Olympus PEN E-PL9

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Olympus PEN E-PL9 Mirrorless Camera

Sleek and stylish, the PEN E-PL9 from Olympus is a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera defined by its versatile imaging capabilities and variety of in-camera creative controls. Using a 16.1MP Live MOS sensor and TruePic VIII image processor, a quick continuous shooting rate of 8.6 fps benefits working with moving subjects while a top sensitivity of ISO 25600 suits working in low-light conditions. Beyond stills shooting, UHD 4K30p video recording is also supported along with high-speed HD 720p120 recording for slow-motion playback. Benefitting both photo and movie applications, a 121-area FAST autofocus system is both quick and accurate, and works in conjunction with the rear touchscreen for touch-to-focus control. Additionally, 3-axis sensor-shift image stabilization is also featured to reduce the appearance of camera shake by 3.5 stops for sharper handheld shooting.

Beyond the imaging capabilities, the E-PL9 also distinguishes itself through its stylish exterior, which integrates a compact right hand grip, clean lines, a comfortable brown leatherette wrap, and a foil stamped Olympus logo on the front. Matching intent of the opulent exterior, the camera is also configured for the selfie enthusiasts out there, with the inclusion of a 3.0" 1.04m-dot 180 tilting touchscreen LCD. For easier control when making front-facing portraits, Touch Shutter lets you simply tap to focus and shoot and a variety of in-camera Art Filters can also be applied to creatively enhance the look of your images. Additionally, the camera is also fitted with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless image sharing and remote camera control from a linked smartphone or tablet.

16.1MP Live MOS Sensor and TruePic VII Image Processor

Featuring a 16.1MP Live MOS sensor, along with the same TruePic VIII image processor featured in the flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II, the E-PL9 is capable of recording high-resolution stills and UHD 4K30p video with sensitivities up to ISO 25600. The processing speed also avails a full-resolution continuous shooting rate of 8.6 fps, a 4.3 fps shooting rate when working with the anti-shock electronic first curtain shutter, and a 14.1 fps rate when working in silent sequential mode.

FAST Autofocus System

Benefitting both stills and video, a contrast-detection focusing method employs 121 AF areas across the entire sensor to quickly and accurately acquire focus. Aptly named, FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) is able to home in on subjects using single-shot or continuous focusing methods, as well as AF tracking to benefit working with moving subjects. In addition, there is Face Detection/Eye Detection AF which prioritizes focus on a subject's face and eyes.

When working with manual focus, focus peaking is available to simplify attaining precise sharpness, which is especially useful when using selective focus or shallow depth of field techniques.

3-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization

In-body sensor-shift image stabilization helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to 3.5 stops with any lens in use. Furthermore, this unique image stabilization system works across three axes and compensates for vertical and horizontal shifts (yaw and pitch) as well as camera shake along the optical axis (roll). This range of detected movements suits both stills and video recording, and electronic image stabilization can also be used to further benefit video recording.

Body Design and Wireless Connectivity

  • A large 3.0" 1.04m-dot touchscreen LCD is available for intuitive control over image composition, settings, and playback, and the screen also has an 80 upward, 180 downward tilting design for making front-facing selfies, or just working from a variety of angles.

  • The touchscreen enables the Touch Shutter function for simply tapping on the screen to both focus and release the shutter.

  • The exterior of the camera body is wrapped in a brown leatherette for a traditional feel and the Olympus PEN logo has been foil stamped on the front of the camera body.

  • Built-in pop-up flash provides additional illumination when working in low-light conditions. A hot shoe can also accommodate an optional external flash.

  • The included BLS-50 rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides approximately 350 shots per charge.

  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth permit seamlessly connecting a smartphone or tablet to the camera, which then enables you to wirelessly share imagery and remotely control the camera.

Other Camera Features

  • An anti-shock shooting mode lets you use an electronic first curtain shutter, in conjunction with a 60-1/320 sec shutter speed range, to reduce vibrations when shooting atop a tripod or other support.

  • Digital ESP metering uses a 324-area multi pattern metering area, along with center-weighted average and spot metering modes, for accurate exposure metering control.

  • Advanced Photo Modes: Live Composite, Live Time, Multiple Exposure, HDR Backlight, Silent, Panorama, Keystone Compensation, AE Bracketing, and Focus Bracketing

  • Scene Select AE modes: Portrait, e-Portrait, Landscape + Portrait, Night + Portrait, Children, Night scene, Hand-Held Starlight, Fireworks, Light trails, Sport, Panning, Landscape, Sunset, Beach & Snow, Backlight HDR, Panorama, Candlelight, Silent, Macro, Nature Macro, Documents, and Multi Focus Shot.

  • Picture Modes: i-Enhance, Vivid, Natural, Muted, Portrait, Monotone, Custom, e Portrait, Underwater, and Art Filters.

  • Photo Story mode lets you shoot a scene from different viewpoints, then compile these individual images into a single frame.

  • Live Composite Mode lets you record a long exposure, between 1/2 to 60 seconds, and watch the exposure build in real-time for more accurate long exposures.

  • Interval shooting is supported for up to 999 sequential frames with 1 second to 24 hour intervals. Finished shoots can then be automatically compiled into a time-lapse movie.

  • Multiple Exposure mode lets you record two sequential frames over one another with auto gain for a balanced overall exposure.

  • Movie Effects: One Shot Echo, Multi Echo, Art Fade, and Old Film.

  • Live Guide is a simple graphical menu for adjusting color saturation, color value, brightness, background blur, and how motion is portrayed, and can also display helpful shooting tips.

  • Art Filters: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia, Dramatic Tone, Key Line, Watercolor, Vintage, Partial Color, Bleach Bypass, and Instant Film.

Other Olympus 35mm Digital Cameras to Consider


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Specifications
Price
MSRP 579/549 (body only), 679/699 (with 14-42mm EZ lens)
Body type
Body type Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor
Max resolution 4608 x 3456
Image ratio w:h 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 17 megapixels
Sensor size Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor TruePic VIII
Image
ISO Auto, 200-6400 (expandable to 100-25600)
Boosted ISO (minimum) 100
Boosted ISO (maximum) 25600
White balance presets 6
Custom white balance Yes (4 slots)
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
Image stabilization notes 3-axis
CIPA image stabilization rating 3.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Super fine, fine, normal
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 121
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier 2
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Tilting
Screen size 3
Screen dots 1,040,000
Touch screen Yes
Screen type TFT LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type None
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 60 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic) 1/16000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes
Flash range 7.60 m (at ISO 200)
External flash Yes
Flash modes Auto, manual, redeye reduction, slow sync w/redeye reduction, slow sync , slow sync 2nd-curtain, fill-in, off
Continuous drive 8.6 fps
Self-timer Yes (2 or 12 secs, custom)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Highlight-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation 5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing 5 (3, 5 frames at 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB Bracketing No
Videography features
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Modes
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1280 x 720 @ 120p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-I supported)
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
USB charging No
HDMI Yes (micro HDMI)
Microphone port No
Headphone port No
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Remote control Yes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description BLS-50 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 350
Weight (inc. batteries) 380 g (0.84 lb / 13.40 oz)
Dimensions 117 x 68 x 39 mm (4.61 x 2.68 x 1.54)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording Yes (Video up to 4K)
GPS None


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Olympus PEN E-PL9 Mirrorless Camera Reviewed by Gene Wright on . Rating: 5