Olympus Pen E-PL5 review

December 1, 2012

Overall Rating:


Olympus Pen E-PL5

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Price as Reviewed:


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...

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.

  • Video: 1080p 30fps MPEG-4 H.264
  • External mic: Yes (accessory port only)
  • White Balance: Auto, 7 presets, manual, 2 custom modes
  • Dioptre Adjustment: N/A
  • Built-in Flash: No, but FL-LM1 is included
  • Shutter Type: Focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: Optional EVF
  • Output Size: 4608 x 3456 pixels
  • LCD: 3in, 460,000-dot articulated screen
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes
  • AF Points: 35-point system, touch focus, face and eye detection
  • Field of View: 100% (live view)
  • Sensor: 16.1-million-effective-pixel, Live MOS sensor
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/250sec / 1/4000sec (Super FP mode)
  • Exposure Modes: PASM, iAuto, 25 scene modes, 12 art filters
  • Power: Rechargeable BLS-5 Li-Ion
  • Weight: 325g (with battery and card)
  • File Format: JPEG, ORF (raw), and raw + JPEG
  • Shutter Speeds: 60-1/4000sec, plus bulb
  • Drive Mode: 8fps for 27 raw or 19 JPEG images
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • ISO: 200-25,600
  • Lens Mount: Micro four thirds
  • RRP: £599.99 (with 14-42mm kit lens)
  • Focusing Modes: Single, continuous, manual, tracking
  • Dimensions: 110.5 x 63.7 x 38.2mm
  • DoF Preview: No
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB, Micro HDMI
  • Metering System: 324-zone multi-pattern TTL digital ESP, spot, centreweighted, highlight, shadow
  • Tested as: Entry-level CSC

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