Versatility of the Olympus E-PL5 and the Micro 4/3 System


I have been testing my new Olympus E-PL5 … yes I plan to keep it.  My hope was that it would turn out to be a versatile, small camera that I could more easily take with me no matter where I went, and I think that will be the case.  All of these pictures were taken with the E-PL5 as raw files using two different lenses … the Olympus 14 – 42 mm f/3.5 – 5.6 II R zoom lens and the Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 prime lens.  They were then developed using Adobe Lightroom 4.3.

Initially I had some concerns about the 14 – 42 mm kit lens that came with the camera, but it is turning out to be better than I initially thought … it just takes a little more work in LR4 and learning how to work with it.  The above picture of the Plum Creek train layout (one of four layouts) was taken with the kit lens at the widest end of the zoom … 14 mm, ISO of 1600, f/3.5, and 1/60 sec.  As with most of my pictures, you can click on it to see it several sizes larger.


The above picture of Misty was taken with the 20 mm prime lens at ISO of 200, f/1.8, and 1/80 sec.  It was then cropped a bit.  At the point of focus, close to the eye, the camera with the 20 mm lens has a lot of detail or resolution, even at the widest aperture of the lens.  This also gives a pleasing out-of-focus in the distance.


The above picture of this morning’s sky was taken with the 20 mm lens at ISO of 200, f/1.7, and 1/60 sec.  It has also been cropped and massaged in LR4 quite a bit.  I’m finding that the 16 MP files of this new sensor hold up quite well for a micro 4/3 size sensor when under going extensive development in LR4.


The above picture was taken using the kit lens at a setting of 42 mm (max zoom) at ISO of 200, f/7.1, 1/80 sec.  The above image is an approximate 100% crop of the original.  I’m showing this image to demonstrate the details of the file.  At the maximum zoom end of the lens the image is a little softer and requires a little more adjustment to contrast, clarity, sharpness, etc. but is still quite good for a micro 4/3 camera while using an inexpensive zoom lens.


The above picture is the softest of this lot.  It was taken hand-held (as were all of these pictures) at an ISO of 5000, 28 mm, f/4.7, and 1/30 sec.  Since I had set the ISO at 5000 and was at the widest aperture of the lens for that zoom, the shutter speed was down to 1/30 sec. which is a little slower than I like, even when using the image stabilization of the camera, but I think the softness of this image is primarily due to the high ISO except for the blur of the moving train.

All things considered, I am pleased with the camera as long as I use it appropriately.  I need to try to keep the ISO below 5000 and I need to use the zoom lens to achieve the composition needed.  I have primarily used prime lenses lately and cropped to achieve my composition so I need to remember to do that with my primes, but not with my zoom lenses if I wish to achieve the best image quality.  Even with those caveats, I think that the above images demonstrate that I still have a reasonable degree of latitude while using this camera as a jacket pocket camera for walking, traveling, or for when I desire to carry a more discreet smaller camera.


  1. slpmartin

    The camera does seem to provide you with a number of the features you have been searching for in a pocket camera….like the array of images as a demonstration of your points.