Review Olympus Pen E-P5

According provided by Olympus Pen E-P5 camera with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1: 3,5-5,6 IIR MSC lens many thanks to the official representative of Olympus in Ukraine.

Review Olympus Pen E-P5

Review Olympus Pen E-P5

The Olympus Pen E-P5 is a cute and functional mirrorless camera in the 'Olympus Pen' line (Micro 4/3). Below is a list of all Olympus 'Micro 4/3' cameras and their release dates.

Olympus Pen line:

  • E-P1 - 16 June 2009
  • E-P2 - November 5, 2009
  • E-PL1 - February 3, 2010
  • E-PL2 - January 2011
  • E-P3, EPL3, EPM1 - June 30, 2011
  • E-P4 was not released, as the Chinese number “4” is considered unfortunate due to the fact that it is pronounced like the word “death”.
  • E-P5, E-PL5, EPM2 - September 17, 2012
  • E-PL6 - June 2013
  • E-PL7 - 2014

OM-D line:

  • E-M5 - February 2012
  • E-M1 - September 2013
  • E-M10 - January 2014

'Pen E-Px' cameras, where x is a sequential number, are considered the older models of the 'Olympus Pen' line. 'Pen E-PLх' - lightweight models (prefix 'L' from the word 'Light', i.e. 'Light'). 'Pen E-PMx' - the simplest models in a miniature body (prefix 'M' for 'Mini'). 'OM-D' models - cameras that look like old Olympus film OM, the letter 'D' in the name 'OM-D' means their digital essence ('D' - 'Digital' i.e. 'Digital').

As you can see, the Micro 4/3 standard is fairly new, launched into production not so long ago - in 2009. True, the first camera 'Micro 4/3' should be considered the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1. We must pay tribute to Panasonic and Olympus, who were not afraid to create a new standard for cameras.

Olympus Pen E-P5

Olympus Pen E-P5

Pen E-P5 has a 17.3 x 13.0 mm physical sensor, creates images at the maximum image size with an aspect ratio of 4: 3, and it was a little unusual for me to view the footage, since usually the DSLR cameras I used had an aspect ratio of 3: 2. In the camera menu, you can set additional aspect ratios 16: 9, 3: 2, 1: 1, 3: 4. It is interesting that if you shoot in RAW format, then the picture at any selected aspect ratio will be saved “completely” from the entire matrix, respectively, with the original 4: 3 ratio.

Sample photo

Sample photo. Sunset.

Pen E-P5, like all cameras in the Micro 4/3 family, has crop factor Kf = 2X. The matrix of such cameras is actually 4 times smaller than that of full-format cameras with matrix size, corresponding to the classic film size - 36 X 24 mm. Crop factor Pen E-P5 is slightly larger than modern cropped APS-C type cameras, where Kf is approximately 1,5X, so focal lengths for Micro 4/3 cameras can be confusing for someone using an APS, APS-H or APS DSLR. C type. The size of the sensor plays a very important role in the formation of a quality image, for more information see the section 'What is crop factor'.

Olympus Pen E-P5

Olympus Pen E-P5

The camera takes pictures with a maximum size of 4608 x 3456 pixels, which is approximately 16 MP. The same Live MOS Sensor can be found in models E-PL5, E-PM2, E-PL6 and OM-D series models: E-M1, E-M5, E-M10, but of course, this does not mean that the quality of images from these cameras will be identical.

Sample photo

Sample photo

A great feature of the Pen E-P5 is the built-in stabilization system that works in 5-directions (5-axis). Indeed, the camera has a very good stabilizer, and you can use cheaper lenses without a stabilizer. In the menu, you can very flexibly configure the operation of the stabilization system, as well as the priority of the stabilization system when using lenses that also have a stabilizer.

If you go a little deeper into the theory, then a 16 MP sensor with crop factor 2X has a very low diffraction threshold. If we were making full-frame cameras with the same physical pixel dimensions as the Pen E-P5, we would end up with a 64 MP camera :) To simplify a little, such a sensor requires good optics.

Pen E-P5 with Soviet rangefinder lens

Pen E-P5 with a Soviet rangefinder lens mounted through an adapter 'M39-Micro 4/3'

The camera can use ISO values ​​from 200 to 25.600. However, there is one trick. After turning on ISO 6400 and above, the display shows the message 'Extended'. In fact, the base ISO range is 200-5000. You can also enable ISO LOW, which is equivalent to ISO 100. When ISO 200 or ISO Auto is selected, 'Recommended' appears. Personally, I do not like inflated ISO values, such as ISO 25.600, since in practice there is no point in shooting at these values.

In my opinion, the camera is very aggressive at suppressing noise at high ISO values, creating a “smooth” picture, while completely depriving it of details. See the noise level at different ISO values ​​for yourself, in image archive.

Sample photo

Sample photo E-P5

The camera can work in Auto-ISO mode, while you can set the ISO range from 200 to 25.600 units. Cannot set ISO 100 threshold and minimum excerptsAlso, Auto ISO does not work in 'M' mode. By the way, Auto-ISO can be enabled in the menu not only for modes P, A, S, but also for others.

Olympus Pen E-P5

Olympus Pen E-P5

E-P5 can shoot at maximum speed 9 frames per secondthat is impressive. Truth, frame buffer not really big.


  • At any quality settings in RAW format, about 17-18 pictures are placed.
  • About 30 pictures in JPEG L Fine 4: 3 format, if you take pictures with enhanced picture enhancement features such as noise reduction, vignetting control, etc.
  • About 15 pictures in JPEG format with advanced settings enabled.

Little frame buffer - a common thing for such cameras. At the same time, such a capacity is quite enough to capture one dynamic moment. RAW files are 12-bit color and weigh an average of 15MB.

Olympus Pen E-P5

Olympus Pen E-P5

The camera has a very nice retro design, outwardly the E-P5 is similar to the old Olympus Pen film cameras. Almost the entire body is made of metal, and, a small-looking camera, weighs about 400 g. I got a review in a white case, but the E-P5 is also available in black and silver. In front of the camera there is a small seal for a comfortable grip, but it is not rubber, as it might seem at first glance, but it is made of plastic :( But under the thumb from the back of the camera there is still a rubber insert pleasant to the touch. The camera really looks very nice. The front and rear control wheels, as well as the main mode dial, are made of metal.

Example photo on Olympus Pen E-P5

Example photo on Olympus Pen E-P5

The display is hinged, 3-inch by 1.036.800 pixels. When using the camera, I practically did not find any particular convenience from this type of flip display. In addition, the display is touch-sensitive, but, unfortunately, the touch control does not fully work - you cannot navigate through the menu with it, it only works for certain functions when shooting.

Example photo on Olympus Pen E-P5

Example photo on Olympus Pen E-P5

The camera uses focus only in contrast, however, the focus speed is fast. Of course, the focusing speed also depends on the lens with which the camera is used, and on the lighting conditions. When I tested the camera, in low light the camera was still sharpened for a long time, but the red auxiliary focus illumination helped in this. In general, it’s not worth worrying about focusing. In the camera menu, you can select a huge number of methods and focus settings. Focusing is available at 35 points, or in any area of ​​the image.

Example photo on Olympus Pen E-P5

Example photo on Olympus Pen E-P5

When shooting video, the set of stabilization methods is limited to turning the stabilizer on or off. If you turn on the stabilizer, then the video is smooth, without jerking from moving the camera. The camera has a stereo microphone, and the video itself can be shot in Full HD 1920 * 1080 30p quality. When shooting a video, I did not find how to manage shutter speed and aperture. I am not a great specialist in the field of video, therefore I will ask the owners of this camera to leave their impressions about video shooting in the comments.

Example shot on E-P5

Example shot on E-P5. Heart from the pages of the book and bokeh.

E-P5 has Wi-fi module, with which you can remotely control the camera from a smartphone or tablet. I installed the necessary software without any problems and played around with the function of remote control of the camera and transfer of captured materials. You can add GPS data. Of course, the camera does not have a GPS receiver, but it can take coordinates and type them in EXIF from your smartphone.

E-P5 with Soviet manual lens

E-P5 with Soviet manual lens mounted via adapter 'M42-M4 / 3'

Even in the E-P5, you can find a million functions, sub-functions and subtle settings. If I began to describe each function, then this review would have grown to incredible volumes, but to me it is much more important not subtle picks, but the general impression of working with the camera. Who cares, you can still find in the E-P5:

  • An electronic viewfinder that mounts in a slot near the hot shoe of the flash. Bought separately, sometimes can be found in the package.
  • Mechanical shutter that supports excerpts up to 1/8000 of a second (which is very, very good). Interesting that the longest excerpt in automatic modes, it is 60 seconds, instead of the usual 30. The shutter works quite noisily, but you enjoy the process of shooting.
  • Many filters to create a variety of creative photos. True, when you turn on such a filter during focusing, the picture on the display noticeably slows down.
  • There is a very useful picking function (highlighting the borders of the image) when focusing. There is also an instant increase in the image area for focusing. This feature is very useful when working with manual optics.
  • Fans of manual optics were not deprived - everything works as expected. When using an unchipped manual lens, stabilizer, picking, fast magnification, etc. work.
  • There is a function of Time Laps.
  • Live Time allows you to observe changes in the picture with increasing excerpts in real time.
  • There is a Micro HDMI and USB output. The camera uses memory cards SD (SDHC, SDXC).
  • The camera uses a 1120 mAh battery, which lasts for 400-500 shots. The number of shots depends on many factors. To increase the number of shots that can be taken on a single battery charge, you need to use an electronic viewfinder.
  • An Fn button that can be programmed into one of many operations. Also, almost all the buttons can be programmed for a specific action, thus adjusting the camera control for myself, it seemed to me a very pleasant and useful trifle.
  • There is also a built-in frog flash. The flash is activated using a special mechanical button, so the flash can “shoot” even when the camera is off.
  • There is also a horizon indicator, bracketing different types, cleaning system and pollution control matrix, etc. Personally, I did not expect such great functionality from a small, at first glance, camera.
Olympus Pen E-P5

Olympus Pen E-P5 with Nikon Flash SB-900. I made friends with them without any problems, since the camera has a standard boot, and the flash can be used in manual power control mode.

My experience

I'm not a big fan of system cameras, but the E-P5 made a positive impression on me nonetheless. I took her several times to a meeting with friends, where she showed herself very well in working hours'point and shoot '. Automatic focusing with face priority really pleased me :) The quality of the E-P5 still approaches the cropped entry-level SLR cameras, but the issue of choosing a SLR / system camera is very difficult.

Also, I shot a few days on the Pen E-P5 in severe frost, while there were no problems with the camera.

About the lens supplied with Olympus EP-5 - M.Zuiko 14-42mm 1: 3,5-5,6 IIR MSC

Established Objective

Standard lens

M.Zuiko 14-42mm 1: 3,5-5,6 IIR MSC - a regular standard lens with a 3x zoom, EGF which is 28-84 (usually written 28-85) mm. Most often, such a lens is called a 'kit' lens, from the English 'kit' - 'kit'.

Please note that the review presents the 4th version of the lens class 14-42 / 3,5-5,6. Here is a list of all such lenses:

  1. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1: 3.5-5.6 ED - 9 elements in 8 groups, 1 ED glass, 1 HR and 2 aspherical lenses
  2. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1: 3.5-5.6 L ed
  3. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1: 3.5-5.6 II - 8 elements in 7 groups, 3 aspherical lenses
  4. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1: 3.5-5.6 II R (from this review) - 8 elements in 7 groups, 3 aspherical lenses
  5. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1: 3.5-5.6 EZ - 8 elements in 7 groups, 1 ED glass, 1 HR and 2 aspherical lenses
Optical design of the Olympus EP-5 lens, M.Zuiko 14-42mm 1: 3,5-5,6 IIR MSC

Optical design of the Olympus EP-5 lens, M.Zuiko 14-42mm 1: 3,5-5,6 IIR MSC

The lens folds up for transport. To fold it, you need to set the 14mm focal length and press the 'Unlock' button, after which you can hide the lens trunk. It's nice that in order to unfold it back, you don't need to press the 'Unlock' button (like, for example, similar Nikon lens), just twist the focusing ring. This allows you to very quickly bring the lens to the "combat position" for shooting.

The lens itself is very light, made in Vietnam of plastic and with plastic mount... It feels like a cheap "plastic" one. When zooming, the lens trunk moves in a wave-like fashion - lengthening and shortening as you move the zoom ring in the same direction (common with whale lenses). It's very good that when zooming the back lens remains motionless (the lens does not work as a “vacuum cleaner”).

Open aperture lens bokeh

Open aperture lens bokeh

The lens has an electronic focus ring. The focus and zoom rings are not rubberized. In the camera menu, you can select the direction of rotation of the focus ring to decrease or increase the focus distance. It was difficult for me to determine how many degrees the focus ring rotates, since it is not mechanically connected to the focusing system. Of course, the focus of the lens is internal and fast enough. MDF is 25 cm. When zooming, the front lens also does not rotate.

Maximum magnification for macro photography. Manual focus

Maximum magnification for macro photography. Manual focus

The diameter of the front filter is tiny - 37 mm, and my lens cap has been knocked off more than once from accidental contact. The diaphragm consists of 7 blades and closes down to f / 22 throughout the focal length range. The lens, besides the focal length indicator, has no other useful marks.

M.Zuiko 14-42mm 1: 3,5-5,6 IIR MSC is nothing special among many others. 'whales'- it creates a contrasting picture, tolerates backlight well, is quite sharp, but has a mediocre aperture.

Please note that the camera automatically corrects many lens flaws, such as distortion and vignetting, so it is difficult to see the “bare” operation of the lens.

The scope of delivery does not include a hood. Such a lens is suitable for most photo tasks. M.Zuiko 14-42mm 1: 3,5-5,6 IIR MSC can serve as the first lens, in order to enable the owner to feel the capabilities of the camera and make sketches for the purchase of one or another, better lens for certain tasks.

Circles in the blur zone on the covered diaphragm

Circles in the blur zone on the covered diaphragm. Traces of a poorly polished rear lens are visible.

Important: lenses for Micro 4/3 are suitable for all cameras of this system. For example, Olympus M.Zuiko Micro 4/3 lenses can be used without any problems on Panasonic G cameras, which also belong to the Micro Four Thirds standard.

Archive with original photos in RAW format is possible download from this link (557 MB, 39 photos).

Prices for modern Olympus cameras in popular stores can look at this link.

In comments Can I ask you a question on the topic and you will answer, and you can also express your opinion or describe your experience. Many little things for a photo can be found on AliExpress.


The Olympus Pen E-P5 is a very nice functional tool. Perfect for everyone who wants to quickly get a high-quality picture, as well as for advanced users who like to dig deeper into the menu and shoot with different lenses. M.Zuiko 14-42mm 1: 3,5-5,6 IIR MSC is a simple stock lens, considering the cost of Olympus Pen E-P5, I would not spare the money and bought better optics for such a camera.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 107, on the topic: Olympus Pen E-P5 review

  • Vladimir

    Hello everyone! I have an Olympus EP-M1. I bought an adapter for the M42 lenses. After installing Soviet optics, the camera displays a message that the lens is missing and refuses to work. I looked through all the menus and instructions, but still could not find how to get him to shoot with manual non-chipped optics. Please tell the ignoramus how to cope with this problem.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Find the item “allow shutter release without lens”.

      • Victor

        Good evening, Arkady. I hope for your help and I apologize that the question is not on the lens from the review. There is a lens from some Olimpus'a. Called ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3,5-5,6 ED Landing under 58mm filters. How to make him sniff with the Canon 350d? What kind of adapter is needed? Maybe like this ? I know that there is a list of adapters here somewhere, but for the life of me I can’t find it. Thank you for your attention.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Very simple - sell and buy something for the 350D

          • Victor

            Well, it's quite simple :) But we're not looking for easy ways! Good luck to you!

            • B. R. P.

              Good luck to you, too, in trying to shove the unimaginable.

        • Viktre

          >>How can I get him to sniff a Canon 350d?

          No way. Only exchange for a Canon lens or sale.

        • Reiknarr

          Absolutely not, but if you really want to, then you need an adapter from 4/3 (not micro) to Canon EF, which I couldn’t even find, the working distance of the Canon is longer than 4/3, so even if you attach it, you will be without autofocus and aperture (the first is not terrible, but the second is very bad) and as a bonus, you will lose infinity focusing, and in addition you will get a luxurious vignette at the edges of the frame, so I don’t recommend trying this, it’s better to buy a Canon EF-S 18-55 II IS, will be similar in terms of focal length (well, almost) and with an image stabilizer, the price is low, and there are fewer problems

      • Victor

        Here is another photo of the bayonet

  • Vladimir

    This is exactly what I have a problem with ...

  • daemon
    On the spite of the day, I got an inexpensive Olympus E-PM1 carcass with a 15mm / F8 plug. I have also recently had a NIKON D-80, and everything that I shoot does not give 100% satisfaction. I accidentally fell into my hands in an OM store, which I don’t remember anymore with a 45 / 1,8 lens, even dust particles on the surface and the texture of the material could be seen in the picture, it sunk into my brain, naturally, when PM1 turned up, I took it for review without hesitation. It is difficult to judge with such a 15/8 plug, but the lens was shot on it, the links are at the beginning. It seems to me that the photo is very clear ...
    I took a photo from the balcony from one point, though I missed the focal point, it turned out to be closer from Nikon. There is a difference, with a 100% increase, so the optics are completely different. I can’t wait to fasten to the Olympus to read from real optics.
    Focusing in the manual should be quite convenient, I tried the old optics on NIKON, it didn't work, focusing in the viewfinder is not informative, if it's NIKON F-3 ...

  • hi

    techie ...

  • vasilsmeer

    In Ukraine, gray copies are already at 500 ye. As for me, at last it’s not a golden pen, but a compact device for an adequate price.

  • Shark

    Scene programs are typical, including special settings for working with a tele-converter and a wide-angle converter. The so-called digital tele-converter is available in the camera. So Olympus calls its digital zoom the approximation of a selected portion of the frame by reducing its resolution.

  • Alexander

    About Olympus. The first serious camera was the Nikon D5100 with a whale lens + 35 / 1,8. Used 2 years, but then sold and bought Olympus e-pl5, and happy as an elephant!
    I'm taking pictures on Helios 44m and Zenitar 50 / 1,7 ... just a miracle! Photo in JPEG is much nicer than Nikon (for my taste). In short, "having bought myself and the Raja for you")

  • bk007

    Engaged in photography since 15 years old for 23 years. Sometimes I work part time as a photo. There was a FED, Zenith 11, Lover and Agate. From the figures of Minolt's soap box and Samsung i85. Samsung is still lying. He gave just a great picture for a soap dish and was terribly convenient (in comparison with the Zenith 11 and three lenses). At one point Olik MP1 turned up and I fell in love with the 4/3 system. When shooting at Nikon 5100-5200, the quality could not be achieved ... hard, uncomfortable and the color is terrible for me. I thought about Sony DSLRs ... but after trying to shoot with a translucent mirror I rejected this idea. I liked Sonya a6000 very much, but it’s terribly expensive and the lenses do not inspire me. I bought optics and a viewfinder and adapters for my PM1. Helios on Olika is just a miracle picture. Recently for 3d I took a Panasonic G1 bu. There are some nuances ... but the viewfinder (electronic) in good lighting is more convenient than on the Nikon 5200. PM I carry with me almost always ... you need to take a blinozom, it will be even more convenient. Now I'm thinking of taking P5 in return or leaving PM1 and taking M10. So, to each his own. I'm for 3/4. I am comfortable. I think half have iPhones that are also not very different from Samsung smarts ... but that's another story.

    • Ivan

      For 3/4?))) Me too. For all the legendary Nikkor manuals and the perfection of Nikon's autofocus controls, menus, and the general concept, apart from the latter, such as the 850th, are in no way. Oliki without micro - shot on everything except penta - like from another planet. And at the expense of the worker, everything that is possible fits - FD, old Konics and so on. The 520th appearance completely kills all Nikon series up to the hundredth models, provided that I have never printed on a3 and are not planning to. 850 under the video))).

  • Paul

    Why are the images obtained on Olympus characterized by some plasticity? Pictures can be juicy, contrasting, but as if flat, as if fashioned from plasticine? You do not feel the depth of the frame, atmospheric.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There are many reasons. Crop 2.0, dark optics, visually unsuccessful scene, unsuccessful shooting profile, etc.

      • Paul

        Arkady, thank you!

    • Valentine

      Pavel, the Olympus pictures differ in the same way as the Nikons or the Canon ones. There is a prof. systems and professional photographers, there are advanced, there are amateurs and just beginners who shoot with entry-level cameras and whales. Olympus does not have any crime, although they have their own characteristics, like all other systems. Your set of characteristics is interesting: “plastic”, “sculpted from plasticine”, “juicy”, “atmosphere is not felt” - sorry, but this is definitely not a characteristic of the system, and, in a strict sense, has little to do with photography. The object of the photograph, both plastic and as if sculpted from plasticine - you still have to try to imagine this. There is a terminology accepted by photographers, which must be adhered to if you want to get a specific answer. And so, no one can answer you anything in essence.

      • Paul

        Valentine, thank you for your reply. Let me explain a little: yes, I am only an amateur photographer, and do not own specials. terminology, therefore, expressed his impressions of Olympus in an abstract language. But I hasten to inform you that I take my words back. My impression was influenced by not very good quality pictures from Olympus, posted on the Internet and not configured my own camera. After a detailed setup of Olympus OMD 10 M2 and a couple of trial photo shoots, the opinion about this camera has changed for the better. The device is remarkable for its functionality, and the micro 4/3 matrix allows you to take good pictures, printing them to large sizes.

    • SERGOS

      I did a lot of things on Panasonic gx7: with adapters for m42 (pentax 50 1.4) and zuiko 40-150 and Leica. I completely agree that the pictures are plastic. Such pictures are obtained when using noise reduction devices in editors. Well, and inchics and 4 \ 3 obviously they indulge in this even when issuing a chamber jpeg. Marketing hysteria, "especially solid" carcasses, an extra charge for retro design powders the brains of novice amateur photographers. Yes, and with Fuji everything is not so, everything is not as it should - some algorithms with preservation of sharpness - saturation each time it is necessary to reduce it (the grass is poisonous, the muzzles are red - look at the reviews of the Fujists) Of course, the future belongs to small matrices.
      As for progress, novice photographers will pay for soap dishes with detachable lenses in US dollars with their money ... But light ones. And the iPhone is even lighter.

  • Yuriy

    Good day! In AUTO mode of the Olympus PEN EPL3 camera in the Menu I can not limit the ISO in any way. Initially, 1600 items were stubbornly exhibited. How to limit at least 400 units, in which menu settings. There is a similar item, you set the default to 200 and the range and set, for all modes, alas, the transition to AUTO gives an initial value of 1600 units. Thanks for the possible answer.

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