Olympus Pen E-PL8 Review

4.0 rating

Whether you are new to digital photography or simply in the market for a camera upgrade, the vast selection can be overwhelming. 

The lightweight Olympus Pen E-PL8 is the perfect combination of style and technology. For this reason, the Pen E-PL8 is the ideal companion for outdoor adventurers, worldwide travelers, and social media enthusiasts.

Micro Four Thirds

Before diving into the nuts of and bolts of the Olympus Pen E-PL8, let’s take a step back. The Olympus Pen E-PL8 is classified as a Micro Four Thirds (MTF). MTF’s are identified by their lack of mirror box and a pentaprism, resulting in a smaller body (hence the name “micro”). Hosting a shorter flange focus distance, MFT’s are compatible with almost any lens with a flange distance larger than 19.25mm.

With the boom of Instagram, MTF’s rose in popularity over DSLR cameras. MTF’s are smaller, lighter, and much more portable.  

Olympus PEN Collection

Style

The PEN collection is the epitome of digital camera luxury. The cameras are constructed with premium metal and accented with black, brown, or white leather-grains. Inspired by cameras of the 60’s, the PEN collection has retro shapes and details. Accessorize and protect your camera with matching leather straps and covers. 

Technology

Image stabilization technology is standard on all Olympus PEN cameras. The stabilization feature compensates for a shaky hand or photographer on the go and provides blur-free photos.

Even if the photographer is standing still, the subject matter may be on the go and Olympus made a design for that. PEN cameras can capture up to 10 detailed frames a second using fast autofocusing and high-speed shooting. 

Photo filters are available directly on PEN cameras. Filters and manual exposure adjustments are viewable before you snap a photo. The PEN live preview LCD touch screen ensures that you are capturing the exact picture you desire. 

Modern Day Features

The live preview LCD tilts down allowing you to see and snap the perfect selfie.

PEN cameras are equipped with wi-fi connections. By downloading the Olympus Image Share app, you can remotely take photos and transfer them to your phone. Imagine how convenient this would be for family get-togethers.

Olympus Pen E-PL8 

Now that you have fallen in love with MTF’s and the Olympus PEN collection, let’s drive into the E-PL8.

Features

  • Compact Size

Weighing in at 326 g (11.5 oz), the E-PL8 truly is a lightweight camera. 

  • LCD Monitor

The live view touch screen tilts 180°. The camera automatically turns on Selfie Mode when the screen is flipped down.

  • Compatible Lenses

Olympus M.Zuiko lenses are available in a variety of sizes to enhance the experience of using the E-PL8

  • 14-42mm IIR general-purpose, beginning lens
  • 14-42mm EZ compact size 
  • 40-150mm R zoom range 
  • 12-50mm Macro close-ups and portraits
  • Microphone

The built-in microphone has wind noise reduction. Optional SEMA-1 External Microphone Adapter Set is compatible with E-PL 8.

  • Lithium -on Battery

Approximately 90 minutes of battery life with standard usage. Lithium-ion batteries do not drain power when in non-use nor does the battery life diminish when left in a charger. 

Specifications

  • 16.1 Megapixel 
  • 3-Axis In-Body Image Stabilization
  • 3.0″ Tilting Touch LCD
  • 8.5 frames per second sequential shooting speed
  • 1/4000 sec mechanical shutter
  • iAuto mode selects of the best of 42 modes
  • 3 video clips
  • Touch Autofocus (AF) and shutter release
  • Full HD 1080p video of approximately 29min (up to 4GB)
  • 14 in-camera art filters

In the Box

The E-PL 8 standard package does include a lens. Olympus and certified retailers may offer promotional packages that include lenses. 

  • Camera and body cap
  • Black shoulder strap
  • USB cable CB-USB6 for downloading
  • CD-Rom instruction manual/computer software
  • Flash FL-LM1 attachment for Hot Shoe
  • Lithium-ion battery BLS-50 and Lithium-ion charger BCS-5

View the Olympus Pen E-PL8 video for a visual of how the features work. 

Pros and Cons of Olympus Pen E-PL8 

Pros:

  • 180° tilt touch screen
  • An accessory port that supports the use of the VF-4 viewfinder
  • Connects to lenses of previous PEN models
  • Built-in art filters
  • Compact size and weight for travel

Cons:

  • Memory card not included
  • AVI video format is not available
  • The battery cannot be charged by a USB cable plugged into a computer
  • No built-in flash
  • Not weather sealed

Get the Most Out of Your Olympus Pen E-PL8

  • Read the included paper manual and CD-Rom version and then begin a process of study, play, study, play. The best way to become comfortable with the features and settings is by getting to know them. 
  • Watch tutorials pertaining to the features that interest you the most, such as this one highlighting selfie mode and other settings that are a dream for any Instagram star. 
  • Go out and capture the world! Ride a trolley to experience the image stabilization. Record the babbling of your newborn baby in 1080p video with the built-in microphone. Document a night on the town using the nighttime Live Composite Mode.

Alternatives

Any digital camera, especially a mirrorless MFT, is a financial investment. Before purchasing an Olympus Pen E-PL8, you may be interested in reviewing other options on the market. 

Not nearly as fashionable or compact, the PANASONIC LUMIX GX85 4K Digital Camera is a viable alternative. This camera includes lenses bundles and a 5 Axis In-Body Dual Image Stabilization. 

The Sony Alpha a6000 boasts an impressive 11 fps and fast autofocus. Price print is considerably less than Olympus Pen E-PL8 but lacks high-end convenient features such as touch screen. It contains a 3” LCD screen, but it only slightly tilts compared to the 180° tilt of the Pen E-PL8.

Conclusion

The Olympus Pen E-PL8 is a luxury mirrorless camera (the entire PEN collection is). This camera is much more affordable than the classic Olympus PEN-F and is geared towards casual photographers.

It is the perfect camera for you? Only you can decide that, but the information gathered will go a long way in helping you select a camera. 

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling and photography. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of Micro Four Thirds photography. Discover the advantages of carrying a small yet powerful camera system.

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