The Olympus Pen E-P5 updates 2011's E-P3 with a stack of features lifted from the successful OM-D E-M5 model. If you're after a compact system camera - namely a Micro Four Thirds model - then Olympus has gone down the designer route as the E-P5 is a mixture of quality materials and design.
Retro to the eye but modern under the hood, the E-P5 is the first compact system camera to introduce a mechanical shutter capable of snapping away at up to 1/8000th second maximum, all the more impressive in such a small body size. That super-fast speed can make it possible to use wider apertures in bright conditions or to freeze subjects in motion.
The core of the E-P5 is much like that of the OM-D E-M5: there's the same 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor and TruePic VI image processing engine which, according to Olympus, will produce quality that's the very same as its bigger brother model.
READ: Olympus OM-D E-M5 review
The E-P5 is also the first Olympus model to introduce Wi-Fi - a little later to the game than its competitors, but with a more educated view. Rather than long-winded password entry, it's possible to pair the camera with a smart-device by generating a QR code from within the Olympus Image Share app. Nice touch.
Just like the E-M5 the E-P5 also adopts the 5-axis image stabilisation system, 9fps burst shooting, "Fast AF" autofocus and 1.04m-dot LCD touchscreen. However the screen is now mounted on a tilt-angle bracket so it can be moved through vertical angles, but the designers have managed to keep it flush to the body when it's in its default position.
In addition to top-notch build quality and metal buttons, the E-P5 has dual thumbwheels both front and back which can now take on a double function via the flick of a switch on the rear of the camera - something Olympus is calling "2x2 dial control". Flick the switch and, as an example, aperture and exposure compensation become white balance and ISO settings instead.
As ever with the Olympus range the E-P5 offers the usual array of Art Filter modes, alongside a new Photo Story option to place multiple shots within a single frame that was first introduced in the XZ-10 compact camera.
Despite no viewfinder being built into the system there is a new optional electronic viewfinder (EVF) - the VF-4. At 1.48x (0.74x equivalent) it's the largest magnification EVF that we've yet seen, but will also come with a suitably high price tag we suspect.
And when it comes to price, the E-P5 doesn't come in cheap: with the 14-42mm lens in the box expect to pay £1,099 when it hits the shelves later this year. Pricey, but among the most advanced Micro Four Thirds cameras that we've yet seen.
Pocket-lint has been using the camera ahead of its announcement - follow the link below to read our first impressions of Olympus's latest system camera:
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