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Editor's Choice

Olympus PEN E-P5 review

Could this be the best Olympus camera to date?

Olympus PEN E P5 review

The Olympus PEN E-P3 was an extremely capable camera in its own right, but putting the proven excellent Olympus OM-D sensor inside the new, even-more-retro styled body is very likely to be a winning combination - dare we say it, even better than the OM-D itself.

We've already seen how that incredible sensor can be used to good effect in both the Olympus PEN E-PL5and the Olympus PEN E-PM2, so to see it in the top of the line PEN CSC is very welcome.

Olympus PEN E P5 review

Happily, we've been extremely pleased with what the camera is capable of. Images are very bright and punchy, while that 16.1 million-pixel sensor can resolve a fantastic amount of detail.

Many Micro Four Thirds doubters will call into question the low light performance of a small sensor. While it's true it can't really compete with the likes of full-frame bodies, it's more than a match for the likes of the larger sensored bodies from Sony and Canon, all the while having the advantage of a smaller overall system.

Olympus PEN E P5 review

As we've seen on other Olympus cameras, there are plenty of shooting modes to help you get the most from every situation. So, if you're photographing something with particularly vibrant colours, you could use Vivid modes, while Portrait mode could be more suited to producing neutral skin tones.

Olympus PEN E P5 review

Speed is one of the key boasts Olympus is making about this camera, with plenty of stats being thrown around about its start-up, shot-to-shot, and autofocusing times. We have been very impressed by how this translates in reality. Start up, focus acquisition and firing off the shutter can be achieved in just a couple of seconds from cold, while once the camera is on speed is well, speedy.

The fast processor inside the camera means that even while it is busy applying 12 different art filters while in art bracketing mode, you can still continue to shoot. Autofocusing speeds are equally impressing, being almost instantaneous in good light, and only dropping ever so slightly as the light fades.

Olympus PEN E P5 review

Speaking of low light, image noise is kept impressively low throughout the sensitivity range. At lower ISOs images are very crisp and detail packed, while noise starts to creep in from around ISO 800. It only starts to become particularly noticeable once you get higher up the scale though, towards the 1600 mark, while even images shot at much higher sensitivities, such as ISO 3200, are still very much useable, especially at small printing and web sizes.

Olympus PEN E P5 review

For the majority of shooting conditions, automatic white balance does a good job of reproducing accurate colours, but it does tend to err towards warmer tones under artificial light, in which case you'll want to switch to a more appropriate white balance setting. Similarly, all purpose metering (named ESP metering by Olympus) does a good job in the majority of conditions to produce a balanced exposure. If shooting very high contrast scenes, you may want to switch to spot metering for the best results.

Olympus PEN E P5 review

Like the OM-D, the E-P5 has 5-axis image stabilisation. This system offers compensation for five different types of image shake and does an excellent job of reducing image blur when shooting hand held.

One of the distinguishing features of any Olympus camera is its art filters. The E-P5 has the full range available, like the E-PL5 and E-PM2. It's worth experimenting with pretty much all of them, but your favourites will of course be down to personal preference. We're particularly fond of Dramatic Tone, Cross Process and Toy Camera.

Olympus PEN E P5 review

Luckily, unlike Panasonic cameras, you can keep control over settings such as aperture and shutter speed while using art filters on the E-P5, and even more luckily, unlike a lot of other cameras, you can shoot filters in raw format – so if you decide down the line you'd prefer a clean version of the shot, you can access that,

The E-P5's high resolution screen doesn't suffer too badly from glare or reflection, apart from perhaps in very bright direct sunlight. Of course the benefit of a tilting screen is that you can usually angle the screen away from any offending glare if it's proving too problematic.

Olympus PEN E P5 review

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenYes
Wireless LANYes
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
HDMIYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyPEN
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC UHS-I), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC UHS-I), Eye-Fi Card
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Digital Zoom2x
Brand NameOlympus
DurabilityDust Resistant
FeaturesContinuous Shooting Mode, Face Detection, Live View, Orientation Sensor, Time Lapse Function
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMOV, MPEG-4 AVC, Motion JPEG (AVI)
Weight (Approximate)378 g
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeLive MOS
Total Camera Resolution17.2 Megapixel
Camera AssemblyBody Only
Battery Model SupportedBLN-1
Height68.9 mm
Width122.3 mm
Depth37.2 mm
Autofocus Points35
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW, MPO
Audio FormatsPCM, WAV
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelE-P5
Product NamePEN E-P5 Mirrorless Camera
Product LinePEN
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberV204050BU000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing InformationPowerful. Pocketable. PEN. A classic design with a modern flair.

Designed with a modern twist to the original PEN® F, fans of the award-winning Olympus PEN family of cameras now have the PEN E-P5. The flagship PEN body that delivers a portable, premium quality experience. The E-P5 is packed with the latest innovations Olympus technology has to offer including 1/8000s Shutter Speed, 5-Axis Image Stabilization, "F.A.S.T" AF Speed, Built-In Wi-Fi capability*, 2x2 dial control and more.
Battery Life330 Shot
Display Resolution1037000 Pixel
Built-in DevicesSpeaker, Microphone, Wireless Flash Control