Olympus Announces New Flagship Camera: PEN E-P5

Olympus Announces New Flagship Camera: PEN E-P5

Olympus is following up their hugely successful PEN line with an all new member: the PEN E-P5, a digital update of a classic film camera designed new tech and performance advancements. Designed for photographers looking for superior image quality in a portable body, the PEN E-P5 delivers a unique shooting experience for photographers looking to keep things compact, including offering a shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, a first for the compact camera market. It also boasts built-in Wi-Fi, autofocus advancements, easy-access manual controls and a host of other features.

The new flagship in the Olympus PEN is packed with the tech found inside Olympus’s premier Micro Four Thirds camera, the OM-D E-M5: 16-Megapixel TruePic VI Live MOS sensor, FAST AF, 5-Axis Image Stabilization and more.

The Olympus PEN E-P5 is the first Compact System Camera with a mechanical shutter that can achieve a speed of 1/8000th of a second to freeze fast-moving subjects like insects in flight or to create pictures with dramatic background blur, even in bright conditions. The built-in flash, with an improved, faster 1/320th of a second synch speed, makes it easier to take backlit shots during the daytime. Never miss an instant photo opportunity with features like quick start-up, new short release time lag AF mode, which reduces the time between shots to 0.044 seconds, and nine-frame-per-second sequential shooting.

A touted "world class autofocus system," also found in the Olympus OM-D E-M5, powers the E-P5’s new Super Spot AF, accurately brings into focus even extremely small subjects. New Focus Peaking dramatically improves the usability of manual focus lenses by bringing shots into focus by emphasizing the contours of the point of focus in white or black.


The camera’s in-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization mechanism, which has been further evolved since its introduction in the Olympus OM-D E-M5, is now compact enough to fit in the E-P5’s svelte body. The system corrects various kinds of camera shaking, whether shooting still photos or recording movies and the new IS-AUTO mode automatically detects the camera's movements and provides optimal control of correction when panning regardless of direction or camera orientation. Correction-checking on the Live View screen makes it possible to check the image stabilization effects on the Live View screen that was previously difficult with in-body image stabilization systems. The user can press the shutter button halfway to check the image stabilization effects on the display and then decide upon the composition. The image remains on the display for two seconds after the shutter button is released, making it possible to stabilize the autofocus point and set framing. Multi-motion IS used in combination with the 5-Axis Image Stabilization mechanism produces excellent correction performance, especially during movie recording.

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Hands-on photographers will appreciate the 2x2 Dial Control system which is in easy reach on the back and top of the camera. When shooting manually, a lever on the back can be quickly moved to one of two positions. In the first position, moving the dial at the front of the camera adjusts the aperture while the back dial affects exposure time. In the second position, the dials change the ISO value and white balance. Alternatively, you can use the lever on the back of the camera to assign a range of other functions.

The E-P5 is the first Olympus camera to include built-in Wi-Fi. Setup is simple and involves quickly scanning the QR code displayed on the camera's LCD with your smart device to sync it with the Wi-Fi network created by the camera. Olympus’ free smartphone app, Olympus Image Share 2.0, synchronizes your smartphone’s and E-P5’s screens so you can effectively see the camera’s LCD on your phone and control it by touching the smartphone display as if it were your camera. This is useful for self-portraits and for remotely shooting subjects like wildlife that are easily startled if you get too close. You can count down to shutter release on the phone itself, grant friends’ devices access to selected images, and even use your smartphone to embed GPS information in your shots.

The Olympus PEN E-P5 is equipped with a bright 1.04 million dot high-definition tilt-type touch panel LCD that can be adjusted to face upwards at an 80-degree angle and downwards at a 50-degree angle.


For those of you who can't live without an optical viewfinder, rejoice! The new optional high-definition VF-4 viewfinder, provides a 1.48X magnification, a 2.36 million dot LCD, eye detect to turn it on at the right time, and intuitive functionality that enable real-time viewing of shooting conditions.


The Olympus PEN E-P5 is compatible with the whole Micro Four Thirds range of quality lenses, which now extends to newly introduced black versions of the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8, 45mm f1.8 and 75mm f1.8 lenses.

The PEN E-P5 is set to retail for $999.99 as a body only, available in Black, Silver or White later this month (May 2013).

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Jaron Schneider's picture

Jaron Schneider is an Fstoppers Contributor and an internationally published writer and cinematographer from San Francisco, California. His clients include Maurice Lacroix, HD Supply, SmugMug, the USAF Thunderbirds and a host of industry professionals.

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I would love to have a smaller camera that I can carry with me all day. My D800 is a tank even with a small 50mm F/1.4. I need it for my pro work, but walking about, I would love to have something like this. Investing in M 4/3rd lenses would be a chore, but I don't know. Seems like more bang for my buck then something like the Coolpix A or the X100s (which I really hated the feel of).

I have an E-PM1 which I bought to have a camera with me where ever and when ever I go out. I wanted a camera that was small and relatively inexpensive so if I dropped it, or did something stupid to it I wouldn't feel quite so bad. So far I've been very pleased with. I got a micro four thirds lens adapter and can use my old FD lens, although this completely negates the size advantage.

The only three things I don't like about the E-PM1 is:

one, lack of physical controls, it can take a while to setup the camera and recall how to setup some things.

Two, while the video quality is very good you must remember to turn of image stabilization or you get a very strange wobbling effect.

Three, my eyesight is getting worse for close up objects, so it's getting harder to tell if it's in focus. I've set it up so pressing the video record button enables 20 times magnification of any area on the screen so I can manually focus. I wear a hat and keep my glasses lowish so I can look between the brim of my hat and my glasses at the camera LCD. I really should get some bifocals or such, but I'd rather spend the money on a decent lens.

Many of the buttons and wheels can be changed to do another task. The lens I got with mine is fairly sharp, not all of them are, apparently some of the stock zoom lens that come with the camera are better then others, I don't know if it was an earlier version or later, my camera was a later version. There is a large number of micro four thirds lens, Panasonic makes two of the better prime lens, very sharp. With a prime lens the camera can fit in a pocket.

I originally bought a cheap consumer entry level camera to carry around, but the Olympus went on sale when I took the first camera I got (a Fuji) back because it couldn't focus well. I spent three times as much as the $100 I wanted to spend, but I've never regretted it.

Looks nice, I have the EPL-2 which I like to use when I don't wan to lug the big Nikons around, great for street stuff.

Well... This makes my Canon 500D look like it has Smartphone camera specs.

Disappointed it doesn't remove the AA filter like a lot of the other cameras are doing now...would give it a nice sharpness boost...

Meh, I think removing the AA filter is more marketing than anything else.

Comparison photos show otherwise...it's obvious there's a big diff...

Somehow I missed that this has no built in viewfinder. Dead on arrival for me. I had these hot shoe viewfinder contraptions.

I don't understand manufacturers mentality that when adding a viewfinder on the hot shoe means you must lose the hot shoe, relinquishing your ability to use a radio trigger. Why can't the just put a hot shoe on top of the viewfinder? Olympus , Panasonic, Nikon, etc, they all do this. Stupid.