Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 camera (preview)
Olympus beefs up its PEN Lite interchangeable lens camera, adds Wi-Fi hotspot support via Toshiba FlashAir cards
- In-camera filters
- Won't know until we test it
Olympus has given the new version of the PEN Lite a handgrip to make it a little more comfortable to use. It has also improved the screen and the in-camera filters and focusing, making the E-PL5 a better offering than the E-PL3 that it replaces.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Olympus has just announced an upgrade to its PEN series of cameras, introducing the PEN Lite E-PL5, which is a direct replacement for the PEN Lite E-PL3.
The new model has a bulked up physical appearance that includes a handgrip and a screen that can flip up to facilitate self portraits. It takes on more of the look of the PEN E-P3 thanks to the new handgrip and it has been designed to offer a more balanced and comfortable in-hand experience. If you don't like the grip, it can be removed or interchanged with another colour.
It's still based on the Micro Four Thirds lens mount, which ensures that it can make use of a large array of already existing lenses that are on the market from both Olympus and Panasonic, and it incorporates a sensor that has 16 megapixels. It's the same sensor that the OM-D E-M5 uses and can offer the same image quality as that camera for the most part. However the OM-D is said to have better dynamic range, and it's designed with more high-end users in mind thanks to its weather-resistant body and built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF); the E-PL5 isn't weather-resistant, and it requires an optional EVF if you don't like using the LCD screen primarily.
The focusing technology is the same as the OM-D and is said to be extremely fast and more accurate when it comes to face detection. The fast experience is aided by the inclusion of a capacitive touchscreen that incorporates touch-to-focus and touch shutter technology, which allows you to simply tap on a point on the 3in LCD in order to take a photo. For self-portraits, the screen is mounted on a hinge that allows it to flip all the way up (180 degrees). It can also be angled up or down to help you capture more interesting perspectives of your subjects.
A trend we've seen among camera vendors recently is the inclusion of in-camera help that can aid new users when it comes to blurring backgrounds or getting sharp images. Olympus has followed suit, adding its own LiveGuide to the E-PL5, which is designed to work with slider controls on the touchscreen. Using these sliders, users can make adjustments to settings in real time. Like other Olympus cameras, the PEN Lite E-PL5 continues to offer art modes, and there is even a bracketing mode that allows you to apply multiple art filters to one single shot, just like there is on the OM-D. Furthermore, art filters can be applied to photos after the fact when you shoot RAW and process the images on your computer.
Another key feature of the new PEN camera is its support for wireless connectivity. Specifically, the camera supports wireless communications through the use of Toshiba FlashAir SD cards, which can turn the PEN into a hotspot and allow you to connect to it from a phone or computer to browse photos on the camera directly. The photos can then be transferred and uploaded to the Web. Olympus will also supply its own O.I Share app, which will make the sharing process to social media sites more streamlined. It's not clear yet whether Olympus will bundle the new PEN with a FlashAir SD card — at the time of writing, Olympus was still undecided. The camera also supports Eye-Fi cards.
The camera has built-in image stabilisation that is based on image shifting and it can work with any lens that is attached to the camera. Importantly, it works to correct movement from up and down movements in addition to left and right movements. The OM-D is still more advanced in this regard though, as it has stabilisation support for rolling and horizontal and vertical movements as well.
A shutter speed of up to 1/4000 of a second is supported by the PEN E-PL5 and it has a high-speed burst mode that can rattle off a stated 8 frames per second depending on the mode. It has improved low-light sensitivity (200-25600) and it can shoot up to Full HD video using the MOV container for MPEG-4 files.
The camera will come bundled with a clip-on flash (FL-LM1), but the EVF (VF-2) will be optional. A couple of new lenses will be released at the same time as the new PEN: a 15mm f/8.0 Body Can lens (which is basically as thin as a lens cap), and an M.Zuiko Digital 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens.
Olympus will sell the PEN Lite E-PL5 in a single lens kit for $799 and a double zoom kit for $999. It will be available from the middle of October.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Ford Focus ST (2015) review: Absolutely mental styling, engine, handling
- 2 LG 65-inch UHD TV (65UF950T) review
- 3 Playing chicken with a Tesla Model S
- 4 Audi TT (2015) review: A smarter take on the sports coupe
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Deals on Good Gear Guide
- Networking, Wireless & VoIP
Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- GoPro Hero4 Session: half the size, waterproof to 10 metres
- Sony wants to bring 4K video capabilities to more digital cameras
- Sony brings 4K capabilities to new Cybershot cameras
- Google teams with GoPro in broad virtual reality push
- The Olympus Tough Stylus TG-4 camera can record RAW files
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCInternal Communications ExecutiveNSW
- FTTechnical Sales Support Representative - The Worlds largest Search Engine!NSW
- FTDevOps Consultant - Microsoft Experience - Digital ConsultancyVIC
- CCMarketing Coordinator - World's largest search engine!NSW
- FTAccount Manager - PR AgencyNSW
- FTField EngineerNSW
- FTDesktop Engineering ManagerNSW
- CCAccount Strategist | Sales Executive | Global Search EngineNSW
- CCLead Generator - Software SolutionsNSW
- FTBusiness Development Manager & Account ManagerVIC
- FTSenior Account Manager - PR AgencyNSW