Launched last month at photography trade fair Photokina in Cologne, the latest edition of the super popular ‘blogger camera’ Olympus Pen, the Olympus Pen E-PL8, has entered the arena. The star of this weekend’s #PENpartygreece blogger event – see all the action on Instagram – here’s a quick look at what you need to know…
The most obvious change compared to previous model, the Pen E-PL7, is the design overhaul; rounded curves, smoother to hold and possibly a touch more compact. Very retro looking and in addition to the black/silver and white colourways, there’s the new brown, which is the one I liked best.
Apart from the design there are a few fun new features. My favourite is Movie Clips (something I’ve been using on the Pen F to make super quick & easy edited in-camera videos – like this one from our trip to Lisbon). Otherwise there’s a new selfie feature where you can adjust the exposure on a slider by touch while holding the camera at arm’s length and some new art filters.
There are some more smaller technical specifications (slightly faster processor) for sure, but not one that significantly affect the output. The other thing to note is that the E-PL8 will only be sold with the pancake lens (ie. more compact 14-42mm kit lens) unlike the E-PL7 which had a cheaper version of the same lens which was a bit bulkier – overall a bit confusing for purchasers… Quite relieved I won’t have to have that conversation anymore as it wasn’t always that clear when buying online!
OLYMPUS PEN E-PL8 OVERVIEW
In sum, the Olympus Pen E-PL8 has retained the technical parts of the E-PL7 and undergone a design overhaul resulting in a sleek, more streamline look with some new but not necessarily life-changing features – well, I do love the Movie Clips I must admit! Image quality on the E-PL8 might be ever so slightly better but not something that is obvious to the eye if you were to compare. The only downside for me is that I find the video record button is quite near the thumb grip and I accidentally ended up recording instead of taking pictures a few times! But I think this could be down to how I’m used to holding the F which has a little bit more space!
*If you’ve just bought the E-PL8, head to this 15 Tips & Tricks post I wrote for the E-PL7 – still relevant as the cameras work exactly the same. The E-PL8 just has a couple of extra features which I will flag up.
STILL PREFER THE E-PL7?
You can still get the E-PL7 at some retailers at the moment – check out the Olympus website, Jessops and Curries.
But if you love the new look you can be one of the first to own the E-PL8! I have 15 on exclusive early release in all three colours which you can buy through this link – plus a free strap from the new accessories range too!
BUT IS IT TIME TO UPGRADE?
If however, you are looking to make a more serious upgrade (and investment!) then I would recommend the Pen F (pictured in black and black/silver above) which is the camera I have been using since March when it was released and couldn’t be happier with. I find the image quality outstanding (improved Pen sensor with more megapixels) and I’m obsessed with the colour controls and really much prefer having the viewfinder – the F is the first Pen to ever have one!
I just bought the F body as I had the lenses I wanted already (17mm, 45mm, 75mm) and am utterly convinced this is going to be my camera of choice for a very long time! I will write more about the F soon I promise! But this is what I currently shoot all my blog and Instagram photography on. The E-PL8 is a fantastic starter camera (especially if you’ve just been using your phone for pictures!) but if you’re ready to move on and upgrade I would seriously recommend looking into the Pen F!