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...
The Olympus Pen E-PL5 carries the same 16.1-million-pixel, Live MOS, four thirds- sized sensor as the company’s own OM-D E-M5 and the more recent Pen E-PM2. All three cameras use the Olympus TruePic VI processing system and have an identical ISO range of 200-25,600. Therefore, it’s entirely reasonable to expect the E-PL5 to produce images equal in quality to those from the E-M5 and E-PM2.
Image: Image quality is very good, but JPEG images can look a little over processed
In terms of shooting features, the E-PL5 offers all those you would get with an enthusiast-level DSLR. Shots can be saved in raw or as JPEGs, and it is possible to shoot both simultaneously. There is a full complement of manual and automatic exposure modes, with shutter speeds ranging from 60-1/4000sec, along with a bulb mode that allows exposures of up to 30mins.
Impressively, the powerful processing in the E-PL5 enables shooting at 8fps, while Olympus claims that the camera can capture up to 27 raw images, or 19 raw and JPEG Normal images in a burst, with a Toshiba SDHC UHS-I Class 10 8GB SD card. However, I was able to shoot 14 raw images, and 14 raw and JPEG Normal images, when using a Sony SDHC UHS-I Class 10 16GB SD card, so it is worth bearing this in mind for anyone planning to use the camera for long bursts.
Like the E-M5 and the E-PM2, the E-PL5 has a new live bulb mode. With this selected, the rear 3in LCD screen displays an image updated every second with the current exposure. Think of it as like having a print in a developing tray: the image will appear before your eyes, showing exactly when to stop development.
In contrast to many recent releases, the E-PL5 doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, although it can operate wirelessly with the use of an Eye-Fi-compatible SD card or a new Toshiba Flash Air SD card. What it does have is a touchscreen, which allows for touch focusing and firing of the shutter. This screen will be discussed in more depth later.
Overall, then, the E-PL5 has a comprehensive feature set with more than enough settings to keep enthusiast photographers happy, as well as automated settings to reassure entry-level users.
Image: The pinhole camera mode is one of the more useful art filter effects. It creates a dark vignette around the edge of the image