When it comes to cameras, I’ve been a long time fan girl of the Canon EOS DSLR system, owning a 1000D, a 70D and a 6D in the past, but recently, I was on the hunt for a smaller camera which I felt more comfortable taking out with me as my Canon 6D was just too heavy and too conspicuous for me to want to take it out all the time.
Enter the Olympus Pen E-PL8, the blogger’s dream camera.
I had been looking at “best mirrorless camera” lists for weeks, and was almost about to settle on a Sony Mirrorless camera when I remembered looking at Olympus cameras a few years back before I bought the 6D and thinking how great they looked. I originally had my eye on the OMD-10 model, but after checking out the Olympus site and seeing the Pen, I was decided.
I spent a few days reading and watching reviews, especially those from beauty and fashion bloggers and realised this was the camera for me to buy. I was lucky enough to find a shop that did trade ins and ended up trading my old DSLR body and a few lenses for enough store credit to buy the camera and kit lens and a 45mm lens which is currently on back order and I hope to have that in the next few weeks.
I’ve been shooting with traditional DSLRs for such a long time, so it was important that any new camera that I bought had full manual controls as well as the option to change the lenses to suit my needs – the Olympus Pen certainly does all of that and more and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.
- Interchangeable Lenses: I can use any lens from any manufacturer of micro four thirds lenses as the mounts are all the same which means I have quite a few options at quite a few different price points
- Flip Out Selfie Screen: I’m a beauty blogger which means I’m constantly taking photos of myself. Sometimes my mobile phone camera just doesn’t cut it in low light situations. Enough said
- Wifi Transfer: There’s an Android and iOS app available for Olympus which allows you to connect your phone to your camera which is really simple to set up and allows me to transfer photos directly to my phone ready to edit for Instagram. Combine that with the 1:1 ratio which I can set in two seconds on my camera and my Instagram feed just got a thousand times better. You can also use the app as a remote for the camera if you’re taking selfies using a tripod which is handy!
- Small and compact: I used to get very sore around my neck and shoulders carrying around my old Canon camera since it was so heavy, especially when I had a telephoto lens attached, but this is so light, I feel like I’m not carrying anything at all. I also like that it’s small enough to throw in my handbag and I don’t need a dedicated camera bag for it – although I do have an insert that I use in all of my handbags to keep it protected
- Great Image Quality: The image quality on this actually blows me away and I do think the images are just as good and sometimes, even better than what I was taking with my old camera, especially when I shoot in RAW and I am able to make adjustments later on in Lightroom
- Back Touch Screen: I like that I can tap to focus or tap to shoot – it’s just a matter of clicking on a setting right on the screen as I go
- Auto Setting isn’t all that bad: I know, shooting in Auto doesn’t give you the finite control for the best images out there but when I’m shooting in a well lit indoor location, I’m quite happy to let the camera do the job for me and I haven’t had a complete disaster of a shoot yet. I think once I do get my 45mm lens though, I will go back to shooting almost exclusively in Aperture Priority mode
- The kit lens: It’s not the worst kit lens in the world but like most other camera kits, they end up shoving the cheapest lens in their line up that meets a customer expected minimum for a lens
- Selfie Screen Flips Down: You’d think that in marketing this camera to bloggers and vloggers, that they’d have worked out a lot of us use Tripods or stand the camera on something to take selfies or videos and therefore it would be more intuitive that the screen flip up, not down. You can use a tripod extension rod so that the tripod doesn’t get in the way of the screen and it’s not an expensive purchase but geez, it just seems like it was the one thing they didn’t even think about in the design
- No Viewfinder Accessory included: I know this is aimed at beginner to intermediate photographers and a lot of them aren’t going to need a viewfinder to attach to the hot shoe but I feel like the choice between a flash or a EVF accessory might have been better than just the flash accessory.
I wanted to include some sample photos, so I’ve done so below in a gallery, which you can click to enlarge the picture. These have been minimally edited in Lightroom for Exposure, Contrast & Sharpening.
So, all in all, The Olympus Pen E-PL8 is a great little camera for me and I’d recommend it without hesitation to anyone that wants to move up from a basic point and shoot to something with a bit more control to capture everything they could possibly want to snap!
What camera are you currently using? If you’ve got a DSLR, would you consider switching to a mirrorless camera? Talk to me all about cameras in the comments!