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Olympus crafts a classic with the Pen EP-5

By Leigh D. Stark | 3:00 pm 10/05/2013

Photographers are sure spoiled for choice, and a new model on the way from Olympus only adds to that, offering up a camera with looks that match some evolved insides.

The new camera continues the reinvention of the Olympus Pen brand, a camera model that dates back to the sixties with the popular Pen EE cameras. Olympus revived that camera in 2009 with the first digital Pen camera, called the E-P1, and now several years and models later, it’s time to introduce the E-P5 to the world.

Don’t let that “5” fool you, as this is actually the fourth model to carry the “E-P” flagship moniker, and there are several others fitting under the “E-PL” Pen Lite and “E-PM” Pen Mini brand. Regardless, the E-P5 is the latest model from Olympus, and it will carry some very cool technology inside, evolving the digital Pen cameras to make them better in design and as a camera.

We’ll start with the optics and technology inside, because that’s really what makes a camera a camera.

In the E-P5, Olympus is sticking with the Micro Four Thirds mount that it uses alongside Panasonic’s own mirror less cameras, and throwing in a 16.1 megapixel LiveMOS sensor capable of shooting wither RAW (ORF) or JPEG images with an ISO range from 100 to 25600 for some heavy low-light sensitivity.

New to a mirror less interchangeable is a shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second, the same speed available in high-end digital SLRs, such as the Nikon D4 and D800 cameras. A high flash sync speed is also offered from the built-in flash – 1/320 – and Olympus is talking up a maximum shooting speed of nine frames per second,, with 17 frames able to be shot in RAW before the camera stops and takes a breather for a few seconds.

We didn't have much to take pictures of from our brief time with the E-P5. There was breakfast, but that's about it.

There’s a 3 inch tilting touchscreen on the back of the camera, allowing you to touch where you need to focus, with 35 focus points to choose from, but the Olympus E-P5 will also offer manual focus with a mode that shows what you’re focusing on in bright white edges, similar to the old focal plane method of focusing in older cameras.

And if you don’t want to use a 3 inch LCD to focus, this camera will be compatible with pretty much every Olympus electronic viewfinder, including a new one released for the occasion, the VF-4.

The controls include dials on both the front and back for manual controls, and there’s even a nifty switch that lets you jump between different settings for what those controls do, changing their functions on the fly.

As a first for an Olympus mirror less camera, WiFi is built into the body, so you can send images and videos straight to a tablet or smartphone with up to four devices connected simultaneously.

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