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Olympus E-PL5 review (and shipping in Asia). Plus new lens reviews roundup.


Photoreview Australia posted the Olympus E-PL5 review including a detailed Imatest report: “The review camera’s low-light performance was impressive, with image noise only becoming visible in long exposures at ISO6400 and shots taken at ISO 12800 being printable up to A4 size.” The E-PL5 shipment now started in Asia at Amazon Japan and on eBay (Click here). In US and Europe shipment will start in 1-2 weeks.
E-PL5 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
E-PM2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,

New Lens tests:
Tokina 300mm f6.3 Mirror Lens at ThePhoBlographer: “The focal length is extremely long and not everyone may like the doughnut effect or the slow manual focusing. To really get the most out of the lens, you’ll need to slow down, think, and wait for the right moment.
Olympus 75mm test at Focus Numerique.
25mm f/0.95 HyperPrime test at ThePhoBlographer: “Even though this being only a prototype, I found it to be very sharp wide open for a lens this fast
17.5mm Nokton review at ePhotozine: “Sharpness in the centre is impressive for a lens with such a fast maximum aperture and it just gets better as the lens is stopped down. The quailty feel delivered by the materials and workmanship is of a level normally reserved for Leica and Zeiss lenses, which generally cost a fair bit more.
Kurt Munger tested the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens. Also Camerahoarders posted one.
60mm macro review at Seldomscenephotography.

  • I really wish some reviewer would test the Video teleconversion feature on this. 4x full HD, but I really can’t find out if this is stepless zooming. It does sound like you can zoom into a specific area using the touchscreen. Turns every prime lens into a constant aperture zoom, if it works well.

    • Camaman

      I thing there would be a great need for more processing power to make step less digital zoom while recording 1080p.
      Live view on P/S is one thing 1080p sampling and cropping live while filming is a whole different thing.

      If I am wrong then this feature is really awesome.
      But most digital zooms on enthusiast cameras are in hard steps and not smooth. Even for photos…

  • Seriously XZ-2 looks just like an EPL5

  • sweln

    The focus numerique article isn’t a test / review but a professional medium format photographer view of the OMD EM5 with the 75mm f/1.8

    He says to like it very much.

    • Ulli

      It is interesting how he reviews the photoresults with the mannequin and mentions how quickly the subject’s in-focus area fades into blur, something which was part of his goal for the shoot.Not many describe a portrait lens like this, while its actually a very(at least for me)important characteristic.

  • Tom

    First, I know nothing about cameras and a friend told me that I should not buy Olympus cameras because they are low-quality materials. He says that the Panasonic cameras are much better. I do not know what to think because reading information on the internet, I realize that most people have a Olympus cameras and Olympus cameras have features that Pana has not.
    I do not know if my friend’s opinion relates to the oly past or reflex cameras or perhaps compact cameras.
    Can you tell me if the m43 olympus cameras are reliable and quality?

    • Jesper

      one thing for sure, Olympus has never been “low quality”. In terms of the optical perfomance at least.

      If you don’t care about video, go with Olympus!

    • Not so sure about Olympus now but Olympus has quite a good reputation for its quality control, even if they were made in China. 43 thirds is a dying format to some, but if you don’t mind not having state of the art technology, the past models can be bought relatively cheap (second hand of course) and are usually still in very good conditions.

    • Nathan

      Your friend’s opinions are coming from his backside. Ignore him and find a more experienced source of information. Olympus’ quality is similar to every other professional manufacturer out there- Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Fuji. They’re all very similar in build quality. I would say Olympus is above Canon and Nikon in overall build quality but slightly lower than them in image quality (due to smaller sensor) and higher in lens quality.
      It’s a wash. Photographer skill is going to matter far more than your choice of which SLR or mirrorless system to purchase.

    • Neonart

      Sounds like your friend is simple relaying someone’s biased view.

      I’ve owned both Panasonic and Olympus cameras and lenses in both the 4/3 and m4/3 format. I’ve never experienced any quality issues with either.

      I prefer the Olympus bodies because of the In Body Image Stabilization and the color rendition. But both are great choices if the features suit you.

    • James70094

      Yes, the 4/3 and m4/3 cameras are quality. The Zuicko lenses most attach to them are among the most highly regarded in photography. Olympus has been making cameras and lenses for over 90 years. In that time they invented quite a few features people take for granted now. I have Olympus E-300, E-510, E-30, E-P1 and E-PM cameras with a nice selection of lenses, ranging from kit zooms to high quality primes. Olympus actually gets a premium on their products because of the reputation and continued quality. There are cheaper alternatives from well known companies that simply do not measure up to the quality. In my opinion, Olympus, Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Pentax, Sony (Minolta) are the better companies for cameras if you care about your photography. Most think of Nikon and Canon because of their market share and advertising. That doesn’t make them better quality.

    • I use the E-PL1, which was canned a bit on release for feeling “cheap”. Well, it’s been banged around, left out in the snow for a weekend (whoops!), fired off about 300,000 shots, carried in a ski jacket pocket for weeks, lugged around in the Malaysian humidity for a few months. I live most of the year in the desert, and never had an issue with dust on the sensor, even though I use mainly primes.
      As far as I’m concerned, the Olympus quality and reliability is fine.

    • napalm

      typical reaction from those who dont know olympus. olympus has been known since early days to deliver quality cameras (at least for SLRs/DSLRs/rangefinders), lemons/bugs arent as frequent as other brands and all Olympus bodies I owned, I never once thought they were “low-quality”

  • AC

    another thumb-down regarding the screen (size and colour reproduction). This is such a shame coz I am ready to sacrifice the EVF for a small package with OM-D IQ BUT that’s only a worthwhile compromise IF the screen is a decent quality. Shame.

  • Steve

    Tokina 300mm: “To really get the most out of the lens, you’ll need to slow down, think, and wait for the right moment.”

    If only wildlife would cooperate.

    • JF

      +1 To slow down a f6.3 prime lens…LOL ! I think the pany 100-300 mm is a better choice…

      • Bart

        For wildlife pictures for example, probably yes.

        For pictures of the moon for example, the Tokina might well be better.

      • James70094

        They are not talking about slowing down the lens, rather about the photographer slowing down and actually composing a picture.

        • Mr. Reeee

          You mean actually composing a photo using the camera? What a concept! I thought that’s what cropping was for. ;-)

    • Digifan

      Hahaha, what amateurs, wildlife, in general, should not be shot with a mirror lens and very few photogs have. Wildlife should be shot with a fast tele, due to shutterspeed. Slower wild life could perfectly be shot with other lenses than a mirror lens. Alone the, mostly, distracting bokeh of a mirror lens can ruin your shot.
      A mirrorlens I used in the past when I went hiking and I really really didn’t want to take heavy long tele lenses. And they are not for lowlight eighter since the fastest I had was 250mm F5.6 and 500mm F8.0.

  • Promit Roy

    From the Phoblographer review of the Tokina mirror:
    “Additionally, ensure that your camera’s IS compensation is set to 600mm.”
    Facepalm. Completely, utterly wrong.

    • Fish

      Hey Roy,
      I wasnt sure if that was a mistake on their part or a clue for using mirror lenses with IBIS. I never tried doubling the focal length with my Tamron Cat lens but it sort of makes sense now that I think about it, because the image is reflected once within the lens before it even hits the sensor. And the Tamron felt like it was twice as shaky as a conventional lens (probably because it was so short). Maybe a 300mm mirror lens requires the same frequency of IS as a 600mm conventional lens???? I sold my Tamron so I cant test it out…

      • Esa Tuunanen

        What matters beside’s amount of pitch and yaw movement is scale of image projected onto sensor.
        And that’s affected only by focal length.
        While it could surely be calculated from 35mm. equivalent focal length it’s simpler to do it from real focal length as that’s what lenses communicate to body.

        And such small and light lens in combination with small and light body is surely extremely handshake prone with narrow field of view producing lens.
        It would be like putting sniper rifle’s scope into pistol and trying to use it to aim without support.

      • Hi Fish, I’m pretty sure that the rationale of a mirror lens is to double the focal length in a tube half the length. Total length of the light path is effectively 300mm.
        That said, the reviewer tried the lens for a month. I haven’t tried it at all, so perhaps your theory is spot on!

        • Bart

          There are a few reasons for mirror optics.

          The first rationale for mirror optics is that bending light with reflection instead of refraction does not introduce chromatic aberrations. This is why the first mirror optics were created by Newton and contemporaries.

          The second rationale is that when the diameter of elements gets bigger, it becomes increasingly difficult to make a refractive elements (lenses) that are strong enough to carry their own weight without distorting. Since a mirror can be very thin and can be supported from the back, a mirror is much lighter and easier to make.

          A folded optical path is not inherent to mirror optics, but many popular designs do use a folded optical path. Btw, if you go look at the sizes of mirror lenses with a folded optical path, its more then a 2x reduction.

          I’m sure the folded optical path and resulting small size is the rationale behind using mirror optics for this 300mm prime, but in general, that isn’t the primary rationale behind mirror optics.

  • jake

    Igot mine this evening and it is a great camera , I think my EPL5 is just as good as my EM5 but wihtout the EVF.

    I also got the 60mm f2.8 macro lens today it is an outstanding lens, I’d say it is just as good as it gets ,maybe as good as the Voiktlander17.5mmf0.95,which is my all time favorite lens for my EM5 and EPL5.
    I also highly recommend the Voiklander 25mmf0.95 ,which may well be the sharpest MFT lens ever made.

    I am sure either the 25mmf0.95 ,the 75mmf1.8 or the 60mmf2.8 macro is the sharpest lens for MFT.

    Anyway, I think my EPL5 will replace my Sony NEX5n , I will keep my NEX7 and EM5 but I think my camera bag will not have any room left for the old Sony NEX5n any more.

    Good job Oly and Coshina.

    • Mymaco

      VoiGtländer, and Cosina. ;) I own 17.5mm and I love it, I think it’s my fav lens. And the quality of 75mm is amazing. I don’t take macros, therefore I’m not interested in the 60mm..

    • Mr. Reeee

      I’m a big Voigtländer fan, too, the 25mm is simply fantastic! I also have the 35mm f1.4 and 75mm f2.5 Color Heliar. They’re both excellent in their own right, the 75mm especially, even wide open! The 35mm is just a lot of fun because of it’s small size.

      Can’t wait to get my mitts on a 17.5mm! but, I sure wish they’d make a faster version of the 12mm f5.6. I’d even settle for f2.0! ;-)

  • “not everyone may like the doughnut effect or the slow manual focusing. To really get the most out of the lens, you’ll need to slow down, think, and wait for the right moment.”

    …Or get the excellent Panasonic 100-300mm zoom that’s mere $130 more expensive, which will buy you autofocus, more brightness, variable FL, excellent IQ, magnificent IS and EXIF?

  • napalm

    Here’s Ming Thein’s E-PL5 review:

  • tamrong

    very first user preview of EPM2 + 15mm f8 body cap lens


  • djmdgk

    Does this camera still have that stupid AEB bracketing range restricted to only 4 EV? Even the OM-D can only do 0.7 EV steps when shooting a 7x AEB series. Starting with the G3 Panasonic at least allows 1 EV throughout the 7x series, giving a much more interesting 6 EV range. Which, of course, is badly needed to compensate for the crappy sensor. But with the 4 EV range the new Olys are not particularly exciting for landscape photographers often in need for AEB. Any progress with the E-PL5?

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