Normally a two-year product cycle isn't that much for a camera targeted at advanced photographers. But in a field where technology mutates as quickly as it does for advanced interchangeable-lens cameras, that's a long time. So at 1.5 years since the E-P3, it feels like it's taken just a little too long for the PEN E-P5's debut, especially given the relatively catch-up feature set of the new model.
Not that there's anything wrong with the updates in the E-P5; there's plenty here that probably makes it a better camera. The most noticeable is the new design, still retro but based off the PEN F film camera this time. It's quite attractive, especially in the black and silver, though it comes in the same off-white and camel and all-black of the previous model.
Much of the control layout has been changed and seems both more traditional, with front and a back dials, as well as more streamlined with increased customizability. I like most of the changes; the one notable exception is probably the shallow fixed grip. On the E-P3 you had the ability to easily replace the shallow grip with a more pronounced one.
Olympus' also takes an interesting approach to wireless connectivity, incorporating QR codes for quick Wi-Fi setup rather than. When you bring up the connection on the camera it presents a QR code that you capture with the OI.Share app on your phone, and the app automatically configures the connection. It's a clever, inexpensive solution to the setup problem, as long as you only want to connect your camera to the phone.
Other important enhancements include the same AF system as the OM-D E-M5, with some more performance optimization with Four Thirds lenses (the E-P3's overall performance is pretty good, though); the same image-stabilization system and sensor as the E-M5, though hopefully with tweaked image processing; a tiltable touch screen; broader scene analysis in auto mode; and 1080/30p video. The camera also gains focus peaking and a smaller spot AF and the Photo Story feature introduced in the(it lets you select different aspect ratios of photos to shoot, which the camera automatically loads into a multiphoto template). Plus it offers time-lapse and intervalometer options.
Olympus also rolled out black versions of its high-quality f1.8 primes (17mm, 45mm and 75mm) and a new electronic viewfinder (EVF), which is included in a kit with the 17mm lens; it's bigger, higher-resolution, and adds an eye sensor.
Here are some of the E-P5's current competitors:
|Fujifilm X-E1||Olympus PEN E-P3||Olympus PEN E-P5||Olympus OM-D E-M5||Samsung NX20||Sony Alpha NEX-6|
|Sensor (effective resolution)||16.3MP X-Trans CMOS |
|12.3MP Live MOS |
|16.1MP Live MOS |
|16.1MP Live MOS |
|20.3MP CMOS |
|16.1MP Exmor HD CMOS |
|23.6mm x 15.6mm||17.3mm x 13mm||17.3mm x 13mm||17.3mm x 13mm||23.5mm x 15.7mm||23.5 x 15.6mm|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 (expanded)/ 200 - ISO 6400/25600 (expanded)||ISO 200 - ISO 12,800||ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 25600||ISO 200 - ISO 25600||ISO 100 - ISO 12800||ISO 100 - ISO 25600|
|Continuous shooting||6fps |
|3.0 fps |
unlimited (LN) JPEG/17 raw
|4.5-5fps (lens dependent, IS off) |
70 JPEG/20 raw
(9fps with fixed AE/AF, no IS)
17 JPEG/11 raw
11 JPEG/8 raw
11 raw/15 JPEG
(10fps with fixed exposure)
2.36 million dots
|Optional plug-in articulating EVF |
|Optional EVF |
2.36 million dots
1.44 million dots
|OLED EVF |
|OLED EVF |
2.4 million dots
|35-area contrast AF||35-area contrast AF||35-area contrast AF||15-point contrast AF||99-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF|
|AF sensitivity range||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||0 - 20 EV|
|Shutter speed||30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync||60-1/4000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes||60 - 1/8000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/250 sec x-sync |
(FP to 1/4000 sec)
|60-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 8 minutes; 1/250 sec x-sync (flash-dependent)||30-1/8000 sec.; bulb to 4 minutes; 1/180 x-sync||30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync|
|Metering||256 zones||324 area||324 area||324 area||221 segment||1,200 zones|
|Metering range||n/a||0 - 20 EV||0 - 20 EV||0 - 20 EV||0 - 18 EV||0 - 20 EV|
|Image stabilization||Optical||Sensor shift||Sensor shift||Sensor shift||Optical||Optical|
|Video||1080/24p H.264||1080/60i AVCHD @ 20, 17Mbps; 720/60p @ 13Mbps||1080/30p @ 20Mbps H.264 QuickTime MOV||1080/60i QuickTime MOV @ 20, 17Mbps||1080/30p; 1080 x 810/24p; 720/30p H.264 MPEG-4||AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28, 24Mbps, 1080/ 24p @ 24, 17Mbps, 1080/60i @ 17Mbps; H.264 MPEG-4 1440 x 1080/30p @ 12Mbps|
|Audio||Stereo; mic input||Stereo; mic input||Stereo; mic input||Stereo; mic input||Stereo||Stereo; mic input|
|LCD size||2.8-inch fixed |
|3-inch fixed OLED |
|3-inch tilting touch-screen LCD |
1.04 million dots
|3-inch tilting touch-screen OLED |
|3-inch articulated AMOLED |
|3-inch tilting touch screen |
|Wireless connection||None||Optional via Bluetooth||Wi-Fi||None||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||350 shots||330 shots||330 shots||n/a||330 shots||270 shots |
|Dimensions (inches, WHD)||5.1 x 2.9 x 1.5||4.8 x 2.7 x 1.4||4.8 x 2.7 x 1.5||4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7||4.6 x 2.5 x 1.4||4.8 x 2.8 x 1.1|
|Body operating weight (ounces)||12.4 (est.)||13.0||14.8 (est)||15.1||14 (est)||12.3|
|Mfr. price||$999.95 (body only)||n/a||$999.99 (body only)||$949.99 (body only)||n/a||$749.99 (body only)|
|$1,399.95 (with 18-55mm lens)||$899.99 (with 14-42mm lens)||n/a||$1,199.99 (with 12-50mm lens)||$1,099.99 (with 18-55mm i-Function lens)||$899.99 (with 15-60mm PZ lens)|
|n/a||$899.99 (with 17mm lens)||$1449.99 (with 17mm lens and VF-4 EVF)||$1,099.99 (with 14-42mm lens)||n/a||n/a|
|Ship date||November 2012||August 2011||May 2013||April 2012||May 2012||October 2012|
While the Sony Alpha NEX-6 isn't as eye-catching, it's cheaper and a pretty strong competitor, with a bigger sensor. Furthermore, if you're going to add the optional EVF, you might as well get the E-M5, which has the extra weather sealing and has better continuous-shooting for roughly the same body-only price.
The E-P5 looks nice and will probably be a fine camera, but unless you're buying primarily on looks it doesn't have any competitive edge that I can think of. Then again, a good-looking camera, especially one bundled with one of Olympus' better lenses, might pull it off.