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Olympus Pen E-PL5 compact system camera

Date

Reviewed by Terry Lane

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

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Price: $750 with 14mm-42mm lens
The good gets better

The low-down: This 16-megapixel camera uses the same sensor as the OMD E-M5, which means good low-light, low-noise performance and, with the kit lens, fast autofocus. The touch-sensitive LCD swivels on one plane. Focus can be set and shutter fired with one touch on the critical point on the screen. When Super Control Panel is active, camera functions can be accessed with the touchscreen. All the Olympus accessories, such as the electronic viewfinders, microphone and macro lights can be used. An external hot-shoe flash is in the kit. The camera is equipped to take wi-fi cards. As with all Pen cameras, the menu system is comprehensive, if you can work out how to access it.

Like: The E-PL5's image quality is not ''lite'' (as the nomenclature has it) in any sense. This is Olympus imaging at its consistent best. The touch-sensitive Super Control Panel is brilliant.

Dislike: But here's the rub: the SCP is not active by default. It is hidden in a second layer of menus that are themselves hidden inside the first. Not only will you never find the SCP by accident, you will have difficulty finding it even if you know it is there somewhere. We have activated the SCP on several Olympus Pens and we still have trouble finding it. Bizarre.

Verdict: This is a superb camera. Olympus lenses are legendary for their optical qualities and coupled with the E-PL5 (we tried several, including the new 60mm macro), the results are spectacular. The E-PL5 produces DSLR image quality from a package that will just about fit in a pocket. The good just got better.

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