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.