Project P Upgrade


It’s been a while since I started the Project P, a little experiment to build a powerful yet compact and cheap camera system.

Goal was to build something you can carry every day and a perfect substitute to a camera phone. As much as I admire Apple, Nokia and Samsung for trying, a phone is a phone, not a camera, at least not yet. Convenience cannot compromise with image quality and ergonomics.

Therefore I chose the cheapest micro four thirds camera available, with decent specs and room for customization: Olympus E-PM1.

It’s cheap, just a little more than €100 refurbished, and you just need to add an inexpensive adhesive grip to greatly improve the so-so stock ergonomics.

Then you buy the 15mm Body Cap Lens and you’re good. Snapping galore πŸ˜‰

That covers pretty much image department, but nowadays we want also to share those images. That’s why I added an Eye-Fi SD card.

  • Image Quality? Check.
  • Ergonomics? Check.
  • Photo sharing? Check.

That was pretty much it. I tried several alternatives, like a ubercheap 35mm surveillance camera lens, which was not bad for portraits, or a russian Industar-69, an half frame 28mm lens. We’re talking about $20 average…

I carried it around for a while, but since I shoot mostly film, it was soon left in my cabinet. Both 15mm and 28mm were soon transferred to my wife’s bag, so they’re in good hands πŸ™‚

A while ago, my Ricoh GR1s died. Suddenly I was missing a compact camera. I managed, kind of, using the phone for a while, but I can’t help it: shooting with a phone is a painful experience. So I decided to dust out Project P again and find an appropriate lens for it.

Since my budget was VERY limited, I thought of borrowing back the body cap lens, but I didn’t. That’s my wife’s now.

Instead, I patiently scavenged until I’ve found a perfect candidate: Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 lens. A little overkill, considering that I paid the same price of the body alone (which was cheap, but €100 was my budget limit).

Here it is:

Now, the real life shots, all OOC JPEG.

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4 responses

  1. My personal Project P is all about the Canon P πŸ˜‰

    September 25, 2013 at 10:56

    • Actually P stands for Poor Man’s Camera. In the very beginning I wanted to name it P for Pen – I thought about a Pen FT system, but when I’ve seen prices I quickly changed my mind πŸ˜‰

      September 25, 2013 at 11:00

      • Works for me. I paid under 100€ for my Canon P πŸ˜‰ I’ll add a few few soviet LTM lenses and it should stay reasonably cheap. I might get tempted by the CV 15mm though.

        September 25, 2013 at 11:03

      • I’m a big fan of both Jupiter-3 and CV15mm. Good luck with you P project, as that Canon is a little jewel πŸ™‚

        September 25, 2013 at 13:02