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Olympus Unveils New PEN Flagship: The E-P5

The E-P5 takes most of the best features from the current crop of Olympus cameras, piling a few new tricks on top.


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Olympus has ended weeks of speculation today, officially announcing the E-P5, the new flagship for the company's PEN line of Micro Four Thirds cameras. The E-P5 follows up on 2011's E-P3, but utilizes many of the technologies that have made the Olympus OM-D E-M5 such a fantastic camera.

The Olympus E-P5 takes the E-P3 a step further, with a premium all-metal design and a host of new features.

The E-P5 will feature a 16.1-megapixel image sensor, an articulated 3-inch rear touchscreen monitor, 5-axis image stabilization, built-in WiFi, and a retro-inspired, all-metal design. The sensor and stabilization system are pulled directly from the OM-D E-M5, while the design is a handsome update to the styling of the E-P3. The camera body is almost entirely metal, save for the (now non-removable) grip, which allows the built-in WiFi to communicate with an Android or iOS-powered mobile device.

While the E-P5 doesn't feature any huge leaps forward in technology, it's a highly polished expression of many of the successful things Olympus has done over the last two years. The camera has a mechanical shutter with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, features up to 9 fps continuous shooting, and boasts extremely quick contrast-detect autofocus. There's also a built-in flash that pops up from the top plate, though there's no viewfinder built into the camera.

Pictured without a lens here, the slim body of the E-P5 is more portable than the OM-D E-M5.

Some software refinements have also made their way into the latest PEN, as Olympus has included advanced features like focus peaking, increased digital zoom for focus confirmation, built-in interval shooting and time-lapse functionality, and a live bulb shooting mode with an on-screen histogram. These features pair up nicely with some beginner-oriented tweaks, such as the new Photo Story mode, which lets you quickly create collages right in the camera.

The E-P5's design combines the retro aesthetic of other PEN cameras, with plenty of customizable, manual controls.

The physical design of the E-P5 should also appeal to advanced shooters, thanks to some new customization options. The body has two control dials, which the user can customize to their liking. You can even save multiple dial configurations, flipping between them instantly with a dedicated lever on the back side of the camera. There's also a physical mode dial, and Olympus has included all the Art Filter party tricks that have appeared in other PEN cameras.

The tilting rear monitor offers touch controls, with a new ridge on the side that makes it easier to use with tripods.

Built-in WiFi seems to be found in every camera these days, and the E-P5 is no different. What is refreshing is the way Olympus is integrating the feature, which includes WiFi staples like touch-to-shoot and remote viewfinder functions, but utilizes a simple QR code–based pairing system. We haven't seen the features in person, but we're cautiously optimistic that they'll make setting up a connection less of a hassle.

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The E-P5 will come kitted with the new VF-4 attachment, as well as the 17mm f/1.8 prime lens for $1499.99.

The PEN E-P5 is also launching alongside a new electronic viewfinder, the VF-4. The new finder features a 2.36-million dot LCD display, with a screen similar in size to what you'd get with a full-frame professional DSLR's optical viewfinder. Olympus claims the new finder has improved response time, as well as an improved eye-level sensor. The viewfinder will actually come kitted with the E-P5 in some configurations, along with the 17mm f/1.8 lens.

The Olympus PEN E-P5 will be available this month, in black, silver, and white finishes. The camera will be priced at $999.99 body-only, or $1,499.99 with the 17mm f/1.8 lens and new VF-4 electronic viewfinder. For more on the E-P5, including the official press release, please visit the official Olympus E-P5 site.

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