Olympus Pen E-PL5 review

December 1, 2012

Overall Rating:


Olympus Pen E-PL5

  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:
  • Build/Handling:
  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • Metering:



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...

Build and handling

The body and button layout of the E-PL5 remain largely unchanged from its predecessor, the E-PL3. The camera has a compact-style body, with a reasonable complement of buttons for direct access to important functions and settings. A drive-mode dial sits on the top-plate, making changes between exposure modes very quick. However, most changes are made via the on-screen shooting menu, which is accessed by pressing the OK button.

There are a few changes to the body of the E-PL5 compared to its predecessor. The first is the introduction of a screw-in handgrip. Like the E-PM2, this attaches to the camera’s side. In my view, the camera looks better without it, but that said, assured handling is more important than pleasing aesthetics, and the accessory does afford necessary extra purchase.

Another improvement is to the camera’s screen. The previous tilting mechanism has now been adapted so it can fold around and face the subject. It is also a touchscreen.

Overall, the E-PL5 comes close to encapsulating what the micro four thirds system should be all about. The camera is small, but with all the features expected of a DSLR, although it may take an extra click or two to access them via the E-PL5’s menu. What I enjoyed about using the camera was that its size and design didn’t restrict the images I wanted to take. In fact, it was occasionally a great help. Using the articulated screen to compose low-angled images is easy, and as it can carried in a coat pocket the E-PL5 can always be on hand when a photo opportunity presents itself.

  • 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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