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Olympus Pen E-P5 Review



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  • Eye-catching design
  • Good level of image quality
  • Impressive handling
  • Quick auto-focus


  • Lack of built-in EVF
  • More expensive than rival models

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £899.00
  • 16.1MP sensor
  • 3-inch touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi
  • TruePic VI processing engine

What is the Olympus PEN E-P1?

The Olympus PEN E-P1 followed hot on the heels of the Panasonic Lumix G1 at the dawn of the Compact System Camera (CSC). It proved popular amongst consumers, combining a retro aesthetic with DSLR-like image quality, all in a compact body.

The Olympus E-P5 looks to continue the PEN E-P tradition of a series that’s now four models old. The CSC landscape has changed somewhat since the first model debuted in 2009, with a host of manufacturers competing with a broad selection of models.

The question is: does the E-P5 deliver enough to keep up with its CSC competitors?

Not what you’re looking for? Try our best cameras round-up for more options.

Olympus PEN E-P1 – Features

The Olympus E-P5 boasts a number of eye-catching features, including many that make the model comparable with entry-level DSLRs.

The E-P5 features Olympus’s FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) in combination with a 35-area AF system. As a result, the E-P5 claims to have lightning fast AF speeds, which also benefit from ‘Super Spot AF’ technology that allows for the focus point to be magnified up to 14x for extra precision.

The rear of the E-P5 sees a modification to its predecessor, the PEN E-P3 – where the E-P3 featured a fixed screen, the E-P5 now features a vari-angle unit. The screen also features a higher specification than the model’s close stablemate, the OM-D. While the OM-D’s screen has 610k-dots, the E-P5’s screen features an impressive 1.04m-dot resolution. It’s an LCD rather than OLED screen, though it is a capacitive touchscreen as well.

Inside, the E-P5 utilises many elements found on the E-P5’s OM-D stablemate. The core of these is the Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor, complete with a 16.1MP resolution. Alongside this sits the Olympus’s TruePic VI processing engine. This processing engine allows for an ISO range of 200-25,600, the same as the OM-D, although it also benefits from a new ‘LOW’ ISO setting of ISO 100.

The Olympus E-P5 is impressively fast on paper, too. It now matches the OM-D at its headline burst rate, managing 9fps at it highest setting – substantially more than the 3fps managed by its E-P3 predecessor.

The E-P5 also carries the claim of a first in class achievement, according to Olympus. It claims the E-P5 is the first CSC to achieve a minimum shutter speed of just 1/8000 sec through a mechanical shutter as opposed to an electronic shutter.

Throw in a maximum flash sync speed of 1/320 sec with the model’s internal flash – dropping down to 1/250 sec with an external unit, and the E-P5 is shaping up nicely.

Completing the bustling feature list is a first addition in any Olympus CSC, namely Wi-Fi functionality. 

As is the case with most digital cameras featuring Wi-Fi connectivity, that found on the E-P5 allows for both the transmission of images between the camera and other compatible devices as well as remote control of the E-P5 through a dedicated app on either smartphone or tablet.

One feature missing from the E-P5, which will no doubt upset a range of potential purchasers, is any sort of in-built viewfinder. There is the option to connect an external viewfinder to the E-P5 via the camera’s accessory port, with Olympus announcing the VF-4 at the same time as the E-P5.

The VF-4 is by no means cheap, priced at £249 at time of launch. It does, however, boast an impressive specification, featuring a 2.36million dot resolution and vari-angle technology, while the omission of a built-in EVF does serve to keep both the cost and size of the E-P5 down at launch for those who don’t require a viewfinder.

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