Olympus PEN E-PL5 Detailed Review

See all images of the Olympus PEN E-PL5


In additional PEN E-PL5 was introduced by Olympus in September 2012. It belongs to the Mirrorless Cameras category.

Olympus is well-known and shouldn’t require further introduction, please see our manufacturer’s page for more digital cameras by Olympus.

Brand Olympus
Category Mirrorless
Date 09/2012
Sensor Properties

Also PEN E-PL5 has a Four Thirds CMOS sensor with size of 17 x 13 mm² (0.68″ x 0.51″).

Picture of PEN E-PL5’s sensor compared to popular format.

Infographic: PEN E-PL5 comparing sensor sizes

The 1-Euro coin has a diameter of 23.25mm.

The PEN E-PL5’s image sensor has an effective resolution of around 16 megapixel. That’s roughly average and will be sufficient for most purposes. Photos with this resolution can easily be printed to A3 or A2 size.

The Olympus supports taking images in RAW. RAW images are stored as they come from the sensor, without any in-camera processing or sharpening. Converting to JPEG or other formats takes place on the computer, using software like Adobe Lightroom or Olympus’s RAW converter. This involves one extra processing step but almost always results in superior image quality. Some filters, like converting to monochrome (black and white) will only yield decent results when used with RAW images.

The PEN E-PL5 features a mechanism for automatic sensor cleaning.

Format Four Thirds
Sensor area 17.30 x 13.00mm²
(0.68″ x 0.51″)
Resolution (physical) 17.20 megapixel
Resolution (effective) 16.10 megapixel
Pixel size 14.09 µm²
Sensor cleaning
RAW support
Continuous 8 frames/second
Interchangeable lens
Mount Olympus Micro Four Thirds (MFT)
Viewfinder Properties

The PEN E-PL5 does not come with a built-in viewfinder. The camera’s display is used to compose the photo. That can be cumbersome in broad daylight.


The PEN E-PL5’s shutter speed varies from 1/4000s to 60s.

Max. shutter speed 1/4000s
Min. shutter speed 60s
Sensitivity Properties

The PEN E-PL5’s sensitivity goes from 200 ISO und 25600 ISO, a very useful and practical range.

Min. sensitivity 200 ISO
Max. sensitivity 25600 ISO
Exposure Modes

The PEN E-PL5 supports all general exposure modes.

The Olympus allows spot exposure for the difficult occasion.

Center weight
Auto Focus Properties

The PEN E-PL5’s auto focus processor uses 35 AF points (or sensors). A basic rule of thumb says that the more AF points you have, the better. More AF points mean a better chance to have a point at the location of interest in a scene, a big plus in challenging situations (e.g. when panning the camera).

Manual focus is also possible with the Olympus, a plus in tricky situations or for some creative freedom.

Type Contrast Detection
AF points 35
Manual focusing
Flash Specs

The PEN E-PL5 doesn’t feature a built-in flash. That is not unsusual in this camera category.

A flash or a trigger for remote flashes can be attached to the Olympus’s hotshoe.

Hot shoe
Display Specs

The PEN E-PL5 features a monitor with a diagonal of 76.00mm (3.0 in.) and a resolution of c. 0.46 megapixel. That rather low resolution is no longer state of the art and will make it difficult to evaluate images on the display.

The camera’s display is articulated, a plus for selfies and other challenging situations.

The PEN E-PL5’s monitor can work as a touch screen, just like a smartphone. That can be very useful, for example to pick AF points, but keep in mind that touch screens usually don’t work when wearing gloves.

Display characteristics at a glance:

Type LCD
Size 76.00mm (diagonal)
(3.0 in.)
Resolution 0.46 megapixel
Touch screen
Video Specs

PEN E-PL5 video supported the resolution with 1920 x 1080 pixel.

ACamera is not equipped with an external microphone.

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Video parameters:

Max. resolution 1920 x 1080 pixel
…with frame rates 30 frames/second
External microphone
Connectivity & Wireless Specs

Built-in wireless connectivity is not available with the Olympus. You will need appropriate accessories to wirelessly transfer images between camera and smartphone.

Connect the Olympus to a monitor or TV set over HDMI.

The Olympus supports USB 2.0.

Connection parameters:

Remote (wired)
Remote (infrared)
HDMI (standard)
HDMI (mini)
HDMI (micro)
USB 2.0
USB 3.0
USB Micro
USB Mini

The camera supports SD HC and SD XC cards.

Memory cards characteristics:

Slots 1
Memory cards SD

The Olympus PEN E-PL5 has a BLS-5 LiIon battery. The battery provides a shooting life of 350 shots. It`s enough for one day or more.

The PEN E-PL5’s battery battery parameters:

Type BLS-5 LiIon
In-camera charging
Battery life 350 photos

The Olympus PEN E-PL5’s size is 110.5 x 63.7 x 38.2mm³. (4.4″ x 2.5″ x 1.5″). That dimensions are without lens. The weight of camera is 4.4″ x 2.5″ x 1.5″ grams (325 oz.) without lens weight.

Here is front and top view of the PEN E-PL5:

Dimensions Comparison

To put the size of the camera in context, here it is next to a typical ID card (c. 86mm x 55mm, about the size of a credit card).

The PEN E-PL5 is not much bigger:

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