Built around the same 16.1-million-pixel sensor as the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the diminutive Pen E-PL5 should offer excellent image quality. Richard Sibley tests this latest system camera. Read the Olympus Pen E-PL5 review...

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Olympus Pen E-PL5

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Olympus Pen E-PL5 review


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Olympus Pen E-PL5 at a glance:

  • 16.1-million-pixel four thirds Live MOS sensor
  • ISO 200-25,600
  • 3in, 460,000-dot tilting touchscreen
  • 1920x1080p
  • 30fps HD video
  • New faster AF system
  • 8fps shooting rate
  • Street price around £599 with 14-42mm kit lens

Olympus Pen E-PL5 review – Introduction

There have been 24 Panasonic and Olympus micro four thirds system cameras since Panasonic launched the first of its type, the Lumix DMC-G1, in 2008. The compact size of both the cameras and their lenses has made the system extremely popular, particularly among documentary and travel photographers requiring discreet and lightweight kit.

One of the latest micro four thirds models is the Olympus Pen E-PL5. It has a compact camera-style body, rather than a miniature DSLR build, and a comprehensive range of direct controls that should offer enthusiast photographers all the features they need.

However, micro four thirds cameras initially came in for criticism for their comparatively lower resolutions and noisier images than equivalent DSLRs. But technology has progressed over the past few years, as demonstrated by the excellent 16.1-million-pixel sensor of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, which was then used in the Pen E-PM2 and now in the Pen E-PL5.

In our recent review (AP 3 November), we rated the Olympus Pen E-PM2 highly, particularly for its size, features and image quality. With the E-PL5 sharing many of the same specifications, another excellent camera may well have been added to the micro four thirds system.

  1. 1. Olympus Pen E-PL5 at a glance:
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Graduation function
  4. 4. Build and handling
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Dynamic range
  8. 8. Noise, resolution and sensitivity
  9. 9. White balance and colour
  10. 10. Viewfinder, live view, LCD and video
  11. 11. The competition
  12. 12. Our verdict
Page 1 of 12 - Show Full List
  • simon Parry Jones

    Pleasantly surprised by the quality and resolution of this camera. I had been very disappointed by my previous camera a Canon EOS450D, I found it hard to get any punch or vibrancy into the images. But the NX does it bucket loads and with ease.
    The features and controls take a little getting used to after the Canon, but I am finding my way around nicely and its fairy intuitive anyway.
    The wifi functionality can be a bit hit or miss, especially with the Samsung Galaxy S4, they don’t like each other for some reason, which when you consider these are from the same manufacturer that does seem a bit daft!
    I find the handling is generally pretty good for such a small object, I do however keep starting the video recorder via the dedicated (red) button adjacent to the thumb rest, the position of this button has been moved on the NX300 which is an improvement.
    The display I find works well in bright light and is as comprehensive as you could desire, really impressed with it.
    Reviewing images is slightly different with the NX compared to the 450D, but once you are tuned in it seems fine and I like the daisy wheel on the multi selector, I found it works well for reviewing images.
    The flash generally sits on my NX all the time and I have found that coverage is not too bad, but there is fall off at the 20mm setting and wider, which is to be expected really. With a guide number of 8, you’re not going to fry any eggs but it is more than the competitors pop up varieties.
    Being a bit of a traditionalist, I found the iFn button on the lens a little superfluous, I didn’t instinctively use it, but I guess that will change as I get used to the camera.
    At long last a kit lens you don’t feel like binning the moment the camera arrives. After the Canon 18-55mm offering I was pleasantly surprised by Samsungs 20-50mm. Whilst this lens doesn’t have OIS I found that I can live without it, the slightly smaller range was nothing to worry about either. The performance of this lens is pretty impressive too, pictures I have taken thus far are way better than I was able to get from the Canon. Lumping a big DSLR around is surely something consigned to the past.
    All the buttons have a quality feel, as does the body, even though its largely plastic in construction, it never feels that way and so what is wrong with polymers anyway?
    To summarise, this is a great camera for someone who is new to interchangeable lens photography or someone looking to switch from DSLRs or someone who would like a portable, small, easy to use point and shoot camera which produces stunning images. It has its weaknesses ie action or sports photography would highlight these due to the AF system, but I would wholeheartedly recommend this camera for travel or everyday photography, you will not be disappointed.

  • Leona Simpson

    This would be a great site for information for us amature photographers if ur adverts did not cover great pieces of text.