Olympus E-PL5 gets a grip

/ Updated: September 17, 2012 11:02 AM PDT
The E-PL5 with the new 15mm f8 (30mm equivalent) body cap lens. Lori Grunin/CNET

If you've already read my take on the PEN E-PM2 , this part's going to sound familiar: with this revision, the camera becomes even less distinguishable from its step-down line mate. Both have been updated to use the same sensor as the top-of-Olympus'-line OM-D E-M5, an have gotten a burst-shooting boost to 8fps (albeit with caveats) and an update to 1080/30p video. They also get the same upgrade to a touch-screen LCD. The differences: the E-PL5 has a hardware mode dial, tilting display, and removable grip.

The removable grip is a new, and very welcome addition; one of my complaints about the E-PL3 was the lack of one.

Finally, like the E-PM2, the E-PL5 has gotten a price bump of $100 over the price segment in which it used to live.

Here are some of its competitors:

  Nikon 1
J1/ J2
Olympus PEN E-PL3 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 Pentax Q10 Sony Alpha NEX-F3
Sensor (effective resolution) 10mp CMOS 12.3mp Live MOS 16.1-megapixel Live MOS
12 bit
12.1mp Live MOS 12.4mp BSI CMOS 16.1mp Exmor HD CMOS
13.2 x 8.8 mm 17.3mm x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm 1/2.3-inch 23.5mm x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 2.7x 2.0x 2.0x 2.0x 5.5x 1.5x
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 3200/6400 (expanded) ISO 200 - ISO 12,800 ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 - ISO 6400/ 12800 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 6400 ISO 200 - ISO 16000
Continuous shooting 5fps
n/a
(60fps with fixed AF and electronic shutter)
4.1fps
n/a
(5.5fps without image stabilization)
8fps (with AF/exposure fixed on first shot and IS off)
19 JPEG/15 raw
4fps
unlimited JPEG/4 raw
5fps
5 JPEG/n/a
(1.5fps raw)
2.5 fps
18 JPEG/6 raw
(5.5fps with fixed exposure)
Viewfinder None Optional Optional bundled None Optional optical for prime lens None
Autofocus 73-point
phase detection, 135-area contrast AF
35-area contrast AF 35-area contrast AF 23-area contrast AF 25-point contrast AF 25-point contrast AF
Shutter speed 1/3 - 1/16,000; bulb; 1/60 sec x-sync 60-1/4,000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/4,000 FP sync 60-1/4,000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/250 sec x-sync 60-1/4,000 sec; 1/160 flash sync 30-1/8,000 sec.; bulb; 1/2000 or 1/13 sec sync 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 flash sync
Metering n/a 324 area 324 area 144 zone n/a 1200 zone
Flash Yes Included optional Included optional Yes Yes Yes
Image stabilization Optical Sensor shift Sensor shift Optical Sensor shift Optical
Video 1080/60i /30p, 720/60p H.264 MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV 1080/60i AVCHD @ 20, 17Mbps; 720/60p @ 13Mbps 1080/30p @ 20, 17Mbps H.264 QuickTime MOV AVCHD or MPEG-4 QuickTime MOV
1080/60i @ 17Mbps
720/60p @17Mbps
1080/30p H.264 QuickTime MOV AVCHD
1080/60i @ 24, 17Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24, 17Mbps
Audio Stereo Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input Stereo Mono Stereo; mic input
LCD size 3-inch fixed 460,000 dots/
3-inch fixed 920,000 dots
3-inch tilting
460,000 dots
3-inch tilting touch screen
460,000 dots
3-inch fixed touch screen
920,000 dots
3-inch fixed 460,000 dots 3-inch tilting
921,600 dots
Wireless connection None Optional Bluetooth Optional Bluetooth None None None
Battery life (CIPA rating) 230 shots 300 shots 360 shots 330 shots 250 shots 470 shots
Dimensions (inches, WHD) 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.2 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.5 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 4.2 x 2.6 x 1.5 4.0 x 2.3 x 1.3 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.6
Body operating weight (ounces) 9.7 11 11.5 (est) 9.6 7 (est) 11.1
Mfr. price n/a n/a $649.99 (body only) n/a n/a n/a
$549.95/ $649.95 (with 10-30mm lens) $599.99 (with 14-42mm lens) $699.99 (with 14-42mm lens) $599 (with 14-42mm lens) $599.95 (with 27.5-83.0mm equivalent lens) $549 (with 18-55mm lens)
n/a/$899.95 (with 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses) $599.99 (est, with 17mm lens) n/a $749 (with 14-42mm power zoom lens) n/a n/a
Ship date October 2011/
September 2012
September 2011 October 2012 June 2012 October 2012 June 2012

The E-PL5 is a bit of a hard sell at the higher price unless you're looking specifically for a Micro Four Thirds model; the tilting display is probably worth it for many folks over the GF5. But the substantially cheaper Sony Alpha NEX-F3 has one, and a larger sensor to boot.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Zoom 3 x
  • Optical Sensor Type Live MOS
  • Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical (image sensor shift mechanism)
  • Optical Sensor Size 13.0 x 17.3mm