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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So here’s my run down of what I think are the Pro’s and Con’s of the Olympus Pen.
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.
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.
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