Top positive review
147 people found this helpful
on March 31, 2013
I don't even know where to begin. I bought this camera to replace my Canon EOS 40D. Don't get me wrong, I loved that camera, but lugging it around got to be a pain in the neck. It was a heavy camera and with a Tamron 18-270mm attached to it, it was even heavier and clunkier. It was time to pare down. There were a lot of favorable on line reviews on the Olympus E-PL5, the Olympus OM-D E5, and the Sony NEX 6. And, all three are good cameras with excellent image quality. What won me over about the E-PL5 was its price and an excellent selection of lenses to choose from.
The first time I got my hands on it after unpacking it, it did feel small in my hands but it had a solid feel to it. I read a few reviews where people complained about how tiny the controls were but I was able to adapt to the layout and buttons just fine.
I don't know why Olympus put the power switch right next to the shutter. Until I got used to it, I did accidentally power off the camera a few times while taking a picture. What I like about the power button itself it that the top is illuminated when the camera is powered on.
There were a number of complaints from other reviewers about the menus. I didn't find them all that bad but they do take getting used to. The most useful piece of advice I came across was on another Amazon.com review of this camera that recommended enabling the Super Control Panel. For some reason Olympus doesn't use this as a default on either the E-PL5 or the OM-D E5. The Super Control Panel displays all your key settings such as ISO, white balance, auto focus, metering, etc. on the LCD screen. Since the LCD is touch-sensitive, you just tap the setting you want to change and then turn the dial to the desired settings.
Enabling the Super Control Panel requires the Custom Menu to be enabled, which Olympus doesn't do by default. To enable to Custom Menu: click the camera's Menu button and select Setup Menu (indicated by the wrench icon) > Menu Display > Custom menu display (indicated by the gears icon) > Yes. Now the custom menu is enabled. To enable the Super Control Panel, return to the camera's main menu and select Custom Menu > Utility > Control Settings > P/A/S/M > Live SCP.
OK, so what's it like to shoot with this? F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! The image quality is stunning. It was on par with, if not better than my 40D. The image stabilization doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the one on the OM-D E5 does, but I have no complaints at all about it. It's perfectly fine.
The touch screen is wonderful. You have the option of shutting it off altogether, set it to-touch-to-focus only, or set it to-touch-to-focus + take the picture (no need to use the shutter). The latter option is great if you're trying to photograph pets or kids.
I bought the 14-42mm kit lens with it. It's an OK lens in that it gives me nice crisp images. But I miss the 18-270mm focal length that my old Tamron lens had. Olympus has a 14-150mm that I'm keeping an eye on and will probably purchase in the future. Along with the 14-42mm I also bought the Panasonic f/1.7.
I could care less about the video capability so I can't comment on that. I bought the camera to take still photos, not video.
The EPL-5 does not come with a pop-up flash. The flash is separate and you have to attach it to the camera if you absolutely need to use one. The flash comes bundled with the camera. There is no optical viewfinder on this camera, either. But, if you want to use one you can purchase one separately for about $160. It attaches to the same hotshoe that the flash attaches to. This can put you at a disadvantage if you want to use the flash at the same time.
The ability to swivel the LCD out so you can shoot from different angles is a super option! I'm shooting a lot from waist level and getting some nice results with it.
One word of caution: the camera is light. If you're shooting landscapes and it's windy, I suggest using a sturdy tripod with this camera to hold it steady. Because of how light it is, the wind will buffet it around considerably if you're shooting handheld.
The manual that came with the package is a basics only manual but you can get a PDF version of the full manual from the Olympus web site. I was able to download it to my iPhone so I can reference it any time.
I'm happy with my purchase and having a lighter load to carry with me.