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...


White balance and colour

One of the things I like most about Olympus digital cameras is the colours they produce. Even in the Standard setting, colours are bright, with good levels of saturation and contrast. I would suggest that most photographers will rarely need to use any of the other colour settings available. However, those preferring more subtle colours can turn to the Muted option, while those with a hankering for punchy images will be satisfied by the Vivid mode. I find the default Vivid mode too saturated, creating almost solid blocks of colour in certain conditions. Thankfully, each of the default colour settings can be fine-tuned, and users have the option to save one personalised custom colour setting.

The E-PL5’s monochrome image style is just as customisable, with a choice of neutral, red, green, yellow and orange filter effects, as well as the ability to adjust contrast and add a slight colour tone.

Auto white balance works well, and if anything is a little too clinical in its default mode. Shooting indoors under artificial light, the AWB mode removes all trace of amber/yellow lighting, and even turns beige walls a light grey. Obviously, there are people who prefer completely neutral lighting, especially when shooting studio-style portraits, but tucked away in the custom menu is the option to leave warm colours when shooting in AWB mode. This is great for leaving in some ambient colour when shooting indoors.

  • 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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