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Olympus hopes Pen E-PL8 is attractive to a different group of photographers

Create: 09/21/2016 - 17:14
Olympus Pen E-PL8

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Body comes in three colors
  • 16-MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor'
  • 3.0-inch LCD screen flips downward with corrected image for selfies

Olympus has built a strong niche with its Pen cameras.

The latest model, the Olympus Pen E-PL8, shifts its attention to style rather than bringing any groundbreaking features.

It doesn’t mean that it’s a bad camera. Far from it. It has plenty to attract any photographer:

  • 16-MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor (2x lens factor compared with full-frame)
  • Three-axis image stabilization
  • Full HD video recording
  • 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD that flips downward 180°

However, one glance at the Olympus website will tell you that the target market for this model might be more interested in appearance than images. In fact, one of the promotions for the camera offers “Brunch for two” for buyers.

The Pen E-PL8 comes in three different body coverings, which it calls simply Brown, White and Black.

The camera uses F.A.S.T contrast detection autofocus to lock onto the subject, and images are saved to SD memory cards as either RAW or JPG. Full HD movies are saved as MOV files, while lower-resolution HD and SD movies are saved in the AVI format.

The shutter speed range is 60 seconds to 1/4,000. The camera can shoot at 8.5 frames per second, under which the camera locks exposure and focus on the first shot. For autoexposure and autofocus on each shot, the frame rate drops to 3.7.

NO BUILT-IN FLASH

The Pen E-PL8 does not have a built-in flash. Included in the box is the FL-LM1 Flash, a low-profile unit. The tiny unit can remotely fire up to three groups of compatible units It does not need batteries, as it draws its power from the camera. That has benefits and drawbacks, of course, but eliminating the need to worry about batteries for the flash should appeal to the Pen E-PL8’s target audience. When purchased separately, it costs US$59.99.

The camera should be able to handle all of the Olympus lenses, as well as those made by Panasonic and independent lens makers.

The Pen E-PL8 has built-in WiFi for easy transfer of images via the OI.Share app. GPS also is built into the body.

The battery should provide enough power for about 350 still photos and about 90 minutes of Full HD video recording.

The Pen E-PL8 body is 4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 inches (117.1 x 68.3 x 38.4mm) and weighs 11.5 ounces (326 grams).

It will cost US$549.99 with the 14-42mm IIR collapsible zoom kit lens. The white and black bodies can be purchased now, while the brown model isn’t yet available.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.