Early Morning Peeks | Olympus PEN EP-5


A bit of an earlier than usual start for me (yes, I am insanely lucky Gus sleeps in to a civilised time – but this morning was an unhappy 5am start, teething maybe). He’s back to sleep but not me, so I’m treating myself to a luxuriously quiet hour reading the new issue of Porter and reviews and tips on the Olympus PEN EP-5…

I was intrigued by the first issue of Porter although I never bought a copy, but I couldn’t resist the beautiful black & white of Lady Gaga and 70s styled shoot of Issue 2. In a nutshell, lots of visually consumable stream-lined trend editorial (“The Arm Candy” etc),  a first-person piece by 80s icon Molly Ringwalk on her heroines and animal prints still rule according to Julia Restoin Roitfeld, all in a super glossy package. It seems even more so on the iPad, doesn’t it? Love digital publishing! (Says the blogger…)

The Olympus PEN EP-5 arrived with me yesterday and to begin with I was shaking. This is Olympus’s top of the range PEN, released last spring and general consensus on the internet seems to be it’s the best (ok, second-best for some) Micro Four Thirds camera out there. (Micro Four Thirds relates to the sensor size, slightly smaller than the APS-C sensors you get on cameras like the mid-range Canons (eg. the 400-700d models) or larger compacts, like the Fuji X100, and the full frame sensors you get on pro cameras like the Canon 5D and Nikon equivalent). This might be a problem for some, bigger sensors seem to suck in the light in the most incredible way. But this is the test, to find out if the MFT system can match up.

What’s exciting about this PEN is that its specs are practically identical to the much-loved Olympus OM-D E-M5 (last autumn pipped to the post by the new E-M1, which Laetetia took these stunning shots with when we were in Sweden), so image quality is pretty amazing. The main differences from the EM5, from what I can gather, are the lack of built in viewfinder, weatherproofing and the option to add a grip. So neck and neck really, if you take into consideration the PEN’s much more gorgeous retro design and built-in WIFI (this is essential for me, especially for using the remote while taking outfit posts.)

A very big plus is that you can use the whole range of Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses, including the much-feted 45mm 1.8 and 17mm 1.8. I have both these to try out and I used the 45mm on a trip yesterday to visit Icelandic handbag designer DAUGHTER OF JÓN. The real test for me was to find out if I could get the same depth of field results I usually achieve with my Canon and 50mm 1.4 lens. Why? Because, I would much rather be carrying around this much smaller and lighter camera for taking photos.

I’ll be posting the results later this morning so you can judge for yourself, but as first outings go I’m pretty impressed with what I got. There are also all sort of exciting lenses to explore – I confess to being a seasoned eBayer and swooped and nabbed a gorgeous old manual 50mm 1.4 OM lens from beneath the noses of probably some very geeky camera aficionados. Sorry. (I am not sorry.) Anyway, just waiting for an adapter to arrive until I can use this.

Ok, that’s quite a lot more camera chat than I had planned for this morning, but if it’s your kind of thing, more coming soon! And how amazing is the DAUGHTER OF JÓN bag? This is a special collection made just for Clapton’s Chatsworth Road Market, selling there for the month of April…

Olympus PEN EP-5* | DAUGHTER OF JÓN ‘Market Collectables’ bag* | Kadalys banana lip balm* | iPad 2 (old!)