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Olympus PEN E-P5 Hands-On Preview

Hands-on preview of the Olympus PEN E-P5, the new premium Micro Four Thirds camera, with 16.1 megapixel sensor, 5-axis image stabilisation and Wi-Fi. Updated with menu video.

|  Olympus PEN E-P5 in Mirrorless Cameras
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Olympus Pen Ep5 Black White Bg (2) (Custom)

The new Olympus PEN E-P5 is this year's update to the Olympus PEN E-P3, and along with a new design, features a 16.1 megapixel sensor, 5-axis image stabilisation, 9fps continuous shooting, built in Wi-Fi and a 3inch tilting touch screen. 

Olympus PEN E-P5 Features

Olympus Pen Ep5 Black White Bg (1) (Custom)

Features of EP-5 mirror that of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, but without the weather sealing or built in electronic viewfinder. With the same 16.1 megapixel sensor and Venus engine as the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the E-P5 also features extended ISO, from ISO100 to ISO25600, 5-axis image stabilisation and 9fps continuous shooting, with built in Wi-Fi for image sharing and remote shooting. On the back is a 3inch high resolution 1037k dot touch screen that tilts up and down. The E-P5 also features a built in pop-up flash. 

Vf4 On Camera (3) (Custom)

VF-4 - Introduced with the E-P5 is a new electronic viewfinder with an EPSON LCD with 2.36million dots, combined with Olympus optical elements (designed to give good performance even in the corners) and give a large 0.74x view - which is larger than the full frame optical viewfinder in the Nikon D800, and just slightly smaller than the 0.76x view in the Canon EOS 1D-X. The viewfinder does not show any banding or colour aberrations when panning, and appears to be very good quality when in use. It can also be tilted straight up. The VF-4 has built in eye-detection sensors to automatically switch it on, and the rear screen off when raised to the eye, however the eye-detection feature does not work when the VF is used on older cameras, and instead you will need to use the manual switch to switch to the EVF. The new VF-4 when used with the E-P5 has quicker eye-sensor switch-over time of 0.4 seconds to switch from the rear screen to the EVF, and a fast response time of 0.032sec.

Olympus 17mm F18 Black (2) (Custom)
Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens in black

Olympus has announced black versions of some of its lenses including the: 17mm f/1.8 - which will be available as a kit with the Olympus PEN E-P5, as well as black versions of the 45mm f/1.8, and 75mm f/1.8 prime lenses.

Olympus Pen Ep5 Hands On (3) (Custom)

Accessories / options: There will be a limited edition model of the E-P5 with a premium wood grip and a matching premium red leather bag, red leather body jacket, and red leather strap available. Also announced is a number of different colour leather body jackets (light brown, brown and black).

Olympus Pen EP5 White (1) (Custom)

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • 5-axis image stabilisation (up to 5EV compensation)
  • 2-axis eletronic level
  • 3inch 1037k tilting touch screen
  • ISO100 - ISO25600
  • 1/8000s mechanical shutter
  • 9fps continuous shooting, 5fps with C-AF
  • Full HD video with 30fps, with IS, Stereo mic
  • Built in pop-up flash, guide: 10 (ISO200)
  • Wireless flash control, 4 channels
  • Wi-Fi built in, GPS data from smartphone
  • 400 shot battery life
  • 122.3 x 68.9 x 37.2mm
  • 378g (body only)
  • Available in black, two tone silver and black, and white

Olympus PEN E-P5 Handling

Olympus Pen Ep5 Hands On (4) (Custom)

Build quality is excellent, and it has an updated / new design compared to the Olympus PEN E-P3, but also has a number of design elements that have remained the same, such as the gloss top plate. A new feature is the introduction of front and rear command wheels, to allow the quick setting of aperture and shutter speeds, or exposure compensation when in P/A/S and other modes. There is a lever on the back that lets you switch between this mode of operation, or alternatively using the front and rear dials to set ISO/WB directly. In the middle of this switch is the video record button, and on the back of the camera you can find the usual Olympus controls as well as a scroll wheel with a middle OK button. The top function button can be customised, and when used in conjunction with the rear zoom dial can be used for one touch AE bracketing.

Olympus Pen Ep5 Hands On (5) (Custom)

The rear features a 3inch tilting 1037k dot resolution touch screen that is able to tilt as much as the Olympus OM-D E-M5, it has a thinner profile than the OM-D, and looks great. There are a number of buttons and controls on the back of the camera, and the menu system is the same as the Olympus OM-D E-M5, where you can set a number of options quickly using the OK button and screen overlay. The manual pop-up flash is activated using the flash button on the back, and you simply press the flash back into the camera to close.

Olympus Pen Ep5 Black White Bg (7) (Custom)

Battery life is rated at 400 shots, and it uses the same battery as the Olympus OM-D E-M5, although Olympus say that the camera is able to show the effects of the 5-axis image stabilisation on screen thanks to battery and energy efficiency improvements. The EP-5 battery and memory compartment is underneath the camera.

Olympus Pen Ep5 Hands On (7) (Custom)

The front grip is no longer removable as it was on the Olympus PEN E-P3, however it gives a good grip for your fingers, and on the rear is a large rubber thumb grip to provide a sturdy hold on the camera.

Focus performance has been improved with a new quicker shutter response of just 44msec, which is only bettered by the Canon EOS 1D-X with 36msec (when quick shutter response is switched on). Switch on time is also said to be excellent with 0.5second switch on time. The camera also features improved magnified view for manual focus, as well as a focus peaking feature - a demonstration of this can be seen above.

Olympus PEN E-P5 Performance

Image quality is expected to be identical or near identical to the Olympus OM-D E-M5, as the camera uses the same sensor as the OM-D E-M5, as well as the same Venus image processing engine. Although one new feature is that ISO100 is now available, while the lowest ISO setting on the E-M5 was ISO200. The E-P5 is also the first mirrorless camera to feature a 1/8000s mechanical shutter speed, with other cameras using an electronic shutter to reach this speed.

Olympus Pen Ep5 Hands On (1) (Custom)

Once we have a full production version in for review, we will post sample photos and our full review of the camera. In the meantime, feel free to have a look at our hands-on photos, as well as the specifications below.

Olympus PEN E-P5 Hands-On Photos of Equipment

Olympus PEN E-P5 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeLive MOS Sensor
Sensor SizeMicro / Four Thirds
Sensor Size (width)17.3mm
Sensor Size (height)13mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1037k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Touch AF
  • Spot
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/8000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Shade
  • Flash
  • Underwater
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting9fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)400shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsBody, Li-ion battery BLN-1, Li-ion battery charger BCN-1, USB/Video Multi cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Viewer 2/ib CD-ROM, Instruction manual, Warranty card

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Photographs taken using the Olympus PEN E-P5

DandelionSpring AbstractGlitterIce Forest 2Ice-ForestThe OakThe yawnSunriseCatPosingTreesThe Incredible Lightness of BeingFirst snow in the Austrian AlpsFinding solitude in Nature

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xGei8ht 13 76 United Kingdom
10 May 2013 8:51AM
Hmm very nice.

I would love this camera.
brian1208 18 11.8k 12 United Kingdom
10 May 2013 11:46AM
the best bit of kit here for me is the new VF4. If its not too expensive I would like it to sit on top of my EM-5 for studio and some low level macro work

This update gives me some interesting ideas on how the "EM-6" may be specified - that's the one I'm waiting for Grin
kodachrome 10 772
10 May 2013 1:40PM
VF-4, about 240
Paul Morgan 21 19.6k 6 England
30 May 2013 4:47PM
The white one is very smart looking Smile
Tcoat2 9 Australia
16 Aug 2014 8:46AM
As was common on many Olympus models since the E-30, but missing on more recent cameras like the E-M5, the E-P5 offers an ISO 100 equivalent setting with reduced highlight range. This is because the ISO Low and ISO 200 settings are derived from the same sensor amplification setting - ISO 200 images are exposed to less light, protecting highlights, compared to ISO 100. The two settings have different tone curves applied so that both give the same image brightness, despite the difference in exposure.

The upshot of this is that the ISO Low shots include less highlight detail but with 'cleaner' shadows, while the ISO 200 shots strike the opposite balance.

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