It’s been over a year since I wrote my initial review of the Olympus Pen E-PL7…
…so I thought it would be a good time to do an update as it’s always interesting to hear how peoples’ opinions change as their experience increases with cameras and tech stuff.
The truth is, there is one main MASSIVE update, which is that I actually sold my Canon DSLR around 10 months ago! I am now solely using the Olympus Pen for all my photography, so any imagery you will have seen on my blog or Instagram over the last 10/11 months is all with my Olympus (unless I’ve stated that it was taken by Olivia, in which case it was probably using a very fancy expensive professional camera…).
I mean, that has to say something about how much I love this thing.
A couple of other general updates and things I’ve noted over the year:
1) I bought the 17mm f/1.8 lens and it’s completely replaced the kit lens for me! If I could go back and purchase this lens instead of the kit lens, I would, because I haven’t used the kit lens in 12 months. Meanwhile, I’ve been using the 17mm for pretty much all landscape shots and I love the quality of it.
^ Lake Skadar, taken with the Olympus Pen using the 17mm lens
2) I have barely had to use a tripod or do self-portraits with this camera but when I have, I’ve been using the remote control app on my phone as a viewfinder, so the fact that the flip-out screen doesn’t come out to the side (only the bottom) hasn’t bothered me like I thought it would!
3) I’ve realised that 70% of my image quality actually comes down to the editing, of which my skills have vastly improved since this time last year. I’m not a pro by any means, but teaching myself some proper editing skills in Camera Raw/Photoshop/Lightroom has definitely upped my photography game.
4) Though at first I was really excited by this feature for Instagram etc., I have never used to function that enables me to send images from the camera straight to my phone via wifi. I think I just forget about it and prefer to edit in bulk on my computer!
^ Taken at sunset using the 17mm (my other hand is holding the camera!)
A couple of annoyances that I’ve come across over the past 12 months:
1) I still find the settings very confusing and after managing to configure my main screen to show the basic settings I wanted (f stop, white balance, ISO and exposure), I haven’t touched the rest. Sometimes weird screens and focusing squares appear and I don’t know what to do but I’ve more or less got what I need.
2) It’s not BRILLIANT in low light situations (ie. evening indoor shots or mood lighting) but I’m coping. If only it were more acceptable to bring along portable photography lighting to restaurants, right?
^ Taken in a mood-lit restaurant at night… grainy even with the right ISO settings etc.
3) My main annoyance with this camera is that it only shoots 1080p video in 30fps (29.97fps technically…). This basically means that when you slow down footage for a slow motion effect, it looks jumpy/jittery rather than smooth (for smooth slo-mo you usually need 60fps or higher). This is really restrictive for the types of videos I want to make on YouTube, so I’ve been having to use my GoPro instead for this.
My favourite things about the Olympus Pen E-PL7, a year on:
1) I LOVE how travel friendly it is; I’ve taken it everywhere with me over the last 12 months; Mexico, Montenegro, Portugal, Fuerteventura, France (currently!). Every time it’s come in hand luggage with me with the lenses with no problem fitting around my other stuff.
2) It’s portability is partly down to how light it is, which is fantastic for day to day use; I just pop it in my handbag so I’m ready to take snaps anywhere at any time. So much better than a bulky, heavy DSLR!
^ Taken on a boat trip in Fuerteventura
3) The battery life is pretty great! I feel like I can use it for hours and take hundreds of photos without needing to charge it. In fact, during my whole week in Mexico and my whole week in Montenegro I think I only charged it once… Also once when it gave me a low battery warning, I managed to use it for another half an hour taking videos before it died!
4) The quality hasn’t ceased to impress me; for such a tiny (and relatively cheap!) camera, it really does take some great photos. Obviously having the right lens, settings knowledge and editing skills help, but all in all it’s an impressive little kit piece – hence why I haven’t regretted selling my DSLR at all!
^ Taken indoors at lunchtime with good natural lighting
5) I get ALL the compliments about it when I’m in airports (taking it out for security) or just out and about. A lot of the time, people think it’s a vintage film camera thanks to its retro inspired look (and probably the vintage-style case I bought for it…), but mostly everyone just loves how small and cute looking it is!
My updated & recommended kit list:
OLYMPUS PEN E-PL7*
(I would recommend NOT buying a kit lens and spending a little more on the 17mm instead!)
OLYMPUS M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45MM F/1.8 LENS*
(perfect for sharp portrait photos with that beautiful ‘blurry’ background look)
OLYMPUS M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17MM F/1.8 LENS*
(great for all-round use and sweeping landscape shots)
All in all I am still totally in love with this camera and think it’s a fantastic choice if you’re looking for something that’ll take high quality photos but that’s easy to carry around with you. Great for bloggers and Instagrammers, amazing for travellers and a really good choice for hobbyist photographers, I don’t plan on upgrading for a long while yet!
* Indicates an affiliate link, but this post was not sponsored in any way & all opinions are my own