My Favorite Pocket Camera for Travel

When the sun goes down, it’s been my habit to tuck the SLR away and stick a compact camera in my pocket. Over the years I’ve used many different digicams and while they have all produced good images and were “compact,” they lacked one significant feature: interchangeable lenses. That’s why I really like the Olympus E-PL1 and so does Mary.

The Olympus E-PL1 has all the features I found lacking in previous Digital Pen models: It’s slightly smaller, less expensive ($599.99 with 14-42mm lens) and has a built-in flash. After using it for a while it reminds me of my long lost love, the Contax G2 but the E-PL1 body weighs 10.44 ounces where the Contax weighed in at 19.2 ounces. Even more interesting, the E-PL1 measures 4.51 x 2.84 x 1.63 inches, while the G2 is 5.5 x 3.2 x 1.8. If the E-PL1 isn’t exactly pocketable, it’s also no biggie to carry for capturing travel images and photographers who like to travel light might find it’s the only camera they need.

The E-PL1 has all the features a contemporary SLR should have including Face Detection, in-body image stabilization, and the always-fun Art Filters. The E-PL1 has six including Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pin Hole, Grainy Film, Diorama, and the new Gentle Sepia. You can see other examples from my E-PL1 on Flickr. That lens line-up currently includes the ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 and 17mm f/2.0 pancake or the new 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 (18–36mm equivalent) or 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 (28–300mm equivalent) lenses.

Update: I realize that the more capable and slightly more expensive ($549 with lens and rebate) E-PL2 is now available but I haven’t been abale to test one yet. But when I do I’ll let you know what I think about it.

A small Lowepro bag, like the one of their Toploader Pro AW models, stuffed with an E-PL1 and any or all of the available Micro Four Thirds lenses would make a great travel kit.

Author: Joe Farace

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