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First Look: The best Micro Four Thirds camera thus far

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First Look: The best Micro Four Thirds camera thus far

2:26 /

An excellent entry in the Micro Four Thirds universe, the Olympus PEN E-P5 should please a lot of folks, but it's also expensive given that it doesn't deliver best-in-class photo quality.

The Olympus PEN E-P5 is a much better camera than its predecessor, E-P3. And it's one of the best Micro Four Thirds models that I've tested this far. It's got a more refined design, improved feature set, better photo quality and faster performance. It comes in 2 kits. One with just the body, and another with the big, but nice electronic viewfinder and a very good 17 millimeter f/1.8 lens. And this camera really needs a good lens. The body's heavier than before, but that accommodates the new tilting touch screen display along with a wifi antenna. Olympus's wifi implementation uses a novel approach for setup with a QR code that you scan with a fairly basic device app. I had some setup issues with it during testing them. Hopefully, Olympus will be able to fix them quickly. Overall, I really like the shooting design. It's reasonably customizable with a lever that toggles extra settings dependent upon your shooting mode. The grip's rather shallow, but it has a nice lowered thumb rest which makes it comfortable for single handed shooting. The touch screen display operation is a little more limited than you usually find. You only really use it for camera settings when in auto mode. In more manual modes, it generally serves for a touch focus, touch shutter, scrolling through images during playback and so on. I do find the navigation control annoying, though. It's too small and imprecise which means for example, that it'll hit left when I wanted to it down. And I do wish the flash could tilt back for bouncing. Its autofocus shooting and image processing roll quite fast, though it's got some of the usual pulsing issues with continuous autofocus during video. The addition of peaking is nice for manual focus except that it doesn't operate in video mode. Low ISO sensitivity image quality is very good as well with clean JPEGs to about ISO 400 and usable through ISO 800. You might wanna shoot RAW above that because high sensitivity JPEGs get pretty mushy. Video's just okay, with the usual edge art effects. The E-P5's a really nice camera with great performance and a streamline design, but for the same money, I think some APS-C interchangeable lens models deliver better photo quality. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Olympus PEN E-P5.

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