Like other ILCs from the Olympus range, the E-P5 comes with all the manual controls you could want, accessed via the mode dial at the top. Befitting the retro look, the power switch matches the colour profile of the top panel and flicks on and off easily. The grip at the front of the camera offers a substantial hold without overwhelming the front fascia. As far as we can tell, it can't be removed and changed out with other grips like on previous Pen cameras.
The touchscreen is one of the highest resolutions we've seen on an ILC thus far, boasting 1.03-million dots. Features like touch to focus and touch shutter are available, and Olympus has also enabled the E-P5 with a mode called super spot AF, which lets users pinpoint focus on small subjects.
On top of the touch elements, the screen also pivots out from its attachment at the top of the camera body, and is able to tilt up and down for shooting at odd angles. It doesn't articulate out from the side though, which limits its range of movement.
You may also notice a new switch that sits around the record button. More on this later.
Wi-Fi connectivity is almost a guaranteed part of camera feature sets this year, with the E-P5 being no exception. Rather than using the more cumbersome Flash Air format that Olympus introduced last year, Wi-Fi is now built-in to the E-P5. The setup process is incredibly easy: simply select the "Connection to smartphone" option in the menus, then start up the app on your tablet or smartphone (iOS only at the time of writing, but the updated Android version is coming very soon).
Once the connection is active, use the tablet or smartphone as a remote viewfinder. The response time is reasonably quick, but the resolution of the Live View image is rather low, especially if you are using a tablet.
Remote viewfinder options only include the ability to take photos, touch to focus and self-timer.
As well as saving photos on the camera's SD card, you can save them to the mobile device at a maximum resolution of 2048x1536. GPS logging is available to tag photos with geolocation data, but it needs to be activated on the mobile device before setting off to take images.
The app also gives access to some editing options, such as altering photos with one of 12 art filters that Olympus is well-known for. These include pop art, soft focus, pale and light colour, light tone, grainy film and cross-process, to name but a few. For a touch of brand promotion, you can also stamp photos with various Olympus and Pen logos, as well as piece together photo frames from images stored on your mobile device.
Usability for photographers has been greatly improved with a dual dial system. Olympus calls this 2x2 dial control, where one dial at the front is used to adjust one parameter (such as aperture) and the dial at the back for another (like shutter speed). Both dials fall easily within reach of the thumb and forefinger, making manual exposure adjustment very easy.
Remember that switch we referenced earlier, around the record button? Flick this back and forth between option one and two to adjust the functionality of the 2x2 dials. Olympus provides four preset options that can be used to adjust ISO/white balance, AF modes and video recording.
Focus peaking! Anyone who likes to use expanded focus, or manual focus in any guise, will appreciate the new peaking feature. By default it is assigned to the Fn button at the top of the camera, but you can adjust this to your favourite button of choice in the menu system.
Rather than flashing, or appearing in a bright colour like red on some other cameras, the Pen's peaking is displayed as a solid block outline of black or white. As far as we could tell from our pre-production model, peaking is only available for stills, not video.