Olympus PEN E-PL10 Review

We review Olympus' latest entry-level mirrorless camera, the E-PL10. The E-PL10 features a 16mp sensor, 4K video recording, and rapid performance.


|  Olympus Pen E-PL10 in Mirrorless Cameras
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Olympus PEN E PL10 White (2)
 

Quick Verdict

The Olympus PEN E-PL10 is a stylish mirrorless camera, that delivers excellent image quality, with numerous shooting features, and a wide range of lenses making this a good choice, thanks to 4K video recording and built-in image stabilisation. However, the previous version, the E-PL9, offers an almost identical camera, for significantly less money.

+ Pros

  • Stylish colour options
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • 4K video recording
  • Great JPEG results straight from the camera
  • Excellent noise performance
  • In-camera image stabilisation

- Cons

  • Main (setup) menu system could be improved
  • Does not feature 5-axis IS of E-M10 III
  • Very little difference between the E-PL10 and E-PL9
  • 16mp beginning to seem a little low resolution
 

 

Olympus PEN E PL10 White (1)

Visually there may be very little difference between the Olympus PEN E-PL10 and E-PL9, but there have been some subtle updates to the camera designed to make it easier to use. The camera features the same 16mp sensor, 4K video recording, 3-axis image stabilisation, a built-in pop-up flash, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The E-PL10 is available in white, light brown, and all black.

Olympus PEN E-PL10 Features

Olympus PEN EPL10 Selfie Screen

The E-PL10 features the same 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor as the E-PL9, but has had a number of tweaks to the user interface, to make it easier to use the touch-screen to change settings. The camera has 3-axis sensor-based image stabilisation, like the E-PL9 / E-PL8.

The 3inch tilting touch-screen has a resolution of 1040K dots, tilts up and down, with it possible to tilt completely down and forwards for selfie shots (under the camera). You can view a dual-axis electronic level on the screen, plus use the touch-screen to take photos, and video.

The camera records 4K video at 30/25/24fps, and the 3-axis image stabilisation will help keep videos steady and smooth. Stereo microphones are built-in. There is no microphone socket.

There’s built-in Wi-Fi, along with low-power Bluetooth so that you can connect to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth.

The E-PL10, like the E-PL9, has 121 autofocus (AF) points (contrast-detection), numerous art filters, and a built-in pop-up flash.

The shooting modes include Advanced Photo (AP) mode, which is designed to make it easier to use some of the more advanced shooting modes, of which there are many, including Live Composite, Live Time, Multi-Exposure, HDR, Silent, Panorama, Keystone Compensation, AE Bracketing, and Focus Bracketing.

The scene modes have been updated slightly, and you can use the touch-screen to select the scene mode you want, as well as change settings. These have been designed to be easy to use, and the Night scenes including "Light Painting" and other night modes that you can use, without advanced photographic knowledge. There's an Auto mode, with easy on-screen controls, P, A, S, M, with full manual controls.

Olympus PEN EPL10 Top Control Panel
Olympus PEN E-PL10 - Top / Super Control Panel

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixel Micro Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • Micro Four Thirds lens mount
  • 3-axis sensor-shift image stabilisation (up to 3.5 stops)
  • 3inch tilting touch-screen, 1040k dot resolution
  • 4K video at 30/25/24fps
  • FullHD video recording at 60p, stereo sound
  • ISO100 to ISO25600 (extended)
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • 8.6fps continuous shooting, up to 14.1fps using the electronic shutter
  • HDR, Focus Peaking
  • 31 Art Filters
  • Available in all black, white/silver, and brown/silver


Olympus PEN E-PL10 Handling

Olympus PEN E PL10 White (3)

The Olympus PEN E-PL10 features a plastic-bodied camera, and on top, the metal dials and shutter release button give the camera a more premium feel. The front grip has a slightly soft texture but can feel quite slippery at times. Combined with the 14-42mm pancake zoom lens, the camera is easy to take with you, being compact, and easily stowed away into a jacket pocket.

The rear grip for your thumb is quite small, and although it is made of hard plastic it does provide a reasonable area to hold on to. Some of the buttons seem quite small, but they are clearly labelled, and the 4-way controller around the OK button gives quick access to some of the key controls, including exposure compensation, focus area, drive mode, as well as flash settings.

The rear touch-screen looks good, with a decent resolution of 1040K dots. The frame surrounding it is quite large, and it would be nice if Olympus were able to slim this down in future models.

Olympus PEN E PL10 White (4)

Advanced Photo mode was first seen on the E-M10 Mark III, and is designed to make it easier to access some of the more advanced features on the camera, and these have been updated slightly to make them easier to use with the touch-screen. There’s also an updated Scene modes menu, with quick access to settings. These can make the camera easier to use, however, the main setup menus on the camera are long overdue a good update and can be quite tedious when looking for a specific feature.

Use of the Super Control Panel can make it easier to access settings and controls so that you can avoid having to use the menu system. You can also access exposure compensation, focus (area), flash settings, and the drive mode, using the four-way controller (with middle OK button). The drive mode options have been expanded, to include silent shooting which uses the electronic shutter (on the E-PL9 this was only available in the "Silent shooting mode"). You can also use the electronic shutter with TTL flash. The back (top) Function (Fn) button, can be customised.


Olympus Pen Epl10 Menus
Olympus Pen E-PL10 Scene Menus / Advanced Photo Modes

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth means you can connect to the camera from your smartphone or tablet. The Olympus O.I. Share app is available for Android and iOS devices. It’s easy to set up a connection, and from there you can remotely control the camera, import photos, edit photos and add Geotag (location) data to images.

On the side is a MicroUSB connection, and an HDMI connection. The camera doesn't have an accessory port, so you can't add an electronic viewfinder to the camera.

Olympus PEN EPL10 Battery

Battery Life is rated at 350 shots, which is the same as the E-PL9 and E-PL8, and the camera uses the same battery (BLS-50), which is shared with a number of other Olympus PEN, and OM-D E-M10 cameras making it easy to find spares.


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Photographs taken using the Olympus Pen E-PL10

Lucy

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Comments


29 Jan 2020 1:07PM
A nice review, much appreciated. I own the black version of the E-PL10 and I'd like to point out a couple of other enhancements to the firmware of the camera compared with the E-PL9 (the E-M10 Mark III also lacks these) which I don't think were highlighted in the review. Apologies if I overlooked them.

The E-PL10 fixes a major frustration of those two models, where the silent shutter feature was only available in a special mode within the AP position on the mode dial. It only allows program exposure and blocks out a number of configuration settings that are present in PASM modes - for example, you can't turn off "Keep Warm Color" for AWB, with several other settings greyed out too. Quite a few other settings are set to camera defaults when entering AP mode, even if you have set them elsewhere. These can be changed and temporarily retained within AP mode, but will be reset back to defaults if you leave it (PASM configurations are safely retained through all this thankfully).

Whilst the E-PL10 still keeps the limited, silent shutter AP mode, the silent shutter itself is now also freely available as an option in PASM shooting, like models higher up the range and even the E-M10 Mark III's predecessor, the E-M10 Mark II. This makes it much more useful as it can be used with more exposure control, configurability and ease, and combined with other features.

Another tweak new to a 16MP Olympus but already seen in the 20MP Pen-F, E-M1 Mark II, E-M1X and E-M5 Mark III is that you can enable the use of TTL electronic flash with the silent shutter in PASM modes when initially setting up the camera. This is something that is rare in the market (the defunct Nikon 1 System cameras are the only other mirrorless models I can remember that allowed electronic flash with silent shutter). The silent shutter top flash sync is only 1/20 (incidentally it's 1/50 on the E-M1 II, E-M1X and E-M5 III, whilst the Pen-F is also 1/20) but even so, it can still be useful. Similarly you can individually re-enable the AF in-focus beep and the AF illuminator for use with the silent shutter if desired in these models including the E-PL10.

The top and base of the black E-PL10 are a somewhat glossy dark graphite colour which is attractive, but a bit more plastic in appearance than the other models with their silver-painted bodies, which impressively look almost identical to the metal E-PL8 which preceded them. However, the leatherette on the black version is more textured than the others, and gives a better grip.

I agree it would be nice to have colour-coded tab sections for the menu as it was in the previous menu system (and it would be easy for them to do I think), but I don't find the menu at all long and complex - it is so much shorter than the full menus of other Olympus models apart from the E-PL9 and E-M10 Mark III. All the tabs are a page or less long, due to the removal of quite a few options in these models. Personally I don't find the full Olympus menus too long either - looking at recent Sony models, theirs are far longer and more complex. It's an unavoidable product of configurability - but I'd rather have a feature or choice, even if I rarely use it - it's much easier to ignore something than it is to use an absent feature!

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Greynerd 1 2
3 Feb 2020 12:08PM
Rather sad that the in depth analysis of the camera with regards to important changes over the old model are in the comment section not the review.
joshwa Plus
9 909 1 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2020 2:40PM
Hi aitchess3, we've updated the review, thanks for your detailed comment.
3 Feb 2020 3:37PM

Quote:Hi aitchess3, we've updated the review, thanks for your detailed comment.


Thanks very much on both counts!

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