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Olympus PEN E-PL8 Review

We review the ultimate "bloggers" camera, the Olympus PEN E-PL8, with it's stylish good looks, is the E-PL8 as good on the inside?

| Olympus PEN E-PL8 in Mirrorless Cameras

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Review: Olympus PEN E PL8 White (4)

Ultra-stylish, retro, cute, chic, are all words that you could quite easily use to describe the new Olympus PEN E-PL8, the latest PEN camera from Olympus. To add to this, you can buy the Olympus PEN E-PL8 in white, brown or black, with the brown and white versions featuring gold lettering. The screen on the back is a touch-screen and tilts forwards for the perfect selfie, or for when you're recording vlogs. Inside is a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, and 3-axis sensor-shift image stabilisation that will help keep photos and video steady. 

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Features

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Review: Olympus PEN E PL8 Brown

Marketed as an ideal blogger camera, the Olympus PEN E-PL8 is a compact and stylish mirrorless camera, with a premium metal feel and metal dials on top of the camera. Live view, and the tilting screen is ideal for any "Flatlay" images you want to shoot, and there is a range of macro lenses available. 

The 16-megapixel camera would also make a great second camera for anyone shooting with Micro Four Thirds kit, being fully compatible with the Micro Four Thirds lens range. There are numerous art filters, including vintage filters. There's a dedicated selfie mode, 3-axis Image Stabilisation, and a custom self-timer whereby you can set the camera to take multiple shots and set a specific gap in between each shot. Time-lapse has been added, and the camera can combine the shots into a video.

The 3-inch touch-screen has a high resolution of 1037k dots, and flips down for "selfies" and this means that the view is not blocked when the flash (or another accessory) is attached to the camera, although also means that using a tripod may block your view of the screen.

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Review: Olympus PEN E PL8 White (12)

The photo story modes have a number of framing options, and partial colour shooting is easy to use, as you simply spin the colour wheel to set this. There is a rear function button, and the camera has a built in dual-axis electronic level. The camera features focus peaking to aid manual focus, as well as a manually adjustable mic level, a volume limiter option, as well as a low ISO (ISO100) option.

Built-in Wi-Fi lets you remotely control the camera, as well as transfer photos on your smartphone or tablet. You can also use this to add GPS data to photos taken, or edit photos taken with the camera before sharing them on social media sites.

FullHD video is recorded with stereo sound, and when using a power zoom lens you can choose the zoom speed. 

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Review: Olympus PEN E PL8 White (2)

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixel Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor
  • Micro Four Thirds lens mount
  • 3-axis sensor-shift image stabilisation (up to 3.5 stops)
  • 3inch tilting touch-screen, 1037k dot resolution
  • FullHD video recording at 30p with 3-axis IS, stereo sound
  • ISO100 to ISO25600 (extended)
  • Wi-Fi connectivity 
  • 8.5fps continuous shooting
  • HDR, Focus Peaking
  • 28 Art Filters, Photo Story Frames
  • Available in black/silver, white/silver, and brown/silver

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Handling

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Review: Olympus PEN E PL8 White (7)

The Olympus PEN E-PL8 looks better than any E-PLx camera before it, only out-classed by the top of the range Olympus PEN-F. The metal bodied camera feels good in the hand, with an increased weight compared to the E-PL7, which makes it feel quite heavy for the size of the camera, but this simply adds to the premium feel of the camera. The front grip has changed and looks stylish whilst still providing a good texture, and the textured wrap around the camera looks good and makes it easy to hold. On the back 

A built-in flash would be a nice feature, and whilst the AP2 (Accessory Port 2) is necessary for the external flash, we wonder how many people are really going to use this feature on this class of camera. However, should you wish, you can add a range of AP2 accessories, including an electronic viewfinder, microphone adapter, LED lighting or a Bluetooth adapter.

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Review: Olympus PEN E PL8 White (10)

The screen can tilt up, as well as down, and when tilted all the way down faces forwards so you can use the screen to compose selfie or group shots. The screen is quite thick at the back, and it would be nice if this was thinner in future versions of the camera. The screen has a good resolution, is clear and bright, and is a gapless design, which means viewing angles are good. You can use the touch-screen to set the focus point on screen. 

The controls on the rear screen are quite clear and easy to use as you can see the changes made directly on the screen. If you use the camera in Auto or other modes, then you can change settings easily using the touch-screen. The Art filters, Scene, and Photo Story modes are easy to use, and you can use the touch-screen to select options (although the scene modes could do with a refresh). When you enter the main menus, you need to use the 4-way controller on the rear to scroll through options and settings, and it's here where it can take a while to find options and settings, and it would be good if Olympus improved the menu design and layout. Although to give it a positive spin, we could simply say that the control system is a little quirky, those who don't want to give it a positive spin would probably describe it as annoying or infuriating. 

Wi-Fi Features: Built-in Wi-Fi lets you connect the camera to your smartphone or tablet, and the Olympus O.I. Share app is available for Android and iOS devices. Setting up the connection to the camera is easy, as you can simply scan a QR code displayed on the back of the camera. You can't use the Wi-Fi feature on the camera when there is no memory card in the camera. You can remotely control the camera (with live view), you can import photos, edit photos and add Geotag information to photos. 

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Review: Olympus PEN E PL8 White (9)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 350 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, which is quite good (about average) for a mirrorless camera. Charging of the battery is performed with an external charger, which will be beneficial if you want to buy a second battery. 

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Photographs taken using the Olympus PEN E-PL8

Poppy close-upTies that bindBy the roadsideWalk on byeFrank ReidGood GirlDark and Stormy ....Who are you looking at?Frank ReidLone tree RaisdaleThe Green DragonNursery School

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josa Avatar
josa 11 25 Czech Republic
26 Nov 2016 8:59AM
"The menus are long overdue a re-design. Please, Olympus, make it so we don't have to write this in every review."
It also makes me wonder why the cameras don't have built in flash. The first ones (E-PL1 & E-PL2) had flash on board. Weird strategy thinking.

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