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Olympus PEN E-P5

Tested in the field

The Olympus MILC camera which arrived to our editorial is a the newest model of the unique PEN design. The inspiration for the new model goes back to 1963 as the retro look of the newly launched PEN E-P5 is strongly reminiscent of the PEN-F’s design. The producer is proud of this fact as their goal was to make a simple-use camera available for every mere mortals.
Photo: © Olympus


Press coverage
The world press and the test sites on the Internet agree that remarkable steps have been made forward on the market of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Olympus PEN E-P5 includes the knowledge of the OMD E-M5 camera for a lower price. But this knowledge is enough to brings this camera to the big ones of the MILC category.
First impressions
The camera was provided by Olympus Hungary for our editorial team, but unfortunately it came only with a M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42 mm f/3,5-5,6 basic lens. The outlook of the camera did not change too much compared to its predecessors. The biggest change is the location of the in-built Wi-Fi because it is hidden in the grip of the camera. Studying a bit more thoroughly the performance of the camera, I checked out the operation of the different shutter speeds during the use of the function wheel. It is a praise for the professional features of the camera that its mechanic shutter system is able to produce a speed of 1/8000 sec which is a remarkable performance by such a small camera; this is the same speed which is provided by professional DSLR cameras. And it can perform this even at a speed of 9 image/sec which is sufficient even for the fastest moving subjects. Another good point is the long exposure time, we can set up even 60 sec which is long enough for night city photos or extreme situations.
Photo: © Tamás Imre

The producer provides 30 minutes maximum for the Live Bulb mode which is exceeds the knowledge of the amateur cameras. Let me see what else is in the extras. Pintpoint AF function for ultra quick motions and an IS stabilizator which can manage 5-axis. Thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi we can establish a wireless connection and control through our smart phone and even can record GPS data with our camera, so we can record the exact place where we photographed.
I found the the tilting rear LCD a very good idea, it is very practical for photography of themes near the ground or to eliminate the disadvantage of strong sunshine. I always missed the real image viewfinder in MILC cameras, but there is a solution here the new, optional VF-4 electronic viewfinder which can be tilted as well. Its resolution is excellent, you can get 2.36-Megapixel pictures if you want to compose your pictures in this mode.
I really liked the quick touchscreen menu at the rear which makes the most important functions accessible in a moment. I liked this very much as I did not have to browse in unknown menus and submenus to find the AF, ISO or WB settings.
Out in the field
If you know the OM-D Olympus camera, it is very easy to learn the operation of this camera, buti f you don’t know, then you probably need one or two days to study its main options. We took the camera for a smaller trip where we could photograph landscapes, building interiors and night city sights. We used the camera just like a tourist, pulling it out of our pocket.
Test fields are always a good opportunity to try out a camera as the circumstances are always unexpected and accidental. It is not the studio which show what for a camera is capable. Olympus E-P5 passed the test very well. I also took photos with my own DSLR camera during the trip. During landscape photography there were some situations when I could take similarly high dynamic range with the combined usage of a polar and ND filter, what was possible for the small PEN without the use of any screen.
Photo: © Tamás Imre

I do not publish the pictures converted from RAW format but you can see the JPG files photographed besides the RAW formats. It is worth zooming up the pictures so you can see the pictures how rich in details and have a high range if dynamics. I was very surprised, the light sky shot with proper exposure has fine details even at the shaded parts and no noise at all. It is a praise for the camera’s image processing algorythm. This is what an amateur wants, heor she can capture what is seen, then it can be uploaded for the social network sites immediately. The other surprise struck me at the photography of an interior of a building without tripod (as we should have asked for premission to use one), so I photographed at higher ISO sensitivity. The results were very good in that case as well, there was barely a difference in quality between ISO 100 and ISO 800, and even at ISO 1600 quite detailed photos were made. I did not have to go higher as I only had wige-angle lenses on me. The night city shot was a real challenge, this is the basic issue at every camera which is equipped with less than a full-frame sensor. What quality can a 1.9 sensor produce at long exposure? Well, this was excellent too. I swear that if I just go for a family trip or holiday, it is absolutely unnecessary to take a DSLR camera if I have such a super little PEN machine. It is really a big deal, a few years ago it was unimaginable
Summary: Olympus PEN-E-P5 is suitable for everything what the average photographer needs, and it can show something new even for professional users. Dear fellow professional DSLR users and advanced amateurs, trust me, this is not a marketing text but sheer fact. I do not foresee the future but some big change is about to happen in photography and one of its pioneers is Olympus. Those who don’t like to carry the heavy equipment for family trips and travel photography will be very happy with this camera.
The camera body was provided by Olympus Hungary.
Text and photos: Tamás Imre
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