Having been a user of the Olympus E-P1 since it’s introduction in June 2009 you almost feel that you know this digital camera inside and out. And, just when you have that level of comfort something happens letting you know that there’s always something to learn. And, that’s exactly what happened.
The Olympus E-P1 mounted with the 14-42mm M.Zuiko Digital 3.5-5.6 zoom makes a nice compact package. In order to get the lens to leap into action you have to give the barrel a quick twist and it pops outward providing about two times the length of its collapsed size. If you should turn on the camera with the lens in this collapsed state an error is displayed on the camera display that reads, “Please check the status of a lens.” The message generally goes away once you’ve unlocked the lens.
In this particular case I was taking photos of rural school children along the Thai-Myanmar border. A Frisbee has landed on top of the school. It was almost reachable by hand but still required jumping in order to pull it down. In order to make that leap the Olympus, a Leica D-Lux 4 and a Think Tank bag were all placed a few feet away on the sidewalk so that I could jump a little higher and still land without coming down on any gear. School kids quickly got out of the way to make room. After the Frisbee was successfully retrieved, no worse for the wear, I picked up the E-P1 and began pressing the shutter only to notice the lens error message. Generally, it’s a quick fix. But, this was not so this time. Attempting to make every work the lens was collapsed and expanded several times. The lens was even removed and re-mounted several times. None of this worked. Physically nothing appeared to be damaged on either camera or lens. In times like these you try to remain calm and analyze the situation. After 10 minutes of trying this and that frustration was seeping in. This brought attention to the 40.5mm B+W UV Filter put on the front of the lens.
For whatever reason Olympus has the front lens element virtually at the edge of the lens barrel making it an unprotected object for possible disaster. There’s no lens hood available for it either. Your best line of defense is purchase a glass photo filter such as was done in this case. Looking more closely at it you could see that it was off the threads by an almost imperceptible amount. It’s possible that it got bumped on the sidewalk, just enough to move things around. Removing the filter then carefully threading it back on eliminated the error. From this point everything worked, as it should.
The advice here is to buy a good protective glass filter if you own a 14-42 Olympus zoom lens. If you get an error and nothing works be sure to check the filter.