Olympus Pen E-PL5 pictures and hands-on

As well as the E-PM2's announcement, Olympus has also lifted the lid on the latest Pen Lite, the Olympus Pen E-PL5. As with its other Pen cousin, Pocket-lint had a play around with a pre-production model ahead of its official announcement.

The E-PL5 finds itself sandwiched between the E-PM2 and the top-spec E-P3 models, offering a balance of features-to-price ratio. It doesn't feature any advantages in processing, image quality or performance over the E-PM2, but it does share the latest 16-megapixel sensor as plucked from the OM-D E-M5 compact system camera.

The Lite adds a couple of mainstays beyond the Mini's feature list: the most notable is a tilt-angle LCD screen that's not more flexi than the one found on its E-PL3 predecessor, and can even flip over the top of the camera for self-portraits and the like. The model we played with was able to flip the preview image vertically, but hadn't yet been programmed to flip horizontally - we're sure this "mirror image" bug will be ironed out in the final release model though.

The addition of touch-sensitive screen control also makes a big difference to the way the camera handles. It's easy to tap a finger to the screen to position a focal point or fire the shutter, for example.

Otherwise it's business as usual, and the E-PL5 by and large resembles its E-PL3 predecessor. For the most part that's a good thing: it's small, but not too small and therefore feels right at home in the hand. The ongoing lack of a built-in flash is dealt with via an accessory flash included in the box, otherwise it's possible to add bigger, brighter 'guns via the hotshoe and AP2 accessory port should you wish.

As per the E-PM2 the latest "fast AF" autofocus system is super quick and a welcome addition to the range. It's OM-D features but not at an OM-D price - and that will be a big appeal to many prospective purchasers.

Just like the E-PM2, the E-PL5 is also Toshiba FlashAir SD compatible should Wi-Fi sharing from camera be on your wish list.

In addition there's a brand new 15mm (30mm equiv.) "body cap" lens with a fixed f/8 aperture, as detailed in our E-PM2 hands-on. As you can see from the picture in our gallery, this pancake lens makes even a penny look big.

We were also able to play with a production version of the 60mm macro - as pictured in the majority of our gallery pictures - which is a lens we're sure higher-level users, probably OM-D owners, will be looking forward to owning. What better splash-proof optic to pair with a splash-proof body (something the E-PL5 doesn't benefit from, unfortunately)?

The E-PL5 will come boxed with a 14-42mm kit lens with a €699 asking price. It looks as though the price of the Pen is falling - yet another plus point that ought to make the E-PL5 all the more attractive, though we're yet to hear of final UK prices.

We reckon the E-PL5 looks pretty tasty and is making all the right moves for the Micro Four Thirds camp. And for those wondering, "Why no E-PL4?" - the number four is often bypassed by Japanese companies because it's deemed unlucky. Though there's no telling that to Nikon, as anyone able to afford a D4 has got to be pretty lucky, right?