In depth

The Olympus PEN EPL9 is an entry-level 16 Megapixel mirrorless digital camera aimed toward these eager to improve from their smartphone and take the following step in artistic images. Introduced in February 2018 it comes a yr and a half after its predecessor, the PEN EPL8, and like that mannequin is designed to attraction to bloggers and social photographers. Like all PEN and OMD fashions to this point, the EPL9 relies on the Micro 4 Thirds normal, giving it entry to the most important choice of native mirrorless lenses round.

Obtainable in white, black or brown finishes, the PEN EPL9 appears to be like and feels good in your arms, sports activities a bigger and extra snug grip than its predecessor and usefully squeezes in a popup flash, in comparison with the slide-on accent that got here with the EPL8. As earlier than, there’s no built-in viewfinder (and now no means to slot-in a viewfinder accent) so that you’ll be composing solely with the display screen. The display screen can tilt up by 90 levels or down by 180 to face the topic for selfies or vlogging, though when doing so that you’ll block the tripod mount so it’s handheld vlogging and selfies solely. Olympus has enhanced the touch-screen management although, permitting you to faucet your means by the ART filters, scene presets and superior modes. Talking of which, the brand new AP place on the dial rounds-up many of the intelligent taking pictures modes that have been beforehand scattered (and sometimes misplaced) amongst menus, whereas the choice of ART filters beneficial properties new Bleach Bypass and On the spot Movie choices.

The EPL9 sticks with the 16 Megapixel sensor of its predecessor, however {couples} it with the newest Olympus picture processor which permits it to assist 4k video at as much as 30p for clips lasting as much as half an hour. The EPL9 sensor can be stabilized throughout the physique, permitting it to considerably scale back camera-shake with any lens you connect. The AF system has additionally been upgraded to 121 factors overlaying many of the body, and the EPL9 now additionally consists of Bluetooth to make Wifi connections to your cellphone for distant management and picture switch simpler; I’m confirming in regards to the GPS implementation. Lots of the upgrades have been beforehand seen on the latest OMD EM10 Mark III – and certainly the EPL9 may very well be thought of as a viewfinder-less model – however with its extra compact physique, trendy appears to be like and front-facing display screen, it’ll stay a well-liked selection with vloggers and bloggers ailke.

In my assessment I’ll take a look at the brand new options, see the way it measures-up for the audience, and the way it compares to key rivals together with the Fujifilm X-A5. So in case you’re in search of an entry-level mirrorless digital camera, learn on!

I’ll begin with a first-looks video by Gordon to elucidate the highlights.





The Olympus PEN E-PL9 has undergone a redesign that goes past the merely beauty, although it does look cleaner, cooler and fewer ‘gadgety’ than earlier than. The handgrip is now extra substantial and the contours are usually just a little softer. It’s the identical measurement as its predecessor although, and weighs roughly the identical. With the 14-42mm ‘Pancake’ powered zoom fitted, it would match comfortably in a purse or perhaps a jacket pocket, and is a bit more moveable than the Fujifilm X-A5 which has an analogous sized physique, however bigger lenses.



The highest panel lastly sees the introduction of a built-in flash which is prolonged through a small button on the rear. The E-PL9 nonetheless sports activities a hotshoe for an exterior flash and different equipment, however the Accent Port, which might accommodate elective extras like a viewfinder, microphone and lighting has been discontinued. The mode dial is barely bigger than earlier than and ,as earlier than, the only management dial surrounds the shutter launch.



Other than a redesigned thumb relaxation, the again of the PEN E-PL9 appears to be like similar to its predecessor. The three inch 1040ok dot 3:2 proportioned contact display screen has very comparable specs to that on the Fujufilm X-A5. Each screens flip forwards to face you for selfies, however whereas the X-A5’s display screen folds above the digital camera physique, the PEN E-PL9’s goes in the wrong way and seems beneath. Whereas it appears a bit unusual at first, I don’t suppose there’s a lot of a bonus someway. Each present a transparent view of the display screen when it’s going through you, however on the X-A5 the hotshoe is obstructed and on the E-PL9 you possibly can’t use the tripod mount.



Facet-by-side right here you possibly can see that there’s little to separate the X-A5 and E-PL9 by way of measurement and weight, a minimum of so far as the physique goes. Due to its bodily bigger APS C sensor The X-A5’s X-system lenses are just a little bigger than the E-PL9’s Micro 4 Thirds lenses. In sensible phrases this implies you possibly can comfortably match the E-PL9 with its powered equipment lens in a coat, and even jacket pocket, however the X-A5 is extra of a handful. With the cameras powered off and the lenses retracted (as they’re on this shot) the E-PL9’s depth is 60mm in contrast with 83mm for the X-A5.



Right here’s the angle of view with the 14-42mm equipment lens on the PEN E-PL9. There’s a barely inexpensive non-powered model of this lens, nevertheless it’s not fairly as compact, although it covers the identical 28-84mm 35mm-equivalent vary. The Fujifilm X-A5’s powered equipment zoom has a considerably wider 23-69mm equal vary which supplies you a bit extra scope when framing selfies – particularly for small teams – in addition to for taking pictures in cramped interiors.



On the different finish of the vary, the PEN E-PL9’s 84mm will get you just a little tighter than the 69mm equal of the X-A5’s lens. That stated, each do a good job for portraits, although the f5.6 most aperture when zoomed in means it is advisable to preserve backgrounds a couple of metres distant with the intention to blur them. In fact, there’s nothing to cease you becoming a special lens and Micro 4 Thirds homeowners have a variety to select from. See Gordon’s Finest Micro 4 Thirds lenses information.



In apply, I discovered the closest I might focus with the 14-42mm EZ lens on the E-PL9 was 85mm which isn’t almost shut sufficient to fill the body with a small topic like an insect or small flower. In case you’re into macro images, you’ll in all probability have to spend money on one other lens, just like the Lumix 30mm f2.eight Macro or Olympus 60mm macro.



The PEN E-PL9 affords various image modes, they’re not tied to movie inventory as on the X-A5, however are extra prosaically named – Pure, Vivid, Muted, Portrait, Monochrome and so on. As on the X-A5 the PEN E-PL9 permits you to simulate the usage of colored filters for black and white images.



There’s additionally a variety of Artwork filter results together with amongst others, Pop, Artwork, Cross Course of, Dramatic Tone, Key Line, Classic, Partial Color, and the newly launched Bleach Bypass and (above) On the spot Movie.


For this clip I set the PEN E-PL9 to its 1080 / 60p video mode with the stabilisation enabled. The occasional halts within the panning movement are most certainly brought on by the stabilisation. The PEN E-PL9 employs sensor shift in addition to elective digital stabilisation. For a panning shot like this it’s in all probability greatest to show off the digital stabilisation. In any other case, the standard is superb, although there a visual shift within the white stability half means by. The opposite factor to notice right here is there’s no perceptible noise from the zoom motor.


Once more in 1080 / 60p mode, and with the stabilisation on, this low-light indoor pan appears to be like good by way of the noise high quality. The E-PL9 handles the white stability properly in tough combined lighting, however the steady Af takes just a little wander half means by, earlier than correcting itself.


For this vlogging clip the PEN E-PL9 is once more in 1080 / 60p mode, with the lens set to the 14mm most large angle and the display screen flipped into the ahead going through place beneath the digital camera physique. Right here’s the place the twin stabilisation actually comes into its personal, doing an excellent job of maintaining issues regular. With the display screen in its forward-facing place beneath the digital camera, you possibly can’t mount it on a tripod, nevertheless it’s snug sufficient to carry and the document button is straightforward to succeed in – Olympus places a tender document button on the display screen when it’s ahead going through, which is good, however not all that sensible for single-handed operation.


Lastly, right here’s a brief clip recording within the PEN E-PL9’s 4K / 30p mode. Not like the Fujifilm X-A5’s 4K 15p mode, the E-PL9 produces good high quality 4K video that captures easy movement completely. That makes it the clear winner if 4K high quality is a will need to have – the X-A5’s 4K mode is absolutely solely good for the eight Megapixel 15fps burst taking pictures modes it offers.



The PEN E-PL9 is supplied with Wifi and Bluetooth for picture switch and distant operation of the digital camera utilizing your smartphone. The Bluetooth connection can be utilized to keep up a hyperlink and switch pictures with the digital camera even when it’s switched off. The Olympus OI Share app offers much more management over the digital camera when distant taking pictures than the Fujifilm X-A5. I used to be happy to find that I might function the powered zoom from my iPhone in addition to set the AF space, change the ISO and white stability and even change taking pictures mode – that’s proper, even when the mode dial is about on, say, program auto mode, you possibly can choose any of the opposite PASM modes, the ART, SCN and film positions.



The E-PL9’s new panorama characteristic is simply one of many modes out there with the mode dial within the new Superior Photograph mode place; others embody Stay Composite, Stay Time (lengthy exposures which you could view on display screen as they occur), A number of Publicity, HDR and expoosure and focus bracketing. It really works within the acquainted means – you pan whereas rotating the digital camera in both portrait or panorama orientation and the outcomes are auto-stitched within the digital camera. You’re not prevented from zooming the lens, and it seems to work with any lens connected offering, based on Olympus, both 2x or 4x the conventional angle of view in Std or Full mode.


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