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Buying an E1



I am about to buy a new camera and have been very impressed with the E1, however when visiting my local camera shop they said that it is now "Special Order" only which normally means that it is going end of life.

Can anyone offer any advice/information to put my mind at rest before I make the outlay?
Could it simply be that your local camera dealer isn't stocking it, but is only "special ordering" it? It's listed as in stock at B&H in both body-only and kit form. There is, theoretically, a new iteration coming out sometime soon, but I have no idea how soon - could be end of the year, could be there'll be an announcement at PMA, which is almost here. First thing I'd do is ask the dealer 'why special order?'
Thanks for your feedback, it is a national chain (Jessops if you are from the UK) and they advised me that normally when items fall from stock replenishment to special order it is because they are going end of life. They did say however that no announcements had been made so this may not be the case but I thought that I would see if anyone had some insider information.

Are you happy with your E1 and would you recommend it?
I am indeed happy with it, and I do recommend it if 5 mgp is sufficient for you. I always want to note that I am a member of the Olympus Visionaries group, which means that they provide me with equipment. HOWEVER, I will never say something about the equipment that I don't believe. I have switched from all film - Leica Ms and Nikon F100s - to about 95-98% digital, using the E-1 and now the E-300 as well. I am looking forward to an 8 to 10 mgp sensor, on the other hand, the 5 has given me, and continues to give me, plenty of capability - I have seen three of my 5 mgp images blown up to 30x40 for exhibt and they looked terrific. The camera is built like Nikon and Canon high-end modles costing up to five times as much, is ergonomically ideal for me. In short, it does what it is supposed to do. One thing I will note, however, the autofocus on the E-300 is clearly an improvement over the already good autofocusing on the E-1 - which tells me the next iteration of the E-1 will have improved autofocus capabilities.

BTW - I shoot professionally, mostly documentary/editorial/wedding work, and use the E-1. No complaints from clients.
I, for one, have no hesitation recommending the E-1. - no dust - superb quality of lenses - 2 zooms take you from 28 f/2.8 to 400 f/3.5 "ED/L" at a price that can't be touched by Nikon or Canon for that kind of quality - ergonomic and robust body - weather seals like cameras twice the price (or more!) I have had nothing but success with this system!

- Terry (luxborealis.com)
This thread seems to confirm a concern I voiced a week or so ago in an earlier post. The E-1 seems to be a wonderful camera. The combination of quality, performance, ergonomics, compactness, low price (relative to competition) all seem to bring back memories of the OM system. Yet, just as with the OM system, Olympus does not seem to be doing well with the "E" system products in the photography market. I live in a relatively large metro area, yet I have not seen either an E-1 or an E-300 for sale in any store that sells cameras here. Olympus sold many OM products and supported the system for many years even though they did not gain much market share from Nikon, Canon, etc. Nowadays can we expect them to stick with the E system as long as they did with OM?
I've been using OM cameras since 1974. When Olympus discontinued their support I was disappointed. When the E-1 came out I asked myself "should I or shouldn't I buy it" (because I too wondered if it would become an orphan system). However, my loyalty to the brand - its reputation and quality - eventually won out and I purchased an E-1 and 4 lenses and the STF-22 flash system 6 months ago. I doubt I will ever use my OM bodies and lenses again! I plan to sell them. The convenience and 'instancy' of digital has won me. And it's so much cheaper than shooting film. My interest and passion for photography has been rekindled since going digital. Experimentation is quick and inexpensive once you have the gear.

Sure, I was disappointed that the E-1 is 5mpx but it hasn't really been a limiting factor for me (shooting images for publication in magazines up to full A4 page size).

I love my E-1 and think the build quality is awesome. My son (15) has purchased an E-300 and I'm also very impressed with it. I covet the extra 3mpx it has over the E-1 - but that is all.

Hope this helps you decided whether investing in E-1 is worth it or not. I sincerely hope the 4/3rds system and the E system survive well into the future and get the market share they deserve - but I'm not confident of the latter! But if they don't the camera is still worth owning IMHO.
> It is likely being replaced by a new model - you might wait to see what Olympus announces. I think that the E1 is due for a refresh - they need to get to 8 MP or higher to compete with the new Canon and Nikon offerings, and they probably have other improvements they want to release. I doubt that the E1 is special order because they are ditching the line - that would be absurd - I'm sure they have a multi-year plan to gain market share. Well, that is my guess anyway!

- marc
It is indeed absurd to suggest that they are ending the line, and it is correct that they have a multi-year plan to grow the system and gain market share.
PMA is in two or three weeks, and there are a ton of rumours about an E-1 replacement. They could be letting their inventory run down before a new body is announced.