Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5: Conclusion

by Chris Gampat Reads (29,865)
Editor's Rating
8.80

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 9
    • Features
    • 9
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Expandability
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 8.80
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Conclusion
The Olympus E-PL5 has a lot going for it: great image quality, quick controls, a lightweight body, a large screen, fast focusing, and does it all at a pretty great price tag. The camera will be one that both beginners and enthusiasts will be able to pick up and shoot with little issues from the very start. Olympus has made the ergonomics extremely versatile by making it a point-and-shoot camera style body with a large LCD screen that mimics the feel of a TLR experience. This screen will also be of great use to people shooting video. The overall compact package makes it a great choice for vacations or an every day camera.

The focusing performance is top notch for a camera in this class when accompanied with the right lenses. You’ll be able to photograph kids running around, or flowers moving around in the wind with ease.

Though the image quality is really quite good and the RAW files are extremely versatile, the camera doesn’t have the greatest high ISO image quality. With that said though, most users will be more than happy with the results that it gives.


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  1. danieladougan

    I own this camera as well as five Micro 4/3 lenses. It’s my “good” camera, not a backup.

    Pros: The compactness is great, although that gets eroded somewhat since I use the (excellent) VF-4 viewfinder. Nevertheless I can fit this camera along with four lenses, a second battery, the little flash, the viewfinder, and a macro adapter into a small bag and carry them all easily. If I moved up to a messenger bag then I could even fit my kit lens, but I never want to use that anyway. I can’t overstate the importance of this: the best camera is, after all, the one you have with you.

    The camera is very, very fast to focus and shoot. I would agree with the author that ISO 6400 and above are only for emergencies…but ISO 3200 is quite usable. When I replaced my old E-PL1 with the E-PL5, it was a huge leap forward.

    Cons:

    Like most mirrorless cameras, the E-PL5 falls down when it comes to tracking autofocus on moving subjects. Just yesterday I tried to track a flying egret (beautiful bird) that I saw at the park, and it really let me down. I really wish Olympus would put phase detect AF on more of its models than just the pricey OM-D E-M1.

    Another con is the grip. The author talked about the grip being removable to make the camera thinner, but if anything I want a deeper grip. Olympus sells a deeper grip that fits this camera, so I may have to buy it soon.

    Although I love the flip-up LCD screen (pro), I would prefer a flip-and-twist screen like the one on my old Canon PowerShot S2 IS (P&S circa 2005). I see that the new E-PL7 has a screen that flips down instead of up, but good luck using that with a tripod.
    I’m not saying that I need a separate screen to show my exposure settings (but it would be nice), but it would be nice to be able to make adjustments by turning a dial instead of just pointing up, down, left, or right one stop at a time.

    All in all, the E-PL5 is a very good camera that is just short of being excellent.