Olympus E-PL1 Design
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Front View. The Olympus E-PL1 has a clean, traditional looking front, with minimal controls. The PL1's body is largely constructed of polycarbonate plastic, with metal used only for the lens mount, strap lugs and tripod socket. The hard, rubberized grip is quite angular, and protrudes rather more steeply from the camera body than that of the P2, giving a better grip for photographers with larger hands. The small dot beneath the shutter button is an orange LED that serves as an indicator lamp for the self-timer function, illuminating when the self-timer is active, and flashing during the last two seconds of the timer's operation.
Left View. Shown with the M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 L ED lens attached, and in the fully retracted position. There are no controls to see on this side of the camera, which is smooth apart from the metal lug to which the neck strap can be attached. Thankfully the PL1 uses a fixed lug, rather than the retro eyelet / D-ring combination from the P2, which was prone to making noise that could be picked up by the camera's microphone in movie mode.
Right View. Shown with the M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 L ED lens attached, and in the fully extended position. As well as the other strap lug, the right side of the camera contains access to the USB/AV and HDMI ports. These are concealed beneath a flexible rubber door that feels rather flimsy, when compared to the nicely hinged door on the P2.
Top View. The top panel has a few controls including the Mode dial, On/Off button, and Shutter button. At the center of the On/Off button is a blue LED, which serves as the power lamp. At camera left is a built-in popup flash -- a first for an Olympus Micro Four Thirds model. A hot shoe is provided on which to mount an external flash, or one of three optional accessories - the VF-2 electronic viewfinder, the EMA-1 external microphone adapter, or the VF-1 optical viewfinder with 17mm framing lines.
Back View. The majority of controls are on the camera's rear panel, along with the 2.7-inch, 230K dot LCD. The buttons are easy to reach and press when shooting two-handed, but the combination of the PL1's modest size and small grip makes them all but impossible to reach if shooting single-handed. Most buttons provide a reassuring tactile "click" when pressed, but the video and zoom buttons lack any such feedback.
Bottom View. The camera's bottom panel is flat, with a metal tripod mount off-center from the lens mount. The battery door conceals the SD and battery slots.