The Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 is the latest PEN camera from Olympus and features built in Wi-Fi, tilting "selfie" touch-screen, updated Art Filters, along with a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus PEN E-PL7 is an update to the E-PL5 and E-PL6, and features a metal body available in black, silver and black, and white. Other new additions are a new vintage art filter, as well as a selective colour art filter. The Olympus PEN E-PL7 is available for £499 with the compact 14-42mm Power Zoom lens, or £399 with 14-42mm kit lens.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Features
The Olympus PEN E-PL5, Olympus PEN E-P5, and Olympus PEN E-PL6 will remain on the market, with the Olympus PEN E-PL7 available now in silver and black, black or white colour options.
Designed to be an ideal blogger camera (and primarily aimed at women), the camera has a premium quality feel with a solid metal mode dial, along with a metal command wheel surrounding the shutter release button.
There is a new vintage art filter mode, 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. The 3inch 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 other accessory) is attached to the camera.
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. The photo story modes have been updated, and partial colour shooting is also new, where 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.
Built in Wi-Fi lets you remotely control the camera, as well as transfer and edit photos on your smartphone or tablet. You can also use this to add GPS data to photos taken.
- 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
- 8fps continuous shooting
- HDR, Focus Peaking
- 14 Art Filters, 9 Art Effects
- Available in black, white, and black and silver
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Handling
The metal bodied camera feels well built with a reasonably good grip on the front of the camera, and a rubber thumb grip on the back. The stylish textured leather that covers the front of the camera, as well as the lens release button, gives the camera a premium and trendy look.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 vs Panasonic Lumix GM5
On top is the flash hot-shoe and accessory port (AP2), letting you add an electronic viewfinder, macro lights or external microphone. There is also a mode dial, command wheel, as well as the on/off button. On the back is the 3inch tilting screen, as well as a customisable function button. The zoom, record, right, down and lens function buttons can also be customised, or alternatively you can switch off these buttons. With customisable buttons and direct access to settings from the 4-way controller on the back it's quite quick and easy to change settings, and additional settings can be changed on the rear screen. This means you shouldn't need to go into the main menus unless you want to set more advanced options.
There are 81 focus points and these can be selected with the touch-screen. The AF EV range focuses in low light down to -2EV (except when refresh is set to high). The screen quality is very good with a bright, clear and colourful display with excellent viewing angles, and despite there being a touchscreen, you can't use the touchscreen to scroll through the menu options. You can adjust the power zoom speed to low/medium/high for photos and videos separately.
|Remote shooting zoom control
Built in Wi-Fi gives the ability to use a smartphone for remote shutter release, live view mirroring, P, A, S, M control, remote zoom with electronic lenses, live bulb preview and image sharing directly on the connected smartphone. You can download images to your smartphone, and use the Olympus i.O. Share app to apply art filters to images. You can also use the app to add GPS data to photos taken with the camera.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 350 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, which is good although likely to be reduced with extended use of Wi-Fi and a spare battery is recommended if you plan on shooting more.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
|Shot to Shot without Flash
|Shot to Shot with Flash
|Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
|7fps (36 shots, JPEG Fine)
|Continuous Shooting - Flash
|Continuous Shooting - RAW
||7fps (19 shots)
Shutter response and focus speeds are very good (tested with the new 14-42mm EZ lens). Switch on time, as well as shot to shot times were also very good. We were able to shoot at 7fps in high speed continuous shooting mode when shooting JPEG or raw.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Performance
The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - On the Natural colour mode, colours can appear quite muted, and low in saturation and contrast (depending on the subject), and using the Vivid or i-Enhance option can give brighter, more saturated colours with stronger contrast which will be pleasing to many. Photos taken with flash show no red-eye, and good levels of detail.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Macro performance from the 14-42mm EZ kit lens is reasonably good, however it is possible to get much closer with the optional MCON-P02 macro converter lens. Shading compensation can be switched on and off in the camera menus. The 14-42mm EZ power zoom kit lens performs well despite its extremely compact size when switched off, and detail is good whether using the lens at the wide-angle or telephoto end of the lens. There is some purple fringing visible when viewing images at 100% in areas of high contrast, such as in tree branches, but this is mostly noticeable towards the edges of the frame, and shouldn't be a problem most of the time. The camera has built in correction and this does a very good job controlling barrel and pincushion distortion, as well as vignetting, although some was occasionally visible.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO800, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO1600 to ISO3200 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO6400 and ISO12800 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO25600 is best avoided as noise is at its highest, and detail is very low.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten and fluorescent lighting, often producing better results than using the presets. The camera has an option to "Keep warm colour" when using auto white balance under tungsten lighting, which can be useful for capturing the mood of a scene.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Outdoor images
The camera features an automatic HDR mode, and the camera combines a number of photos taken at different exposures, and can be used handheld (although a tripod is recommended). There are two modes, one more natural, the other more dramatic, as shown above.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Digital filters
Digital Filters - The Art filters have been updated to include three vintage filters, selective colour, as well as a range of additional options that can be applied in addition to the new filters. Panoramic auto-stitching is not available. Photo story mode gives you a number of framing options.
Video - Video quality is good with the camera's built in image stabilisation helping make videos more stable. The maximum ISO speed selectable when recording videos is ISO3200, and manual controls are available, as well as audio level adjustment. You can also adjust the speed of electronic zoom when using a power zoom lens on the camera.
Value For Money
The Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 is available for £349 body only, £399 with standard 14-42mm kit lens, or £499 with the compact 14-42mm power zoom lens as used in this review. This makes it quite good value for money, particularly with the standard 14-42mm kit lens. Alternatives to consider include the following cameras:
Sony Alpha A5100, Wi-Fi, tilting touch-screen, £549 with kit lens
Olympus OM-D E-M10, Wi-Fi, tilting touch-screen, EVF, £659 with kit lens
Panasonic Lumix GM1, Wi-Fi, touch-screen, £499 with kit lens
Fujifilm X-M1, Wi-Fi, tilting screen, £369 with kit lens
Samsung NX3000, Wi-Fi, tilting screen, £259 with kit lens
Nikon 1 J4, Wi-Fi, touch-screen, £399 with kit lens
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Verdict
The Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 offers a number of improvements over the previous versions (the E-PL5 and E-PL6), with a new 3-axis image stabilisation sensor, built in Wi-Fi, and an updated and more stylish design. You also have the choice of the standard 14-42mm kit lens, or a more compact 14-42mm pancake zoom lens, letting you choose how much you want to spend if you want a more compact camera system. This is also one of the main benefits of the Micro Four Thirds system, as it gives you the widest choice of lenses available for any mirrorless camera system, with an ever increasing range of lenses from Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma, Tamron, Samyang, Voigtlander, SLR-Magic, and others. The Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 delivers great image quality with good colours and detail, and with quick performance and a vast array of options, controls, and effects available. The E-PL7 would make an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high quality, stylish compact system camera.
The Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 delivers great image quality in a high quality and stylish compact system camera.
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Specifications
|Sensor Type||Live MOS Sensor|
|Sensor Size||Micro / Four Thirds|
|Sensor Size (width)||17.3mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||13mm|
|Screen resolution||1,037,000 dots|
- Face Detection
- AF Tracking
- Touch AF
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/4000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||60sec|
- Scene modes
- Centre-weighted - Average
- ESP Light Metering
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 25600|
|Viewfinder Resolution||No Data|
- 1280x720 720p
- 640x480 VGA
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||BLS-50 Li-ion|
|Box Contents||Flash, flash case, strap, basic manual (multi language), full manual on cd/dvd, camera, battery, battery charger, AV cable, USB cable, Warranty Card|
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