My take on the Olympus E-P5

Started Mar 30, 2014 | User reviews thread
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James Pilcher Veteran Member • Posts: 9,261
My take on the Olympus E-P5

I've had my E-P5 for several weeks now, replacing the excellent E-PL5 in my kit. The E-P5 is a jewel among µ4/3 cameras.

Handling: The dual-dial control combined with the 1-2 lever makes handling a dream compared to the "fiddly" (my word) E-PL5. For some reason, the button placement on this camera seems far more intuitive than on my E-PL5; I just seem to know where to press at the right time. I know that's highly subjective, but it's very real for me and a pleasant surprise. Heft in my hand is highly satisfying; I do not care for extremely light cameras. The metal (magnesium?) construction of the E-P5 gives it a quality feel.

Image Quality: Right up there with the best of µ4/3 cameras right now. No complaints here and nothing more to say that you have not already read in this forum.

IBIS: This is the very first camera I've owned where the image stabilization appears to work well enough that I will not criticize it. I'm still a tripod person whenever possible, but this 5-axis IBIS does bring a level of mental comfort to shooting hand-held in lower light situations. I still will not use it for anything serious, but for casual shooting, this IBIS seems rather good. Contrasted to the E-PL5 IBIS, it's marvelous.

Electronic Viewfinder: A major reason I acquired the E-P5 is the VF-4. Wow. What a nice upgrade to the VF-2 I have been using since I purchased my E-PL3 in August, 2011 (I know I could have upgraded just the viewfinder on my E-PL5, but I wanted the entire package). All I can say is that it's a pleasure looking through this EVF. The eye-detect feature when mounted on the E-P5 seems near-perfect in sensitivity and speed for my style of shooting.

Video: Who cares?

Additional Features: Well, the 1/8000 shutter combined with ISO 100 makes this a much better camera when I want to shoot a fast lens wide open. My Leica Summilix DG 25mm f/1.4 is a little more useful in normal light right now. I like my portraits wide open (FF equiv of f/2.8 DOF) whenever possible and the E-P5 facilitates that better than the E-PL5.

I'm not thrilled with the printed graphics on all of the buttons. They will wear off, there is no getting around that. I would very much prefer engraved+painted markings, but there you are. Nothing to do but use the camera as-is.

The battery door does not inspire confidence. At least, if it were to open accidentally, nothing falls out. Taking out the SD card is a bit fiddly because the battery door opens to parallel and next to the card, leaving a rather uncomfortable grip on the card. It's just something to get used to and do carefully is all; not a big deal overall.

Shutter Shock: My short story: None. My long story: There is a lot of controversy surrounding this behavior, especially with the E-P5. I have made literally hundreds of test images in the 1/60 to 1/250 range specifically looking for evidence of shutter shock. On tripod and off. IBIS on and off (no IBIS+tripod though). I find no evidence whatsoever of shutter shock in my E-P5. I may be lucky, or it may be that I'm just using the camera correctly. I did see minor shutter shock evidence (occasionally) with my E-PL5, so not finding it with this camera is a nice bonus.

Conclusion: I truly enjoy the Pen form factor and this is the best Pen yet. It's a major step up from the E-PL5. I may someday acquire an E-M1 or its successor for specific purposes (birding, action), but this Pen is a near-perfect camera for me at this time.

Jim Pilcher
Summit County, Colorado, USA

 James Pilcher's gear list:James Pilcher's gear list
Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Fujifilm X70 Olympus PEN-F +8 more
Olympus PEN E-P5
16 megapixels • 3 screen • Four Thirds sensor
Announced: May 10, 2013
James Pilcher's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Olympus E-M1 Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus PEN E-PL3 Olympus PEN E-PL5
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