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Olympus E-P5 PEN (EP5/EP-5)


  • announced May 2013
  • it is an upgrade from the Olympus E-P3 PEN (EP3) but with much improved ergonomics, functionality and image quality
  • it adopts most of the features of the awesome Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera except for weatherproofing, built-in EVF and grip supports
  • plus adds in the newer features of the Olympus E-PL5 PEN Lite camera such as:
    • ISO LOW of 100
    • focus peaking
    • small target AF
    • new Lens IS priority option which allows you to automatically disable the sensor-based IS if a Panasonic lens with OIS is being used
    • intervalometer
    • fully compatible with the new Olympus VF-4 add-on viewfinder which is the BEST EVF currently available for any camera
    • new ART filter “Watercolour”
  • then a few new tricks of it's own such as:
    • 1/8000th sec shutter
    • new tilting 1037k dots (3:2) LCD touch screen
    • WiFi Live View remote control and image tethering via smartphone apps
    • automatic panning detection for the IS
    • live histogram for the Live BULB mode
    • fast shutter release mode with a lag of just 44ms
    • MyMode setting on the exposure mode dial plus user can store specific setups for each of the PASM modes such as changing S mode to a sports mode with AF tracking and burst mode (a welcome addition indeed)
    • HDR bracketing mode
    • 2×2 settings mode switch - option of user configurable mode 1 or mode 2 dial assignments
    • Olympus's Photo Story feature - allows you to generate multi-image composites like the pages of a photo book, in a wide variety of themes
  • this camera has such amazing versatility, build quality, styling and image quality in such a small camera that it will be a must have for many photographers
  • furthermore, it is now super easy to set up and control via WiFi from a smartphone such as an iPhone and see the live image and even trigger AF and the shutter by pressing on a subject on the phone's touchscreen - awesome indeed!

what do these new features mean to the photographer?

improved prime lens wide aperture shooting in sunlight

  • most of the predecessors in the Micro Four Thirds system required use of polarising filter or ND filters to allow shooting at wide aperture (eg. f/1.8) in bright sunlight - without these filters, f/1.8, ISO 200 and shutter speed of 1/2000th or 1/4000th sec would result in over-exposure of the sunlit areas
  • shutter speed of 1/8000th sec and the new LOW ISO of 100 will largely resolve this issue.
  • furthermore, the flash sync is now 1/320th sec for the built-in flash and 1/250th sec for the new flashes which will help fill-in flash in bright sunlight

improved image quality and AF speed

  • using the same sensor as the E-M5 means excellent sensor image quality with wide dynamic range and low noise at least below ISO 1600
  • this gives confidence to the user that they can indeed take high quality images that can be printed to 30“x40” if need be, yet still have a small camera
  • the AF speed is much improved over the E-P3 and is said to be even faster than in the E-M5 which was the world's fastest AF when introduced.

improved AF of small objects within the frame

  • one of my major gripes with the E-M5 is that it cannot AF on an subject that takes up a very small part of the frame such as a small wildflower on a tall stem with the background forest behind it
  • hopefully the new small target AF mode will resolve this - and hopefully they will add this to the E-M5 via a firmware update!

improved handling

  • many ergonomic improvements have been made over the E-P3
  • very configurable buttons and dials and the new configuration mode switch adds a nice touch - I can see this would be very handy when changing from AF to manual focus mode in particular.
  • tripod screw moved away from the bottom battery compartment which may make it easier to change battery or SD card whilst attached to tripod plate (depending upon the size of the plate of course)

super easy wireless live view remote control

  • you can now get yourself into a group portrait without having to worry about rushing after triggering the self-timer - you can now take your time getting into position, view the image the camera is seeing, adjust the focus as needed, trigger the self-timer, then put your iPhone in your pocket and have plenty of time to compose yourself for the shot.
  • there are many applications for this level of remote control such as placement of the camera in positions where you do not particular want to be in or cannot be in to control the camera directly.
  • Live View remote control is currently only for iAuto stills mode and not available in movie mode

easy on-location RAW or jpeg image editing

  • not only do you have the usual Olympus in-camera RAW editing capabilities, you now can rapidly transmit thumbnails to your smartphone via WiFi and the app will allow a range of functionalities such as:
    • importing selected images to the app in the phone
    • conversion of image to various sizes ready for web upload to Facebook, or wherever
    • applying ART filters within the smartphone app
    • adding your own watermarks to the image or attaching GPS data from the smartphone (the app can store geotag information and apply these to the images at a later time by checking the image's time stamp)
  • this will be awesome for travellers

improved use of manual focus lenses

  • not only do you get the E-M5's class leading 5-axis image stabilisation which can be used for legacy lenses, but this now also has automatic detection of panning mode
  • image stabilization system is also now always active by default, to provide a stabilized live view feed (on the E-M5 you had to set this ON in the menu so that half-press shutter activates IS)
  • the new focus peaking seems to work very well for fast, accurate manual focus although it does seem to slow the display frame rate down and is not currently available in movie mode

much easier image acquisition for HDR

  • capturing up to +/- 6EV bracketed shots at 9fps to minimise change between the images makes the HDR photographer's life so much easier.

more accurate exposures for bulb long exposures

  • photographers wishing to image night events can now see the image “developing” as the exposure progresses, and the new live histogram will give them a much improved opportunity to terminate the exposure when the exposure suits their needs.
  • fantastic for light painting, etc.

potential issues

  • no built-in EVF - this will not suit many people like me who MUST use an EVF as I can't view the rear screen without reading glasses, plus I don't like taking photos with the camera held away from my eye - it is just bad practice for image quality (camera shake). Of course you can buy the lovely VF-4 EVF but this adds bulk and uses up the hotshoe.
  • not weatherproof - well you can't have everything!
  • no add-on improved grip for larger lenses - this may make it a bit more difficult to use for long periods with the heavier lenses such as the Olympus m.ZD 75mm f/1.8 lens
  • re-located exposure mode dial may cause confusion issues for those who also use the E-M5
  • movie mode not class leading by any means - if you want the best quality movies in a camera not too much bigger than this, you need the Panasonic GH-3
  • focus peaking mode does not work in movie mode and does seem to slow the frame refresh rate down
  • intervalometer limit of 99 images means you can only shoot 4secs of 24fps movie
  • timelapse movie mode only shoots at 1280×720
  • Live View remote control only works in iAuto stills mode - no movie mode or other exposure modes as yet, and unlike on the Panasonic GH-3 it locks the camera's controls during use
  • LCD screen is not fully articulating and thus cannot be used for self portraits, but then you can use the Live View remote feature with your smartphone to address this
  • LCD screen goes below the camera when tilted downwards - this means, unlike the E-M5's screen, it cannot be tilted down on flat surfaces or on tripods - unlikely to be an issue!
  • tripod mount is offset to lens axis which may annoy some
  • 9fps burst mode same as on E-M5: AF and AE set on 1st frame then subsequent frames are locked to that initial setting, no IS unless using OIS lenses.
  • buffer limit same as on E-M5: means max. of 19 jpegs or 15 RAW in 9fps burst mode


  • announcement May 2013
  • same 16mp sensor, tiltable touch screen, in-camera IS, burst rates, ART filters as for Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera but no built-in EVF, only the optional add-on EVFs
  • shutter speed to 1/8000th sec (best of current Micro Four Thirds)
  • even faster AF than the E-M5 and with:
    • 800 AF points
    • Small single target AF
    • Super Spot AF selectable from center of magnified view (0.02% – 0.16% in view image)
    • manual focus assist Peaking mode
  • flash sync: 1/320 sec. Built-in Pop Up Flash; 1/250 sec. External Flash; Super FP: 1/125-1/4000 sec
  • built-in popup flash GN 7m ISO 100 and can be used as master controller for remote TTL flash
  • AE bracketing for HDR: 3 or 5 frames in 2.0/3.0EV steps, 7 frames in 2.0EV step
  • 20Mbps 1080 30p .MOV HD video
    • 4x One-push Movie Digital Zoom
  • 720p MJPEG 10fps Timelapse movies
  • stereo mic
  • Intervalometer: Interval Time 1sec. – 24 Hours, Max 99 frames
  • WiFi control by smartphones
    • QR barcode easy connect to smartphone
    • GPS data recording
    • Live View, Rec view, Wireless touch AF shutter - currently only for iAuto stills mode
  • WiFi LAN without need for WiFi SD cards
  • compatible with Eye-Fi and Toshiba FlashAir Wi-Fi cards
  • battery is the same as in the E-M5 and thus different to that in the E-P3
  • 420g
  • $US999 body only in black, silver or white


photo/olympusep5.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/20 23:56 by gary1

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