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Olympus PEN E-PL10 Review

In its line of mirrorless cameras, Olympus’s PEN and OM-D series both feature retro-inspired design lineups. One of the most notable distinctions between the two series is that PEN cameras have a low-profile design and do not include an integrated viewfinder. This line of entry-level mirrorless cameras has been updated with the introduction of the new PEN E-PL10 model.

Those new to photography will find a lot to like about the E-PL10, including beautiful photographs, an unrivalled selection of creative shooting settings, a flip touchscreen that is easy to use, and robust image stabilization. This retro-style camera is a compelling shooter that makes the transition from using a smartphone to using a camera easy, and it also has a few manual options as a bonus.

We’ll get this out of the way right off the bat: the changes between the E-PL10 and the E-PL9, its predecessor by two years, are so minute that you’ll need a magnifying glass to see them. The consensus, which is not unique to Olympus, is that these entry-level mirrorless cameras are not very high on the priority list.

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Olympus PEN E-PL10 Build Quality

Because it is such a cute little camera, the E-PL10 will immediately put a grin on your face as soon as you take it out of the box. For some people, the decision might be made based just on appearance.

We got the white model with a gold Olympus logo stamped on it, but it’s also available in black and brown. The outside of the body is made to feel like leather, sandwiched between the top and bottom plates that have the appearance of metal.

A thumb and a curved front hand grip give some additional traction, but you probably shouldn’t use cumbersome lenses with this camera. Heavier lenses are better suited for cameras in the OM-D line, such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III.

The E-PL10 is a beginner camera. Therefore, its build is predominantly made of plastic, particularly noticeable on the top and bottom plates. Nevertheless, every control seems to have a reasonable level of heft to it, the faux leather looks and feels fantastic, and turning the top dials is a very satisfying experience.

Olympus PEN E-PL10 Features

Olympus has decided to use a tried-and-true sensor with 16.1 million pixels for the E-PL10 camera. This resolution is considered to be relatively low-key by today’s standards. Picture quality is not just determined by how large an image can be printed or seen when scaled to 100% of its original size (without losing quality due to interpolation). Photos taken with the E-PL10 have a lot going for them, which will be discussed in more detail in a little while.

The E-PL9 was an impressive camera released two years ago, and its successor, the E-PL10, has virtually the exact video specifications. There is footage in 4K at 30 frames per second. In-body image stabilization (IBIS) is available for video and still photography with the E-PL10, an essential feature.

Olympus’ standard offering is image stabilization, which implies that it has a range of up to 3.5EV (or 3.5 stops). Still, it is feasible to produce incredibly smooth handheld movies when using the device. Not many other cameras at this level have such a capability, and Olympus has been providing the best stabilization in its class for a very long time.

Olympus PEN E-PL10 Image Quality

The E-PL10 has a resolution of 16.1 million pixels, which is lower than most other digital cameras. It results in a print resolution of 40 cm by 30 cm when printed at 300 ppi. We believe the pixel count is adequate for an entry-level camera that can also serve as a general-purpose camera for the whole family.

The Olympus PEN E-PL10 may help you take your photography to the next level by providing access to various lenses. These lenses include several reasonable prices- and size-match, such as the 45mm f/1.8 and the 12mm f/2.

When shooting in bright sunlight, the E-PL10 is capable of producing images that are crisp, rich in contrast and tone range, and have a beautiful colour reproduction. JPEG photographs, which are immediately exported from the camera, look fantastic, especially when utilizing the ‘natural’ colour profile. Art Filters also provide some amusingly unique alternate styles.

Olympus PEN E-PL10 Specs

Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Body materialComposite
Sensor
Max resolution4608 x 3456
Image ratio w:h4:3
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor sizeFour Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorTruePic VIII
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-25600
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes (4 slots)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
CIPA image stabilization rating3.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsSuper fine, fine, normal
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (Olympus ORF)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points121
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,037,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/16000 sec
Exposure modesAutoProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual
Scene modesPortraite-PortraitLandscape + PortraitNight + PortraitChildrenNight sceneHand-held StarlightFireworksLight trailsSportPanningLandscapeSunsetBeach & SnowBacklight HDR1PanoramaCandlelightSilentMacroNature MacroDocumentsMulti Focus Shot
Built-in flashYes
Flash range5.40 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash modesRedeye, Slow Sync. (1st curtain), Slow Sync. (2nd curtain), Red-eye Slow Sync. (1st curtain), Fill-in, Manual, Flash Off
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Continuous drive14.1 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (3, 5 frames at 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 50p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-I supported)
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
USB chargingNo
HDMIYes (micro HDMI)
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (via wired remote or smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBLS-50 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)350
Weight (inc. batteries)380 g (0.84 lb / 13.40 oz)
Dimensions117 x 68 x 39 mm (4.61 x 2.68 x 1.54″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone

Olympus PEN E-PL10 Verdict

The E-PL10 has a lot going for it, including the fact that it has a great and natural colour rendering in JPEG files, that it has a variety of creative shooting modes, that it is user-friendly for beginners, that it supports 4K video recording, and that it has muscular image stabilization. On the other hand, the camera is not perfect and does have certain restrictions.

There were times when we wished the camera had a viewfinder; image quality is poor in lighting with low contrast, and you’ll need some experience to get the most out of the autofocus system. Even if the E-PL9 provides more value for the money, the E-PL10 is a fun small camera to use.

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