System camera Olympus PEN E-PL5 in the user test: the better granddaughter {review}


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Disclosure & Image Rights:  Joby supported our work with a test device that we checked as part of the test until it was unusable. Image material was created with a camera provided free of charge by our sponsor Olympus, which we checked as part of the test until it was unusable.

Some time ago I tested as a workstation an Olympus PEN E-PL1: My first system camera, whose extensive functionality has surprised me on closer inspection. Now is the after-successor model, the Olympus PEN E-PL5. This is even more powerful. For videos it is good, but not optimal.

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The better granddaughter

What is immediately noticeable is the stylish design in contrast to the global predecessor: the Olympus PEN E-PL5 is smaller and lighter than its “grandmother” E-PL1, but at the same time much more powerful. With a weight of 279 g without lens, it comes with a CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 16,1 megapixels, which is otherwise only available with the SLR camera OM-D E-M5.

Unfortunately it is with a recommended price of the manufacturer of approx. 700,00 € also significantly more expensive. The camera is equipped with the following features:

Electronics

  • Resolution 4.608 x 3.456 pixels (aspect ratio 4: 3)
  • 2.560 x 1.920 pixels (aspect ratio 4: 3)
  • 1.024 x 768 pixels (aspect ratio 4: 3)
  • Color depth 24 bit (16,7 million colors) in JPG format, 36 bit in RAW format
  • Sensor 17,3 x 13 mm LiveMOS chip with 16.100.000 image points
  • File format JPEG (.jpg), AVI-Video (.avi), WAV and RAW (proprietary raw data format)
  • Storage according to DCF standard yes
  • DPOF support yes (EXIF 2.2)
  • Storage of print-relevant recording settings Exif Print (EXIF 2.2)
  • Supported direct printing method PictBridge
  • Flash memory internal no
  • Memory Compatibility SD Card (SDHC and SDXC as well as Eye-Fi Compatible)
  • Connection to the computer USB interface (version 2.0 Hi-Speed)
  • Other connections Audio output, HDMI type D, accessory port (including optional microphone adapter and included viewfinder)
  • Power supply 1 x Lithium ion battery, camera-specific (1.150 mAh, 7,2 V)
  • Type: BLS-5

Equipment

  • Interchangeable lens mount yes, 2-fold focal length extension
  • Micro FourThirds
  • Focusing autofocus and manual focus
  • Close-up / macro depending on the interchangeable lens
  • Light sensitivity ISO 200-25600 (automatic)
  • ISO 200-25600 (manual)
  • Exposure Control Auto, Auto, Auto Shutter, Manual Exposure
  • Closure mechanical and electronic (combination)
  • Exposure times 1 / 4.000 s to 2 s (automatic)
  • 1 / 4.000 s to 60 s (manual)
  • 1 / 180 s to 60 s (with flash)
  • Bulb-Long Exposure
  • Manual Exposure Compensation +/- 3 in steps of 1 / 3 or 1 / 2
  • Viewfinder LCD monitor
  • LCD monitor 3 ″ TFT-LCD monitor (touch screen) with 460.000 pixels (with daylight illumination)
  • Flash on, flash on, flash off, auto flash, red-eye reduction, fill flash, long-time sync, flash for external flash
  • Video recording H.264
  • max 1740 seconds per film at 1980 x 1080 pixels (30 images per second)
  • max 1740 seconds per film at 1280 x 720 pixels (30 images per second)
  • max 840 seconds per film at 640 x 480 pixels (30 images per second)

Construction

The construction of the camera has its weaknesses: For example, the spring has released itself at the trigger. Also, the front-hinged screen, I find relatively meaningless: fold it away laterally, would be more useful, because then, for example, would be possible shots in which you have the camera right in front of the nose, about the heads of crowds away.

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In addition, this patch screen is of course much more fragile and sensitive than an integrated screen. And it also makes the camera a bit unwieldy.

Flash to touch down

Unhandy I also think that the flash must be set up. Even if Olympus comes with a cute fabric bag for the flash, it increases the risk of losing the tower flash, especially if you use it like the one with the clip-on microphone shoe.

The latter is necessary for video recordings with an external microphone, but the PEN EPL5 for emergencies, if you forget the microphone shoe times, also has a built-in stereo microphone - a clear advantage compared to its predecessor.

Pictures

It goes without saying that the camera takes better pictures with the scope of services. I was impressed by the speed with which pictures are possible here - that was the major shortcoming of the previous model.

Also the quality of the pictures is inspiring, before all in the automatic mode, even in the dark. For reworking lazy like me, there are also various filters available, from which the contrast-strong dramatic filter provides excellent services.

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Videos

In video interviews, I also use my lightweight Joby Hybrid Gorillapod tripod, which I can practically always carry around in the handbag and that flexibly adapts to various subsoils.

The results can be seen in picture and sound quality: Even if you have the camera in your hand, the image stabilizer ensures that no wobbly effects are created. And the external stereomicrophone makes good use even when recording with background noise.

Disadvantages of the video mode

A bit unwieldy, however, I find the video mode: First, the appropriate program must be selected and then pressed on the button. Takes too long.

In addition, the focus is a little tricky: While the shutter release doesn't even work when taking photos if the focus is not in focus, this is easily possible with video recordings. I messed up my first important video interview that way. Other cameras are probably better suited for video.

Summary

Despite some small hooks, the PEN E-PL5 is a superb camera with extensive features that need to penetrate it though time.

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