Olympus updates its retro-inspired mirrorless range with the PEN E-PL8

Spot the difference

Just over two years after the launch of its Pen E-PL7 mirrorless camera, Olympus has finally updated the popular retro-themed series with a successor, you guessed it, the Pen E-PL8.

The Pen E-PL8 maintains much the same core functionality as the model it updates. It arrives with the same partnership of a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor and TruePic VII processing engine as the previous model, while three-axis image stabilisation once again promises a maximum compensatory effect of 3.5EV stops.

In-camera raw processing and Wi-Fi functionality have been thrown in, although 4K video sadly doesn't appear in the spec sheet, with Full HD recording up to 30p instead. The camera's 81-point contrast-detect AF system, 60-1/4000sec shutter speed range and (extended) ISO100-25,600 span have also all been lifted from the previous model for this new arrival.

Burst shooting, however, has slightly improved, with a 7.4fps option with both focus and exposure fixed to that of the first frame, and a speedier 8.5fps setting if you're happy to forgo image stabilisation. By contrast, the E-PL7 could reach a maximum 8fps – so not a significant improvement, but a welcome one nonetheless.

With regards to design, although the camera follows the E-PL7 in featuring the same kind of touchscreen LCD screen that can be tilted 80-degrees upwards and turned 180-degrees downward to face the front, the body itself has been fashioned with a less angular design than the E-PL7.

Refined design

The E-PL8 now also has a small, raised strip on the front plate in place of the previous defined grip that occupied much more of the front plate. Looking closely at the spec sheet also reveals it to be a fraction larger and heavier, although not by any perceptible margin.

The E-PL8 is set to be available in October as a body only option and as a kit with the 14-42mm kit lens, in black, white and brown finishes. Olympus US has set a price of $549 for the body only and $649 for the aforementioned kit while UK prices are still to be announced.

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