Olympus Pen Camera Review – E-PL7 – UPDATED

Almost a year after buying the Olympus Pen EPL7 I’ve decided to update this Olympus Pen Camera Review post with some of my thoughts and opinions after using the camera on a daily basis.
I’ve left the original post so you can read my initial thoughts but read what I think now at the bottom of the post and see how some of the Cons I thoughts about the camera have changed.

OLYMPUS PEN EPL7 CAMERA HONEST REVIEWOLYMPUS PEN EPL7 CAMERA HONEST REVIEW
I bought my Olympus Pen about 6 months ago direct from Olympus as I had a discount code, but there are deals to be had on John Lewis or Amazon too. There are three options of colour; black, silver or white and two options of basic kits; the Pancake zoom kit (called M.ZUIKO 14-42mm EZ lens) and the standard lens kit (called M.ZUIKO 14-42mm II R lens).
I opted for the pancake lens kit, it was more expensive but the pancake lens is not only smaller which is better for taking to events etc but it also has a power zoom vs the other lens. The pancake lens does give some blur and depth of field but it is best for basic shooting. If you really want that blurry back ground effect for things like outfit posts, then like me you definitely should buy the 45mm Lens This lens has beautiful blur to it, much like my 50mm on my Nikon and I shoot my outfit and travel posts using this lens.
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OLYMPUS PEN CAMERA WHITEOLYMPUS PEN CAMERA WHITE

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I do find the look of the camera really pretty especially in white and on the surface it has a layout of buttons very similar to any other point and shoot. However I do find the layout of the menu’s and settings on the camera very very difficult to navigate and I still haven’t quite got my head around them. This might be because I’m so used to my Nikon’s menus. There is the ability to activate a Super Control menu which once I discovered did make things a bit easier.

To do this you first need to activate your settings menu

  • Press the Menu button, scroll down to the spanner icon. Click this icon.
  • Scroll down to Menu Display with the cogs icon and click this icon and turn the cogs Menu display to On. 
  • Now when you press Menu the cogs icon will display which will display lots of settings you can adjust.

Now to activate the Super Control menu

  • Press Menu. Go to your cogs icon and click. Go to D. Disp/PC and then go to Control Settings.
  • In Control Settings first select P/A/S/M, click in and tick Live SCP and untick the other boxes. Tick this box for iAuto and ART and SCN too if you use these. 
  • Now when you press OK the Super Control Panel will now show with buttons for ISO, White balance and lots of other options there for quick adjustment when shooting.

If shooting in AUTO my most used menu is the quick adjustment side bar which you can use via the buttons or touch screen by swiping left the arrow you can see on the right hand side of the screen above, this is brilliant for quick adjustments.
This menu allows you to very quickly adjust colour temp, brightness and other settings before you take your shot. I use the brightness option ALOT!
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OLYMPUS PEN CAMERA review

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The cameras touch screen allows you to take a picture which means you can tap exactly where you want the camera to focus and take with one touch. You can also set the touch screen to select the focus point with a touch but still use shutter button to take picture. Both of these are great for outfit photos where you want the focus on your face or detail shots when you want to select the face of your watch or your necklace for example. You can also turn the touch screen off completely too.
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The biggest pull of the Olympus Pen has to be the flip screen. It flips two ways; firstly upwards. This way allows you to hold the camera lower and still see from above whats in frame.
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OLYMPUS PEN CAMERA flip screen

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It also flips down and to the front. This angle is brilliant for selfies and you can happily look at the screen and check your in frame. Also if you flip the screen downwards but only slightly this works great for From Where I Stand pictures and flat lays.
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OLYMPUS PEN CAMERA flip screenOLYMPUS PEN CAMERA flip screen

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The camera does take video too which with the flip down screen is brilliant for vlogs but the record button is very small and quite hard to press which is a bit of a downside for me. Also as the flip screen comes down not to the side you can’t attach the Olympus Pen to a tripod and see yourself in the frame when you film so for this I have to use my Nikon DSLR. But the video is good quality and works great for moving footage/vlogs.
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The camera has some really lovely additional settings. Firstly you can easily adjust your photo aspect to square (see above pic) meaning you can shoot instagram photos ready squared. I use this option to shoot my flat lays and the pancake lens is perfect for these.
The built in Wi-fi means via the free Olympus app you can easily transfer your photos to your smart phone and get them on your instagram or Twitter straight away.  Also in the app you’ll also find the very cool option to use your phone as a remote which is brilliant combined with the self timer option too.
In the menu’s you’ll also find some cool Art options which can give your photos a filter and the ability to make photo collages instantly and then upload to social media.
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The camera does come with a flash that clips on the top but so far I haven’t used it. It also comes with a basic black strap which is a shame if you buy the white camera. I got this Olympus Leather Strap separately to go with mine.
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So here’s my run down of what I think are the Pro’s and Con’s of the Olympus Pen.
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olympus pen camera white

1. The retro look of the camera
2. The flip out screen for selfies etc
3. Size compared to a DSLR
4. Built in Wi-fi and app makes sharing photos easy
5. Square option for photos good for instagram
6. Quick option for brightening photos before taking.
7. Art filters and collage options
8. Quality of photos is lovely even just with kit lens.
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olympus pen camera review

1. The price. It really isn’t the cheapest camera especially if you just want a point and shoot. (see update)
2. The flip down screen means filming on a tripod doesn’t work. (see update)
3. The record button for video very small and hard to press.
4. The menu’s are a little confusing and not user friendly. (see update)
5. White doesn’t come with a white strap.

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Overall I do love my Pen and am glad I bought it but it hasn’t replaced my DSLR. I love sometimes to look through a viewfinder to take a photo and I do miss this on the Pen. But for events and out and about it is great and a lot smaller than taking a big DSLR with me and it has revolutionized my instagram.

There are some other alternatives out there for example  Samsung and Panasonic which have the flip screen and wi-fi and in the case of the Samsung, do look very similar to the Pen but don’t have many of the Pen’s really clever features.

What do you think of the Olympus Pen?? Would you buy one??


Olympus Pen Camera review august 2016 update

So one year on from posting about the Olympus Pen Camera review and I have such different thoughts to my initial post.

The biggest one is that I stated that the Olympus Pen wouldn’t replace my DSLR. Well 12 months on and ALL my photos are shot on my Olympus Pen. Apart from shooting Emma I haven’t picked up a DSLR for my own blog in months and months. All my outfit posts are shot on the Olympus Pen with the 45mm lens, my instagram is 70% shot on the Olympus pen and rest of the time my iPhone. All my travel posts and my upcoming travel vlogs are all shot on the Olympus too. Now I wouldn’t use any other camera at all contrary to what I thought one year ago. Bear in mind these photos got me shortlisted for Photography Star at the Thirty Plus awards so that says a lot about the quality of this camera.

So to address a few of the cons from my last post.

No 1 – The Price. Ok it is pricey BUT as I’ve said it has 100% replaced my DSLR so when you look at it as your only camera and for all the extra features it has that a DSLR doesn’t then the price is pretty reasonable!

No 2 – The Flip screen does affect mounting the camera on to a tripod HOWEVER there is a tripod adapter you can buy for only £5.99 from Amazon Using this you can mount your Olympus Pen to a tripod AND use the flip screen so you can film tutorials or hauls and see yourself.

No 3 – Record Button. Ok I kinda do still stand by this con. I’m using the camera a lot more for vlogging now and I do wish the record button was a tad bigger!

No 4 – The menus. I’ve got so much more use to the menus and now that I have the Super Control menu activated (see above for instructions) its so much easier to use too.

No 5 – The strap. Still a con I’m afraid I do think the white should come with a white/cream strap but there are some gorgeous wrist straps you can get from the Olympus Shop which are so cute, I think I’m going to get the mint green one so this isn’t a really big problem.

So as a general summary I love my Olympus Pen and I would 100% recommend investing in one if you want something smaller and with some incredibly clever features.  I use the built in wi-fi ALOT for transferring pics to my iPhone for my Instagram. I also have been using the remote function on the Olympus App a great deal to take photos for my blog posts like tomorrows DIY. You can adjust settings and set the camera to timer function all to get that perfect shot if your without your instagram husband!! ha ha.

I’m slowly trying to invest in new lenses for the Olympus too. Obviously I use my 45mm Lens a lot and think this is a must have to be honest but also recently tried out the 75mm lens
which you can see in action in my Summer Metallics post.  It gives an amazing sharpness and really professional look to your photos plus that dreamy blur that is every blogger or photographers dream. I’d also like to invest in the 17mm lens
for travelling and vlogging as this looks a brilliant lens.

So that’s my updated thoughts. Once again if you have any questions, please do comment or tweet me I’m really happy to answer and questions at all

Debs

x

34 Comments

  1. June 14, 2015 / 10:55 pm

    This post really couldn’t have come at a better time! I’ve been debating whether to move away from my DSLR (600d) to a compact interchangable lens camera, but now reading your post I might just stick to my dslr as I use it for filming etc. Saying that you’re river island photos look fab
    xx

    • Debs
      June 18, 2015 / 11:45 am

      Yes its such a hard choice, its definitely worth it for instagram etc but I do still use my SLR too x

  2. June 14, 2015 / 11:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! Always wanted to know a bit more about the cameras as they seem to be everywhere on insta! I think the look of the camera is a huge factor in wanting to buy it, but my bog standard Sony compact will have to do for now. The touch screen and wifi would be a huge reason for wanting to upgrade though

    • Debs
      June 18, 2015 / 11:44 am

      Hi Amy, yes it really does have some great features that make it stand out xx

  3. June 15, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    I’m a sucker for the vintage/retro look & this camera has that in spades, it’s just gorgeous! However as you did such a detailed review of every aspect I’d consider before buying, I will stick with my Leica for now. Thank you for a very helpful post.

    • Debs
      June 18, 2015 / 11:44 am

      Glad you found it helpful Michelle. x

  4. June 16, 2015 / 5:19 pm

    Oh my gosh, these photos are so beautiful!! I LOVE what you’ve done with the letters, so cute! It’s so nice to see some individual but still stunning blog photography <3

    Jodie x
    http://www.alajode.com

    • Debs
      June 18, 2015 / 11:44 am

      Thanks Jodie thats so nice to hear xx

  5. Kasie
    June 17, 2015 / 7:34 pm

    Great post, I literally purchased this camera this week and love it !!!

    Can you post a link to where you purchased your strap from please as I’m looking to change mine as the black doesn’t really go :(

    Thanks !

    Kasie

    • Debs
      June 18, 2015 / 11:43 am

      Hi lovely, thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed the post. I’ve added the link in x

  6. June 18, 2015 / 10:35 pm

    This is the camera I’ve been thinking of buying but wasn’t sure if I could justify the price so thank you for including the alternative options! The Samsung one looks like it could be a good option for me and I wasn’t aware of that one before so I’m glad you included it here!

  7. June 25, 2015 / 11:46 am

    Hi!! I loved this post!
    I have been debating on getting a pen or not, I have an CSC camera like this already but canon as it is the same quality as my current canon DSLR but I love the social media sharing idea that you can gain with the pen, I’d love I up the quality of my images on insta! and the idea of using my other cameras for social media seems very long winded.. I took my CSC camera with me in holiday and it just didn’t give that’s same feel to my images I like with my DSLR & 50mm lens!

    I am actually a fashion photography graduate and honestly using auto on point and shoots is sometimes ten times easier and save a lot of time!! Great post though, still leaving me debating if I should swap my canon for the pen.. Tough choice!

  8. Ez
    June 29, 2015 / 1:41 pm

    Fantastic review just when I needed it! I did hear that a few people are bummed out about not being able to put it on the tripod when the screen is opened……..however, I love it enough to choose to put on my rose coloured glasses and ignore that design flaw. I’ll get one with the view of using the viewfinder issue to invest in a DLSR down the line. I’m a new subbie but your photography skills are just leaving me in awe *goals* x

  9. July 1, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    Hey Deborah!

    I’ve come from Twitter (@desireemerci)
    I’m so glad that I came across your blog via Twitter!
    I was looking into getting this camera. I have a DSLR but have been looking into a more portable one!
    After reading this (very well written & informative, btw!) I think that I will keep looking.
    Something more portable, and something that is more compatible with a tripod is what I’m looking for.
    Thank you for the info, it’s much appreciated :)

    Desiree | DesireeMerci.com

  10. July 7, 2015 / 11:58 am

    Thanks for that HONEST review! I have the previous version – the PL5 – in the same colour, I do like it, but since I got my SLR it’s hard to go back to simple point and shoot, even though compactibility is a plus. It’s still a beautiful camera and very convenient for a lot of people – not only it looks good, but gives beautiful results (for a point & shoot) so I do understand why it is marketed as the perfect blogger’s camera. Although as you mentioned, their menu is a bit hard to navigate.

    However, to my personal preference, I’ll stick to my SLR :)

    Helena’s Teabreak

  11. July 15, 2015 / 12:44 pm

    Thank GOD for this post. I’ve been driving myself insane for the past week trying to decide whether to get this camera or not. It’s really beautiful but the fact it might not live up to my Nikon D3100 worries me – and it’s a lot of money to just get it ‘in case’ it’s better! Do you find it takes better shots of anything in particular (i.e. up close products or landscapes/outfit shots)? That’s really the deciding factor for me as my blog posts are so varied. I’d get the 45mm lens too, but even with that I’m not sure if it’ll be enough to get the quality I’m after. If I don’t get the Pen, I might get either the 35mm or the 50mm lens for my Nikon. Decisions decisions. X

  12. July 27, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    I really like the look and sound of this camera. I’m starting to feel I could do with a smaller camera like this one, which as you say is perfect for events and on the go. It’s just quite a bit of money to spend but I have to say, after reading your review I’m drawn to this one even more. It looks so pretty and it seems to take really good shots (having looked at your outfit post using it) and the pros do seem to outweigh the cons *convincing myself I need this camera*.

    Samio
    http://www.samio.co.uk

  13. November 4, 2015 / 4:27 pm

    Great posts! couple of questions … where did you get the white / cream strap? what do you store / carry your PEN in? I can’t seem to find something stylish anywhere. I currently keep mine in a longchamp make up bag but it’s not the best option when I drop the camera (which I seem to have done twice in the last few days alone!)

    • Debs
      November 8, 2015 / 11:29 pm

      Hi Elle
      I got my strap direct from Olympus, its an Olympus branded one. Think Amazon sell them! I store mine is a neoprene case which I got from China off eBay, its not an exact Pen7 one but fits it when 45mm lens is on.

      xxx

  14. Hannah@hannahjenkins.co.uk
    April 28, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    Hello I am about to buy an Olympus pen e-pl7 and want some advice on lenses. So I have heard lots about the 45mm lens and for the same price as buying the pen with the lens it comes with, online I have found just a body (without a lens) for quite cheap where I could just get the 45mm lens instead and it would come to the same price- however is it essential to have the normal lens too? I mainly want it for travel pics and outfit posts/ selfies! So does the 45mm lens do the same as the normal (and more) or would it just be better to have as an extra lens? Thanks xxx

    • Debs
      April 28, 2016 / 11:10 pm

      Hi Hannah, the 45mm lens is great for portraits or full length outfit shots with that lovely blurry background but as its a prime lens you’ll need to stand a very large distance away so the 45mm lens wont work for selfies or lots of normal just flatlays for example as its so zoomed in. The pancake kits lens will take instagram flat lays or selfies and will do some blurry background on close up items but not on outfit photos. I personally have both and I use both. Its all depends what you plan to shoot most often.

      Hope that helps xxx

  15. August 12, 2016 / 11:00 am

    So so so glad you published a post on the Pen, mine is collecting dust at the moment. I’m guilty of sticking cameras on auto!

    Kathryn /Cherries in the Snow

  16. August 12, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    Fantastic post! this has completely made up my mind about purchasing the additional 45mm lens!

  17. September 23, 2016 / 9:51 am

    This is a great post! Very to the point, and you’ve pointed out the pros and cons perfect. I want to improve on my fashion pics so this has helped loads. And I think we all agree carry around a thumping canon to events all the time isn’t always fun! Haha :p

    • Debs
      September 26, 2016 / 12:42 pm

      So pleased you’ve found it useful Rich. Its my fave definitely x

      Debs

  18. September 27, 2016 / 11:29 pm

    I use mine all the time as well! I have the 17mm lens and you can have a shot tomorrow if we have time ;)

    Tatyana x
    LAFOTKA
    http://www.lafotka.com

  19. Remi
    October 14, 2016 / 10:56 pm

    I thank you for this review, not a blogger but I love taking pictures

  20. October 21, 2016 / 6:46 am

    I’m a professional photographer of 38yrs and was attracted to your article from a mirrorless news site. Whilst your blog is fashion and lifestyle based, it’s obvious as to why you won your Photography Star award at the Thirty Plus Awards. You have a very nice style to your imagery.

    Congratulations.

    • Debs
      October 26, 2016 / 12:36 am

      Hi Michael, What a lovely comment to receive. Thank you so much for your lovely words xx

  21. Charlotte Potter
    April 12, 2017 / 10:33 pm

    Hi Debs, I love your blog, such beautiful photos and infurnstuve articles. Always a pleasure to read your new posts. I am really interested in purchasing the Olympus pen but I am so confused! Firstly, is the e-pl7 the same as the e-pl8? And secondly, when I click on all the links to purchase I can’t actually find any that have anything in stock. I’m totally confused what to buy and where to buy it! Wouid really appreciate your help. Many thanks x

    • Charlotte Potter
      April 12, 2017 / 10:34 pm

      *informative

    • Bang on Style
      April 17, 2017 / 4:50 pm

      Hi Charlotte, the EPL7 is the older model. The EPL8 is similar but has a slightly different shape and a couple of extra features but not much difference. Both cameras are very hard to get hold of at the moment, not sure why. Think Olympus direct shop has some xxx

  22. Alicia
    June 16, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    I love your blog! Thank for the review on the Olympus pen I have one and am dabbling on a good lens for vlogging…any suggestions?

    @liptologist 💋

    • Bang on Style
      June 19, 2017 / 10:53 am

      Hi Alicia

      The 12mm is a great vlogging lens. Thats the next lens on my wishlist xxx

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