Olympus E-PL5 Mirrorless Camera

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Tried & Tested

Key Features

  • 16MP Micro Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • 8 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 35-area contrast detect AF with touch focus
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • 1080 HD video
  • Articulated 3.0 inch touchscreen LCD with 460,000 dots
  • Optional electronic viewfinder accessory
  • Raw and Raw + JPEG shooting
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot

Product Description

The Olympus Pen E-PL5 "Pen Lite" is part of that manufacturer's family of Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras, and boasts a 16MP CMOS sensor capable of 8 frames per second continuous shooting. The 3.0 inch touchscreen flips up 180 degrees, taking the guess work out of self portrait framing. Unlike the entry-level Pen Mini counterpart, the E-PL5 offers a physical mode dial, making it easy to jump between PASM shooting modes. The camera's front hand grip is removable, and this, plus the more developed physical controls, are the main differentiators compared to the E-PM2 'Pen Mini'.


Body type
Body type Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Max resolution 4608 x 3456
Other resolutions 2560 x 1920, 1024 x 768
Image ratio w:h 4:3
Effective pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 17 megapixels
Sensor size Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
ISO Auto (200 - 1600), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 16000, 20000, 25600
White balance presets 8
Custom white balance Yes (1)
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
Uncompressed format RAW
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Digital zoom No
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 35
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier 2×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Tilting
Screen size 3
Screen dots 460,000
Touch screen Yes
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Electronic (optional)
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 60 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash No (bundled external flash)
Flash range 7.00 m (bundled FL-LM1)
External flash Yes (Clip-on FL-LM1 included, Hot-shoe)
Flash modes Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Sync, Manual (3 levels)
Continuous drive 8.0 fps
Self-timer Yes (2 or 12 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing (2, 3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes (3 frames in 2, 4, 6 steps selectable in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Format MPEG-4, H.264, Motion JPEG
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes (Mini HDMI type-C)
Wireless Eye-Fi Connected
Remote control Yes (Optional RM-UC1)
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description Lithium-Ion BLS-5 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 360
Weight (inc. batteries) 325 g (0.72 lb / 11.46 oz)
Dimensions 111 x 64 x 38 mm (4.37 x 2.52 x 1.5)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording No
GPS None


User Reviews

  • Blackdog68, Jan 25, 2013 GMT:
    Impressive little camera

    I finally took the plunge into mirrorless and I'm really enjoying this camera. I have a Nikon FF system, so I was looking for very small size for a second system. The EVF bump eliminated the OMD from contention, but when this camera with the same sensor, AF system, and metering was announced, I went for it. IQ is very good. Not quite D600, but good enough for most purposes. The AF is fast and accurate in single point mode. Continuous mode is not very good, but continuous with tracking isn't ...

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  • Ron Joiner, Jan 24, 2013 GMT:
    I'll give a 1/2 point more

    I agree with all the points the OP made. I recently got the SCP to work and why Olympus, is that so hard to do that? I still hit the video button accidentally as I did on my EPL-2 but the camera does everything else so well I can overlook these minor issues. Touch screen - don't need it and didn't want it, but why have I started using it, because it works and it works well. I am a long time Olympus user and started out with the E500 and I have to say that this is simply the best Olympus ...

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  • Guy Parsons, Jan 23, 2013 GMT:
    A nice upgrade

    The new 16MP sensor is a nice upgrade from the old 12 MP sensor, not just for the resolution but for the extra dynamic range and better high ISO performance. The new features of being able to assign MySets to the Mode dial make life nice for me at last. Other additions such as ability to use the OIS in Panasonic lenses that have no switch, one press HDR bracketing for 3 up to 7 shots to combine later in post process and that swivel up/down rear screen make life nice. Compared to my E-PL1 it ...

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  • kahlrichs, Mar 15, 2013 GMT:
    Heads up - a surprise on the touch screen tilt vs. the flash

    Love the camera. Have started learning it, and am several shoots into learning the ins and outs. As good as I hoped in quality, and am learning the menus and idiosynchrasies. Fine so far. Started to use the supplied little flip up accessory flash to drive a wireless flash. I hate on-camera flash, so I'm happy that this camera has wireless flash built in, just like my Nikon D7000. Did 2 event receptions with it and the 17mm f1.8 and loved it. It handled the color balance well and the ...

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Questions & Answers


Would PEN E-PL5 focus faster then Sony NEX-6?

I think I am well settled on getting the NEX-6 after taking a number of things into consideration. I was doing some research on Olympus PEN E-PL5 and one thing I've seen noted about the Olympus M43 cameras especially E-M5 and the new siblings E-PL5 and E-PM2 is how fast they are at AF. Even here at a recent thread about sports photography some folks said M43. Would E-PL5 really be noticeably faster then Sony even without the phase detect which Sony NEX-6 has? How about in low light situations, which one should win then? This review lists some focus times for NEX-6: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/sony-nex-6-review-20566 Then the same site for E-M5: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/olympus-om-d-e-m5-full-review-19079 The E-M5 appears to be faster. E-M5: Shot to Shot (without flash) 0.3-0.4 NEX-6: Shot to Shot without Flash   0.8 secs Looks like if you're snapping away E-M5 (and I am guessing E-Pl5) would be twice faster from shot to shot. Then of course that's just a a fraction of ...

CosmoZooo asked
2 years ago


No one wanted to pitch in so let me put in something for comparison: Consider this video of a PEN-PM2 (same performance as the E-PL5). You can fast forward 1:20: Olympus Pen Mini E-PM2 Camera Hands On Look how the guy keeps pressing the shutter and it is just snapping away as the objects are moving on that conveyor. Could NEX-6 keep up with this? Continue Reading

CosmoZooo answered
2 years ago

Well I've had the E-M5 for a few months before getting the 6, and had the 7 before the E-M5. To me, the E-M5 has quicker and more accurate AF than the 7 but in all honesty, I can't really tell how much quicker it is than the 7. However, I can say the AF feels a bit faster on the 6 than the 7 (after updating the 18-55 kit lens). I no longer have the E-M5 so I can't really test it but I've never really taken shot after shot after shot in that sequence. I'll just snap a pic or two but never really paid attention to the time between shots lol Continue Reading

lowincash answered
2 years ago

I have no problem with the focusing speed of my NEX-7. Here is a video I did with the original 18-200mm lens. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD1RWGeveXU Then a couple of photos I did using my Zeiss 24mm 1.8 of birds in flight. Both shots were not pre-focused, I just hit the shutter button.  Cropped out of larger photo.  Saw the bird coming, just followed it centered in the focus box and hit the shutter button. Crop out of above photo Continue Reading

relate2 answered
2 years ago


E-PM2, no AA filter like E-PL5?

Do we know if the E-PM2 is like the E-PL5 and is lacking an AA filter?  It seems the E-PL5 in some cases has better IQ than the E-M5, and I wanted to know if the E-PM2 was similar.

Everdog asked
2 years ago


The E-PM2, looks to me to be nearly the exact same camera, with just a few physical features missing (tilting LCD and mode dial) in order to justify the E-PL5 higher price. They surely have the same sensor assembly. However, I don't know if I buy the story that the E-PL5 has no AA filter. It sounds to me like a misinterpretation that got published at that rumors blog. All of the PENs have very light AA filters anyway, I get moire whenever I use the Panasonic 25mm lens because that lens is too sharp for the sensor. And see Robin Wong's review of the 60mm macro in which he got moire using that lens with the E-M5: http://www.43rumors.com/first-full-olympus-60mm-review-made-by-robin-wong/ Continue Reading

sigala1 answered
2 years ago

I guess we have to wait a little longer for some reviews. Continue Reading

Everdog answered
2 years ago

It's EXACTLY as I suspected, the rumormonger guy took back his statement: http://www.43rumors.com/pekka-potka-says-there-is-not-iq-difference-between-e-pl5-and-e-m5-but/ People really should listen to me. Continue Reading

sigala1 answered
2 years ago


Traveling to Scotland. WWYD

I appreciate everything that I learn in this forum. I need a little friend-to-friend advice. You don't know me and my priorities, but I'll give this a shot anyway. I am trying to decide on a kit to take to Scotland for a two week visit next month. This will be a trip with my wife. The trip is "majoring in tourism with a strong minor in hobbyist photography". So photography is important, but so is lightness and minimal fiddling. My wife is very patient, but will quickly tire of too many lens changes and of tripod lugging/using. My favorite subjects are landscape and architecture. Not too much into birding or sports. Don't do too much street shooting (of human subjects anyway) as I am uneasy with that for some reason. Don't want to get beat up, I guess. My tentative plan is a "two camera plan". This is based on two prior occasions of sensor failure on my E-M5 while on trips. On the latter occasion, an RX1 that I had along saved the day. Not so the first time when all I had was a Canon ...

Neurad1 asked
7 months ago


Not a bad idea, actually. One of the reasons I like throwing a single prime on my camera and composing around it is because it forces me to look for subjects that suit it, to find aspects of the place  that convey the feeling of being there. It kind of saves me from myself because when there isn't something that fits the lens I have, I just enjoy my experience. Always good to remind myself that not everything needs to be photographed. Every trip intake I also have at least a  day where I leave my camera in the hotel room. Continue Reading

Dave Sanders answered
7 months ago

Perhaps you mean kilt, not kit.  The former might make the taciturn locals chatty and welcoming. Don't make the trip's depend entirely on outdoor photography.  Weather may not cooperate. Try some fly fishing, stone throwing, or golf.  A distillery or two.  Oh, and start the mornings with a big yummy plate of marag dubh. Go light on the cameras: one or two compacts enough. Continue Reading

jkoch2 answered
7 months ago

It's always nice to have a longer lens for landscapes… castles on hills and whatnot, architectural details, etc.. HEAVY? You're kidding, right? You could get away just bringing this lens alone. Do you REALLY want to spend your life de-fishing fisheye shots? No thanks. Bring the 9-18mm. It's flexible enough to be a good walkabout lens in good light. I use the 7-14mm that way. Try an UltraPod II. It's simple, very light and compact and cheap (under $20). It practically disappears in your bag. I use it sort of like a monopod resting it on my shoulders and chest… 2 legs up, 1 leg down. It's surprisingly stable that way. You can strap it to things like branches and railings, too. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/239963-REG/Ultrapod_PD02010_2_Black.html One one level, that makes more sense. EM1 with 12-40mm and the 9-18mm or 40-150mm on the EPL5 and you're done. Continue Reading

jeffharris answered
7 months ago

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