Olympus E-P5 Review - The E-P5 is the manufacturer's first CSC of 2013. Find out if it's a worthy contender in the What Digital Camera Olympus E-P5 review
The flagship model in the PEN range, the E-P5 not only faces some stiff competition from a growing number of new rivals that have emerged scene since 2009, it also in some respects has to make a case for itself against the rather excellent Olympus OM-D, which has stole much of the limelight from the PEN range since its launch last year.
Is this heavily refreshed model put the PEN back on the map?
Olympus PEN E-P5 Review – Features
The Olympus E-P5 borrows quite a few of the key features from the OM-D, starting with the same 16.1MP Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor and the TruePic VI processing engine, providing the E-P5 with an ISO range from 200-25,600, but now with a new ‘LOW’ mode that’s equivalent to ISO 100 should you want to greater control over the exposure.
Olympus claims the E-P5 to be the first CSC to achieve a 1/8000 sec shutter speed through a mechanical shutter, as opposed to an electronic alternative. Not only that, but the E-P5 also boasts a flash sync speed of 1/320 sec with the internal flash, dropping to 1/250sec when an external flash is attached.
The rear screen, rather than sitting flush with the body like it did with the E-P3, the new 3in screen at the rear of the E-P5 is now articulated, tilting down 50 degrees and up 80 for a range of shooting angles. While at first glance the screen appears to have been borrowed from the OM-D, it is based on LCD rather and OLED technology, with a resolution of 1.04m-dots compared to the 610k-dot resolution in the OM-D.
There’s also capacitive touchscreen functionality, allowing for a host of controls to be performed via the display – more on that later.
Unlike a host of premium CSCs, the E-P5 omits an electronic viewfinder, which could be a deal breaker for some. Via the E-P5’s Accessory Port 2 an optional EVF can be attached, and alongside the announcement of the E-P5, Olympus announced a new VF-4 EVF, priced at £249.
As with the previous VF-2 finder it boasts a free-angle design, which allows the eye-piece to be rotated upwards, although its resolution is significantly higher at 2.36million dots (compared with the VF-2’s 1.15million dots). Not only that, but with a 1.48x (0.74x in 35mm-equivalent terms), it is said to be more generous than the viewfinders on all other CSCs and APS-C DSLRs currently available.
Using Olympus’ FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) 35-area AF system, the E-P5 promises comparable AF speeds of that of any DSLR, while the new Super Spot AF option allows the focus point to be minimised by up to 14x for pin-point precision when required.
The E-P5 utilises the clever 5-axis image stabilisation anti-shake system found in the OM-D, designed to counter for pitch, yaw, vertical and horizontal motion. On top of this, it can also compensate for rolling movements as well, which can occur when the shutter button is pressed.
There’s also a Lens IS Priority mode that we first saw on the E-PL5, which will be off interest for those using any Panasonic image stabilised lenses on the E-P5, allowing you to give priority to whether you use the lens or camera’s IS system.
The Olympus E-P5 is the first Olympus CSC to sport built-in Wi-fi – a feature previously only available through Toshiba FlashAir Wi-Fi and Eye-Fi cards. This allows for the wireless transmission of images to other Wi-fi-enabled devices and the internet, and through a dedicated app it’s also possible to use a smartphone or tablet for remote shooting.