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Olympus PEN E-PL5 Review

Olympus has revitalized its PEN series of small system cameras by adding two new models to the roster. These new models will be placed in the center of the lineup and at the bottom.

The Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 employs the same image sensor with 16.1 million pixels as the highly-rated Olympus OM-D, which was made available to the public in January 2012.

Therefore, this camera combines the most excellent features and technology of the Olympus OM-D with the sleek and small body of the PEN series. However, it is essential to note that the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 is still a little bit more compact than the Olympus PEN E-P3, which has not been improved (as yet). Additionally, it is bigger than the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2, which is the model that occupies the position below it in the series.

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Olympus PEN E-PL5 Build Quality

Olympus has succeeded in developing a camera that maintains the same high level of responsiveness and user-friendliness as its prior PEN series models. Naturally, if you are currently an owner of a PEN, upgrading to the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 will seem quite natural to you because of the similarities between the two cameras. For those who already own an Olympus OM-D camera, buying it as a second or backup camera is another option.

This is a comfortable camera to use thanks to the grip on the front and the thumb resting on the back of the camera. So even using only one hand to take pictures, you won’t feel like losing control of the camera.

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Performance

We had incredibly high hopes for the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 because it utilizes the same sensor as the Olympus OM-D E-M5, and we are glad to announce that the camera does not disappoint.

The quality of photographs taken without any post-processing is high. They are packed with a great deal of detail, and the colours that result from them are rich and powerful while avoiding being excessively brilliant.

You can get the most out of the image sensor thanks to the wide variety of shooting settings available. If you find yourself photographing fall trees, for instance, you can plug in the “Vibrant” mode to highlight the colours, while you can shoot in the “Neutral” mode for other subjects, such as portraiture.

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Image Quality

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 was capable of producing photographs of exceptionally high quality. The Natural image option makes vivid colours without being gaudy or too saturated, and the dynamic range is excellent in this setting.

Noise is nearly unnoticeable from ISO 200 to ISO 1600. It doesn’t become a concern until ISO 3200, a fantastic performance for a camera with a Micro Four Thirds sensor. Only the two fastest settings, ISO 12800 and 25600, suffer from noise. However, ISO 3200 and 6400 may still be used.

Long exposures are simple to accomplish, even though the flash unit included is much than strong enough for fill-in use. Even when the camera is being held by hand at lower shutter rates, the newly developed image stabilization technology performs exceptionally well. If you wanted to get the same special effects without using the Art Filters, you would have to spend a significant amount of time in the digital darkroom.

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Specs

Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Max resolution4608 x 3456
Other resolutions2560 x 1920, 1024 x 768
Image ratio w:h4:3
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor sizeFour Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ISOAuto (200 – 1600), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 16000, 20000, 25600
White balance presets8
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Uncompressed formatRAW
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points35
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots460,000
Touch screenYes
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic (optional)
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesYes
Built-in flashNo (bundled external flash)
Flash range7.00 m (bundled FL-LM1)
External flashYes (Clip-on FL-LM1 included, Hot-shoe)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Sync, Manual (3 levels)
Continuous drive8.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 sec)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing(2, 3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (3 frames in 2, 4, 6 steps selectable in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264, Motion JPEG
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini HDMI type-C)
WirelessEye-Fi Connected
Remote controlYes (Optional RM-UC1)
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion BLS-5 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)360
Weight (inc. batteries)325 g (0.72 lb / 11.46 oz)
Dimensions111 x 64 x 38 mm (4.37 x 2.52 x 1.5″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSNone

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Verdict

When the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 was introduced, our team was thrilled about getting our hands on one and putting it through its paces. The Olympus OM-D was a perfect camera; thus, it is pretty thrilling to see the same technology housed in a smaller, lighter chassis.

It has a classic design, just like the other Olympus cameras, which might not be to everyone’s taste; nonetheless, due to its compact size and attractive finish, it should be able to capture the imagination of many users.

Despite the absence of an electronic viewfinder (EVF), this camera has several appealing features, and its compact design is made possible by the fact that it does not have one.

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