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Olympus PEN E-PL5

Olympus PEN E-PL5

For the past 3 years I’ve been dabbling with the idea of purchasing a DSLR camera. I’ve always loved photography but I haven’t had a decent interchangeable lens camera since university when I was still processing film. I used an old Pentax ME Super SLR, which was my dad’s camera back in the ’80s, and then it was my camera for college and university. The trusty Pentax has helped fill many albums but now it sits in a bag at my parent’s house waiting to be retro.

Since 2004 I’ve had a handful of compact cameras for personal use and for the last 3 years I’ve used my iPhone as my main camera. I came very close to buying a Nikon D5100 at the beginning of this year but decided I would be too lazy to carry it around due to the size. (I like gadgets to be pocket-sized.) Fast forward a few months and on a guitar photo shoot I meet with Amy who works for Future Publishing, in particular, Tech Radar magazine who knows her cameras extremely well. She recommended the Compact System Cameras for their small size but with the added benefit of interchangeable lenses. I was sold.

After several hours research online (and a few Facebook messages with Amy) I settled for the Micro Four Thirds Olympus PEN E-PL5 which was on offer with a free ZUIKO pancake lens. There’s no viewfinder which was one of the obstacles in my decision making but there are VFs that you can purchase separately so I’ll see how it goes without one for now. One big selling point of the E-PL5 is that is comes with the same sensor as its big brother, the OM-D EM5, so you’re getting pro image quality in a more affordable package.

After a very short time playing with the camera, I can say that I’m really impressed. The size and handling of the camera is perfect for me and the construction feels nice and sturdy. The colours in the photos are incredibly vibrant without being over saturated and I’m not missing the lack of viewfinder, for now. I think I’m going to enjoy using this camera a lot.

UPDATE: I’ve had the Oly for a couple of months and I still love it. I would recommend that anyone who buys an Olympus, in particular the PEN series, turns on the super control panel to fully appreciate the features of this camera. A good link in how to do this can be found here.

I’ve used the Oly to photograph The Bottle Shop in Roath and also my recent trip to South Korea. I know there are so many things yet to learn about this camera but it’s such a joy to use that I’m already looking at extra lenses and accessories for it. I can definitely see myself looking into the OM-D series in a couple of years if not sooner.

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