December 29, 2013
Rather than getting into the whole history of why I purchased this particular model I am going to stick to the particulars.
First: The camera is solidly built. It has heft without being too heavy, the buttons react with just the right resistance when pushed and when a lens is mounted there is no doubt that a connection has been made. I am of average height and the camera, with the grip added, feels very comfortable in my hands.
Secondly: Although I eventually changed some of the default settings to suit my desire for higher end results, the camera takes very good pictures right out of the box at the default settings (the good...).
Thirdly: To get the most out of this camera, the included full manual is required (the bad...) and, because the camera is almost infinitely adjustable, becoming familiar with the menu system is definitely a requirement (the ugly...).
Believe me when I state that, Olympus has provided a menu system that allows the user to do almost everything but, that flexibility comes at the cost of complexity. I am no novice to digital cameras and, it took me a few frustrating days to get the hang of it.
Finally, as of yet, I have no regrets. The flexibility that the menu system allows was well worth the learning curve.
Oh, one final thing. I did have the opportunity to contact tech support via email (about navigating the menu system) and got a response the same day. Go Olympus!
December 25, 2013
I bought the PL-5 as a second camera as I already have on OMD E-M5. I am very pleasantly surprised at what a competent and high quality camera it is. The images and image balance are great.
My only suggestion is to add a view finder at a reasonable price.
December 24, 2013
I currently own a Nikon Coolpix point and shoot and a Canon T2i DSLR and wanted an in-between camera for the size and quality . Spent lots of time researching and testing before buying the PEN E-PL5. All I can say is that this is quickly becoming my primary camera. I'm getting exceptionally high quality shots in every shooting mode and environment. The features on the PEN E-PL5 are similar to my favorite features on the other two cameras. Learning curve was minimal. PDF manual is adequate but could use some improvements e.g. hard to use index makes it necessary to page through to find what you want. All in all this is a fine camera and I see myself using it often and with pleasure.
December 10, 2013
I just received this camera so I have not been able to utilize all of its features, i.e. have not started to wade through its extensive menu. But using auto and P setting --so far the AF response is very fast--sometimes too fast--kit lens needs to complete focus. Camera is smaller than my Sony Nex 6 but has solid feel--even more solid than the Nex 6 and smaller..Feels and looks like a P&S but it is a DSLR. The kit zoom is okay for now--it is tiny and makes the camera even more portable-- a plus. I like the Oly's zoom mechanics better than the Sony's kit lens--though I think the Sony 16-50 MM zoom is slightly superior in resolution, but Sony Nex 6 's AF is noticeably slower than EPL5. I have no other PEN lenses yet. Would like to get 40-150 ,MM Oly zoom, Panasonic 20 mm or 25 mm sub f/2.0 primes in the future. May give 5 stars after I learn to use more of the camera features.
October 14, 2013
I started using Olympus cameras with a C-740 Ultra Zoom 3.2mpx.
I moved up to an E-500 8mpx. I started accumulating ED lenses. 14-54 was my first upgrade. I couldn't resist the E-620 which I have used for about a jillion pictures. Last year I got the E-5 and sold my E-500. The E-5 is the ultimate 4/3 system camera. It is however quite large and heavy to carry about so I kept my E-620. I resisted the micro 4/3 cameras because I didn't want to stop using my ED lenses.
Finally I got the E-PL5 16mpx. and discovered that with an adaptor I can use the old lenses from my 35 mm Canon cameras and another adaptor makes it possible to use my existing lenses!!! It works fantastically. I am getting world class photos with a camera that is the same size as my now empty wallet. The picture quality is incredible and with a WiFi SD card you can send pictures to your smartphone.
September 24, 2013
I enjoy motorcycling as well as photography and bought this camera to replace the Point and Shoot I take with me on the bike.
I had noticed my Olympus VG 160 P and S requires fewer post processing adjustments than my Nikon D5100 so when shopping for a 4/3rd camera I easily looked to Olympus first.
From the moment I opened the box I have been pleased with the EPL5.
It seems to be well built, it functions precisely as one expects it to, and it's shooting results are nothing short of spectacular. I anticipated that I would feel the touch screen functions to be a "gimmick" that I would rarely use, but this camera has made a believer out of me. Ditto the same worry about a lack of viewfinder. Although I have had the camera only 3 weeks, i have shot over 1,500 photos with it and not only am I comfortable shooting at arms length, i use the shutter release only when I am attempting what I consider to be a complex shot. I absolutely LOVE this camera.
There are a few quibbles;
The battery life is marginal at best. Although the camera is physically small, I think battery technology is such that a more efficient one should be employed by Olympus.
The documentation is terrible. There is no reason a company as large as Olympus should produce such inexplicable prose.
I should also note that I never use the camera ... any camera ... for movies; I have no idea how the EPL5 fares in this regard.
Conclusion ? Buy one
August 29, 2013
I do residential real estate photography and wanted to get into HDR but almost all dSLRs only do auto bracketing of 3 or 5 frames (unless you exceed $1500 for a Canon body) .
The dynamic range of a living room with a wall of bright outdoor light coming through windows just can't be captured with 3 frames - 5 frames many times will fail as well. Result - blown out windows or dark rooms - requiring extensive post editing to salvage the shots.
I wanted 7 frame bracketing even if each frame was only +- 1EV which would offer a 6 EV range. I searched the Internet daily for a month to find any camera I could afford to achieve that goal. Yes, I'm aware you could do two overlapping 3 EV brackets but I don't have time to screw around with something like that when shooting a $3 million home.
Apparently reviewers don't care about extreme bracketing and sometimes don't even mention bracketing at all because they're too busy jabbering on about how good the video output is for two or more pages.
I read somewhere that the Olympus PEN E-PL5 has 7-frame auto-bracketing and I finally found just one reviewer who mentioned that it has a specialized HDR-bracketing function of 7 frames at +- 2EV which is astounding. A 12EV range!!! His snide comment was, "Why would Olympus even bother?" My answer is - For ME and multi-thousands of real estate photographers who do what I do! Yes, 12EV auto-bracketing is excessive for shooting a mountain, rusty old truck, or a collapsing old barn, but it's absolutely perfect for specific fields of work where you need excessive range. Olympus didn't have to add that feature in this price range but they did - while no other manufacturer even tries to serve this market until you get into the big buck models.
I bought the camera this month, bought an inexpensive Olympus .75X converter add-on to take the 14mm end of the kit zoom down to 11mm, and got a remote control from eBay. After getting the three items in last week and reading the full manual (available online and on the CD that comes with the camera) several times (the manual really needs to be re-written), I took my new baby out for some exterior shots when I did a real estate shoot on Saturday. I did the interior with my dSLR. The exteriors were very natural color so I pumped up saturation in post.
Today I got bold and tripod-mounted the Olympus PEN rig on my tripod and shot all of a $500,000 12th-floor condo in 7-frame HDR auto-bracketing using the remote control. I took my dSLR and flashes along and shot the place with it too - just in case.
I found out Saturday that the kit lens is superior to all the Minolta, Sony, and Sigma lenses I have for my Sony dSLR. I found out Sunday when I took the E-PL5 with me to a Chinese Buffet and shot my wife and 3 year old son across the table from me that the image quality of the 4/3 sensor and the pure daylight color of the flash are perfect. Last night I shot head and shoulders of my son for passport pictures and they were so good I had one enlarged to 8X10 today and framed it. This morning I shot 217 frames of 7-frame HDR auto-brackets (31 compositions) with aperture priority mode, in very difficult lighting circumstances at the condo mentioned above, and the results are breath-taking.
Instead of spending six hours trying to fix my flash-based dSLR single frames in post-editing after the shoot, I just put all in one folder on my PC, told Photomatix to bulk "fusion merge" them in groups of 7, and took a nap! When I got up I touched each one up a little and resized them to the size my employer requires, uploaded them, and I'm done!
The E-PL5 is going to save me 3.5 to 4 hours per assignment because now I can just touch up the fusion results instead of doing battle with two software packages until my eyes fall out from staring at the monitor.
The E-PL5 has clearly superior image quality that rivals any crop sensor dSLR output I've seen, so my results are far better.
The E-PL5 is built like a little tank and even the kit lens feels smooth like it's much more expensive than it is. When you push the shutter button you hear a solid and smooth action going on inside that is reminiscent of FAR more expensive German cameras.
This model is worth FAR more than the $599 to me in what I do. It's a steal, top quality, and very versatile for customizing every button and dial by digging down into the menu system. You can shoot P, A, S, or M. Or you can just put it on i-AUTO and let it do everything. It has a pretty extensive "Scene" mode (SCN) that I'm going to dabble with this weekend when I do a family portrait session for a realtor I work with regularly. I'm betting that will be excellent as well.
The only negative is that the E-PL5 is so small that it doesn't look like a camera that a "professional" would use. It looks like a sturdy almost-pocket-sized point & shoot instead of a big hunk of "pro" gear. Sticking a big Guide Number 140 flash in the hot shoe would look absurd so I'd probably put it on an arm attachment instead. That image might bother some shooters but I don't care at all because this is the ultimate camera for my needs. It saved me a ton of money, cut my post editing time by 60%, and that's while it doubled the quality of my real estate work immediately.
If there was a rating of 10, I'd use it!
August 03, 2013
After a TON of research I chose the E-PL5. My criteria limited the options – I wanted a single use compact camera for dive vacations. It had to be small, take exceptional pictures and have interchangeable lenses. No other camera on the market does a very good job covering all of those bases. While I have yet to dive with the camera the land pictures I’ve taken have come out great – there are plenty of lenses to choose from too. I considered the OM-D but the size was a concern. I plan to dump my Nikon DSLR and purchase the OM-D due to my experience with the PL5. I wish the camera came with a view finder – shooting in bright sun is a problem – if you’re not concerned with the size I would recommend going for the OM-D since the price is the same after you purchase the add on view finder for $250. Many reviews point out the documentation for this camera sucks – I found this to be true – there are many references to pages that don’t exist. I would have never expected to purchase an Olympus prior to my research but my criteria dictated the decision without regard to brand preferences. Bottom line – this is an exceptional camera with tons of options in a sexy form factor that takes great pictures.
July 28, 2013
I own both the Epl1 and the Epl5. The 1 is better to hold and feels better in the hand due to the bigger grip and metal body. I wish the 5 had the 1 body and pop-up flash. That said, the 5 is a blast to use. I love the touchscreen focus and shoot via finger tap. The focus speed has to be seen to be believed. Picture quality is superb with the Pany 20mm or Oly 45mm. Color rendition is great. I use the electronic viewfinder so I tend to use the 1 inside at family events where I may need the pop up flash with a Gerry Fong puffer diffuser as I get better results. Outside I use the 5 due to the faster speeds available and way quicker focus and shoot times. I bought this on sale from Olympus for $499 with a case, very small tripod and 4 gb card. Overall I think this is one great camera to own!
July 19, 2013
I have used Olympus cameras starting with the E-510, E-3 and E-PL1 and own several lenses. The E-PL5 is a game changer. It has the best image quality of all the Olympus cameras I own. The dynamic range, focusing speed, resolution are all excellent; the size and weight are just perfect, I took me a while before I could fully transition from the "full size" E-3 to the pen series, but today this is the camera I use for all my photography.