Blog A Comprehensive Review of the Olympus PEN E-PL5 Camera: Is it Worth Buying?Blog

The Olympus PEN E-PL5 camera is a popular mirrorless camera with great features, including a fast autofocus system, an interchangeable lens, and a touch screen display. But is it worth the investment? In this blog post, we'll dive into the key specifications and the performance of the camera to help you make an informed decision.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Olympus PEN E-PL5 article cover photo

Key Features

Sep 17 2012


16 megapixels


Sensor TypeFour Thirds

Other similar cameras

Olympus PEN E-P5 thumbnail

Olympus PEN E-P5

Released Oct 03 2013 | 16MP resolution

Olympus PEN E-PL1 thumbnail

Olympus PEN E-PL1

Released May 17 2010 | 12MP resolution

Olympus PEN E-PL2 thumbnail

Olympus PEN E-PL2

Released Feb 11 2011 | 12MP resolution

Overview of the PEN E-PL5

Are you in the market for a new camera and considering the Olympus PEN E-PL5? You're in the right place! In this blog post, we'll take a close look at the features and functions of this popular mirrorless camera and whether it's the right investment for your needs. With a fast autofocus system, interchangeable lens, and touch screen display, the Olympus PEN E-PL5 has a lot to offer, but does it deliver on performance? We'll answer that question and more in this comprehensive review of the Olympus PEN E-PL5 camera. So, let's dive in!

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Olympus PEN E-PL5 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


Excellent image quality
Fast autofocus
Wi-Fi connectivity
Art filters for creative control
Compact and lightweight design
Interchangeable lenses
Full HD video recording
Touchscreen display
Good low-light performance
Affordable price


No built-in viewfinder
Limited battery life
No built-in flash
Small buttons can be difficult to use
No weather-sealing
Limited selection of lenses compared to bigger brands
Slow startup time
No 4K video recording
No headphone jack for audio monitoring
No built-in image stabilization.

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Olympus PEN E-PL5

Weather sealed
Dimensions111 x 64 x 38mm

Weather Sealing

The Olympus PEN E-PL5 is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderElectronic (optional)
Screen TypeTilting
Screen Resolution460k dots
Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a tilting 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 460k dots. This makes the Olympus PEN E-PL5 not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. The camera also features a touch screen, which adds to its ease of use.


PEN E-PL5 includes a electronic (optional) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of n/a and a magnification of n/a. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Olympus PEN E-PL5 has a 16MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 16 pixels. Olympus PEN E-PL5 has a native ISO range of 200 - 25600 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Sep 17 2012


200 - 25600

ISO Range

SensorFour Thirds
Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution4608 x 3456 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


72 / 102

Color Depth

22.8 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

12.3 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

889 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Olympus PEN E-PL5 camera has above average color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also above average, allowing it to retain low amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is poor, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the PEN E-PL5 is average

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: Four Thirds



Connectivity, storage, battery

Battery Life360 shots
Battery ModelBLS-5
Wireless Connectivity


The Olympus PEN E-PL5 supports SD/SDHC/SDXC with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Olympus PEN E-PL5 uses the BLS-5 model of battery pack. This is rated for 360 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Olympus PEN E-PL5 does not have a built-in flash, but it does offer a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Olympus PEN E-PL5 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Olympus PEN E-PL5 includes contrast detection autofocus (AF), with 35 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

View on Amazon


What is the sensor size of the Olympus PEN E-PL5?

The Olympus PEN E-PL5 features a CMOS sensor

Is the Olympus PEN E-PL5 weather sealed?

No the PEN E-PL5 does not have weather sealing.

When was the Olympus PEN E-PL5 announced?

The Olympus PEN E-PL5 was announced on Sep 17 2012

Does the Olympus PEN E-PL5 have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the PEN E-PL5 does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Olympus PEN E-PL5?

The PEN E-PL5 has a native ISO range of 200-25600, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

View on Amazon

Similar Camera Reviews

Olympus PEN E-P5 article cover photo

Olympus PEN E-P5: A Comprehensive Review of the Mirrorless Camera

If you're looking for a compact and lightweight mirrorless camera, the Olympus PEN E-P5 is worth considering. With its advanced features and stylish design, this camera promises to provide great image quality for both novice and professional photographers. In this article, we will review the Olympus PEN E-P5 and cover everything from its technical details to its aesthetics and ease of use.

Olympus PEN E-PL1 article cover photo

Olympus PEN E-PL1 - The Perfect Camera for Beginners

Are you new to photography and looking for a camera that will help you take stunning photos right out of the box? Look no further than the Olympus PEN E-PL1. Equipped with advanced features and a sleek design, this camera is perfect for beginners who want to start shooting like a pro.