I’ve Gone To Olympus

Middle of last week there’s an email in my inbox from the Olympus camera company telling me about their PEN Ready Project and how they’re giving away more than 1,000 cameras to more than 1,000 folks and that “we think you’ll be a perfect addition.”

I have no idea how they came to such a conclusion since I’m not a blogger of any renown or one who’s prone to reviewing things (and even then it’s usually stuff I’ve bought), but if Olympus wanted to send me a $500 PEN E-PM1 camera that was mine to keep — especially when they added I was under no obligation to be anything but honest in my assessments and opinions of the device — who was I to say no?

So I emailed ’em back and said hell yeah and they emailed me back and said cool along with a link to an online form to fill out that was full of waivers and rules (the main one being I have to post a minimum of 20 pictures to the PEN Ready website by October 31). After they received it they said hold tight we’ll get your free-to-keep camera out to you in a few days.

It arrived this afternoon. Say hi:

With its compact size, external flash and removable lens system it’s a unit that Olympus has positioned as an alternative to those in the market for a camera who want more than a point-and-shoot but aren’t ready to go the full DSLR route.

Being so well-versed and immersed among various Canon DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras these last few years, there will no doubt be a learning curve as I learn the language of its bells and whistles, but being not a total idiot, I was able to install its battery and start shooting with it right out of the box. Literally I swung my desk seat around and clicked snoozy Ranger (click for the bigger pictures):

Then I wandered out back and snapped a late-season cactus flower:

Me likey the results.

Being able to snap with it from the get-go is great, but another thing that will take getting used to is its size. It’s certainly compact and far smaller than my Canon Rebel, but the externally mounted (and interchangeable) lens (none others included) sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to my trusty Canon Powershot SD1100, that I can holster on my belt or backpack or keep in a pocket ready to point-and-shoot it on a moment’s notice.

I know: Oh boo hoo.

Trust me. I’m not griping. Just noting an adjustment regarding mobility. If I carry this cam with me on bike rides it’ll either be in my pack or around my neck if I wish it to be more readily accessible (and I’m decidedly an anti-strap guy). Because you know I’ll be carrying it with me on bike rides and other adventures.