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Olympus announced two tiny interchangeable lens cameras in 2009: the EVOLT E-620 came to us in February and the Pen Digital E-P1 in June. In February, the E-620 was announced as “the world’s smallest and lightest image-stabilized digital SLR.” In June, the E-P1 took center-stage as a retro rangefinder-like camera that Olympus claimed was the “world’s smallest 12.3-megapixel interchangeable lens system camera.” The E-620 can technically keep its claim as the smallest DSLR as the E-P1 does not have a mirror box and is therefore not a DSLR. The E-P1 can still swap lenses and has slimmer measurements than the E-620, but does it match the performance of true Four Thirds DSLRs?

 

The Olympus E-P1 is one of the first Micro Four Thirds digital cameras on the market; it has a smaller lens mount than the E-620 and other traditional Four Thirds standard DSLRs. The E-P1 has an adapter that allows Four Thirds lenses to fit onto it, but large lenses on a tiny camera body aren’t very comfortable to hold. The standard DSLR is the Olympus E-620, which has a well-defined hand grip, a built-in flash, and an optical viewfinder – the latter two components of which are not included directly on the E-P1 (although they are available as accessories). 

 

Size is one of the biggest differences between these two cameras - the diminutive E-P1 is significantly more compact and portable without a camera bag (when micro 4/3 lenses are used), while the E-620 houses a comfortable handgrip and superior autofocus – although the two models have many of the same inner workings.

 

Both cameras have the same-size Four Thirds image sensor with 12.3 megapixels. They offer many of the same manual modes and interesting features like the art filters and multiple exposure mode. Both cameras are packaged in a kit that comes with a 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, although they are distinguished by their lens diameters – micro (E-P1) and standard (E-620).

 

We pitted these two Olympus digital cameras against each other to determine the relative benefits and drawbacks of each model and their respective formats. At $699 for the traditional E-620 DSLR or $799 for the micro-sized E-P1, there is significant overlap; however, the differences color the user experience.

 


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