Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

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Introduction

The Olympus E-PL8 is a new compact system camera from the brand, which sits in the entry-level or beginner line-up. It is aimed towards bloggers, and has many features which may appeal to those who run their own websites. In many ways it remains unchanged in terms of specifications from the E-PL7. It features the same 16.1MP Live MOS Four Thirds sensor, and the same TruePic VII imaging engine. Other interesting features include inbuilt Wi-Fi, full HD video recording, a tilting touch-sensitive screen and a range of digital ‘art’ filters which can be applied to your images. The Olympus E-PL8 retails for $649 / £499.

Ease of Use

Just like the E-PL7, the Olympus E-PL8 is being labelled as the “stylish one”, designed to particularly appeal to fashion conscious photographers – indeed fashion bloggers have been particularly targeted for its launch as Olympus has found success with this demographic in the past.

While the camera remains relatively unchanged when it comes to specs, the exterior has seen some tweaks in the design which give it a rounded, more sophisticated look. It has a super sleek design, and is available in three different colour ways – the white and silver version supplied to us is a Jessops exclusive, while the tan variant can only be found in John Lewis. The black and silver version is available in all shops.

There’s a luxurious leather-style coating around the whole camera, with gold (in our case) engraving for the OLYMPUS PEN name on the front of the camera – all of it adding to the stylish finish of the camera. On the front there is a protruding strip which helps your finger to grip the camera – this is joined by a raised thumbrest on the back of the camera.

On the top of the Olympus E-PL8 is a couple of dials. There’s a mode dial for choosing between the different exposure modes available, such as automatic and semi-automatic modes (such as aperture priority). There’s also a scene mode, art mode, video mode and a mode for creating images with frames around them.

The second dial on top of the camera is used for a variety of functions depending on which shooting mode you’re using. So, for instance, if you’re using aperture priority mode, you can use it to adjust aperture, or shutter speed when shooting in shutter priority. The shutter release button is found in the middle of the dial, which is a little recessed making it a natural place for your finger to rest.

Olympus E-PL8
Front of the Olympus E-PL8

The final feature of note on the top of the Olympus E-PL8 is the hotshoe, which you can use to plug in a variety of accessories, such as external viewfinder (there is no inbuilt viewfinder at all on the E-PL8). The flash unit, which comes in the box, is plugged into the hotshoe, if you don’t attach the flash, then you won’t be able to take any flash pictures without it as there isn’t anything built into the body of the camera itself.

As this is a camera aimed at beginners, it’s not surprising that there’s not a huge array of buttons and dials on the camera. Flipping to the back of the camera sees a variety of fairly standard button offerings. The buttons are fairly small, so you need to be quite precise when using them. There’s a four-way navigational pad, with each key having its own specific function. The up button you press if you want to adjust exposure compensation, the left button you can press to bring up the AF point selection options, the down button is used for drive mode or to activate the timer, while the right button is used to activate the different flash buttons (when the flash unit is attached).

There is also a menu button – for accessing the main menu, a delete button, a playback button and an info button, which changes the display. There’s also a video record button which is positioned well to avoid accidentally being knocked on and creating movies when you don’t want to.

Just above the thumb rest, the two final buttons are a function button, and a magnifying glass button. The latter button can be used to increase the focusing view, which is useful for macro and fine subjects. It can also be used to zoom into photos in playback.

Olympus E-PL8
Rear of the Olympus E-PL8

If you press the OK button in the centre of the four-way navigational pad, then you’ll be able to access a quick menu which gives you a faster route to some of the more commonly used settings. This is particularly useful on a camera such as this where there’s no direct button for settings such as ISO or white balance. You can also add art filters, change the aspect ratio, metering and so on via this menu.

The main menu, like many Olympus menus, is a little confusingly laid out. If you never have used an Olympus camera before you may find you need to spend a bit of time getting acquainted where everything is – it’s not always immediately obvious.

Despite the fact that the camera is mirrorless, there’s no way to activate a silent mode with the Olympus E-PL8. Unlike the Olympus PEN F which has a variety of different drive modes thanks to having both an electronic and mechanical shutter, including silent or anti-shock, you can’t switch off the shutter sound of the E-PL8. This isn’t a problem in most cases, but if you’re photographing somewhere quiet, such as a church, then you won’t be able to be as conspicuous as you might have liked to be.

Olympus E-PL8
Top of the Olympus E-PL8

The screen on the back of the Olympus E-PL8 is touch-sensitive, and you can use it to set the AF point, or focus and trigger the shutter with one touch. You can use it to move through images in playback, but you can’t use it with either the quick menu or the main menu. The screen tilts to face upwards, which is great for shooting low down. It also tilts completely forwards, but rather than doing that above the camera, it does it below the camera. This has the advantage of being completely unencumbered by any part of the camera, but it also means you can’t really use the camera with a tripod as the tripod will hinder your view of the screen. The screen can also be tilted in such a way as to make “flat lays” easy – that is, pictures taken from above of a table top with products etc on it – something which is popular with fashion bloggers.

If you place the Olympus E-PL8 with the screen facing forwards then ‘selfie mode’ will be automatically activated. This displays a virtual shutter release button, alongside a video record button on the screen to make it simple to take a quick photo without having to use the physical shutter release.

The camera comes with the 14-42mm kit lens. This retracts into itself when not in use, making the overall package size of the camera and lens very small – it could probably fit in a reasonably large jacket pocket altogether. There are many different Micro Four Thirds lenses available for the system, including those made by Panasonic and third-party manufacturers (such as Sigma). The images in this review have been taken with a mixture of the kit lens and separate optics (from Olympus and Panasonic).

Olympus E-PL8
Side of the Olympus E-PL8

Generally speaking, autofocus speeds are very good. In bright light, the Olympus E-PL8 snaps into focus pretty much instantly. If the light is lower, then you may see some back and forth motion as the lens acquires focus, but it’s very rare for a false confirmation of focus to be achieved. There’s an green dot in the corner, which will blink if focus has not been achieved – it will be steady when it has.

Start-up time is pretty quick, with a slight delay if you’re using the kit lens as it needs to extend first. You can leave the camera switched on if you want to take a series of photos in reasonably quick succession.

While the Olympus E-PL8 can shoot at 8.5fps, and there is a continuous autofocus option, this isn’t really a camera designed for shooting fast moving action. It can keep up with something moving reasonably slowly, but anything more challenging than that and the camera will struggle.

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

Being as the Olympus E-PL8 uses the same sensor and processor as its predecessor, image quality remains – as far as we can tell anyway – pretty much unchanged.

That’s not to say that’s a bad thing, as the previous camera was a good performer. In good light, the camera produces well-exposed, bright and punchy images. There’s a tendency to underexpose slightly when faced with darker conditions – you may find you need to dial in some positive exposure compensation more often than we’d strictly like. On the plus side though, this does mean that details should be well kept in any fashion garments etc, without the risk of blown highlights.

Automatic white balance copes well with a mixture of different lighting conditions. Under artificial lighting, the colours are perhaps ever so slightly weighted towards warmer tones, but the look is pleasing enough to be satisfactory. You can switch to a more specific white balance setting if you’re after more precision.

Low light performance is pretty good, with images looking great at A4 or below up to around ISO 6400. If you want to print something very large, then you  may want to stick to ISO 3200. ISO 12800 and 25600 are useable if you intend to keep the print or shared image size on the small side.

The 14-42mm lens is a good lens to get you started with, and it covers a decent focal length range for lots of different situations. However, in order to get the best from the Olympus E-PL8 – such as really nice shallow depth of field effects – it probably won’t be long until you’re thinking of investing in extra lenses. Luckily there are plenty available.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Olympus E-PL8. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and the RAW equivalent on the right:

JPEG RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

Flash

The Olympus E-PL8 features a flash that has multiple modes including Auto, Red-eye reduction, Slow synchronisation, 2nd curtain and slow synchronisation, Fill-in for exclusive flash and Manual. In addition to the on-board unit, the Olympus E-PL8 also has a hot-shoe for system flashes. The pictures below were taken of a white wall from a distance of 1.5m, with and without the built-in flash.

Flash Off – Wide Angle

Flash On – Wide Angle

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off – Telephoto

Flash On – Telephoto

ISO 64 ISO 64

And now for some portraits. The add-on flash of the Olympus E-PL8 did not really cause a red-eye effect, so the only noticeable difference between the Forced On and Forced On with Red-Eye Reduction settings is that the second causes the subject’s pupils to contract.

Flash On

 

Red-eye Reduction

Night

The Olympus E-PL8 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 60 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times as long as 30 minutes, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/160th second at ISO 200.

Night

Art Filters

The Olympus E-PL8 offers an extensive range so-called ‘art filters’, which allow you to quickly apply an artistic effect to a photo before taking it. Art filters are easily accessible via a dedicated setting on the mode dial on the front of the camera.

ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64
   
ISO 64 ISO 64

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

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Download Luminar & Try Free »

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Olympus E-PL8 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Olympus E-PL8 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We’ve provided some Olympus RAW (ORF) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/250s · f/5.6 · 268mm · ISO 500
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/100s · f/8 · 28mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/800s · f/2.8 · 60mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/500s · f/2.8 · 60mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/200s · f/2.8 · 60mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/800s · f/3.5 · 28mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/250s · f/2.8 · 60mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/100s · f/8 · 28mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/15s · f/8 · 28mm · ISO 1600
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/60s · f/8 · 60mm · ISO 400
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/60s · f/8 · 38mm · ISO 250
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/125s · f/5 · 28mm · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/20s · f/3.5 · 28mm · ISO 1600
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/80s · f/1.4 · 50mm · ISO 1600
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/13s · f/3.5 · 28mm · ISO 1600
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/20s · f/3.5 · 28mm · ISO 1600
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/20s · f/4 · 14mm · ISO 1600
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/10s · f/5.5 · 74mm · ISO 1600
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/30s · f/3.5 · 28mm · ISO 6400
Download Original

Sample Movie

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1920×1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 24 second movie is 73.9Mb in size.

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52

with special Valentine Day bonuses (two eBooks, Vivid Wonderland preset pack, & Creative Sky Overlay pack) included for free until February 19.

Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10 on Luminar.

We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

Product Images

Olympus E-PL7

Front of the Olympus E-PL8

 
Olympus E-PL7

Front of the Olympus E-PL8

 
Olympus E-PL7

Side of the Olympus E-PL8

 
Olympus E-PL7

Side of the Olympus E-PL8

 
Olympus E-PL7

Rear of the Olympus E-PL8

 
Olympus E-PL7

Rear of the Olympus E-PL8

 
Olympus E-PL7

Rear of the Olympus E-PL8

 
Olympus E-PL7

Rear of the Olympus E-PL8

 
Olympus E-PL7

Rear of the Olympus E-PL8

 

Olympus E-PL7

Tilting LCD Screen

 
Olympus E-PL7
Tilting LCD Screen
 
Olympus E-PL7
Tilting LCD Screen
 
Olympus E-PL7
Top of the Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus E-PL7
Bottom of the Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus E-PL7
Side of the Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus E-PL7
Side of the Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus E-PL7
Side of the Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus E-PL7
Front of the Olympus E-PL8
 
Olympus E-PL7
Memory Card Slot / Battery Compartment

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52

with special Valentine Day bonuses (two eBooks, Vivid Wonderland preset pack, & Creative Sky Overlay pack) included for free until February 19.

Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10 on Luminar.

We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

Specifications

Type

  • Body material

    Metal

  • Lens mount

    Micro Four Thirds

Image Sensor

  • Type

    4/3” Live MOS sensor

  • Effective pixels

    16.1 Megapixels

  • Filter array

    Primary colour filter (RGB)

  • Aspect ratio & area

    4:3 / 17.3 x 13.0mm

  • Full resolution

    17.2 Megapixels

Engine

  • Type

    TruePic VII

Filter

  • Dust reduction filter

    Supersonic Wave Filter

Live View

  • Displayed information

    • Aperture
    • Shutter speed
    • Auto bracket
    • AE lock
    • Focus mode
    • Shooting mode
    • Battery check
    • IS activating mode
    • Face / Eye detection mode
    • Record mode
    • ISO
    • Sequential shooting mode
    • White Balance
    • Metering mode
    • Exposure compensation value
    • AF frame display
    • AF confirmation mark
    • Shooting information
    • Spot metering area
    • Super FP
    • Flash status
    • Touch Panel Condition
    • Focal length
    • Flash mode
    • Histogram
    • Level Gauge
    • Highlight & Shadow
    • Focus peaking
    • Number of storable pictures
    • Custom
    • Face detection
    • Flash intensity
    • WiFi
  • Field of view

    Approx. 100%

  • Magnification levels

    5 / 7 / 10 / 14x

  • Display modes

    • Comparison
    • Grid (4 types)
    • Grid
    • Histogram
    • Level Gauge
    • Magnified View
    • Standard information
    • Off
  • Effect preview

    • Art Filter
    • Aspect ratio
    • Exposure
    • Exposure compensation
    • Gradation (SAT)
    • Auto gradation
    • Multi-Exposure
    • Perfect Shot Preview
    • White Balance

Image Stabiliser

  • Type

    Sensor shift

  • Lens IS priority

    Available

  • Modes

    Three‑dimensional, vertical or horizontal activation, automatic

  • Live View stabilisation

    Yes

  • Effective Compensation Range

    Up to 3.5 EV steps (CIPA)

  • Shutter speed range

    60 ‑ 1/4000s (not available when Bulb is selected)

Focusing System

  • Method

    Contrast Detection AF system

  • Focus areas

    81 points / All target, Group target (9‑areas), Single target (normal), Single target (small)

  •  

    800 points / Manual selection in Magnified View Mode

  • AF lock

    Yes; Locked by first position of shutter release button in single AF mode, AE/AF lock button (customised)

  • Modes

    • Manual focus
    • Single AF
    • Continuous AF
    • Single AF + MF
    • AF Tracking
  • AF illuminator

    Yes

  • Full time AF

    Yes

  • Manual focus

    Yes; With enlarged focusing area or focus peaking

  • Face Detection extension

    • Eye Detect AF: Off
    • Left side priority
    • Near side priority
    • Right side priority
  • Predictive AF

    Yes

  • AF tracking

    Yes; Available in continuous AF mode

  •  

    C‑AF and AF tracking only with Micro Four Thirds lenses!

Exposure System

  • Modes

    • Programme automatic
    • Aperture priority
    • Shutter priority
    • Manual
    • Bulb
    • Time
    • i-Auto
    • Scene Modes
    • Art Filter
    • Photo Story
    • Movie
    • HDR
    • My Mode
  • Exposure compensation

    +/‑ 5 EV (1, 1/2, 1/3 steps)

  •  

    Note: Movie shooting, monitor and EVF displays only up to ±3 EV .

  • Exposure bracketing

    2 / 3 / 5 frames (+/‑ 1/3, 2/3, 1 EV steps)

  •  

    7 frames (+/‑ 1/3, 2/3 EV steps)

  • ISO bracketing

    3 frames (+/‑ 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps)

  • AE lock

    Yes

  • My Mode

    4 settings storable

  • HDR bracketing

    3 / 5 frames (+/‑ 2 / 3 EV steps)

  •  

    7 frames (+/‑ 2 EV steps)

Scene Modes

  • Number of scene modes

    25

  • Modes

    • Portrait
    • e-Portrait
    • Landscape
    • Landscape with Portrait
    • Sports
    • Hand-held Starlight
    • Night Scene
    • Night Scene with portrait
    • Children
    • High key
    • Low key
    • Digital Image Stabilisation
    • Macro
    • Nature Macro
    • Candle
    • Sunset
    • Documents
    • Panorama
    • Fireworks
    • Beach and Snow
    • Fisheye converter
    • Wide converter
    • Macro converter
    • 3D
    • Panning

Multi-Exposure

  • Max. number of frames

    2 frames (shooting)

  • Auto gain control

    Yes

  • Frame assistance

    Live View

Light Metering

  • Method

    TTL open aperture light metering

  • Zones

    324 zones Multi‑pattern Sensing System

  • Detection range

    ‑2 ‑ 20 EV (17mm f2.8, ISO 100) 0 ‑ 20 EV when the frame ratio is set at high speed

  • Modes

    • ESP light metering
    • Spot metering
    • Centre weighted metering
    • Highlight
    • Shadow

Art Filter

  • Modes

    • Pop Art
    • Soft Focus
    • Pale & Light Colour
    • Light Tone
    • Grainy Film
    • Pin Hole
    • Diorama
    • Cross Process
    • Dramatic Tone
    • Gentle Sepia
    • Key Line
    • Water colour
    • Partial Colour*
    • Vintage
  •  

    * 18 colours selectable

  • Variation / Effect

    Available

Photo Story

  • Modes

    • Fun Frame
    • Standard
    • Speed
    • Zoom in / out
    • Layout*
  •  

    * Variable Picture Mode for each frame

Sensitivity

  • Auto

    ISO 200 ‑ 25600 (customisable, default ISO 200 ‑ 1600)

  • Manual

    ISO LOW ‑ 25600 in 1/3 or 1 EV ISO steps

Shutter

  • Shutter type

    Electronically controlled focal plane shutter

  • Self timer

    2s / 12s / Custom

  •  

    Custom (delay 1‑30sec.,shooting interval 0.5/1/2/3sec.,number of shots 1‑10)

  •  

    Every time AF: ON/OFF

  • Modes

    • Bracketing
    • Self timer
    • Sequential shooting
    • Single frame
  • Anti Shock

    Yes; 1/320 ‑ 60s

Shutter Speeds

  • Shutter speed range

    1/4000 ‑ 60s (in 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps)

  • Bulb mode

    Up to 30 minutes (selectable longest time in the menu, default: 8 minutes)

White Balance

  • AUTO WB system

    Advanced detection system with Live MOS sensor

  • Manual White balance (One-Touch)

    Yes

  • White balance bracketing

    3 frames / +/‑ 2, 4, 6 mired steps

  • One-touch white balance

    2 custom settings can be registered

  • Custom WB

    1 setting can be registered at Kelvin temperature (2000K ‑ 14000K)

  • Preset values

    • Tungsten
    • Flourescent 1
    • Sunlight
    • Flash
    • Overcast
    • Shade
    • Underwater
  • Auto Flash adjustment

    Off / Auto WB / Flash

  • Keep warm colour

    On / Off

Sequence Shooting

  • Speed (H)

    Approx. 8.5fps

  • Speed (L)

    3.7fps

  • Max. number of frames

    20 frames (RAW)

  •  

    Up to card capacity (JPG / Large Normal mode)

  • Conditions

    Memory card: TOSHIBA SDHC UHS‑II R95 W90 EXCERIA™

  •  

    Note: Depending on shooting conditions, the sequential shooting speed may reduce speed during shooting.

Image Processing

  • Colour space

    sRGB / AdobeRGB

  • Sharpness + Contrast

    5 levels

  • Contrast

    5 levels

  • Saturation

    5 levels

  • Black & White filter

    Yellow, Orange, Red, Green

  • Black & White toning

    Sepia, Blue, Purple or Green in Black & White mode

  • Picture mode

  • Gradation

    4levels (auto, high key, normal, low key)

  • Engine

    TruePic VII

  • Art Filter bracketing

    Available

  • Tele converter effect

    2x

  • Noise Filter

    Yes; 4 levels (Off, Low, Standard, High)

Internal Flash

  • Modes

    • AUTO
    • Manual (Full, 1/4, 1/16, 1/64)
    • Red-eye reduction
    • Slow synchronisation with red-eye reduction
    • Slow synchronisation
    • Slow synchronisation 2nd curtain
    • Fill-in
    • Off
    • TTL-Auto
    • FP Manual
    • FP TTL Auto
  • Type

    Detachable flash (bundled)

  • Flash compensation

    +/‑ 3 EV / 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps

  • Guide number

    10 (ISO 200)

  • X-sync speed

    1/250s / 1/4000s (Super FP Mode)

External Flash Control

  • X-sync speed

    1/200s / 1/4000s (Super FP Mode)

  •  

    1/160s (RC Mode)

  • Type

    TTL AUTO, AUTO, MANUAL, FP TTL AUTO, FP MANUAL

  • Modes

    • Auto
    • Red-eye reduction
    • Slow synchronisation
    • 2nd curtain and slow synchronisation
    • Fill-in for exclusive flash
    • Manual
  • Intensity

    +/‑ 3 EV (1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps)

  •  

    Note: Some functions are only available if they are supported by the external flash.

Wireless Flash Control

  • Number of channels

    4 channels

  • Compatible external flash

    FL‑36R, FL‑50R, FL‑300R, FL‑600R, FL‑900R

  • Control method

    Triggered and controlled (Olympus Wireless RC Flash system)

  • Group setting

    4 groups

  •  

    Available when used together with cameras compatible with the Olympus wireless RC flash system.

Monitor

  • Monitor type

    Tiltable LCD ‑ Touch Panel

  • Tilt angle

    80° (up) 180° (down)

  • Monitor size

    7.6cm / 3.0” (3:2)

  • Resolution

    1037K dots

  • Brightness adjustment

    +/‑ 7 levels

  • Colour balance

    +/‑ 7 levels Vivid (default) / Natural

  • Touch Control fucntions

    • Shutter release
    • Enlargement
    • AF area selection
    • AF area enlargement
    • Frame forward/backward
    • Enlargement playback
    • Live Guide
    • Super Control Panel
    • Art Filter
    • Scene Modes
    • Wifi connection
    • Movie clips
    • Movie effects
    • Movie teleconverter
    • Selfie shutter release
    • When in Selfie Mode:
    • Shutter release
    • e-Portrait
    • Self-timer
    • Movie
    • Exposure compensation

Level Gauge

  • Detection

    2‑axis

  • Display

    Rear LCD monitor

Super Control Panel

  • Displayed information

    • Battery indicator
    • Record mode
    • Shutter speed
    • Aperture value
    • Exposure compensation indicator
    • ISO
    • AE bracketing
    • AF frame
    • Focus mode
    • AEL notification
    • Face detection
    • Number of storable frames
    • Metering mode
    • Exposure mode
    • Exposure level view
    • Flash compensation value
    • Colour space
    • Gradation
    • Colour saturation compensation value
    • Sharpness compensation value
    • Contrast compensation value
    • White balance
    • White balance compensation value
    • Noise reduction
    • Flash mode
    • Drive mode
    • Internal temperature warning
    • Histogram

Recording Formats

  • RAW

    12bit

  • RAW & JPEG

    Yes; parallel recording

  • JPEG

    Yes

  • Aspect ratio

    4:3 / 3:2 / 16:9 / 6:6 / 3:4

  • MPO (3D)

    Yes

Image Size

  • RAW

    4608 x 3456

  •  

    4608 x 3456 Fine (compression: 1/4)

  • Middle

    3200 x 2400

  • Small

    1280 x 960

Still Image Recording

  • EXIF

    2.2

  • PIM

    III

  • DPOF

    Yes

  • DCF

    Yes

Movie Recording System

  • Recording format

    MOV(MPEG‑4AVC/H.264), AVI(Motion JPEG)

  • Image Stabilisation Mode

    Yes; Sensor shift (3‑axis)

  • HD Movie quality

    Full HD 1920 x 1080 (16:9) / 30fps / IPB (F,N) / (MOV)

  •  

    HD 1280 x 720 (16:9) / 30p (MOV)

  • Maximum Recording Time

    29min

  •  

    14min (SD) / 7min (HD) (AVI Motion JPEG®)*

  • Max. file size

    4GB (AVCHD)

  •  

    2GB (Motion‑JPEG)

  • Exposure Modes

    • Aperture priority
    • Art Filter
    • Manual
    • Programme automatic
    • Shutter priority
  •  

    * Some Art Filters are excluded

Movie Specialties

  • Movie clips

    1, 2, 4, 8s

  •  

    (Extension up to 16s by pressing record button before clip ends.)

  • Movie effects

    • Multi shot echo
    • One shot echo
    • Art fade
    • One push tele-converter
    • Old Film
  • Art Filter

    • Cross Process
    • Diorama
    • Dramatic Tone
    • Gentle Sepia
    • Grainy Film
    • Key Line
    • Light Tone
    • Pale & Light Colour
    • Pin Hole
    • Pop Art
    • Soft Focus
    • Vintage
    • Partial Colour*
  •  

    * 18 colours selectable

Sound Recording System

  • Internal microphone

    Stereo

  • Recording format

    Stereo PCM/16bit, 48kHz, Wave Format Base

  • Image footage

    30s

  • Speaker

    Yes

  • Microphone functions

    • Wind Noise Reduction
    • Recording Volume
    • Volume limiter
    • Audio Dubbing

View Images

  • Modes

    • Index
    • Calendar
    • Zoom
    • Slide show
    • Movie
    • Single
  • Light box

    Yes

  • Histogram in playback mode

    Yes

  • Shooting information

    Off / On

  • Highlight/Shadow point warning

    Yes

Erase / Protect / Copy Function

  • Erase modes

    Single, All, Selected

  • Image protect mode

    Single frame, Selected frames, All Frames, Release protect (Single/All selected)

Image Editing

  • Editing functions

    • RAW data edit
    • Red-eye reduction
    • Sepia
    • Black & White
    • Resize
    • Correction of saturation
    • Gradation auto
    • Correction of brightness
    • Correction of colour balance
    • Shadow Adjustment
    • Trimming
    • e-Portrait
    • Aspect ratio

Menu

  • Menu languages in camera

    English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Greek, Slovak, Turkish, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Serbian

Customisation Options

  • Fn Button

    Yes

  • My Mode

    4 settings storable (Can be set to mode dial.)

  • Factory reset

    Full / Basic

  • Programmable button

    Yes

Interface

  • Hot shoe

    Yes

  • Media

    SD Memory Card (SDHC, SDXC, UHS‑I compatible) Class 10 is recommended for Movie shooting

  • HDMI™

    Yes; Micro connector (Type D) *

  • USB 2.0 High Speed

    Yes

  • Combined V & USB output

    Yes; NTSC or PAL selectable

  • Wireless connectivity

    WiFi

  •  

    * “HDMI”, the HDMI logo and “High‑Definition Multimedia Interface” are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.

  • Connection

    Accessory Port 2

Wi-Fi Functions

  • Easy Connection

    QR code setting

  • Wireless Shooting

    • Live View
    • Power off
    • Rec View
    • Self timer
    • Touch AF & Shutter
    • P/A/S/M exposure modes
    • Bulb mode
    • Zoom
    • Aperture priority
    • Manual
    • Shutter priority
    • Sequential shooting
    • Short movie
  • Image Share

    File type: JPEG, MOV

  •  

    Simultaneuosly connectable devices: 4

  •  

    Privacy function

  • GPS info

    Available through Smartphone GPS data

Power Supply

  • Battery

    BLS‑50 Lithium‑Ion Battery (included)

  • Sleep mode

    1, 3, 5min. and off selectable.

  • Live View shooting

    Approx. 350images (100% with Live View)

  • Movie recording

    90min (standard JEITA conditions) 150min (when zoom and other operational functions are not used)

Environment

  • Temperature

    0 ‑ 40°C Operating temperature / ‑20 ‑ 60°C storage temperature

  • Humidity

    30 ‑ 90% operation humidity / 10 ‑ 90% storage humidity

Size

  • Dimensions (W x H x D)

    117.1 x 68.3 x 38.4mm (without protrusions)

  • Weight

    374g (including battery and memory card)

  •  

    326g (body only)

Exterior

  • Available Colours

    • Brown
    • Black
    • White

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

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Conclusion

In terms of image quality and performance, there’s been no significant improvement or upgrade made to the Olympus E-PL8 when compared to the E-PL7, so if you already have one of those cameras it’s unlikely you’ll be wanting to rush out to buy the newer model. 

The biggest difference is in styling – which may be more important to some users than others. The new design is more stylish than the last one (subjectively), with a very attractive housing. The three different colour ways also offer a good choice of how you want your camera to look. 

If you’ve never picked up a PEN before, the Olympus E-PL8 makes perfect sense as a first time compact system camera. Not only does it look good, but it takes great pictures. The kit lens is fine to get you started with, but if you can find some room in your budget for some prime lenses which offer a wide aperture, you’ll fall even more in love with the pictures than you might otherwise. 

There are a few things we’d like to see on a model like this, most notably a quiet mode (via an electronic shutter). That would also enable super fast shutter speeds for shooting wide open in bright light. However, as a budget offering there naturally has to be some compromises. 

If you’re trading up to the Olympus E-PL8 from a smartphone, or perhaps a point-and-shoot camera, you’re going to love it. You may find that you need to spend some time learning how to use the camera to get the most from it, but it’s intuitive for the most part and there’s plenty of help online for anything that’s not immediately obvious. 

On the downside, it only shoots Full HD video – when even smartphones are offering 4K video recording, that starts to look a little behind the curve for bloggers – if you are a vlogger, you may want to consider other cameras. 

In terms of value, the Olympus E-PL8 currently retails for around £100 more than its predecessor. Bearing in mind that the specs are almost identical, you will have to think hard about whether you want to spend an extra £100 for a camera which is styled ever so slightly differently. The price may drop in the next few months if you can wait a little while. 

Overall, the Olympus E-PL8 is a great small compact system camera, particularly appealing to first-time users and bloggers, but also having enough features to attract family and casual photographers. 

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 3.5

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

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Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Olympus E-PL8.

Canon EOS M10

Canon EOS M10 Review thumbnail

The Canon EOS M10 is an entry-level compact system camera that offers 18 megapixels, 1080p high-definition videos, simple controls and a touch-screen interface. Other key features of the EOS M10 include a tilting 3-inch LCD screen, ISO range of 100-25,600, wi-fi and NFC connectivity, and a built-in flash. Is Canon’s new mirrorless model perfectly suited to its beginner target audience? Read our Canon EOS M10 review to find out…

Fujifilm X-T10

Fujifilm X-T10 Review thumbnail

The Fujifilm X-T10 is a new mid-range compact system camera that inherits most of the key features of the flagship X-T1 model. Does the X-T10 cut too many corners to hit its aggressive £499 / $799 price-tag, or does it offer a compelling blend of features, performance and price? Read our in-depth Fujifilm X-T10 review to find out…

Nikon 1 J5

Nikon 1 J5 Review thumbnail

The Nikon 1 J5 is the latest mid-range model in Nikon’s compact system camera line-up. The Nikon J5 offers 20 megapixels, 20fps burst shooting with continuous autofocusing, 4K and Full HD 60p video capture, a tilting LCD touchscreen, and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. Read our in-depth Nikon 1 J5 review now…

Panasonic Lumix GF7

Panasonic Lumix GF7 Review thumbnail

The Panasonic Lumix GF7 is a new entry-level compact system camera that focuses on taking better “selfies”. The tiny GF7 has a range of selfie modes, a 180-degree tilting LCD screen, built-in wireless and NFC connectivity, a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, 1080p HD video, and a touchscreen interface. Read our Panasonic Lumix GF7 review, complete with full-size JPEG and RAW sample images…

Sony A5100

Sony A5100 Review thumbnail

The Sony A5100 is an exciting new mid-range compact system camera. The Sony A5100 certainly packs quite a punch, featuring a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor, Fast Hybrid AF system, 1080p HD movies with XAVC S support, 3 inch tilting touch-screen, 6fps burst shooting, built-in wif-fi/NFC connectivity, and a pop-up flash. Read our in-depth Sony A5100 review, complete with sample JPEGs, RAW files and movies…

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

Olympus E-PL8 Review Image

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