Targeting a very specific niche, the E-PL7 has a quality 16.1-milllion-pixel, four thirds Live MOS sensor and an unconventional design feature that should see it stand out from the competition. But is it just a gimmick? Jon Devo finds out in this Olympus Pen E-PL7 Review
Olympus Pen E-PL7 Review – Performance
I reviewed the Olympus OM-D E-M10 in March and considering the similarities between that camera and this, I was expecting the E-PL7 to perform well and I was pleased with it overall.
The camera’s 81-point contrast-detection AF system doesn’t hunt much for focus, but it does have a slight tendency to capture some out-of-focus shots for no obvious reason. Despite locking as though it were focused, it seems so eager to fire that it jumps the gun on occasion. This meant that I sometimes had to take a couple of security frames to ensure that I had the shot. In low light, the AF-assist beam does a decent job of finding the correct subject and locking on, and if I used touch AF results were quicker still, as well as being more consistent than half-pressing the shutter.
I forced the E-PL7’s 324-zone multi-pattern metering system to work in some difficult scenarios and was impressed by its ability to produce faithful colours and well-balanced exposures. Spot metering linked to the AF works well also, especially with the touch AF ability. Results were a little less consistent when using the removable flash that comes in the box, as it overexposed subjects intermittently, but when it metered correctly I was pleased with the results and would happily use the flash in low light scenarios, such as for taking a picture of a group of people 1-2 metres away from me.
Looking closely at images straight out of the camera, I was a little put off by the aggressive noise reduction, but you can get better results if you shoot raw and make your own noise reduction and sharpening adjustments in post-production. In good and in low light, the E-PL7 performed as I’d expected and surprised a few of the people that I showed its images to.
Finally, the battery is CIPA rated to 350 images, 30 more than the E-M10, and I found it delivered close to its rating before running completely empty. When I was using the flash, however, the camera’s battery depleted noticeably faster and gave me closer to 250 images, or about 4-5 hours of frequent use.