The Olympus Pen E-P5 is a stylish modern-day take on an Olympus film camera from the 1960s, packed with new and improved features as well as a clever body design that enhances its handling, writes Tim Coleman. Read the Olympus Pen E-P5 review...
Olympus Pen E-P5 review – Build and handling
The Pen E-P5’s key selling point is its looks. For those who want a stylish camera, the E-P5 certainly delivers. It’s a beautiful compact system camera, matched only by another Olympus model, the OM-D, although each camera has a different appeal. The E-P5 is available in three colours and the version on test – black with a silver top-plate – is my favourite, as it is most true to the original Pen F that inspired its design. The body is made from a durable metal, but this does come at a premium because the E-P5 is more expensive than its competitors.
During the test of the E-P5, I also had the E-P3 and the OM-D in hand to weigh up the differences. The E-P5 has very similar dimensions to its predecessor, so it’s not the smallest CSC around but sits very nicely in the hand. The camera is actually a fraction deeper than the E-P3 on account of its tilting rear LCD screen, compared to the former’s fixed unit. The OM-D, on the other hand, is taller because of its built-in viewfinder, but once an optional viewfinder is attached to the hotshoe port of the E-P5, the camera becomes taller than the OM-D.
The camera starts up quickly. It is ready in roughly 0.5secs and able to capture an image in less than 2secs after turning it on. When tested against the E-P3 and OM-D, the E-P5 is quicker, which should be of interest to street photographers and those wanting to capture decisive moments. The shutter-release action is pleasant and the touchscreen is near instant to focus and shoot when in good light. For more on the touchscreen operation, see LCD, viewfinder and video.
An aspect of the E-P5 that really impressed me was its manual handling, with some key improvements made since the E-P3. Photographers will find that taking manual control over the camera is speedy and intuitive. Gone is the vertical rear dial and rear control wheel combination used in the E-P3. Instead, there are two dials on the top-plate within easy and comfortable reach of thumb and forefinger. The rotation of each dial has a nice click like in the OM-D, which cannot be said of the rear control wheel of the E-P3. The top dials work with a new rear switch. In short, whether it is manually changing aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance or other customisable controls, the E-P5 is clear and quick to operate.
Like the OM-D, the E-P5 uses the BLN-1 battery, which has a slightly higher 1,220mAh capacity than the 1,150mAh of the E-P3’s BLS-5. According to Olympus, approximately 400 shots can be expected from a full charge, although this will of course be affected by the use of Wi-Fi and other battery-draining functions, such as continuous AF.
All in all, the E-P5 is very satisfying to use. It sits in the hand well, is customisable and speedy to navigate.