A Gor­geous Re­boot of the PEN Se­ries

Olym­pus PEN E-P5

HWM (Singapore) - - Lab Test -

The E-P5 rep­re­sents such a sig­nif­i­cant up­grade over the two-year old E-P3 that it’s bet­ter to think of it as a re­boot rather than an up­date. The E-P5 is a Pen with the in­ter­nals of Olym­pus’ pre­vi­ous flag­ship cam­era, the OM-D E-M5; it car­ries the same high-qual­ity 16MP sen­sor and the lead­ing-class 5-axis built-in im­age sta­bi­liza­tion. It in­creases shoot­ing speed up to 9fps, a top shut­ter speed of 1/8000 sec to use with fast lenses in good light and tilt­ing rear touch-screen.

The E-P5 may not have the E-M5’s weather-seal­ing or builtin elec­tronic viewfinder (EVF), but it adds fea­tures of its own; in­clud­ing built-in Wi-Fi and fo­cus peak­ing. While the rear LCD isn’t OLED like the E-M5, it has a higher res­o­lu­tion of 1.04 mil­lion dots com­pared to 610k dots. Flash sync speed is higher at 1/320 sec com­pared to the E-M5’s 1/250, and even bat­tery life is rated higher, the E-P5 can shoot up to 400 shots per charge com­pared to the E-M5’s 360 shots.

All th­ese pow­er­ful new specs aren’t with­out cost. The E-P5 is nearly $100 more ex­pen­sive than the E-P3 at launch, and that’s just the body price alone with­out lens.

De­sign & Han­dling

The E-P5 is eas­ily one of the most charis­matic mir­ror­less sys­tem cam­eras on the mar­ket to­day, and one of the most beau­ti­ful dig­i­tal cam­eras in re­cent mem­ory. Like its name­sake the Pen F, the Pen E-P5 feels like some­thing you want to keep for a long, long time.

The cam­era feels solid and dense, it’s ac­tu­ally about 50g heav­ier than the E-P3 was, but the back and front grip give you a good grip on the body so it doesn’t feel un­wieldy. The E-P5 is more func­tional than the E-P3. It has twin con­trol di­als at the front and back, mak­ing it as easy to dic­tate man­ual con­trols as with the best DSLR cam­eras.

There’s a clever switch on the back which en­ables what Olym­pus calls the 2 x 2 con­trol dial in­ter­face. On ‘1’ the twin con­trol di­als man­age one set of con­trols, and turn­ing it to ‘2’ make the di­als con­trol other things. There are only 4 pre­set modes how­ever, so you can’t cus­tom­ize the two sets too much. But we found it a quick way to en­able ISO and white bal­ance con­trol with­out hav­ing to go into the quick menu and it’s a smart way to make the twin di­als do dou­ble-duty.

One rea­son why the E-P5 is heav­ier is prob­a­bly due to the in­clu­sion of Olym­pus’ lead­ing­class 5-axis in-body op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion, which was in­tro­duced in the OM-D E-M5. The tech­nol­ogy is solid; you can spot when the OIS ac­tu­ally kicks in on the pre­view screen and see the im­age sta­bi­lize.

Built-in Wi-Fi fi­nally comes to Olym­pus’ Mi­cro Four Thirds cam­eras, which is about time. Pair­ing with a smart de­vice is easy, thanks to Olym­pus’ rather in­ge­nious method. The E-P5 will dis­play a QR code, which you scan us­ing the Olym­pus app, and then - vi­ola - your smart de­vice is paired.

Un­like the Pana­sonic GX7 or the Sony NEX-6, the E-P5 doesn’t come with a built-in live viewfinder. But there’s a 17mm lens kit which comes with the VF4 LVF at­tach­ment. The VF4 adds quite a bit of ex­tra height to the E-P5, but it’s prob­a­bly the best LVF in the mar­ket to­day. The screen is big and lux­u­ri­ous with

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