with its own image stabilizer function, turn off the image stabilizer function of either the lens or the camera.

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Why isn’t there a TIFF Record Mode like in my other Olympus cameras?

TIFF files are very large files that take longer to write to the memory card and fill up the memory card more rapidly than RAW or JPEG files. A TIFF file in the E-P2 would be about 36 MB. It is more efficient to shoot in RAW and save the RAW conversion as a TIFF file, using the OLYMPUS Master® or OLYMPUS Studio® applications.

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What is the purpose of the SCN (Scene) mode?

The E-PL1 has a SCN (Scene) mode that optimizes the camera settings for specific shooting conditions. All of the settings applied in the 19 available Scenes can also be applied via controls in the camera menu, but applying them manually can be time-consuming. In addition, amateur photographers may not have a deep enough knowledge of photography to select the appropriate settings for some situations that advanced amateur and professional photographers would employ.

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What are the Art Filters?

Art Filters enable the application of creatve effects in-camera while shooting. The Art Filters available on the E-PL1 are:

  • POP ART - Increases the saturation of bright colors
  • SOFT FOCUS - Diffuses the image
  • GRAINY FILM - Simulates the look and contrast of high-speed 35mm film
  • PIN HOLE - Simulates the look of a pinhole camera with soft edges and vignetting
  • DIORAMA - Simulates the look of photographing a miniature model by narrowing the depth of focus
  • GENTLE SEPIA - Simulates the look of an older, historic photograph

Art Filters can be applied to still images as well as movies. When Art Filters are in use, the Super Control Panel is not available.

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Is it possible to “undo” an Art Filter after it has been shot?

No. However, if the camera’s Record Mode is set to a RAW+JPEG mode, only the JPEG image will be processed by the camera using the selected Art Filter. The RAW image will not be processed by the camera other than to perform lossless compression. If you decide after taking the shot that you would prefer a different effect, you can still use the RAW image to post-process the shot to your taste.

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What is the purpose of IMAGE ASPECT?

The IMAGE ASPECT function is used to change the aspect ratio (horizontal-to-vertical ratio) of captured images. The default aspect ratio is 4:3, which is the aspect ratio of the imaging sensor.

The E-PL1 provides four aspect ratio options. This allows the photographer to pre-visualize and shoot for specific print formats. For example - if the assignment were to shoot an event that will be printed as albums of 4 x 6 inch prints, the image aspect ratio would be set to 3:2. If the assignment were to shoot cover art for a CD sleeve, 6:6 would be selected since this would yield square images.

The table below shows the aspect ratios that are available in the E-PL1, the image size options for JPEG images captured using each ratio, and usage recommendations. The image that follows illustrates the shapes of images captured at each aspect ratio. Select the one that best fits the expression and purpose of your images.

4:3 4032 x 3024 / 2560 x 1920 / 1280 x 960 Default; the aspect ratio used by the imaging sensor
3:2 4032 x 2688 / 2544 x 1696 / 1296 x 864 The aspect ratio of 35mm film; 4 x 6-inch prints
16:9 4032 x 2272 / 2560 x 1440 / 1280 x 720 The aspect ratio of HDTV and widescreen TVs
6:6 3024 x 3024 / 1920 x 1920 / 960 x 960 Square aspect ratio, medium format camera

When a non-default aspect ratio is selected, JPEG images are cropped and recorded using the selected aspect ratio. When the JPEG images are reviewed in Playback mode or in OLYMPUS ib, OLYMPUS Studio 2 or OLYMPUS Master 2 software, they are displayed at the cropped dimensions.

RAW images are not cropped, but the aspect ratio information is recorded to the digital files with the image data at the time of shooting. When a RAW image is reviewed in Playback mode or in OLYMPUS ib, OLYMPUS Studio 2 or OLYMPUS Master 2 software, the uncropped image data is shown overlaid by a template, or frame, based on the selected aspect ratio. The frame is provided as a reference so you can preview the effect of applying the crop.

Note: The aspect ratio information stored with RAW images can be used to crop the images in the camera (via the EDIT menu) or in the OLYMPUS ib, OLYMPUS Studio 2 or OLYMPUS Master 2 software. The software may require an update to recognize the saved aspect ratio information.

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MULTIPLE EXPOSURE and IMAGE OVERLAY are options built into the E-PL1 that enable multiple images to be combined and saved as a single image (two images and up to three images, respectively).

MULTIPLE EXPOSURE, located in the menu, is used at the time of image capture -- for example, to add a telephoto shot of the moon to a night skyline shot.  Two RAW or JPEG shots can be combined into one image. (The record mode is fixed after the first shot in the sequene.) When the function's frame setting is set to 2, you can also select a stored RAW image and shoot additional RAW or JPEG exposures to overlay onto the stored image. The record mode used to capture the overlaying exposure(s) will determine the file format of the final, combined image. If JPEGs are shot, the combined image will be a JPEG; if RAW is selected, the combined image will be a RAW file.

IMAGE OVERLAY, located in the > EDIT menu, is used to combine up to three RAW images previously saved on a memory card.

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In the White Balance (WB) menu, what do all those numbers followed by a "K" mean?

The color balance of different light sources in the color spectrum is rated numerically by color temperature in the standard Kelvin (K) temperature scale. A color temperature value is expressed as a number followed by a “K,” for Kelvin.

The chart below shows approximate values of different light sources in the E-P1's White Balance menu:

  • 5300K - Use for shooting outdoors on a clear day, or to capture the reds in a sunset or the colors in a fireworks display.
  • 7500K - Use for shooting outdoors in the shadows on a clear day. The light in shadows areas is bluer, so this setting compensates for the color shift.
  • 6000K - Use for shooting outdoors on a cloudy day. This setting makes the color slightly warmer in tone.
  • 3000K - Use for shooting under tungsten light. This setting keeps the images from coming out with a yellow color cast.
  • 4000K - Use for shooting under white fluorescent lighting.
  • 4500K - Use for shooting under a neutral white fluorescent lamp.
  • 6600K - Use for shooting under a daylight fluorescent lamp.
  • 5500K - Use for flash shooting.

Color temperature settings can be applied in situations for which they are not intended for creative effects. For example, a tungsten setting can be used on a cloudy day to produce a surreal effect suggesting cold.

The Custom White Balance (CWB) settings in the White Balance menu allow photographers to select more accurate color temperature settings. Many commercially available lamps are labeled with color temperature ratings that fall between 3000K and 4000K, so a photographer is able to set up the camera for more accurate color rendition.

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With so many White balance settings available, why and when should I use One-Touch White Balance?

There are many light sources and situations that are not covered by Auto White Balance or the other settings in the White Balance menu. There are many noncontinuous light sources that do not have all of the colors of the spectrum, such as fluorescent, mercury vapor, and sodium vapor lights. There are also situations in which many different types of lights are used in one environment. These do not neatly fit into what the camera firmware knows about white balance, so it is necessary to “educate” the camera about the specific light balance by shooting a white reference subject such as a white card and saving the data in the White Balance menu as a One-Touch White Balance.

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What are the differences among the Image Stabilizer modes?

The Image Stabilizer has the following three options:

  • I.S. 1 - The Image Stabilizer corrects for camera shake on both the horizontal and vertical planes.
  • I.S. 2 - The Image Stabilizer only corrects for vertical camera shake. This is to allow a photographer to use a low shutter speed and pan horizontally for creative effect. Situations in which this technique can be applied include tracking rapidly moving subjects such as flying birds, running wildlife, racing cars and athletes with the intention of blurring the background for a visual effect in the image. The result would be a sharply defined subject against a blurred background that might otherwise appear cluttered.
  • I.S. 3 - The Image Stabilizer corrects for horizontal camera shake when the camera is being panned up or down, such as when following a diver from a diving board to a pool.

When attaching the camera to a lens other than a Micro Four Thirds or Four Thirds lens, the Image Stabilizer corrects the camera shake based on the focal length of the lens. You must manually set this value. The focal length can be set from 8 mm to 1,000 mm. Set the focal length to the value (or the nearest value) that is displayed on the lens.


  • The image stabilizer cannot correct excessive camera shake or camera shake that occurs when using an extremely slow shutter speed. Use a tripod so your camera remains steady when shooting.
  • When attaching the camera to a lens with its own image stabilizer function, turn off the image stabilizer function of either the lens or the camera.
  • The image stabilizer will not operate when you shoot with a shutter speed of greater than 2 seconds.

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Is there a way to shoot if I don't want to wait for the autofocus to lock or the flash to recycle?

Normally, the camera will not shoot while autofocus is operating or the flash is charging. However, situations may arise where the photographer would want to override the camera and force it to fire under marginal shooting conditions when the camera may not be ready to shoot.

The Shutter Release Priority function will permit the camera to shoot even though normal shooting requirements are not met. The function is found in the menu under RELEASE (Custom Menu C). Two options are available:

  • RLS PRORITY S: Set to ON to enable the camera to fire immediately, without waiting for focus confirmation, in the S+AF autofocus mode.
  • RLS PRIORITY C: Set to OFF to force the camera to secure focus before firing in the C+AF autofocus mode.

Be advised that overriding the camera creates special considerations. Shooting before the flash has recycled may cause images to be underexposed if ambient light is insufficient to illuminate the subject. Shooting before autofocus has locked may result in blurry images, particularly when the subject is in motion. To compensate for the loss of autofocus, increase the depth of field by shooting with the smallest aperture that is practical for acquiring the shot.

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How do I use the different metering modes?

The E-PL1 provides several metering options that allow the photographer to have greater creative control over exposure.  The metering modes can be set via the Live Control screen, the Super Control Panel or the camera menu.

Descriptions and applications of the metering modes are detailed below:

Digital ESP metering is recommended for general use.  The E-P2 measures and calculates the light differences in 324 separate areas of the image.
Center Weighted Averaging metering provides average metering between the subject and the background lighting, placing more weight on the center of the frame. Use this mode to prevent the light level of the background from affecting the exposure value of the main subject.
Spot metering meters an area of about 2% of the frame around the center AF frame. This mode can be used to meter a backlit subject. Spot metering must be used very carefully because the brightness of the subject area that the metering spot is centered on can dramatically influence the final exposure.
HI Spot metering performs the same as Spot metering but compensates toward overexposure, allowing accurate white reproduction. For example: with normal Spot metering, snow would be captured as grey rather than white. The HI Spot Metering compensates so that the snow would appear whiter in the exposure.
SH Spot metering is the inverse of HI Spot metering and compensates toward underexposure to keep dark areas from exposing lighter toward grayness. An example would be photographing a black cat on a light background. SH Spot metering would underexpose the cat so that it would expose as black rather than gray.

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How does the E-PL1 combat noise commonly found at high ISOs?

Digital cameras vary the light sensitivity of the image sensor by varying the gain voltage applied to the sensor, much like turning up the volume on a stereo. When the gain voltage is increased, as it is when shooting with higher ISOs, the sensor becomes hot. Hot pixels perform differently under extreme conditions. The result is a graininess known as “noise.”

Noise occurs whenever sufficient heat has built up on the image sensor. Therefore, it can also be seen in images with long exposures, such as night photographs, due to the additional heat generated by charging the sensor for an extended period of time. All digital cameras include technologies to minimize the effects of noise. The E-PL1 uses a sensor that dramatically decreases noise. In addition, it combats noise with two methods: NOISE FILTER and NOISE REDUCTION.

The NOISE FILTER function is found in the menu. It has four options: OFF, LOW, STANDARD and HIGH. The majority of digital cameras have a default noise filter that is always on. Some photographers feel that this reduces detail, so Olympus has included the option to not use a noise filter at all.

If NOISE FILTER is set to OFF, it is recommended to set the SHARPNESS setting to –2. If  SHARPNESS is set to 0 it may exaggerate the noise when no noise filtering is being applied.

The NOISE REDUCTION function can also be enabled from the menu. After the first exposure, the camera makes a second exposure of equal length with the shutter closed. It then, in effect, overlays the two images, finds the hot pixels in the second image (essentially, any pixels that aren't black) and deletes the corresponding pixels from the first image. This doubles the shooting time. If the first exposure is 12 minutes 30 seconds, the second, black exposure will also be 12 minutes 30 seconds for a total exposure time of 25 minutes.

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How can I access the Custom Menu options on the E-PL1?

The Custom Menu icon (Custom) Menu is used to personalize camera settings and operations. This menu is not visible by default in order to prevent unintentional adjustments.

To view the Custom Menu icon menu, set Custom Menu icon MENU DISPLAY in the Setup Menu icon (Setup) Menu to [ON]. The following procedure explains how to do this:

  1. Press the [MENU] button to display the menu.
  2. Use the Up and Down arrow buttons on the keypad to select the Setup Menu icon (Setup Menu icon):

  3. Press the Right arrow button to enter the Setup submenu.
  4. Use the Up and Down arrow buttons to select MENU DISPLAY, and then press the Right Arrow button.

  5. Use the Up and Down arrow buttons to select ON, and then press the [OK] button.

  6. Press [MENU] to exit the menu. The Custom Menu icon menu will be visible in the menu.

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What is the purpose of the CONTROL SETTING function?

The CONTROL SETTING function determines which camera navigation options are available in each shooting mode. While the hierarchical menu is always available by pressing the [MENU] button, CONTROL SETTING presents convenient short-cut options to help you quickly access frequently used controls. The control view options are LIVE GUIDE¹, LIVE CONTROL and SCP (Super Control Panel).

The LIVE GUIDE view, designed for novice photographers, lets you fine adjust photographic effects such as brightness, color saturation, color balance and background blur using convenient and intuitive slide bars. As you move a slider up or down with the arrow keys, you can preview the effect of the change on the LCD monitor before you snap the picture. A technical understanding of photography concepts and jargon is not necessary.

The LIVE CONTROL view presents narrow banners along the right side of, and at the bottom of, the LCD monitor. The banner on the right is filled with icons that represent camera settings such as White Balance and ISO; use the Up and Down arrows to select a setting you wish to edit. The bottom banner contains icons that represent the options available for the selected setting; use the Left and Right arrows to scroll through the options and select a setting. Press the [OK] button to activate the new setting.

The SCP view presents the Super Control Panel, a grid that overlays the image on the LCD. Use the arrow buttons to select a setting on the grid and press the [OK] button to activate it.

Before you can access a control view from a particular shooting mode, it must be activated for that mode by changing its CONTROL SETTING value to ON. The CONTROL SETTING function is located in the Custom Menu D icon submenu.

Once a control view is activated, you can access it by pressing the [OK] button. If multiple views are activated for a particular shooting mode, pressing the [INFO] button repeatedly will cycle through the enabled views. To exit any control view, press the shutter button halfway down.

¹ LIVE GUIDE is available only when the Mode Dial is set to iAUTO. Because iAUTO is a fully automated shooting mode, some settings cannot be adjusted when using LIVE GUIDE.

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How can I access the Super Control Panel on the E-PL1?

Before you can access the Super Control Panel, you must activate it using the CONTROL SETTING function in the Custom Menu.

When enabling the panel, you must specify which shooting modes will be able to display it. The options are iAUTO, P/A/S/M and ART/SCN. iAUTO turns on support for the Super Control Panel when shooting in the iAUTO shooting mode. P/A/S/M permits the Super Control Panel to be used in the Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual shooting modes. ART/SCN makes it available when shooting using Art Filters or Scenes. It is possible to enable the Super Control Panel for all three options, but each option must be set individually.

To activate the Super Control Panel, do the following:

  1. Press the [MENU] button to display the menu.
  2. Press the Left arrow button on the keypad once, and then use the Up and Down arrows to select Custom Menu icon.

    Select the Custom Menu

  3. Press the Right arrow to enter the submenu.
  4. Use the Up and Down arrows to select Custom Menu icon DISP/Alarm Volume icon/PC, and then press the Right arrow to continue.

    Select Custom Menu D.

  5. Use the Up and Down arrows to select CONTROL SETTING, and then press the Right arrow to continue.

    Select the CONTROL SETTING submenu.

  6. Use the Up and Down arrows to select the option that corresponds to the shooting mode(s) for which you wish to enable the Super Control Panel, and then press the Right arrow.

    Select the desired shooting mode(s).

  7. Use the Up or Down arrow to select SCP, and then press the Right arrow.

    Select the desired shooting mode(s).

  8. Use the Up or Down arrow to select ON, and then press the [OK] button.
  9. Press [MENU] twice to exit the menu system.

Repeat this process if you wish to enable the Super Control Panel for additional shooting modes.

To access the Super Control Panel while shooting, do the following:

  1. Set the mode dial to a mode for which you have previously activated the SCP setting.
  2. Press the [OK] button.
    If the Live Control view is also available for the selected shooting mode, the Live Control view will be displayed on the LCD. Press the [INFO] button again to view the Super Control Panel.

    Live Control view

    If the Live Control view is not available (i.e. LIVE CONTROL is set to OFF), the Super Control Panel will be displayed on the LCD.

    Super Control Panel view

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What types of lenses can I use with my Olympus PEN digital camera?

Olympus PEN digital cameras use a Micro Four Thirds System lens mount. Therefore, any Micro Four Thirds-compliant lens can be attached to any PEN body. Olympus' M.ZUIKO Digital lenses are designed for the PEN series and feature edge-to-edge sharpness.

Many manufacturers, including Olympus, have released adapters that allow non-Micro Four Thirds lenses to be used on an Olympus PEN camera. Full functionality may not be available when using a lens adapter. For example, it may not be possible to use all exposure modes or autofocus (AF). Before purchasing an adapter, please contact the manufacturer to see if any restrictions apply when using your lens on a specific camera model.

For more information, including a table showing compatible adapters and the types of lenses they support, click here.

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Which lens should I use to get the best picture?

Many factors influence a photographer's choice of lens for a particular scene. Often, the subject matter itself will suggest one or more suitable lenses. For example, if you are shooting landscapes, you would probably choose a wide angle lens; if you are shooting close-up product photography for a retail web site or an insect on a leaf, you would be best served by a macro lens.

Olympus offers an online tool to help you choose an appropriate lens¹ for a variety of scenes and subjects. To launch the Lens Selector, please click here.

¹All Olympus Zuiko Digital lenses are designed for and are compatible with all Olympus E-System cameras. The MMF-2 adapter is required to mount these lenses on Olympus PEN series cameras.

All Olympus M.Zuiko Digital lenses are designed for and are compatible with Olympus PEN series cameras; no adapter is required.

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Can I use any E-System lens with any Olympus PEN camera?

The E-System includes M.ZUIKO Digital lenses, which have a Micro Four Thirds System lens mount, and ZUIKO Digital lenses, which feature a Four Thirds System lens mount. Both types of lenses can be used with Olympus PEN digital cameras; however, a lens adapter is required to mount the Four Thirds lenses onto PEN bodies.

Olympus offers two Four Thirds-to-Micro Four Thirds lens adapters: the silver MMF-1 and the black MMF-2.

Note: Full functionality may not be available when using a lens adapter. For example, some Four Thirds lenses are not compatible with the high-speed IMAGER AF contrast-detection autofocus system used by PEN cameras. (Click here to check compatibility.)

For more information on using Four Thirds lenses on a Micro Four Thirds body like an Olympus PEN, please click here.

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What is the difference between the MMF-1 and MMF-2?

The MMF-1 and MMF-2 Four Thirds-to-Micro Four Thirds lens adapters differ in weight and color.

While retaining the function and performance of its predecessor, the MMF-2 attained a lighter weight by re-examining the inner structure of the adapter. The MMF-2 also provides a new color option that fits the design of Four Thirds lenses and PEN bodies.

The following table illustrates the differences between the MMF-1 and the MMF-2:

Color Weight
MMF-1 Silver 83 g
MMF-2 Black 41 g

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Which lenses are compatible with the MMF-1 and MMF-2?

For a list of Four Thirds lenses that are compatible with the MMF-1 or MMF-2 lens adapter, please click here.

Note: When taking pictures in C-AF mode using a Four Thirds lens and either lens adapter, the camera will use S-AF mode instead.

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Can I use my OM-series lenses on the E-PL1?

Olympus OM-Series lenses can be mounted on the E-PL1 with the optional MF-2 OM Adapter. OM-Series lenses are unable to communicate with the firmware in the E-PL1camera body. Therefore, their use has some restrictions.

For more information on compatible OM-Series lenses, click here.

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What type of HDMI cable do I need to play my images and movies on my HDTV?

A Type-C Mini HDMI cable, sold separately, is required.

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What accessories are available to remotely control the E-PL1?

The E-PL1 does not offer a wired or wireless remote option at this time.

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Where can I find information on how to use the [ib] software?

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about [ib] are collected here.

Detailed documentation of the software's functions is available in the application's Help file. To access the Help file, launch [ib] and choose ib Help from the Help menu.

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I am a Mac user. What software can I use to view my images and movies on my computer?

The [ib] software bundled with this camera is not compatible with Macintosh operating systems. Mac users who wish to transfer their images and movies to a Mac for viewing, editing and sharing have two options:

  • Download and install OLYMPUS Master 2 from Olympus' Web site. This imaging software is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3 and later, and it provides many of the same functions as [ib]. To download the software, click here. Double-click the downloaded file to begin installation, and then follow the on-screen prompts.
  • Connect the camera to the computer using the camera's bundled USB cable, and then manually transfer your files to the computer using standard copy/paste or drag and drop techniques. Once the files are on your computer, you can use any third-party application of your choice to view, edit and share them.

Olympus maintains this Tips and Tricks page to help you learn how to use the OLYMPUS Master 2 software. Additional information can be found in the application's Help file.

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When I'm shooting close-up subjects, I can see and hear the lens trying to focus, but it does not secure focus. What can I do?

If the lens seems to be unsuccessfully searching for a focus point, you may be too close to the subject matter for that particular lens. Lenses have a minimum focusing distance, and zoom lenses have different minimum focusing distances at different zoom settings. If you back away from the subject, the lens will focus at some point.

If you intend to do macro or close-up photography, you may want to invest in a lens specifically designed for macro shooting.

The E-System has two macro lenses:

  • The Zuiko® Digital 35 mm f3.5 Macro has a 35 mm format equivalent focal length of 70 mm and focuses from 5.75” (146 mm) to infinity.
  • The Zuiko Digital ED 50 mm f2.0 Macro has a 35 mm format equivalent focal length of 100 mm and focuses from 9.45” (240 mm) to infinity.

A Four Thirds lens-to-Micro Four Thirds lens adapter is required to mount these macro lenses on this camera. Olympus makes two such adapters: the MMF-1 (silver) and the MMF-2 (black). To order an adapter from Olympus, please visit The Olympus Store.

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When I put a formatted SD card in my E-PL1, the display shows a capacity of RAW files that doesn’t appear to be accurate. Why?

When the E-PL1 writes a RAW image file, it performs complex mathematical calculations to convert it to binary data to be saved and later retrieved. Since images are unique, each calculation is unique.

A RAW file recorded by the E-PL1 will be approximately 14 megabytes, but individual file sizes will vary. For example, a winter landscape consisting predominantly of white snow and blue sky will produce a smaller data file than a scene such as Times Square at night. The richness of the latter scene will result in a larger file.

When the camera polls a formatted SD card, it is looking at a blank slate. It has yet to do the math for any images and is programmed to start out with a conservative capacity estimate. As the camera shoots more images, it recalculates the capacity as it “learns” about the image files it is creating. As the card fills up, the estimated capacity of RAW files on the display will become more accurate.

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Why can’t I reformat or record images to my SD card?

The SD card body has a write-protection switch. If the switch is set to the "LOCK" side, you will not be able to add, modify or delete data on the card. The card cannot be formatted. Return the switch to the unlocked position to enable writing.

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I have taken pictures using several different memory cards. Now, when I try to downloading the images onto my computer, I see a message that says, “Image file_name.jpg already exists. Replace it with the new file?” What’s going on?

When saving image and movies, the E-PL1 creates folder and file names that include a numeric variable. The number in the file name changes with each shot so that the new image won’t overwrite a previous one saved in the same folder. The folder name may also change, depending on the configuration of the camera’s FILE NAME function.

FILE NAME has two settings that govern the naming of files and folders:

  • AUTO – When a new card is inserted, the file name numbers are retained from the previous card. File numbering continues from the last number used on the previous card or, if the new card already contains files, from the number that follows the highest file number on the new card.
  • RESET - When a new card is inserted, the number in the storage folder’s name restarts at 100 and the file numbers restart at 0001. If a card containing images is inserted, the file numbers start at the number following the highest file number on the card. If the card has been formatted, the file names will start with 0001.

RESET can be useful for organizing files – for example, you may choose to use a separate memory card for each event or client. However, if you download all your files to the same folder on your computer and there is a file in the camera with the same name as a previously transferred file, the computer will see the duplicate file name and display the above message. In this scenario, the files with duplicate names will overwrite the original files when they are saved to the computer. The original images will no longer be viewable.

To avoid this costly mistake, save the new files to a different folder or manually rename the files before transferring.

Another way to avoid this problem is to change the first character of the file name using the EDIT FILENAME function in the camera's RECORD/ERASE menu. This has an added benefit of identifying which camera captured each image.

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When my images are displayed on the LCD screen, there are blinking red and blue areas in the image. How do I get rid of them?

What you are seeing is the HIGHLIGHT&SHADOW display option. In the lower left corner of the LCD screen, you will see a box that says SHADOW/HI LIGHT. The blinking red regions identify areas in the image that have no detail due to overexposure (HI LIGHT) and the blinking blue regions identify areas in the image that have no detail due to underexposure (SHADOW).

The blinking display doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the camera. Like film cameras, digicams have a limited brightness range within which they can capture images. If the camera metering is weighted toward the highlights, there will be a lack of shadow detail. If the camera metering is weighted toward the shadows, there will be a lack of highlight detail. In bright sunshine, a picture may have areas lacking both highlight and shadow detail. On a grey, cloudy day, there may be detail throughout the image. The purpose of the black blinking areas is to give the photographer feedback about the exposures. If necessary, the photographer can apply options such as AE Bracketing or Exposure Compensation to reshoot the image.

The SHADOW/HI LIGHT view is among five optional views that can be selected by pressing the [INFO] button while displaying images in Playback mode. Pressing [INFO] repeatedly cycles through the views, each of which displays different image information. Some of these views are not available by default and must be enabled via the  INFO function within the Custom Menu D icon submenu.

If you do not wish to see the blinking display, press the [INFO] button to select another view. You can also disable SHADOW/HI LIGHT view from the  INFO menu.

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When I try to use the AE Bracketing function, why do I only get one frame instead of the three I selected?

The camera's Drive mode is set to Single Frame shooting. Configured this way, which is the default setting, the shutter button must be pressed for each bracketed frame. If the Drive mode is set to the Sequential Shooting option, then pressing and holding down the shutter button will cause the camera to shoot all the bracketed frames in one burst.

In Sequential Shooting drive mode, images are captured at a rate of three per second for as long as the shutter button is held down.

To change the Drive mode, do the following:

  1. Press the [] button on the arrow pad.
  2. Using the Left or Right arrow buttons to move the cursor, select either or .
  3. Press the [OK] button to activate the selected Drive mode.

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The LCD screen displays this message: "Internal camera temperature is too high. Please wait for cooling before camera use." Then the camera shuts off. What causes this message to appear?

As a safety measure, the E-PL1 issues this message and shuts itself off whenever its internal temperature climbs too high. This may happen after frequent or continuous use of sequential shooting drive mode that captures many images in a short time. In these situations, the image sensor may not get a chance to cool off in between shots. The heat of the sensor raises the camera’s internal temperature. If it gets high enough, the camera must turn itself off. Once the camera has cooled for a few minutes, you will be able to resume shooting.

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My camera is connected to my TV with the bundled AV cable to play back my photos, but I don't see any images.

Most modern TVs have AV (Audio Visual) input channels (usually found below Channel 2) to play images and videos from digital cameras and camcorders. Using the TV channel selector, move downward through the channels until you see the camera menu on the TV screen.

If the image quality on the TV screen appears to be distorted, the camera may be set to ­­­VIDEO OUT setting. In North America, the setting should be NTSC.

You also need to choose the video format of the output to match your television. In the Custom Menu D menu, you can choose from 1080i, 720P and 480p/576p. If your TV is compliant with the HDMI control standard, you can take advantage of the HDMI CONTROL function, which lets you perform playback functions using your television’s remote control.

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