Available from March 16th, this is the latest addition to the Pen series, the Olympus Pen E-PL9. Like the Pen E-PL8, it comes in black, brown and white and I thought I’d take you through some of the new features…
NB: These are sample models I have here, not fully functional (eg. takes photos but can’t connect to wifi and doesn’t have the latest art filters!) so I haven’t done a roadtest in order to show you sample images… yet!
Also if you’d like to see my video intro the the new model, you can have a squizz here. (More videos are on the way on a range of topics, so do subscribe to my channel if you’re interested!)
So let’s have a look-see at the new look and new features…
New Handgrip & Built in Flash
I have to say I really like the tweaked design of the body. The larger handgrip is really comfortable to hold and the re-designed controls on the back are raised and easier to navigate by touch. The thumb grip has had some attention which means you’re less likely to hit to the red record button by mistake, which I often did on the E-PL8!
The body feels a bit more solid than the 8, and does actually come in marginally heavier – 332g compared 326g. I prefer the sturdier feel I must say!
And also a fun little retro touch is the new pop-up flash. Not being a flash user this is not necessarily something I plan to use, but hey I might give it a go. 😉 It does quite cleverly articulate, so you can aim the flash up at the ceiling to bounce onto you subject rather than aim it directly at them!
4k video and New Image Processor
In terms of functionally, I think these are probably the two most exciting things about the new model. The E-PL9 shoots 4k video, which is great news if you are shooting videos. And quite brilliant to see that in such a small camera! Because I can’t connect to this sample model, I wasn’t able to test whether you can use the Olympus Share App to trigger filming, which is something you can so on the Pen F – which makes having to see yourself on the flip down screen redundant, because you can see yourself on your phone screen instead, even better! I will keep you posted on that…
The E-PL9 has also been updated with the latest Olympus image processor which is TruePic VIII. This improves image quality and also help the camera perform better in lowlight conditions. Again, I’m holding off any comparison shots with the E-PL8 – which has the TruePic VII image processor – until I get a chance to shoot with a fully working model!
Advanced Photo Mode & New Filters
The Advanced Photo mode (AP) is a new mode you can select on the top dial. I really like this, as it lines up for easy access on your screen, things like the new double exposure function, HDR, bracketing and other functions that you usually had to dig around in the menus for. It’s a great way to explore what you can do with your photography. I will definitely be testing these out to see what you can do with them all.
Also new, are two new filters, including a pretty cool bleach bypass one that I tested out a while back (also on the OMD EM10 Mark iii I think!). I tend not to use the filters in camera very much, but it’s fun if you’re in the mood to play around!
To Sum Up
So, there you have it! Overall some nice improvements on what is already a really great piece of kit. If you have the E-PL7 or 8, do no worry as these models have not been made wholly redundant by the 9 – but if you are desperate for 4k video , Jessops does offer the option of trading in old models as part payment for the new one – you can check out the details here. That includes the Pen E-PL7 and 8, two Panasonics and a Canon body too. And remember if you have a previous model, you already have the lens (or lenses!) so you are only looking at buying the body…
I’m really impressed by the E-PL9. Much more so that I was with the update from the E-PL7 to E-PL8, and would recommend this is a fantastic starter camera for someone after more than a compact point and shoot. Being fully manual and with the option to change lenses (and get into some gorgeous quality primes!) opens up a whole world of high image quality photography and learning. Bravo Olympus!