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Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review

Read our full review of the new Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 with built in Wi-Fi and Selfie touch-screen.

| Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 in Mirrorless Cameras


Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review: Olympus PEN Lite E PL7 Silver (3)

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

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review: Olympus PEN Lite E PL7 Silver (5)

The Olympus PEN E-PL5Olympus 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. 

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review: Olympus PEN Lite E PL7 Silver (13)

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 
  • 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

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review: Olympus PEN Lite E PL7 Silver (9)

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 Review: Olympus PEN Lite EPL7 Panasonic Lumix GM5
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. 

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review: Olympus PEN Lite E PL7 Silver (11)

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.

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review: Io Share App Zoom Control Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review: Io Share App Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review: Io Share App Edit Photos
Remote shooting zoom control Playback Editing photos


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. 

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review: Olympus PEN Lite E PL7 Silver (12)

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.

Shutter Response 0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.175secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.3secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.3secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.4secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
7fps (36 shots, JPEG Fine)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 1.6secs
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 Review: Olympus PEN Lite E PL7 Silver (8)

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. 

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Pros

Good noise performance
Great image quality
Built in Wi-Fi
Wide range of Micro Four Thirds lenses
Stylish metal body
Dual axis electronic level
Excellent 3inch touch-screen
Live Bulb / Live Time feature
A large number of Art filters and effects available

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Cons

Panoramic auto-stitching not available
Menu system could be daunting for new users


Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 Review:

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

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 resolution1,037,000 dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • AF Tracking
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeBLS-50 Li-ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)350shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsFlash, 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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Photographs taken using the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7

Looking toward Luskentyrebeachsteps to the seaSt. IvesFlower 020422Flower 010422cleethorpesholding onpathits that time of yearlittle blue flowersmell like trolls

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Chris_L 9 5.5k United Kingdom
28 Aug 2014 10:17PM
I love the styling, so sixties chic - not sure if it's going to be enough to tempt the target market away from their smartphones though.

themak 9 1.1k Scotland
29 Aug 2014 12:35AM
I think I can do without high res. selfies.
pablophotographer 11 2.2k 444
29 Aug 2014 12:50AM
I have used a half frame Pen from the 60's, Olympus retains its simplistic approach in taking pictures.
Just Jas Plus
21 26.4k 1 England
6 Sep 2014 12:00AM
Nice, but has the maze-like menu been sorted out?
silverfoxey 14 17 2 United Kingdom
6 Sep 2014 5:07PM
Great retro looking camera. Seems ideal to carry something smaller than a large digital DSLR, and much lighter. As I've gotten older I think more about the weight of all my equipment to carry around in a bag and a heavy Manfrotto Tripod. This seems a much lighter option, and just wonder what other choice of lenses there are going to be for this camera? Just a bit concerned about too much technical menu? Will however, definitely keep this one in mind to buy?
dannyr 13 47 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2014 6:08PM
I was tempted to get this to replace my ageing E-P3 but the lack of a second command dial might start to bug me.

Also as I use a few four thirds lenses I was desperately hoping phase detection may have trickled down to the cheaper models (My beloved Sigma 30mm f1.4 is blooming useless without it!)

But it's is a good looking camera.
aitchess3 8 6 United Kingdom
29 Oct 2014 1:09PM
silverfoxey: there's a wide range of Olympus and Panasonic lenses (plus some from Tamron, Tokina and Sigma) that will fit on this camera and work fully, plus adapters for the original, larger Four Thirds mount (those lenses will retain their full functionality, but will seem large and slow compared with the Micro Four Thirds lenses intended for this). There are also official (Olympus and Panasonic) adapters for Olympus OM lenses and Leica R (and M) mount lenses respectively - less functionality with those, obviously, and after-market adapters to physically mount practically any older lens too (obviously their mechanical connections don't interface with the electronic ones on the camera in this latter case). Usefully, the Olympus in-body stabiliser can be made to work with any such lenses, just by telling the camera the focal length - this step is automaticaly done on the native lenses with all-electronic connections.

Olympuses do have quite long menus, but this gives lots of opportunity to fine-tune the camera to how you want it to work. A lot of the entries in the menu are thus rather "set and forget" - you set them when setting the camera up, and rarely if ever need to visit them again. You can set favourite features onto several buttons, swap around the dial functions and even directions, and so on. Best first step is to turn on the Super Control Panel, which is a semi-transparent interactive shooting settings table on the LCD, which is also touch-sensitive. Important settings you might want whilst shooting are then never very far away.

You may guess, I've owned Olympus Pens for a while, and really enjoy using them!
29 Oct 2014 1:31PM
For a similar price you can get the Olympus EM-10 which has the major advantages of a viewfinder, twin control dials and far better ergonomics. I found the E-PL series too small and fiddly, particularly the cramped rear controls and kept pressing the wrong thing when trying to change settings. A camera should be easy and fun to use, not a constant source of frustration. Grin

It's not that the camera itself is too small (I find my RX100 is fine and it's much smaller) but the size and crowded position of the rear buttons. And I have average to smaller than average hands. So my message is try before you buy.

The twin control dials, evf and added optional grip make my EM-10 a joy to use in comparison, which was a pleasant surprise as the E-PL and E-PM series nearly put me off Olympus for life! Tongue
aitchess3 8 6 United Kingdom
29 Oct 2014 1:57PM
Agreed - the E-PL3, E-PL5/6, E-PM1 and E-PM2 are a bit short of thumb room due to their 16:9 LCD screens being so wide. The E-PL3 was a particular shock coming straight after the nice-handling E-PL2. The E-PL7 is improved due to the 3:2 screen which is less wide (despite giving a bigger image in normal use), and the removal of the ring around the multicontroller adds a bit more space. The E-M10 is lovely to handle though, as well, and having two dials definitely helps in many respects, though again the E-PL7's single dial is a big improvement on the one used in its predecessors. With all these cameras being pretty compact, everyone will probably have a slightly different opinion about how easy they are to handle as all our fingers are different sizes! My fingers are slender but not the absolute smallest out there. Grin
Paul Morgan 22 19.9k 6 England
30 Oct 2014 5:40PM
Agreed - the E-PL3, E-PL5/6, E-PM1 and E-PM2 are a bit short of thumb room due to their 16:9 LCD screens being so wide.

Add a cheap thumbs up grip
30 Oct 2014 10:51PM
I have just received mine and think it is one of the easiest and smartest looking cameras I've owned and operated, once you get the super control panel activated and the fn buttons configd. to what you want your shortcuts to be, you end up with a very responsive and pocketable camera. I also think the build quality is a big step up from the earlier pen lite models too it feels nice and solid in your hands i would definitely recommend trying one out, i will be getting the oly. 17 f1.8 to go with my oly 45. then i will have a pretty flexible lightweight csc to always have with me.

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