New EPL-7

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by cprevost, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. cprevost

    cprevost Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 31, 2012
    This is a real gem. I bought this one to replace an aging Olympus EP-3. The EP-3 was the flagship model in the Pen lineup when new. It's been a really great camera for me. It's built like a tank and the ergonomics are top notch. Unfortunately the hot shoe stopped working and the sensor was a generation old and doesn't hold up well in low light. So, I decided it was time for an upgrade.

    My top two choices were the newer EP-5 and the EPL-7. The image quality from the EPL-7 is a match for any of the newer Oly cameras as they all share the same sensor and processing engine so image quality wasn't a factor. It was all about features and ergonomics. I also wondered if I'd like a size savings with the PL model. In the end I decided to try the EPL-5 as I knew that I could return it if I didn't like it. I already had a pretty good idea what the EP-5 would bring as I owned the previous model.

    One nice thing about Olympus is that they don't cripple the menus and features of the lower end model cameras. This one has the same menu system as my EP-3 did. The Olympus menu is larger than anything I've seen from any other manufacturer. The number of modifications and user controlled settings is unbelievable. This makes things tough at first. Once you get used to it you'll grow to appreciate all the customization.

    What's really nice about the Pen line is how much freedom you have to set the cameras up to operate the way you want. This one is no exception. You can remap all the buttons and dials for different functions as you see fit. Since this model has only one control wheel I have it set so that in P, A, and S mode all I have to do is to hit the function button on the back shoulder and the control wheel will adjust exposure compensation. Another press and it's back to it's original function. Even better if you hold the function button down the dial will adjust exposure compensation and then go back to it's original function when you release it. Genius! I had feared that I'd regret not having a second control dial but I actually like this better. In manual mode a press of the function button takes you from adjusting shutter to aperture with the control ring. It's all configurable though and you can set the behavior of the ring in any of the modes to do whatever you want!

    The action of the control ring is really nice. It feels really comfortable right where it's placed and it clicks firmly as you turn it. No chance of accidentally moving it when the camera is hanging around your neck. It's not too hard to move either. Really just right.

    Looking at the LCD screen side by side with my EP-3 they look about the same. This is a real plus. The screen is a huge improvement from the previous model. The tilting screen is a new thing for me. I find it easy to operate. It has a nice solid feel and appears that the hinge mechanism is built to last. When you tilt it it'll stay in place. The selfie feature is a bit of a marketing gimmick for sure but I surprised myself and find I actually like it. Not sure how much I'll use it but it doesn't seem to get in the way so no worries there.

    The build quality is really superb. It's easily as well built as the EP-3. It feels great in the hand. Really for me it's about as small a camera as I could handle easily. Any smaller and I'd have trouble finding where to put my fingers. The leatherette now extends across the entire front. This is nice because it gives you a firmer purchase on the front with your fingers. If you own the EP-5 or have handled one you won't be disappointed with the build quality at all. It's top notch.

    This may be trivial but one of the things I didn't like about the EP-3 was the blindingly bright ON light that turns on with the camera. In a dark room it was kind of ridiculous to see. Thankfully I compared this with the EPL-5 and the light is not nearly as bright. A small thing but a plus for sure.

    Startup time is slightly longer than with the EP-3 which turns on almost instantly. It's not bad but it is noticeably slower. Everything else is really snappy. I was always happy with the overall performance of the EP-3 and never felt like I was waiting around for the camera. The EPL-5 seems the same.

    I have the VF2 viewfinder attached to the camera. I really like the viewfinder. Some people don't like a detachable finder but to me it makes perfect sense. I don't always want to use the viewfinder and it's nice to be albe to leave it at home if I know I'll be in a shooting environment where I don't need it. It sticks out the back of the camera enough that I don't feel like my nose is squashed up against the LCD. I'm considering upgrading to the VF4 but that would be a luxury purchase since the VF2 is really good and works perfectly.

    I haven't played much with the wifi app yet. I was able to get it up and running no problem on my Android phone. I had fun with the live view shooting. I was able to hang the camera around my neck and walk around looking at my phone snapping pictures. The possibilities for stealthy shooting this way are intriguing for sure.

    Based on my experience with the EP-3 I don't think I'll be missing anything at all. Glad I made the purchase. My second choice was going to be the Panny GM5. Really glad I didn't go that route as the EPL-7 is about as small as I think I could be comfortable. I only wish it had come with the new power zoom instead of the standard zoom. Might end up springing for that lens.
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  2. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Real Name:
    It seems as if you have found a camera that really works well for you. That's great! The GX7 is the one I found that did it for me. Enjoy!
  3. zulfur666

    zulfur666 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 30, 2014
    where did you already buy it? At least in the US market its only available for "pre-order" thanks for sharing and enjoy your new toy.
  4. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    The E-PL7 looks to be another winner in the Pen line.
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    I really liked my E-PL5 but traded it in for a E-M5 for the better IBIS since I do a lot of low light shooting. I can see an impulse-buy refurb PL7 in my future.