We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Cameras Reviews
15,632 Reviews

Olympus PEN mini E-PM1 review

£399 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Olympus

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

If you’re stepping up from a standard compact camera you’ll feel quite at home with the PEN mini, and love its enhanced image quality, but DSLR users may well find it somewhat frustrating to use.

Although more modern in appearance, the new PEN mini maintains the core values of the stylish and expensive-looking PEN range in a considerably smaller package. Its undeniably sensual aesthetic is embodied by its brushed metal exterior available in a choice of colours.

As its name suggests, the PEN mini is the smallest camera in Olympus’s PEN range, which also includes the E-PL3 and E-P3 bodies. When paired with a pancake lens, the PEN mini is almost pocketable and most certainly handbag-friendly.

Because it is so much smaller than most other interchangeable lens cameras – even the fixed-lens Sigma DP2x is bigger – there’s precious little room for control buttons. This means any tweaking of settings is probably going to require resorting to the onscreen menu. Features such as built-in flash and an electronic viewfinder are also sacrificed in favour of miniaturisation, although both of these can be connected as attachments and a tiny plug-in flash is included in the box.

Plenty of help is provided via the 3in, including a built-in guide containing tips on various types of photography for example food, flowers or pets. You can also adjust settings based on real world descriptions such as ‘stop motion’ or ‘blur background’, requiring only minimal photographic knowledge. It’s also packed with special effects that you can apply in-camera. Full HD 1080p video recording is supported too.

Despite its tiny dimensions it’s a very flexible camera, compatible with Olympus’s eleven-strong range of lenses as well of most of those available from Panasonic and from third parties via adapters. It’s also surprisingly quick to use, with fast startup times, quick autofocus and a class-leading 5.5fps continuous shooting mode (although this is limited to 9 shots). It also incorporates in-body image stabilisation, meaning any lens you attach can be stabilised no-matter the vintage.

Under tough lighting conditions, Image quality can’t quite match that of the full-sized SLRs, the smaller Micro FourThirds sensor being more susceptible to noise than its APS-C sized counterparts. But steer clear of the highest ISO settings and you’re sure to be delighted with the results from such a tiny camera.

Olympus PEN mini E-PM1 Expert Verdict »
Olympus PEN E-PM1 with 14 -42mm lens Scores 9.1 out of 10 based on 17 reviews
Max photo resolution: 4032 x 3024
200 - 12800 ISO
In-body image stabilisation
Video capture up to 1080p @60i and 720p at up to 60p
Media cards accepted SD, SDHC, SDXC
Li-lion battery up to 330 shots
external flash (included)
Continuous shooting speed 5.5 fps (4.1 with IS on)
shutter speed 2 - 1/4,000, Bulb
109.5 x 63.7 x 34 mm, 217g
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

If you’re stepping up from a standard compact camera you’ll feel quite at home with the PEN mini, and love its enhanced image quality, but DSLR users may well find it somewhat frustrating to use.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Olympus E-PL5 review

    Olympus E-PL5

    Including this CSC, Olympus has had four generations to refine its act. It's latest, the Olympus E-PL5, looks and handles great if you ignore teeny, fiddly backplate buttons. Here's our Olympus E-PL5 review.

  • Olympus PEN E-PL2 review

    Olympus PEN E-PL2

    We had the opportunity to briefly play around with the Olympus PEN E-PL2, and think it's likely to be one of the best interchangeable lens cameras available - especially for video.

  • Olympus Pen E-P2 review

    Olympus Pen E-P2

    The 12-megapixel, interchangeable-lens Olympus Pen E-P2 is the second Micro Four-Thirds camera from Olympus.

  • Olympus PEN E-PL1 review

    Olympus PEN E-PL1

    The Olympus PEN E-PL1 is an entry-level version of the Olympus PEN E-P2 interchangeable lens camera. It’s aimed at attracting people who want a camera similar to a digital SL but smaller and cheaper.

  • Samsung NX11 review

    Samsung NX11

    The Samsung NX11 is a small camera with a digital SLR-sized sensor and feature set.


IDG UK Sites

45 Best Android games: top Android games for your smartphone or tablet in 2014 (24 are free!)

IDG UK Sites

How Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and others have let us down over UltraHD and hiDPI screens

IDG UK Sites

Do you have the X-Factor too? Mix Off app puts fans in the frame

IDG UK Sites

iPad Pro release date, rumours and leaked images - 12.9 screen 'coming in 2015'