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Date: 29/06/2013 | By: Mathieu

A Quick Hands-On with the new Olympus Pen E-P5

E-M5, 1/1250, f/ 22/10, ISO 200

A Quick Hands-On with the new Olympus Pen E-P5

Update: our full review of the Pen E-P5 is now up!

Yesterday, I had a brief encounter with the new Pen E-P5 at an Olympus product demonstration here in Torino. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take the camera out for a short spin as I had done with Fujinon 55-200mm last month, so I will limit myself to sharing just my preliminary thoughts about this new addition to Olympus’ line of mirrorless cameras. Here at MirrorLessons, we intend to fully review it when we have our own test model available, so stay tuned!

E-P5, 1/1600, f/ 1.8, ISO 200M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8
E-P5, 1/1600, f/ 1.8, ISO 200
M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8

The first feeling I had holding the camera in my hands was very positive: despite it being very similar in size to the previous E-P3, I sensed a significant improvement in the ergonomics. It is not heavy, making it very nice to carry. Olympus has added two dials, one on the front and one on the rear to allow for quick aperture and shutter speed adjustments, as you would do on any professional camera.

E-M5, 1/125, f/ 22/10, ISO 500
Holding the Pen E-P5
E-M5, 1/125, f/ 2.2, ISO 800
The E-P5 rear view

But that’s not all: they’ve also added a new quick selector toggle that allows you to change the function of these dials: on position 1, you change aperture and shutter speed, on position 2, you change ISO and white balance. These functions are also customizable within the menu. I find this a really clever solution, as it allows you to access the main settings using the most natural dials on the camera.

A very clever selector on the back.
A very clever selector on the back.

The new viewfinder is awesome: very sharp, covers 100% of the field of view and looks like it might be even better than the one on my OM-D. Of course, being an external EVF mounted on a hotshoe, the Pen loses some of its compactness, but it still remains an essential accessory for your Pen camera if you use it frequently.

Shooting with the E-P5 and its viewfinder
Shooting with the E-P5 and its viewfinder

I was only able to take a few pictures, so I cannot judge image quality but my initial feeling tells me that this new Pen could be a new reference in the MFT system: the image below at 800 ISO is so clean that it makes me think that this Pen is probably even better than my beloved OM-D. But I’ll hold my tongue until I really test it seriously.

E-P5, 1/80, f/ 1.8, ISO 800
E-P5, 1/80, f/ 1.8, ISO 800

So, in summary, this quick but very satisfying hands-on with the Pen E-P5 has led me to think the best of it. I also love the updated design – simple, retro, and elegant. It also has new interesting features such as Wi-Fi capabilities, focus peaking for manual focusing, and 1/8000 shutter speed. If I let my G.A.S. get the better of me, I could also consider it an excellent potential companion for my OM-D.

Still curious? Have a look below to see some additional photographs:

E-P5, 1/160, f/ 1.8, ISO 800
E-P5, 1/160, f/ 1.8, ISO 800


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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

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