Olympus PEN E-PL7 Review

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3.
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

Olympus OM-D series cameras have been getting much attention and now, it is time to shine the limelight onto the original Olympus PEN series cameras. Currently Olympus PEN series are sub-categorized into the PEN Premium (E-P5) and PEN Lite/Mini (E-PL6/E-PM2). The new Olympus PEN E-PL7 which is launched today is not exactly positioned as a successor for the PEN Lite/PEN Mini category, but an upgrade to a level between the E-P5 and E-PL6. Therefore, the E-PL7 generally retains the important aspects of PEN Lite, such as being extremely small and light yet at the same time sports a solid and premium built, much closer to the flagship PEN E-P5 in construction. 

I have had the privilege to bring the PEN E-PL7 out for some quick shutter therapy action and based on that I am reporting my user experience review of the camera. This will be written from a non-technical point of view, and more emphasis will be given on how I feel and experience when I was actually shooting with the E-PL7 in real life situations. I have brought the E-PL7 to several locations at KL streets and the KL Bird Park. 

Here are some quick highlights of the camera features and specifications:
1) Designed and Optimized for Selfie usage - Flip down screen for self portraits
2) Smartphone Connectivity with Built in Wifi
3) Similar core performance and capabilities as the OM-D E-M10 
(Similar 16MP Sensor with Truepic 7 Image Processing Engine, 3-Axis Image Stabilization)
4) Small and Premium build
5) New Art Filters: Vintage and Partial Color

I will not bore you with the details, for full specifications, kindly visit the official Olympus Page here (click). 
The new Olympus PEN E-PL7 and M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Pancake Zoom lens

E-PL7: Metal body build, Leathered body, high grade dials and buttons control


If you place the PEN E-PL7 side by side with E-PL6 or E-PL5, you will immediately notice the huge difference in terms of build quality. In fact, I dare say that the E-PL7 build quality is very similar to the E-P5. The body is made of metal, and wrapped with leathered texture around the body, giving you that luxurious feel when you hold the camera. The leathered texture also provided much needed grip which was useful considering the body was made of metal which is smooth. The dials and buttons were made of high grade material, and no part of the camera felt cheap or plasticity which is the case for most competing cameras from other manufacturers at this pricing point. Furthermore, the E-PL7 managed to maintain the small size of the E-PL5/E-PL6 while featuring similar specifications as the OM-D E-M10 (minus the viewfinder), which is quite impressive. Inside the small body the E-PL7 has the 3-Axis Image Stabiliation, and if you have used the E-M10 you will know how effective it is. On the whole, E-PL7 is small and premium, yet having the ability to do mostly what E-M10 can do (minus the EVF) and more: E-PL7 can do selfie!

In terms of the camera design and style, the camera looks closer to the PEN E-P5. In terms of overall look, I do think that the design of PEN E-PL7 is more beautiful than OM-D series, but that is just my own opinion. To me, the E-PL7 looks even better than the E-P5. E-PL7 is simpler and cleaner in overall appearance yet elegant. What say you?

E-PL7: designed with Selfie warriors in mind


I will be honest here: I rarely take selfie photos, which is not a surprise since most photographers are always behind the camera, not in front of the lens. I also acknowledge that selfie is quite a huge phenomenon, and has been widely accepted by people everywhere, creating much buzz from celebrities to ordinary people like you and me. Olympus is also not the first camera manufacturer to come up with the selfiie functionality in camera. However, Olympus PEN cameras have been known to be small and portable, and easy to carry around, thus maintaining this philosophy it is easy to integrate some features that will aid in selfie taking. 

Think about this: you can now do selfie with many advantages that phone or lower level cameras do not have: reliably effective 3-Axis Image Stabilization to counter shake and help in single handed shooting, ability to use large aperture prime lenses to render blur background (shallow depth of field), and flexibility to use ultra wide angle lens (eg, M.Zuiko 9-18mm F4-5.6, or the 9mm Fisheye Body Cap lens) to capture yourself as well as that sweeping beautiful landscape in the background. Like all other newer Olympus cameras, there is the ability to use touch screen to capture in selfie mode, which actually mitigated camera rolling effect (shake when you press the shutter button). 

Taking this a step further, I was also thrilled to find many camera options and features being included in the E-PL7 that is catered directly for Selfie shooting. As shown in the picture/diagram above, once you flip the screen down (at i-Auto shooting mode), the E-PL7 is then transformed into a selfie camera:
1) If you use an electronic zoom lens, eg M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6, the lens will then automatically zoomed into the widest angle (14mm). 
2) The LCD Monitor is then turned into mirror display, as if you are looking at yourself in the mirror!
3) There is an e-Portrait mode to enhance skin tone and smooth-en imperfections
4) You can choose to immediately shoot the image by touching the screen, or you can use the 1 sec self timer (delay) button
5) There is also a custom self timer with interval shooting, which allows multiple shots to be taken at specified intervals
6) Considering the screen was flipped downward, you can then attach an external flash and capture selfie with flash
7) The screen was positioned downward so that your hands/fingers will not get in the way of the lens when you touch the screen (as opposed to flipping up, which is the convention for other camera manufacturers). 


We all live in the world of social media now, and let's face it, the main reason Selfie exists is to be used in social network, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the likes. E-PL7 has built in Wi-Fi function to allow immediate image transfer from the camera to phone, and then to be shared across all social network platforms. The Olympus Image Share App (available for both Android and IOS devices) added plenty of useful features including remote shooting from the smart device, controlling the camera and shooting remotely. 

Similar function can also be found in E-M1, E-P5 and E-M10. I have done a video showing how the Olympus E-M1 built in Wi-Fi works, how convenient it is to setup and use. You can find the video for E-M1 (functions similar to E-PL7) here. 

(Unfortunately I was unable to fully test the E-PL7's wifi feature at this moment, due to local Wi-Fi certification pending approval from Malaysian authorities)

The selfie function on E-PL7  is so easy to use I started to ask strangers on the street to do selfie! Literally. 

All images from this point onward were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL7 and various Olympus M.Zuiko lenses, as mentioned. 

45mm F1.8, 1/100sec, F2.2, ISO200

12mm F2, 1/125sec, F2.5, ISO200


I am jumping straight to the point here: I love the new Vintage Art Filter! I have not been as excited about Art Filters since Dramatic Tone was introduced in the E-5 (gosh that was so many years ago). I know, I know Instagram users can easily brush this aside considering unlimited choice of filters to adopt, especially those that simulate old film effects. But hey, somehow I think Olympus got the Vintage look right. There are three options of VIntage Art FIlter, Type 1, 2 and 3. I personally like all of them. Maybe these over-processed look is not for everyone, but hey, sometimes photography should be more about fun! And I think those Vintage Art Filters are so fun to use. 

12mm F2: Vintage Art Filter Type 1

12mm F2: Vintage Art Filter Type 2

12mm F2 Vintage Type 3

Oh and let's take a Selfie! 
12mm F2, 1/125sec, F2, ISO200

12mm F2: Vintage Art FilterType 2

12mm F2: Vintage Art FilterType 2

12mm F2: Vintage Art Filter Type 1
Say hi to Jackie!

12mm F2: Vintage Art Filter Type 2

12mm F2: Vintage Art Filter Type 3 

12mm F2. Oh and since I was so noob, Jackie was teaching me to do Selfie right!

75mm F1.8: Vintage Art Filter Type 2 with Pinhole

12mm F2: Vintage Art Filter (Type 1)

Besides Vintage Art Filter, the PEN E-PL7 also comes with another new Art Filter, called Partial Color. This processing effect is not new, and has been implemented by other manufacturers, even in compact point and shoot cameras. Partial Color allows you to select one specific color and desaturate or converting all other colors to monotone. 

There are three different types of Partial Color Art Filter

Original Image, no Art Filter applied. Control Image to show a mix of primary Red and Green colors dominating the frame. 

Type 1 Selected Primary Color and areas in the photo which is closely related to the primary color remained, while others converted to black and white. For example, if red is selected, skin tone which has a reddish tint, as well as hues of purple, pink and orange will be selected as well. This enables a wider range of colors to be included in Partial Color scheme, instead of just strictly one color, eg red. 

Type 2 Selected Primary Color remained, and everything else desaturated, but not black and white. The desaturated zones of colors will still show tiny traces of the original color. I personally prefer Partial Color type 2, mainly because that minor trace of original color presents the image in a more realistic manner, rather than having parts of the frame in color and monotone. I also admit that the above photograph of the chillis is not the best image to demonstrate the use of Partial Color Art Filter. 

Type 3 Selected Primary Color remained, everything else is black and white

The addition of the new Art Filters, Partial Color and Vintage surely added more options for Olympus PEN E-PL7 users to add beautiful effects into their photographs. The main advantage of using Olympus Art Filter? You can actually see the effects happening on the live view as you shoot, and compose. Also, more importantly, there is the flexibility to control all camera parameters (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc) while shooting with Art Filters. I understand that Art Filters may not appeal to everyone, but for those who treasure quick, beautifully done in camera creative processing, I am sure the Art Filters can make a huge world of difference. 


I will not discuss the image quality of the Olympus PEN E-PL7 too lengthily, mainly because it uses the same image sensor (16MP Live MOS)  as well as image processing engine (Truepic 7) as the OM-D E-M10, and for longer description of image quality kindly visit my E-M10 reviews here (PART 1) and here (PART 2). You can expect similar image output. 

The images come out very sharp, full with fine detail, looking similar to the output I would expect from OM-D E-M10. Using the E-PL7 with M.Zuiko lenses such as 25mm F1.8, 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 gave me superbly crisp images. The Truepic 7 image processor did a good job at optimizing per pixel sharpness and applied relevant corrections and enhancements based on different lenses attached to the camera. The results from the E-PL7 requires very minimal if no processing at all, as shown here in this blog review. The white balance is almost always accurate and the colors are true to life. I have been using Olympus System for so many years now and the E-PL7 delivered image quality as expected. 

High ISO shooting was not a problem with the E-PL7, and I have no complain shooting at ISO6,400. However everyone has a different tolerance to high ISO noise level, so I may not be able to speak for everyone. You may examine my high ISO samples here and to me, at noise filter OFF, the images still retain good amount of detail. The chroma noise (color noise) is well suppressed, and the luminance noise did not pose much of a problem in overall image degradation. No, Olympus is not king when it comes to low light shooting, that is true. Nonetheless, with usable ISO6,400 and a plethora of available, affordable bright F1.8 prime lenses (or even wider) I do think the E-PL7 is capable of covering a wide range of shooting conditions. 

I do not have that many samples of high ISO images here for E-PL7, but if you do need reference, kindly look at the OM-D E-M10 high ISO image samples here (I have provided full resolution files for download too). 


The E-PL7 focuses quickly and accurately at all times. I find no issues focusing even in low light conditions. Also worth noting, I do not find any difference (at least I did not feel the difference) of the focusing speed in comparison to E-M10 or E-M1. All newer Olympus cameras focuses just as fast and they are so fast even if there is a difference I do not think I can tell any of that apart. Also worth noting, the E-PL7 has 81 focusing points spread out all across the frame, just like E-M10, which is useful for flexible composition when selective focusing (with super shallow depth of field) is needed. 

I did not test the Continuous AF, but I do not believe there is any improvement over whatever that is already available in the E-M10. 

75mm F1.8, 1/400sec, F2.8, ISO250

75mm F1.8, 1/250sec, F2.5, ISO400

100% crop from previous image

Hello Madonna
25mm F1.8, 1/320sec, F1.8, ISO500

Now here is an interesting story, which came as a surprise to me as well. I was at the KL Bird Park, shooting inside the House of Parrots. Visitors are allowed to purchase milk and bird food to feed them, which allows close encounters with the birds. While I was busy shooting all the colorful parrots, this white Cockatoo moved closer and closer to me, and suddenly said "HELLO" in a gentle, friendly voice. I was amused but I did not pay much attention at first because I was still shooting the other birds. Then the Cockatoo repeatedly said hello to me and moved even closer to me. She then bobbed her head up and down, again and again. Ok, she has successfully gained my attention, so I decided to shift my attention to her. I aimed my 75mm F1.8 lens at her but she suddenly moved so close to me it was too close for me to shoot with the 75mm lens! 

The bird keeper was nearby and told me that I can pet the Cockatoo. So I did. Gosh the feathers were soooo smooth!! Ok ok I know I am digressing but this was quite an interesting experience. 

Then it occurred to me, the Cockatoo was so close to me, and I have a Selfie camera. Well, I guess you know what happened next. 

Hey to be fair, I did not make this happen. Madonna (the name of the Cockatoo) came and stayed with me! She begged for a Selfie. How can I say no?

I thought Madonna was always friendly, but I was proven wrong when a few other strangers tried to touch her and she would threaten to bite their fingers. I stayed there for a while and I noticed Madonna only allowed me (out of dozens of visitors) to touch her, and be at that close distance! 

Small things like these can make me smile a long way. 

All the following Selfie images were taken with M.Zuiko 12mm F2 of course. 

12mm F2, 1/250sec, F2, ISO640

12mm F2, 1/500sec, F2, ISO640

12mm F2, 1/640sec, F2, ISO640

75mm F1.8, 1/160sec, F1.8, ISO400

75mm F1.8, 1/250sec, F1.8, ISO400

75mm F1.8, 1/400sec, F1.8, ISO200


The E-PL7 lacks a large, beefy physical grip like any DSLR, or the OM-D E-M1. Unlike E-M5 and E-M10, the PEN series cameras do not have the option to add on an external grip. This could pose a problem using larger and heavier lenses such as M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 and 75-300mm. That was the main reason I went shooting at the Bird Park, to test out the two long lenses, and see how the E-PL7 handles. 

I personally own an E-PL5, and in comparison to the new E-PL7, the E-PL7 is an improvement over the E-PL5. The E-PL5/E-PL6 handles just fine, but the E-PL7 just feels better in hand, especially for long hours shooting. I had no trouble hand-holding the 75mm F1.8 and 75-300mm lenses for several hours. I also think that the handling is just as good as the OM-D E-M10, without the external camera grip. Of course if the E-M10 has the external camera grip attached, it makes a huge difference. 

The E-PL7 feels solid and reassuring in hand, and that is to be expected from Olympus line of well built products. There was just the right amount of heft to aid in holding the camera steady, yet the camera itself was light enough for single-handed operation (which is important for Selfie). 

In terms of controls, there is only a single dial at the top of the camera (surrounding the shutter button). I am a fan of direct dual dial controls, much like what is found in the OM-D cameras. One may argue that the dual dial is not necessary for PEN cameras, but hey I think having that one extra dial can make a lot of difference. There are many customizable buttons, and I personally love to have one direct button shortcut for ISO. 


To some people, Image Stabilization may not be the make it or break it criteria when considering a camera, but believe me when I say this is one modern miraculous technology for photography! Surely the image stabilization is not going to replace a tripod (a good tripod is needed for many reasons), but image being able to steady your shot and not having the need to use higher ISO numbers, keeping the images as detailed and noise free as possible. No matter how well your camera performs with High ISO shooting, no matter how noise free your high ISO files are from any cameras in the market, at higher ISO settings you do lose quite a fair bit amount of useful detail, and any sane photographers would recommend staying at lowest ISO setting possible to obtain best possible image quality. 

I have used E-M10 extensively, and now having used the E-PL7 for about two days, I found the 3-Axis Image Stabilization to be very effective. The following shot of Chilli Pan Mee was taken hand-held at 1/4sec. Not that I would encourage anyone to do ridiculously slow shutter speed with the E-PL7, but this confidently boosts your success hand-holding shooting rate of slower than comfortable shooting rate. 

25mm F1.8, 1/4sec, F5, ISO200

45mm F1.8, 1/25sec, F1.8, ISO320

25mm F1.8, 1/60sec, F1.8, ISO200

45mm F1.8, 1/50sec, F3.2, ISO200

45mm F1.8, 1/160sec, F2.8, ISO200

45mm F1.8, 1/50sec, F4, ISO10,000

100% Crop from previous image. ISO10,000

45mm F1.8, 1/50sec, F5.6, ISO6,400

100% Crop from previous image. ISO6,400

45mm F1.8, 1/200sec, F6.3, ISO1,000

So what is the Olympus PEN E-PL7? E-PL7 is surely an upgrade over E-PL5/E-PL6, not just a replacement model, and it offers similar shooting capabilities and performance as the OM-D E-M10 in general. E-PL7 is small and has solid, premium build, delivers images crisp and full of fine detail, and is equipped with 3-Axis Image Stabilization.  In addition, E-PL7 is designed primarily for the general market: people who are living in the social media world, constantly creating and sharing photography content online, thus having convenient yet powerful WiFi connectivity and at the same time being optimized to be used for Selfie captures. 

It can also be noted truthfully that in terms of image quality and AF performance, there really is no significant improvement over the current OM-D E-M10. After all the E-PL7 and E-M10 are using the same image sensor and image processing engine , Truepic 7. This is not necessarily a bad thing, considering that images produced from both E-M10 and E-PL7 are still on par if not surpassing many competition models, when you take into consideration of the entire system, what the lenses can do and how optimized image quality from Olympus is. 

There are a few small things that could have made the PEN E-PL7 an even greater camera.

An inclusion of a viewfinder would benefit the user. I admit I did attach the external Electronic Viewfinder, VF-4 for half of the shots shown in this blog entry, and for some people, a viewfinder is a must. Although the VF-4 can be bought separately, I think having it integrated into the PEN (without sacrificing the small footprint and light weight) will make this E-PL7 a more appealing camera.

Perhaps the decision to just use a single dial control on the E-PL7 was to clearly separate the camera from the flagship PEN E-P5, but I do find dual dial control to be extremely important and useful.

12mm F2, 1/400sec, F7.1, ISO200

On the whole, I did have plenty of fun shooting with the PEN E-PL7. Believe me, I am not done with the E-PL7 yet, and this blog entry is just the beginning. I know I may not have covered everything about the E-PL7 (not that I intend to, again, as a reminder this is a user experience, not an encyclopedia-esque kind of guide to the camera) but I do wish to shoot more with the E-PL7 soon and continue posting more photographs, and perhaps add on more thoughts about the camera.

There really is not much to complain about E-PL7, for an Olympus PEN. You get so much and can do a lot with such a small little camera, yet it is beautifully stylish.

Not enough sample photos? Want to know more about the PEN E-PL7? 
Tonnes of high ISO images as well as low ISO samples added, with download link to full resolution images!

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  1. Hi Robin,
    You have been busy shooting with your (not so) secret camera :-)
    Sounds like Madonna really had a thing for you.
    An excellent and engaging post, as usual.

    1. Hi Bjorn,
      Thanks for the kind words. And yes I miss Madonna already!

  2. Oh. I like the new art filters. Made another brand left nothing.

    1. I love the Vintage Art Filters!

    2. Me too. Better than traditional art filters.

    3. Sapphire, you can also combine the new art filter with old one. I like to combine the Vintage and Pinhole!

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Nice function. Honestly the previous artfilter really not so useful. Now the new developed art filters sure attract many ppl come to buy, especially ppl who like vintage.

  3. Hi Robin, thanks for the great write up as usual. As an EP5 and EM5 user the one area I find my cameras really struggle is autofocus speed in very low light, and in contrast this is an area where the Panasonic GX7 is significantly faster. If you get the chance, can you please check the AF speed in low light and report back? Thanks.

    1. I am using E-PL5 and E-M5. I have NO issues shooting in low light, and I find the focusing to be always fast and accurate. How dim was the light? I was shooting at ISO6,400 and above, with shutter speed at only 1/60sec and slower.

    2. Hi Robin, in relatively low light it is fine but I am talking about very low light, so -2ev to -4ev. Think of a dark street late at night with a single streetlight that is far away. In these light conditions the camera either will not focus or will take a second or two. In comparison the Panasonic GX7 is equally fast in daylight and these very low light situations.

      I love my Olympus bodies but I shoot a lot of street photography very late at night and the AF simply cannot keep up in those conditions. I'm considering getting a Panasonic body for use very late at night but honestly apart from this one issue I highly prefer my Olympus cameras. The day that Olympus can match that low light AF performance in a new body, I'll buy it!

    3. I do shoot on the street at night, and I use both E-M5 and E-PL5 with me. I have no issues. I am not sure how dark is your dark but so far everything worked out great. Surely E-M1 and E-M10 would have improved AF, and that would be inherited by the E-PL7.

      I have used the GX-7 before, comparatively, even in daylight, any Olympus cameras are noticeably faster, not by a far margin, but definitely faster.

    4. Also I believe your case could be lens dependent as well. What lens were you using when the E-PL5 showed signs of difficulty in low light? If the lenses were Panasonic 25mm F1.4, Panasonic 20mm F1.7, then I can understand. Yes, those lenses perform better on Panasonic bodies, especially on low light shooting.

    5. Someone even did a video to demonstrate the focusing of 45mm F1.8 vs 20mm F1.7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXRM7Lsa7w8

    6. Hi Robin, thanks for your reply. All the lenses I am using are Olympus lenses, the one I use most often is the 17mm 1.8. Other lenses I have used include the Olympus 25 1.8 and the Olympus 45 1.8.

      I don't know how else to explain how dark I am talking about than providing EV values (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_value) as I did, but most assuredly the Olympus bodies do struggle to focus in those light conditions whereas the Panasonic doesn't. Yes in good light the Panasonic is a bit slower than the Olympus. In very low light, the Panasonic stays almost as fast and the Olympus AF speed plummets. Please note, I'm not talking about low light, I'm talking about very low light.

      I've used both side by side with the same lens in the same conditions. Furthermore I know two other photographers that have reached the same conclusion. I would love to be wrong about this but I don't see how it is possible. I love my Olympus cameras and am very happy with them. I wouldn't even consider this a bug or a fault as I don't think most people would expect their camera to focus fast in those conditions. However, seeing as how it has been implemented in other cameras it would be great to have that ability in my Olympus.

      From my experience in asia the streets tend to be lit up a lot more at night than in northern Europe, which could be why you haven't had this issue. To be fair, almost all DSLRs also struggle in these situations, the only exception I know of being the Nikon D800 which can focus well down to -2ev (tested firsthand). The GX7 claims to be able to focus well down to -4ev and I don't know if that's true but it does at least match what the D800 can do (-2ev).

      I can try to borrow a GX7 next week and make a side by side video comparison if you're interested.

    7. PS: I should have mentioned this earlier but I shoot with the AF assist light turned off as it attracts too much attention.

  4. Yay an Olympus selfie camera that I would like to have!! Does it has built in timelapse function??

  5. An handy guide for doing selfies:

    Step 1: DON'T.


  6. hi Robin, what is the price?

    1. We do not have the official pricing for Malaysia yet though.

  7. Hey Robin, nice review as always! The E-PL7 seems to be a nice and pretty small back-up body. After reading your review I recommended the camera to a friend and she was really impressed by your pictures taken with the E-PL7. She likes taking selfies, so this would be a huge step up from her typical smartphone pictures. :D I might pick up one on my own since it is really reasonably priced.

    1. Hey glad to know your friend finds the E-PL7 good for selfie! I am sure not only will her Selfie photos get better but overall in photography there is a whole new world to discover!

  8. Hi Robin,

    Now you make me uncertain whether to take the E-M10 or E-PL7 for the next Oly camera. .. ;)
    BTW, is the E-PL7 bundled with an external flash?


    1. Hi Alex,
      yes it is bundled with the standard clip on flash.

  9. So far I didn't liked many of the art filters because many were just too much in my opinion, but the new vintage ones look really great.
    And when I see some other features that the new PL-7 got, like the increased framerate for focus peaking, I'm eagerly waiting for the E-M10 Firmware Update :) But I'm sure that we'll get many of the new features as well and that's why I like Olympus so much.

    1. The new Vintage Art Filters are great indeed! And yes the focus peaking is better now, I shall cover that in the next write up.

  10. The Flip-Down screen is the worst screen design in camera history, my Sony A55 had it, it frustrated me to eternity. Let put it on the table to take a group photo? Oops, can't do it, because the screen can't get thru the table. Let's use tripod to aid, oh no, can't do it either, the ball head is blocking the flipping screen! How about doing a solo documentary video? Oh I can't tell if I am in focus, or if the camera is running at all because the flipping screen flips downward! What were you thinking Oly, while Sony finally realized they failed with this design so badly, they learned and started using flip up screen like every brand else for a good reason, and you changed a perfectly fine design from EPL5/EPL6 to a flip down screen just to be different?

    1. Dennis,

      I would not go as far as to call it the "worst" design. You can put the camera on the table and take a group photo. Similarly, you can put E-PL7 on a tripod and take a photo. You have an option to use your smartdevice as your live view. Connect through wifi, and believe me it is even better that way, because if you put the camera on a tripod far away for a big group, you have to squint your eyes to see the tiny screen of the camera far away.

      You have not tried shooting "touch selfie". It does not make sense having it flipped up. You have to try it yourself to understand this. E-PL7 is designed for selfie use in mind. With Touch screen shooting, flipping down was the best solution. Only after you use it will you see this point, it gets very obvious.

      I do not see anything wrong by flipping the screen downward, in fact it should be the way forward, at least for Selfie shooting cameras.

      I do not understand your solo documentary video though. Why is it not possible?

    2. Haha I totally got the same reaction for the flipdown (can't shoot on a table, can't shoot on a tripod). A shame really, for a camera that you can handhold with any lens and it will be stabilized. I'll be looking for the GF6 for that then...

      In defense of epl7, I do understand having it flip down is easier for touch controls though, it's also better for selfie viewing especially when you do the 45 degrees downtilt. Look at the Casio TR series, the screen is also lower than the lens.

    3. The above product shots show the LCD hinges from the top as well as the bottom, so tripods are usable, low level macros possible....

  11. Love the selfie with the bird. I like how she has her head cocked to the side. It's amazing how many new models get churned out these days.

  12. Great new Olympus camera! Great article! Period.

  13. For the cost and size it seems that the E-M10 is a WAAAAAAAAAAAY better buy. Comes with a viewfinder...and everthing else is the same for way less money, especially for an E-PL7 with VF4.
    Great shots as usual Robin!


  14. Hi, thanks for this review! I would like to know if it is a good camera for making macro photo's. Did you try that out?

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. I know what makes you been so busy lately now.. lol

  17. Great shots Robin! This actually make me want to pick up then E-M10 that has seen some better discounts these days. Lovely Oly colors!

  18. For some reason your review somehow reinforced my belief that I would buy an E-P5 with built in viewfinder if Olympus made one. I bought an E-P5 because it had the 5-axis IS, built in flash, and it used the same battery as the E-M1 (this was the main reason why I didn't buy an E-M10, apart from the fact that E-P5 looks gorgeous), but I ended up getting the VF-4 very soon. Having a viewfinder built into a PEN with all the other features would be a killer.

    1. Agreed with the EVF inclusion. Nonetheless, Olympus will have to solve the issue of not creating a hump! I mean, if there is a hump, then it would look just like an OM-D.

  19. Wow Robin, I didn't see this coming. The one thing I wish my EM-10 has is actually a selfie screen LOL. I don't do selfie alone but a group selfie is always fun. And without the hump, this camera is even more pocketable, not to mention you can almost add a 45mm f1.8 to your purchase for the same price (probably). In defense of the camera, the screen may be flipped down instead of up and that may has its disadvantage but for a hand held selfie, I thought it's perfect enough.
    Anyway, I will still love my EM-10 for its own advantage of dual dials control as well as its built in EVF and flash.

    1. OM-D and PEN are designed for different crowd. Surely, E-M10 is more for enthusiasts, hence the twin dial and the EVF, and PEN for casual users, evidently the SELFIE screen!

  20. robin, great shot like always o yeah ... about the LCD on the e-pl5 its has a problem, its to red right ? but on the PC monitor, the picture perfectly fine ... now with the e-pl7 LCD, its all right ?

    1. E-PL7 uses the same LCD screen as E-M1 and E-M10.

  21. What is the Habhal's Soya Sauce? Is it the same as Kikkoman soy sauce (if you have been in the US)? You're shots are great by the way. You're pictures make me curious.

    1. I honestly have not tried that Soya Sauce. But being in Asian countries, Soya Sauce is an integral ingredient in most of our cooking.

  22. I hear a rumor that the E-M1 is to have an update soon. With you saying the the E-M10 will get an update for focusing peaking and high frame rate EVF, that will be a welcome addition to the top dog camera too. Do you know if the rumors are true?

    1. No news on the E-M10 for now. But E-M10 is just about half a year old!

  23. Hi,
    Thanks for this interesting review and those very nice photos. I am following your blog as much for the photos as for the reviews (i am not sure about the syntax, excuse my french !)
    I am thinking about buying E-PL7 + VF-4or E-M10. Me too I prefer the design of E-PL7 but I have read that the integrated EVF in E-M10 has more less lag than the VF-4 and is more comfortable despite its inferior resolution. You have a long and big experience on Olympus cameras and please would you tell me about those two EVFs.

    1. Edit : "integrated EVF in E-M10 has less lag than the VF-4 and by the way is more comfortable despite its inferior resolution."

  24. Hi Robin,

    Great review as usual. I am looking for a " do it all" traveling cam, I can always have with me. I am an experienced amateur and was sold on the Stylus 1 based on you review. I ordered it. Since it has not arrived yet, and I can probably return it, what are your thought about the Stylus 1 vs. the EPL7? Quality wise, picture wise, low light, etc...


  25. Hi Robin, thanks so much for your review. Now I want to have it!! Love the model, reminds me alot of the oldies camera ;)
    I have been reading your blog and I love Olympus product. I have a question, is there any good external flash for Olympus E-PL? I checked the review of Olympus FL-300 is not too satisfying and with its length, I wonder if I can use it with Oly micro four thirds lens lens 75mm. Would you please advise me? Thank you so much!

  26. I read a comment from one of the reviews of EPL7 saying that this camera is basically an EPL5 with a selfie feature. Now I am confused whether it is wise to buy the EPL7 or the EPL5. I hope you can help me with this.

    1. Hi,
      In the review, Robin said that E-PL7 has the same sensor and processor than the E-M10, with a better building quality than the E-PL5. It has also better ergonomic ability with the dial wheel around the shutter button.

  27. Hi Robin,

    Do you know if it is possible to mount Nikon lenses on this camera?
    Anyway, great review. Can't wait to get one myself woohoo!

  28. Hi Robin,

    Thanks a lot for an informative review. I just got a PEN E-PL7 with a pancake lense. I like it a lot, except that there is a buzzing noise (like chaaaaa) when I pressed the shutter half way down for focusing. I can hear it from an arm-length (50cm?). The noise is softer when I turned the image stabilizer off, but not completely gone. This noise and the zooming sound also enter the video I took in a relatively quiet environment (at home). Is this normal? Or am I too sensitive to such noise?

    Thanks for an advice.

    1. Hi Gib,

      Did you ever figure out if there was something wrong with the camera re: the buzzing noise? I just bought this camera and have this issue and I'm tempted to take it back to the store!


  29. Nice pictures. Love those blurred backgrounds. Missed some shots with the kit-lens. :(

  30. I have used both Nikon and Leica manual focus lenses on my EM-1 very effectively. Since the E-PL7 has the same mount as the Em-1, and allows manual focusing, there is no reason that it wouldn't work just as well with manual focusing lenses from other manufacturers with the proper adapter.

  31. Found this post searching for The Olympus Pen e-pl7 i would have loved some pictures taken with the 14-42mm lens, but never the less thank you very much. This was a great post, very helpfull! :)

  32. Gidday, Robin, my first post/comments to you and as always I just love your photographic style, very similar to my own in some ways. I too love photographing the simple things sometimes, like a radio hanging in a market place (!), great shot and at ISO 10000 shows how excellent that Olly sensor can be ... and then there's the cat and the bag, fabulous shot and the very sort of pic I would take for myself. It's the perfect exposure and the blackness of the shadows reminds me why I always liked good slide film. I bought an E-M1 last year with that superb 12-40mm f2.8 and it's become very quickly my favourite camera to use in 50+ years of photography. I love what Olympus are creating and the E-PL7 looks a treat, nice build quality. I've kept my E-PL1 too and it is still capable of some cracking shots. Your pictures have now got me using the E-M1 at much higher ISOs sometimes just to see what it can do and I have no problems at all with the film-like noise/grain, it is the subject that matters most to me, the impact of the picture. My Canon FD lenses all work perfectly on both the E-PL1 and E-M1, the FD 50mm f1/4 - with and without a 15mm extention tube. Best of all is a mint Tamron 80-210mm f3.8/4 lens that must be over 30 years old now and since that becomes 160-420mm on the Ollys. I often use it for bird photography where I live, it's a remarkably sharp lens, usually left at f8 as it gives the best results, followed by f11 and f5.6. The Olympus system and especially the E-M1 is the best that's happened to my photography in years and I very much enjoy your blogs and reviews, Robin, great stuff! :)

  33. Comparing epl7 and omd 5 mark ii?

  34. Hi Robin! How to setting white balance in manual mode?thx

  35. Hello, happen to chance upon your blog. I am keen to try out this camera for my upcoming trip to the states. Isit a must to add extra lens? I like camera that is able to take wide angle and sometimes defocused background. Can you recommend me the lens?

  36. Hi Robin,


    I own a EM1 since more than 1,5 year and I am very happy with it (I was a former Nikon FF shooter). Since a longer time, I am searching for the right second body – especially a smaller one. Beside my EM1 I used a second-hand EM5 for nearly a half year, but I found the size was too close to the EM1. Then I switched to the extreme small GM5 from Panasonic – but I am not really happy with the layout – and the small viewfinder (witch was the main reason not to by the cheaper GM1). I also did not like its 1/60s limitation of flash - sync speed and the poor access for switching the focus points. This makes the (otherwise lovely) camera not very useful to me.


    At the moment I ordered the E-PL7 (body only) for crazy cheap 160 CHF!!! in Switzerland (I just ordered two of them for making some extra benefit on ebay J) – mainly because I love the design and the features like build in stabilization and a much better user interface in comparison to the Panasonic. Like the GM5 before, I will use the E-PL7 with two lenses only:  the 20mm 1,7 Panasonic and the 45mm 1,8 Olympus.


    The big question is: Because the E-PL7 has no built in viewfinder, I think I will order the VF4 after a couple of days. Especially in bright and sunny winter days here in Switzerland (hello snow…) it will be nearly impossible, to shoot without them. With the EVF I come close the actually price point of the older EM10 MK1, which is from the pure technically standpoint, more or less the same camera.


    Because you reviewed both of them: What is your opinion. Is the E-PL7 a better choice for a second body of an existing EM1 user, or should I go with the EM10 MK1? Because I did not want to spend too much money in my second camera, the new EM10 MK2 is no option. I personally like the design of the E-PL7 more than the EM10 and I also like the option to go or not to go with the (bulky) EFV and save some space in my bag when needed (important for hill climbing, mountain biking…). I also think, that size wise, the EM10 is nearly the same like the EM5, I sold for its near to the EM1.


    Otherwise I will maybe miss the EVF in some situations. And of course with the EM10 I can use the EVF AND flash simultaneal. Not easy so far…


    Thank you for answer and congratulations to your very nice site. I relay enjoy each of your reviews and pictures.



    Best regards from Switzerland


  37. Hi Robin,

    I'm considering between the EP-L7 and EM10 Mk 2. Totally noob with olympus cameras. Both have similar specs but the EM10 mk 2 have slightly better/more features. Which one would you recommend? I usually shoot children, pets and home interior.

  38. so if you had a choice, would it be the E-pl7 or the E-p5? if price is no issue, which one would you go for?

  39. hi robin, Im faizal, just call me Pe'jal. Im one of an amature Olympus fan who likes to take picts, if u do have time we can go somewhere and u can give me tips to take pict with my beloved EPL7. Im in KL. My Instagram & LINE id - pejal378. hope u can give a comment and perhaps u can give me tip to take beautiful yet great picts. tq

  40. Your website is really cool and this is a inspiring article. Thank you so much.

    selfie apps

  41. Hi robin! I love your detailed post! Can i ask what lens should i use for me epl6 if i wanna take model shots with the blurred background? This is prolly a simple thing for u but im super new to photography! Hope you can help! Thanks!!

  42. Hi Robin, very well written review and I enjoyed reading it! which camera will you suggest for street and long exposure photgraphy Olympus EM10 mark II or Pen EPL7?

  43. I was just trying this camera and wondered why it won't focus on macro close up. I'm using the standard lens , on auto. I want to take a close up of a flower, I zoom in but it focuses on the leaves behind. Any ideas? Thanks.

  44. Is it able to use a tripod when the screen is flip down, if yes which type of tripod that it can be used? I cant find any review of it.

  45. Just bought this baby (after 3 years since your post :v) to begin my photography journey, absolutely loved it, and your article on the kit lens was so helpful for beginners like me
    Thanks Robin