We know well enough how capable and powerful the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is, which was released earlier this year, claiming the spot of the best micro 4/3 camera body (at the time of writing) and coming very close to some of the best APS-C DSLRs. It was no surprise that the OM-D E-M5 has become a huge hit, and I am sure Olympus is very proud of what they have accomplished so far. However, as wonderful as the OM-D E-M5 may be, it could be a little overwhelming, being over-ambitious with heavy functions and features, some that casual shooters or average hobbyists may not need. I acknowledge it is great to have a weather sealing on micro 4/3 cameras, but honestly how many people actually are willing to battle the force of nature and get themselves drenched just to get the shots in heavy downpour? Yes, having magnesium alloy body is good to provide that extra protection for the camera in rough handling situations, but you should have seen some of my friends. They treat their cameras like porcelain vases, handling with so much care that even after a year of use, you won't be able to find a tiny scratch on the camera. My point is, OM-D E-M5 is not necessarily built for everyone, especially when it comes with so much functions and features that many may find not relevant in their photography needs.
Take away the weather-sealing, take away the magnesium alloy body, take away the built in Electronic Viewfinder (you can still have an option to attach an external electronic viewfinder), take away the incredible new 5-Axis Image Stabilization (I did say how amazing this IS is right?), you get a much toned down, humble presentation of the new PEN E-PL5. The beautiful thing about the E-PL5 is that it uses the exact same 16MP image sensor as the OM-D which has been proven by many reviewers (DXOMark, DPreview, etc) to be delivering very high image quality. Instead of the new 5-Axis IS, the PEN E-PL5 uses the old, yet trustworthy Image Stabilization system on all their PEN bodies, which is still very acceptable. Basically, my summary of the E-PL5 is a combination of everything that made the original Olympus Micro 4/3 PEN system work (small footprint, lightweight, feature packed, full customization), and add to that the image quality of OM-D.
The back LCD monitor can be tilted upward and downward for difficult angle composition. Very useful for waist level shooting.
The camera seems very familiar to the old E-PL3 design, sporting the tilt-able LCD back monitor, and the arrangement of buttons. Unfortunately there is only one control dial on the body. Dual dial would have made the controls much more efficient for control-freak photographers like myself.
Take note of the thumb rest with a small hook, small things like these add on to positive handling and shooting experience.
Unlike the OM-D and E-PL3, actually the new E-PL5's screen can move all the way up, something called "self-portrait mode", allowing you to point the camera toward yourself.
FINALLY, the focus green boxes can be changed to a much smaller size.
You can still have the original gigantic boxes size if you want to.
This position is very, very useful for high angle shooting, composing over the head shots.
Yes, the first thing I did with the camera was to take a photograph of myself. Cam-whore alert !!
Olympus PEN E-PL5 Main Features and Highlight
- Touch AF Shutter (much like the OM-D or E-P3)
- OM-D Image Quality, using the same 16MegaPixels image sensor and image processing engine, Truepic VI
- 16:9 aspect ratio back LCD monitor screen with 3inch 460k dot resolution
- 2 Axis (similar to E-P3 and older PEN cameras) Image Stabilization in Body
- ISO200 to 25,600
- Continuous shooting rated at 8 Frames per second
For full specifications go to official Olympus page here (click).
Once again, many thanks to Olympus Malaysia for their generosity to allow me a loaned unit for testing and blog review purposes. I shall bring this beautiful Olympus PEN E-PL5 for shooting this weekend, and I shall push out my blog reviews as soon as I can. I shall do something slightly differently this time.
Can't wait for the weekend for my shutter therapy sessions with the E-PL5 !!