Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 – a very compact system camera

What is it?

Olympus doesn’t go for big cameras – the OM-D was rather diminutive – so it’s no surprise that the PEN Lite E-PL5 is even more compact.

It’s not far removed from the PEN Mini E-PM2 which was also announced in time for Photokina. However if you like a mode dial, this one will be the better option for you. It also has a tilting screen and changeable hand grip.

Like the E-PM2, the E-PL5 has a 16Mp Live MOS sensor and the new TruePic VI processor which should enable these new models to produce quicker shots that their predecessors.

Watch our first look video review to find out more about the Olympus E-PL5:

Below are our first impressions based on a short time with the product, not a full review. Read our Digital SLR reviews for full reviews of the latest DSLRs and Compact system cameras and to see which produce the sharpest shots and sport the quickest speeds. Read about how we test digital SLRs for an in-depth breakdown of all our DSLR and compact system camera tests.

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 – Katie’s first impressions

Like the E-PM2, the small size and lightness of the E-PL5 makes it feel like a compact camera in your hand, but it’s far more powerful than that.

There’s little difference between the specs of the two cameras, but being someone who prefers physical controls, the mode dial on the E-PL5 makes this model the more appealing to me. However, it also costs around a hundred pounds more, which might be considered steep for a dial and articulated screen.

Like the E-PM2, this camera has a host of art filters and controls you can use to tweak colour and focus settings in the form of the ‘live guide’. This makes good use of the touchscreen. You can also use the touchscreen to take shots – as we saw on the Olympus O-MD E-M5 when it launched.

However, such features are more likely to be used by those trading up from a compact camera, adding to the appeal of this very compact system camera for novices. It’s not cheap though.

When can I buy it?

It’s becoming available in some countries already, but expect it to be widely available in the UK from mid-October, priced at somewhere around £600 with the 14-42mm kit lens.

Get a closer look at the E-PL5 and some of the shots taken on it – including using the art filters – in our gallery:

Would you go for the E-PL5 over the E-PM2, or would you rather save yourself a few quid on the cheaper model? Let us know what you think by adding a comment below.

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