The Olympus PEN E-PL1s: A Compact Mirrorless Camera for Excellent Photos

The Olympus PEN E-PL1s is a versatile mirrorless camera that packs a lot of power in a compact body. With features like image stabilization, HD video recording, and interchangeable lenses, this camera is perfect for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Olympus PEN E-PL1s article cover photo

Key Features

Nov 16 2010


12 megapixels


Sensor TypeFour Thirds

Other similar cameras

Olympus PEN E-PL1 thumbnail

Olympus PEN E-PL1

Released May 17 2010 | 12MP resolution

Olympus PEN E-P2 thumbnail

Olympus PEN E-P2

Released Apr 22 2010 | 12MP resolution

Olympus PEN E-PL2 thumbnail

Olympus PEN E-PL2

Released Feb 11 2011 | 12MP resolution

Overview of the PEN E-PL1s

If you're looking for a camera that delivers excellent photos and is easy to carry around, the Olympus PEN E-PL1s is a great choice. This mirrorless camera is designed for portability, without sacrificing the powerful features that photographers need to take amazing shots. The E-PL1s is an upgrade from the original E-PL1, with enhancements like built-in image stabilization, improved autofocus, and faster shooting speeds. Plus, with the ability to switch out lenses, you can customize this camera to fit your specific shooting needs. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the Olympus PEN E-PL1s and why it's a great option for anyone looking for a compact, powerful camera.

Olympus PEN E-PL1s Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Olympus PEN E-PL1s camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


High-quality images
Interchangeable lenses
Lightweight and portable
User-friendly interface
Art filters for creative effects
Affordable price point
Good value for money
Built-in image stabilization
Compatible with a wide range of lenses
Excellent low-light performance


No viewfinder
Limited autofocus system
Slower burst mode
Limited video capabilities
Smaller sensor size
Limited ISO range
No built-in flash
Limited battery life
No weather sealing
Limited dynamic range

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Olympus PEN E-PL1s

Weather sealed
Dimensions115 x 72 x 42mm

Weather Sealing

The Olympus PEN E-PL1s is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderElectronic (optional)
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution230k dots
Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 2.70" screen, with a display resolution of 230k dots. This makes the Olympus PEN E-PL1s not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


PEN E-PL1s includes a electronic (optional) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of n/a and a magnification of n/a. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Olympus PEN E-PL1s has a 12MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 12 pixels. Olympus PEN E-PL1s has a native ISO range of 100 - 6400 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Nov 16 2010


100 - 6400

ISO Range

SensorFour Thirds
Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution4032 x 3024 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


not tested

Color Depth

not tested

Dynamic Range

not tested

Low Light ISO

not tested

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Olympus PEN E-PL1s camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the PEN E-PL1s is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: Four Thirds



Connectivity, storage, battery

Battery Life290 shots
Battery ModelBLS-1
Wireless Connectivity


The Olympus PEN E-PL1s supports SD/SDHC with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Olympus PEN E-PL1s uses the BLS-1 model of battery pack. This is rated for 290 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Olympus PEN E-PL1s has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. It also offers a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Olympus PEN E-PL1s boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/2000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Olympus PEN E-PL1s includes contrast detection autofocus (AF), with 11 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Olympus PEN E-PL1s?

The Olympus PEN E-PL1s features a CMOS sensor

Is the Olympus PEN E-PL1s weather sealed?

No the PEN E-PL1s does not have weather sealing.

When was the Olympus PEN E-PL1s announced?

The Olympus PEN E-PL1s was announced on Nov 16 2010

Does the Olympus PEN E-PL1s have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the PEN E-PL1s does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Olympus PEN E-PL1s?

The PEN E-PL1s has a native ISO range of 100-6400, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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