Olympus PEN E-PL9 Review

4.0 rating

Olympus has knocked it out of the park again with the release of the PEN E-PL9. Like its predecessors, the E-PL9 is compact, stylish, and incredibly functional.

The Olympus PEN collection prides itself on producing striking cameras with a deliberate functional vintage design. PEN cameras feature Auto mode allowing casual photographers to produce professional-looking photos.  

The E-PL9 offers a selfie feature, art filters, and Bluetooth capability. For this reason, the Olympus Pen E-PL8 is perfect for vloggers and social media stars. 

Features

Style

The E-PL9 is fashioned using the iconic vintage style of the PEN collection. Available in onyx, pearl, honey, and denim blue. Blue is a new option and exclusive to this model. 

Unlike other PEN cameras, the E-PL9 contains a hidden flash. The flash is hidden when not in use to maintain its sleek design. 

Compact Size

Designed with an ergonomic grip, the E-PL9 is a lightweight camera weighing in at 380 g (11.5 oz) when the battery and the memory card is installed.

The compact size and weight make it a perfect companion for vacations, dinner, or an evening out with friends. 

LCD Touchscreen Monitor

The touchscreen monitor offers easy-to-use modes such as Auto Mode and Scene Mode. Auto Mode selects the best setting based on the surroundings. Easily capture nightscapes and motion with Scene Mode.

The live view touch screen tilts 180° activating Selfie Mode for pictures and video. The e-Portrait filter smooths skin producing the perfect selfie. 

Shoot and Share without Photoshop

Channel Vincent Van Gogh and his “Starry Night” with your own photo star trails using Live Composite mode. 

Center your shot and then preview it using one of 16 built-in filters available in the Art Filter option.

Transfer photos from the camera to your phone quickly with the Olympus Image Share app. 

The built-in wireless and  Bluetooth capability of the E-PL9 make it easy for you to post pictures and videos to social media on the go. No clunky cords required!

Compatible Lenses

Olympus M.Zuiko lenses are available in a variety of sizes for beginner level photographers. 

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

M.Zuiko Premium lenses are ideal for landscape photography. Advanced photographers will appreciate the fast apertures and weather sealing of lenses in the M.Zuiko PRO line.

Lithium-ion Battery

Shoot 350 photos and record 80 minutes of video (standard usage) before recharging the battery. The E-PL9  uses the same BLS-50 Li-ion battery as previous PEN models making it convenient to find additional batteries and use what may already be in your collection. 

Specifications

  • 16.1 Megapixel 
  • Focusing systems with 121 Focus Points
  • 3-Axis In-Body Image Stabilization
  • 3.0″ Tilting Touch LCD
  • 8.6 frames per second sequential shooting speed
  • 1/16,000sec electronic shutter speed / 1/4000sec mechanical shutter
  • Built-in pop-up flash (with an option for hot shoe attachment)
  • 3 video clips
  • Touch Autofocus (AF) and shutter release
  • 4K Ultra HD Video
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Silent Shooting Mode

In the Box

The E-PL9 standard package does not include a lens. 

  • Camera body
  • Black shoulder strap
  • USB cable CB-USB6 for downloading
  • Instruction manual and warranty card
  • Lithium-ion battery BLS-50 and Lithium-ion charger BCS-5

The One Lens Kit includes products that make the E-PL9 ready to use upon arrival.

  • Camera Body, 
  • M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Lens, 
  • Custom Camera Bag,
  • Custom Camera Strap, 
  • 16GB SD Memory Card, 
  • Quick Tip Card and Quick Start Guide, 
  • Micro USB Cable to manually transfer photos to a computer
  • Instruction manual and warranty card
  • Lithium-ion battery BLS-50 and Lithium-ion charger BCS-5

Olympus offers numerous videos on YouTube showcasing how to use the features of the Pen E-PL9.

Pros and Cons of the Olympus Pen E-PL9

Pros:

  • 180° tilt touch screen
  • Silent shutter option
  • Connects to lenses of previous PEN models
  • 16 built-in camera 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, Instant Film
  • Compact size and weight for travel
  • Bundled with a charger unit
  • Geotagging available on the Olympus OI Track app
  • Built-in microphone offers wind noise reduction and audio dubbing for still pictures (up to 30 sec.)
  • Capture panoramic images and wide-angle shots
  • Customize with matching leather neck straps, lens covers, and body jackets

Cons:

  • Memory card not included in the base-level package
  • The battery cannot be charged by a USB cable plugged into a computer
  • Not weather sealed
  • No accessory port to attach an electronic viewfinder, external microphone, or shutter release cable

Get the Most Out of Your Olympus Pen E-PL9

  • Read the included manual and become familiar with the location of each feature. 
  • Watch tutorials produced by Olympus that highlight available modes and art filters.
  • Practice. Practice. Practice. 

“Skill in photography is acquired by practice, not by purchase”. 

Percy W. Harris

Alternatives

If considering the Olympus Pen E-PL9 for your next photographic adventure, review these alternatives as well.

The Olympus Pen E-PL9, and all 3 alternatives, feature 3-inch display screens, image stabilization, and 16 Megapixel optical resolution. 

Manufactured by Olympus as well, the E-M10 Mark II is geared toward experienced photographers. This camera has advanced settings versus easy-to-use portrait modes.

The Panasonic Lumix GX85 4K boasts similar video resolution to the E-PL9 but knocks it out the park with 12x optical zoom. However, this camera lacks an LCD viewfinder available in comparable products. 

Although the Sony Alpha a6000 is a DSLR and not a Micro Four Thirds, it still possesses a relativity similar body size and lightweight. 

Conclusion

By far, the Olympus Pen E-PL9 is the most sophisticated, compact, and user-friendly Micro Four Thirds currently available. 

Treat your phone as a phone; a device for communication and sharing on social media. Use the Olympus Pen E-PL9 for capturing Instagram-worthy photos. 

Take your social media photos to the next level with the Olympus Pen E-PL9. In addition to taking remarkable photos, you will look sharp will do it. 

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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