Olympus E-PM1

Have you wanted a full-spectrum camera? Have you wanted to try shooting in infrared or ultraviolet (UV) or astrophotography with better sensitivity to the H-alpha range but did not want to spend that much (modding a camera typically costs over US$200)?

Wooden totem pole shot in infrared with modded E-PM1
Wooden totem pole shot in infrared with modded E-PM1

Then it may be worth considering the Olympus E-PM1, as it is quite affordable at the moment, typically under £100 used/new for the body only. Just be aware that modding the camera will void any manufacturer’s warranty, and you do need to bear the risks (however small) of potential damage to the camera.

Olympus E-PM1 with 14-42mm kit lens
My old Olympus E-PM1 with 14-42mm kit lens

Previously I had modded the Olympus E-PM1 for full-spectrum use by breaking the dust-shaker and removing the internal cut filter (ICF). I have done this successfully with the Olympus E-PM1, E-PL5 and OMD EM-5, all by the same process, without damaging the sensor.

E-PM1 with the internal cut filter removed
E-PM1 with the internal cut filter removed

Why use the Olympus E-PM1?

1) It is relatively cheap at the moment, as it has been superseded by the E-PM2.

2) It is very compact and the sensor is sensitive to UV and infrared, so is useful for such imaging (including better sensitivity to H-alpha range for astrophotography).

3) It could form the smallest UV-imaging system available, when partnered with the very small 35mm 3.5 enlarger lens

4) The process for modding is fairly straightforward – less time consuming than taking the camera apart, and if you are careful, you will not scratch the sensor

5) Being micro 4/3rds, it has a reasonably large sensor and also allows for many lenses to be adapted for use on it (for UV and infrared) via the many different adapters available

6) The Olympus 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 ii kit lens will focus to infinity with the ICF removed as it has enough focusing capacity to allow for this – and it so happens to be a very good lens for visible and infrared imaging.

7) It has in-body image stabilisation.

8) It has a remote port and flash hotshoe, which can both be very useful for UV imaging and for astrophotography.

Here are some UV images taken with a modded E-PM1:

Sunflower shot in UV with modded E-PM1
Sunflower shot in UV with modded E-PM1
Rudbeckia shot in UV with modded E-PM1
Rudbeckia shot in UV with modded E-PM1
Gazania shot in UV with modded E-PM1
Gazania shot in UV with modded E-PM1

Here are links to lowest selling Olympus E-PM1 body on eBay, all selling for under £100:

Purple E-PM1 body (used) under £85 Olympus E-PM1 

Silver E-PM1 body (new) for £99.99 Olympus

For those who are willing to fork out a little more and are confident of modding the E-PM2 (with the newer sensor technology), here are links on eBay:

White used E-PM2 body (under £151) Olympus E-PM2

Red newE-PM2 body only for £169 Olympus E-PM2

Boon