You won't find much advanced compact cameras with swivel screens and no viewfinders. This camera will probably be the last, considering the Pen F seems to be it's successor. I think company's are missing a hole in the enthusiast photographer target audience and this camera came very close to filling it.
The one thing I would change would be to have a fully articulating screen. The swivel screen just doesn't quite cover the all the angles needed. Granted, this camera does have the VF4 option for more options, but I think a fully articulated non-VF camera with advanced controls would have been quite a sweet thing.
Other than my gripe with screen, this camera did great in everything I could ask of it. It doesn't deserve 5 stars by any means, though.
The flash button should have been a slider or a switch or just something that's not so easily pressed. Anytime this camera was in my backpack, it would always come out with the flash open. Whenever I'm fumbling with getting it out of my coat pocket, the flash would be open. It was quite an annoyance!
The build quality of this camera is phenomenal! But over time, you learn where they took short cuts. For one, the directional circle buttons feel like a step down from the rest of the camera. You're constantly gripping and touching the cold hard metal body, the tactile rubber grip, the hardened leather textures, and the recessed metal dials and then you thumb the cheap plastic feeling circular buttons around the "ok" button and it's like getting to drive an exotic super car only to find out it's got an automatic transmission! Mix this with the fact the chrome trim is actually plated plastic and you wonder why such an elegant camera has these shortcomings.
Don't get me wrong, I may have bashed this camera a bit, but at the end of the day, it has served me well! In fact, I'm only switching up due to constantly babying it because it's so damn pretty. I'm rough on my equipment and I should have gone for the OMD line to begin with, but I'm sucker for shiny things...
A great camera for a great price
As a pro, I was looking to try a mirrorless camera. My history with Pen's go back over 45 years. Loved my film pen and even used one shooting couples in the Poconos one summer.
Like this camera, fast focusing and a multitude of controls. Would have received five stars if the ISO went higher and the screen was a bit bigger and more flexible.
Otherwise I highly recommend this camera.
I bought PEN E-P5 with VF4 viewfinder and Olympus 17mm/F1.8 lens. I din't want to by larger camera and this set gives me flexibility to use it as a pocketable camera (without viewfinder) with the same excellent picture quality as its bigger brothers.
I also have a lot of old manual focus lenses and to use them with PEN E-P5 is a breeze. The built-in image stabilization is very powerful. As an added bonus 200mm/f3.5 lens becomes 400mm due to 2x crop of micro4/3.
I am a long time Olympus camera user. I have an EPL1, an EPL-2, 3 Ep-3's and now 2 EP-5's. I was also a Sony SLT shooter for a short time.
In terms of build, the camera exudes quality. Solidly built, it feels good in the hand and I have medium sized hands. It has heft compared to Panasonic cameras.
Size wise- compared to DSLR's, it is smaller but not too small. Very easy to carry around without having to feel like you have a brick around your neck- I hike regularly and the thought of lugging my DSLR around is a very painful proposition.
Handling - as mentioned I have worked with PENs since the EPL-1, there is no comparison. AF is very quick AND Very accurate, no mirrors means no back/front focus issues. There is a solidity to the shutter action.
Menu system- I LOVE this about Olympus, yes it is complex but you can customize you camera to your hearts content! I am technically savvy so this comes naturally to me.
Image Quality - For my purpose of posting online and the rare print, 16 MP is more than adequate, I don't print beyond 8X10 so this more than adequate. Colors are accurate, auto WB not easily fooled. Sharpness is phenomenal - I have the 25mm, 45mm, Sigma 60mm, 12-40mm and the venerable 75mm. People are just blown away by the image quality when they see this camera can capture!
IBIS- industry leading, I can get away with shots in low light I never could with my other cameras. Great for manual lenses when attached.
Looks- This camera is very unassuming, it is very easy for me to capture photos of people since it does not look anything close to a DSLR! I get compliments and questions about the camera that I shoot because of it's retro modern look.
The grip is not replaceable compared to the EP3, I have however, found an aftermarket EM5 grip that works very well especially when I have to use my 75mm, 12-40mm and 45-200mm lenses.
Battery life is around 350 shots but I have 6 batteries ready to go if need be, I have learned to live with this with MFT and it is not a big deal for me.
This is a gentleman's camera with looks and performance to boot.
This camera is my re-entry of into the Olympus family of camera coming from a Nikon D200 SLR camera I got back a few years back. I wasn't hesitant as I wanted a smaller carry around camera that has DSLR like features. What I got was a replacement for that camera. It actually focuses faster than my D200 no matter what lens I have on it. And being a newer camera, it has a better sensor (more pixels and better dynamic range), and more feature, one of my favorites being focus peeking.
I also found the batterylife to be similar to any other camera semi-pro camera that I have used and has a nice build quality. Its a great small camera.