Yep, that image was shot with a camera a little bigger than your average point and shoot.

If you were to weigh all the stuff I carry while touring, you’d be surprised to note that my actual camping/clothing gear only weighs about 35 lbs. The rest of the 50lbs I carry is electronics. I’ve been slowly chipping away at the weight of the electronic gear by swapping out a lighter laptop, cutting down the number of cameras, etc., A big part of the weight has always been my DSLR. I’ve been experimenting the last few weeks with the Olympus EP3 and EPM1 and have been pleasantly surprised. They are small rangefinder sized cameras that use the micro 4/3rds system. While not having the same image quality as say a full frame DSLR, depending on your use and application, it may be all the camera you need.

In the video, I compare the EP3 and EPM1, two cameras on the opposite ends of the Olympus m43 systems. Interestingly, they use the same sensor so should produce the same image quality. The difference is in the body and handling. Watch the video and you might be surprised at the results. For full disclosure, I purchased the EP3 but was sent the EPM1 by Olympus as part of their PEN Ready project.

If you liked the video and want to get your own, consider buying from our Amazon affiliate store and we’ll get some coffee money. I’ve created a curated list of what I think would make the ideal travel camera kit.

Get the EP3 if:
-you want direct actress to features through buttons and dials
-plan to use manual focus lenses through adaptors (ie Leica, OM, Nikon, Canon FD, etc.,)
-the bigger and nicer LED screen is important to you

Get the EPM1 if:
-you’re on a budget
-if you can live with having to access the menu to change settings
-if you value weight over external controls

EDIT: A reader pointed out to me that you CAN access the focus magnification on the EPM1 by assigning it to the REC button. This didn’t dawn on me to do, because you lose the ability to shoot video with the button. That said, if you were doing JUST stills at the moment with a manual lens, then the REC button as a manual focus assist will work!

For more sample pictures of the EP3 and EPM1, check out this Flickr set where I shoot a cyclocross race with both cameras.

UPDATE: Just added a short video I shot from the same cross race in the Flickr group. Not too bad for the little PEN cameras.

UPDATE: Another video test. This time making coffee with the Hario Slim Mill : ).

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