Introduction

The Olympus PEN E-PL10 is an entry-level mirrorless digicam that makes use of the Micro 4 Thirds lens mount, sports activities a 16 Megapixel sensor and in-body picture stabilization. Its compact physique and easy-to-use touch-based interface make it perfect for newcomers and households, whereas a flip-down LCD and 4K video make it an choice for vloggers.

Key specs

  • 16MP 4 Thirds sensor
  • In-body picture stabilization (3-axis)
  • 121-point contrast-detect AF system
  • Flip-down touchscreen show
  • 6.1 fps burst capturing with steady AF (and digital shutter)
  • ‘Reside Information’ for fast adjustment of brightness, saturation, background blur
  • Constructed-in flash
  • UHD 4K video seize
  • Wi-Fi + Bluetooth connectivity

The digicam is out there in three colours: kuro (black), mocha (brown-ish) and shiro (white). It carries a listing value of $599 for simply the physique and $699 when bundled with the how-did-they-make-it-so-small? 14-42mm energy zoom lens.

What’s it?

One thing that makes Micro 4 Thirds cameras just like the E-PL10 interesting is simply how a lot smaller the digicam and lens may be in comparison with their APS-C friends. With its collapsable 14-42mm (28-84mm equiv) F3.5-5.6 equipment lens hooked up the E-PL10 will slip right into a jacket pocket or small bag, making it very straightforward to hold round. It is gentle sufficient for handheld vlogging, even for those who placed on a wider lens, such because the Panasonic Lumix G 7-14mm F4.

The E-PL10’s ‘Pure’ shade mode has a well-judged stage of saturation, giving enticing shade to pictures

ISO 640 | 1/60 sec | F4 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 28mm equiv.
Photograph by Carey Rose

There are lots of selections within the entry-level subject, primarily represented by mirrorless cameras, although there are a couple of digital SLRs nonetheless obtainable. This is how the E-PL10 compares to the Canon EOS M200 and Fujifilm X-A7 mirrorless cameras, and the Nikon D3500 DSLR.

Olympus E-PL10 Canon M200 Fujifilm X-A7 Nikon D3500
MSRP (w/lens) $699 $549 $699 $499
Digicam kind Mirrorless Mirrorless Mirrorless DSLR
Sensor 16MP 4 Thirds 24MP APS-C 24MP APS-C 24MP APS-C
Picture stab. In-body Lens solely Lens solely Lens solely
Autofocus Distinction-detect Twin Pixel Hybrid Hybrid*
LCD measurement 3.0″ 3.0″ 3.5″ 3.0″
LCD kind Tilting (180°) Tilting (180°) Absolutely articulating Mounted
Touchscreen Sure Sure Sure No
Viewfinder No No No Optical
Burst w/AF 6.1 fps** Four fps 6 fps 5 fps
Video 4K/30p 4K/24p 4K/30p 1080/60p
Battery life (CIPA) 350 pictures 315 pictures 270 pictures 1550 pictures***
USB charging No Sure Sure No
Wi-fi Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Bluetooth
Dimensions 117 x 68 x 39 mm 108 x 67 x 35 mm 119 x 38 x 41 mm 124 x 97 x 70 mm
Weight 380 g 299 g 320 g 365 g

* Section detection with optical viewfinder, distinction detection with dwell view
** With digital shutter; 4.Eight fps with mechanical shutter
*** With optical viewfinder. Battery life will probably be significantly decrease when utilizing dwell view

In some vital areas, the E-PL10 beats out its mirrorless friends, whereas in others, it is behind. Its greatest benefits are its built-in picture stabilization (to cut back the chance of blurry pictures) and battery life. The place it falls behind is when it comes to its sensor, which is smaller and decrease decision, and its contrast-detect-only autofocus system (which tends to ‘hunt’ and does not monitor transferring topics terribly effectively). The shortage of USB charging is a giant disappointment.

At low ISO settings the digicam renders element effectively, although noise discount begins to clean it away at increased ISOs

ISO 200 | 1/100 sec | F5.6 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 48mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

The Nikon D3500 is a completely completely different beast. It is undoubtedly behind the instances when it comes to tech, however capturing with its optical viewfinder is a distinct expertise than utilizing the LCD. You may see the actual world, however with out realizing what the ensuing picture will appear to be, except you employ dwell view, which has very gradual autofocus on the D3500.

What it is like to make use of?

The E-PL10 is light-weight, straightforward to carry and stunning well-built for a lower-end digicam. The grip is completely sized and the management dial, shutter launch and energy button are straightforward to achieve. The vast majority of the digicam’s buttons are situated proper underneath your thumb, which might trigger unintentional setting adjustments. The buttons are fairly small, as effectively – particularly the four-way controller. The E-PL10 has a single management dial, which is what we would count on on a digicam on this value vary.

The Reside Information menu makes it straightforward to regulate shade saturation, background blur and extra by way of a slider-based interface.

The consumer interface is mostly a combined bag. In case you’re a newbie and wish to follow Auto mode, you are able to do so, although Olympus solely simplifies a part of the interface. The touch-based menus (often called Reside Information) solely allow you to modify a couple of issues (by way of sliders on a tab that you just swipe out): saturation, shade picture (white stability), brightness (publicity compensation), background blur (aperture) and specific movement (shutter pace). For the reason that digicam is not telling you what you are really adjusting, Olympus is not actually main customers towards capturing in additional superior modes.

Recommendations on take pet pictures may be discovered by way of the Reside Information menu.

There’s additionally a photograph suggestions choice, which supplies you some fundamental details about take pictures of children and pets, amongst different issues. The guidelines are a bit imprecise when it comes to what settings it’s essential to modify and the place they’re, so it’s essential to know your manner across the digicam a bit bit.

There are a couple of different touchscreen objects price noting, particularly when the LCD is flipped into ‘selfie place’. You get an on-screen shutter launch (for stills and movies), a playback button, in addition to an choice to make your pores and skin look nicer. The main target level may be moved, and you’ll faucet to focus or take a photograph. Notice that the display screen will probably be largely blocked when you have any type of tripod or selfie stick hooked up.

The shortcut (Reside Management) menu

Along with the slider-based menu obtainable in Auto mode, there’s additionally a button-driven shortcut menu (reached by urgent the OK button) in addition to the overwhelming essential menu. Whereas the shortcut menu is useful, the principle menu actually must be revamped for much less skilled customers (and extra skilled, to be sincere).

The highest-level menu in scene mode. There are a complete of 27 completely different modes on the digicam. Mild Trails, often called Reside Composite in different capturing modes, is a intelligent solution to take star trails.

The E-PL10 has a big assortment of ‘Artwork Filters’, which give your photos a inventive aptitude. There are additionally a superb set of scene modes, with useful descriptions and pattern photos of which every one does.

One scene mode of word is ‘gentle trails’, which is called ‘dwell composite’ in different capturing modes. That is basically a time-lapse mode that it solely captures topics that change in brightness in every publicity. For instance, for those who’re capturing star trails and there is a constructing within the foreground, the constructing’s brightness won’t change over time. We have examined it on earlier Olympus cameras and have discovered it to work fairly effectively.

Processed utilizing the watercolor Artwork Filter [see authentic picture]

ISO 200 | 1/160 sec | F7.1 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 84mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

The digicam is completely succesful in P/A/S/M modes as effectively, although the one management dial means that you will have to make use of the publicity compensation button to toggle between that setting and aperture or shutter pace. Newcomers who can dwell with out the on-screen sliders may very well wish to shoot in program mode, for the only real motive of avoiding the over-the-top i-Improve shade which you are caught with in Auto mode. The publicity compensation button is disabled: it’s essential to use the ‘change brightness’ slider if you wish to modify that. When you can course of Raws in-camera, you first want to enter file mode, select the settings you wish to apply, after which return to playback mode to carry out the edit, which is much tougher than it want be.

The one shade mode in Auto mode is i-Improve, which has increased saturation and sharpening than Pure, which is the default in different modes.

The E-PL10 gives Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for sharing pictures and remotely controlling the digicam. Olympus’s Picture Share app allow you to arrange each Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the identical time, just by scanning the QR code proven on the digicam’s show. The app interface is enticing and simple to navigate, and gives two methods of distant management, although it can’t switch photos as they’re taken. Sadly, really utilizing any of these options is tough, since connecting to the digicam usually fails, on each iOS and Android.

The E-PL10’s BLS-50 battery permits the digicam to take roughly 350 pictures per cost in accordance the CIPA customary, which is above common for this class. And, in the actual world, you can do higher, particularly for those who restrict flash and Wi-Fi use. The digicam is without doubt one of the few that lacks USB charging, which is a disappointment. In case you’re out and about you possibly can’t plug right into a automotive to cost up. You will both want to hold a spare battery or deliver the clunky exterior charger with you and hope for an influence outlet.

How does it carry out?

Though it does not have the decision of its friends, the E-PL10’s picture high quality remains to be excellent. JPEG colours on the default setting (Pure) aren’t too punchy, although it is easy sufficient to extend saturation in any capturing mode (together with Auto). White stability was simply nice, and it is price noting you can select heat (yellow-ish) or cool (blue-ish) settings within the all modes.

Noise ranges in JPEGs are low round base ISO and never unhealthy in any respect at excessive ISOs, however that is as a result of the digicam applies various noise discount, which wipes away nice element. Setting the ‘Noise Filter’ choice to ‘low’ will flip the noise discount down a tad. In case you’re a extra superior consumer, enhancing Uncooked information can provide you again a few of that element. Brightening shadows in Uncooked photos at decrease ISOs doesn’t include a major noise penalty.

The nice element on this excessive ISO photograph has been smudged. Extra superior customers can edit the Uncooked model of the picture and modify noise discount and sharpening to their liking.

ISO 6400 | 1/1600 sec | F6.7 | Olympus 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 @ 600mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

We did discover some peculiarities with how the digicam dealt with publicity. In Auto mode, the digicam usually tended to make use of sooner shutter speeds, boosting the ISO as wanted to acquire the right brightness. Whereas this reduces the chance of digicam shake and might freeze quick motion, it additionally will increase the quantity of noise, which in return lowers element seize. Nevertheless, in Program mode, the digicam usually selected to go away the ISO alone and use slower shutter speeds and smaller apertures, which brings every little thing in focus however finally ends up delivering softer photos.

The Micro 4 Thirds system contains some comparatively inexpensive, sensibly-sized lens choices that give a variety of ‘attain.’

ISO 200 | 1/640 sec | F7.1 | Olympus 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II @ 600mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

Autofocus is snappy and correct in single AF mode. In steady AF mode you may even see the digicam ‘looking’ at instances, which may lead to you lacking a second. Face detection is not nice. It detects faces, however tends to lose them, with plenty of focus wobble because the digicam tries to refocus.

There’s a monitoring mode with which you’ll be able to level the digicam at a topic and it’ll try and hold the topic in focus as they transfer round. Whereas the digicam adopted the topic pretty effectively, it was susceptible to looking when the topic moved. Rivals such because the Canon EOS M200, with its Twin Pixel AF system, will do a greater job in conditions the place you are making an attempt to trace one thing transferring erratically.

The E-PL10 can seize 4K video at 30p and 24p. Regardless of having a devoted video recording button, you need to set the mode dial to the video place with the intention to seize 4K (it’s going to solely seize 1080p in each different capturing mode). There’s a crop when capturing 4K, which is elevated for those who’re utilizing the sensor shift + digital stabilization characteristic to get smoother movies. The sensor shift-only stabilization is nearly as efficient and has no crop, so it is price making an attempt first.

In-camera Uncooked re-processing is convoluted, however helps you to exploit the enticing output of the digicam’s JPEG engine. However with a bit care and a spotlight as you shoot, it’s going to ship enticing JPGEs first time

ISO 200 | 1/160 sec | F7.1 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 84mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

Video high quality at each 4K and 1080 is simply nice for the E-PL10’s capturing recollections to share on social media. It is not super-detailed but it surely’s not smooth, both. We did discover some rolling shutter distortion when panning, but it surely’s not too unhealthy. One thing else that caught our eye is how the stabilization system tends to overcompensate if you cease panning the digicam, rolling previous the purpose at which you stopped.

Dropping all the way down to Full HD opens up a 60p choice for extra fluid movies and several other particular impact modes not obtainable at 4K. A excessive pace mode helps you to seize footage at 120 fps, although the decision is 1280 x 720.

As you’d count on from an entry-level, beginner-friendly digicam, the E-PL10 is gentle on handbook controls. You may modify the quantity for its inside microphone, and that is about it. Video seize at all times makes use of auto-exposure, whatever the capturing mode. You may modify publicity compensation forward of time in most capturing modes, and likewise with a digital button that’s within the tab that slides out from the precise facet of the show whereas recording. The digicam lacks microphone and headphone sockets.

Conclusion

The Olympus PEN E-PL10 is a pretty entry-level mirrorless cameras that does many issues effectively. Regardless of its low value, it feels well-built, and we like the way it feels within the hand. With the bundled 14-42mm (28-84mm equal) equipment lens, it simply slips right into a jacket pocket. Olympus managed to stuff 3-axis picture stabilization into the compact physique, so any lens you employ may have shake lowered for each stills and movies.

For a digicam designed for newcomers, the E-PL10 is a combined bag. It may be operated by way of its touchscreen, and in Auto mode there are sliders obtainable to regulate a few generally adjusted settings, although Olympus does not specify precisely what you are actually altering, which makes advancing to extra handbook management a bit tougher.

ISO 320 ISO 320 | 1/160 sec | F5 | Olympus 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II @ 150mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

That mentioned, the remainder of the menu system is not beginner-friendly (particularly the principle menu), and the digicam does not give a lot room to develop right into a extra skilled photographer, in contrast to some its friends. The wi-fi app is unreliable, which isn’t what you’d count on on a digicam the place picture sharing is vital. Battery life, alternatively, is excellent, although the dearth of USB charging is a disappointment.

The E-PL10’s picture high quality is excellent. Pictures are typically well-exposed, most individuals will probably be pleased with the colour in JPEGs, and noise ranges are low at each excessive and low ISOs. Autofocus is snappy, although face detection and topic monitoring are simply okay. Video high quality is okay, as effectively, although there’s a noticeable crop when capturing 4K and, as with stills, the digicam could hunt to search out focus in case your topic has moved.

The digicam’s compact measurement (particularly when mixed with the retractable energy zoom lens) means you may get good high quality photos wherever you go

ISO 200 | 1/200 sec | F8 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 42mm equiv.
Photograph by Jeff Keller

Total, the Olympus E-PL10 is a nice software for on a regular basis photograph and video capturing. Is it the one we would suggest to family and friends? In all probability not. The Canon EOS M200 gives a extra superior autofocus system that is responsive and dependable, and has an excellent interface for newcomers. The Fujifilm X-A7 should not be missed, both, as its giant display screen offers you a smartphone-like expertise although, just like the Olympus, the easy interface will not essentially train you be a greater photographer.

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