Olympus E-PL5

Olympus PEN E-PL5 front
  • 16MP - Four Thirds Sensor
  • 3" Tilting Display
  • ISO 200 - 25600
  • Sensor based Image Stabilization
  • 1920 x 1080 video
  • Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • 325g - 111 x 64 x 38mm
  • Revealed September 2012
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Lenses
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Olympus E-PL5 overview

Olympus E-PL5 is Olympus's Entry-Level Mirrorless camera initially introduced on September of 2012. It comes with a 16 MegaPixel, CMOS Four Thirds sized sensor and has a peak resolution of 4608 x 3456.

The E-PL5 is positioned #62 out of 117 in Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras & all-around #315 out of 1465 for cameras in our collection. You can check out our Advanced camera finder to see camera results based on your custom factors.

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Here is a chart of various criteria used in the scoring system.

Olympus E-PL5 family

The Olympus E-PL5 has a history of related cameras. Down below, you can see all earlier and most recent models along with main features.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Olympus-PEN-E-P7 front thumbnailOlympus E-P7
E-PL5 vs E-P7
20MPFour Thirds8.7 fps2021
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10-IV front thumbnailOlympus E-M10 IV
E-PL5 vs E-M10 IV
20MPFour Thirds8.7 fps2020
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Olympus-PEN-E-PL9 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL9
E-PL5 vs E-PL9
16MPFour Thirds8.6 fps2018
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10-Mark-III front thumbnailOlympus E-M10 III
E-PL5 vs E-M10 III
16MPFour Thirds8.6 fps2017
Olympus-PEN-E-PL8 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL8
E-PL5 vs E-PL8
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2016
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10-II front thumbnailOlympus E-M10 II
E-PL5 vs E-M10 II
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2015
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Olympus-PEN-E-PL7 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL7
E-PL5 vs E-PL7
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2014
Olympus-PEN-E-PL6 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL6
E-PL5 vs E-PL6
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2014
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10 front thumbnailOlympus E-M10
E-PL5 vs E-M10
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2014
Olympus-PEN-E-P5 front thumbnailOlympus E-P5
E-PL5 vs E-P5
16MPFour Thirds9.0 fps2013
Olympus-PEN-E-PM2 front thumbnailOlympus E-PM2
E-PL5 vs E-PM2
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2013
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Olympus-PEN-E-PL5 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL516MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2012
Olympus-PEN-E-PM1 front thumbnailOlympus E-PM1
E-PL5 vs E-PM1
12MPFour Thirds6.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-PL3 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL3
E-PL5 vs E-PL3
12MPFour Thirds6.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-P3 front thumbnailOlympus E-P3
E-PL5 vs E-P3
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-PL2 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL2
E-PL5 vs E-PL2
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-PL1s front thumbnailOlympus E-PL1s
E-PL5 vs E-PL1s
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2010
Olympus-PEN-E-PL1 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL1
E-PL5 vs E-PL1
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2010
Olympus-PEN-E-P2 front thumbnailOlympus E-P2
E-PL5 vs E-P2
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2010
Photography Glossary
Olympus-PEN-E-P1 front thumbnailOlympus E-P1
E-PL5 vs E-P1
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2009

Olympus E-PL5 Pros and Cons

Below is a list of benefits and drawbacks of the Olympus E-PL5 based on criterias which are usually seen as necessary in a camera.

above average ISO range (25,600)
built-in touchscreen
display is selfie friendly
exports RAW files
good megapixels (16MP)
good sized screen (3")
has a tilting screen
has HDMI socket
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
includes face detection focus
includes touch focus
includes tracking autofocus
interchangeable lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
sensor size is nice (Four Thirds)
video res high (1920 x 1080 pixels)
you can focus manually
doesn't have external microphone socket
doesn't have headphone socket
doesn't have Timelapse function
no phase detect auto focus
pixelated screen (460 thousand dots)
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Olympus E-PL5 Sensor details

The specification of the sensor in the Olympus E-PL5 is 17.3mm x 13mm (Four Thirds). The 225 mm² sensor has the ability to resolve 4608 x 3456 pixels and aspect ratios of 4:3. The camera has Image Stabilization (Sensor based). Optical stabilization is better than digital stabilization as the latter can cause cropping.

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The CMOS sensor has 16MP and gives a native ISO range of 200 - 25600. RAW photos are supported so the user has wider margin for error.

The picture underneath shows the E-PL5's sensor dimensions in comparison to other common sizes. The E-PL5 sensor has a crop factor of 2.1 and is showcased in green.

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To get an idea of specific aspect ratios, you can refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Olympus E-PL5 dimensions

Olympus E-PL5 weighs around 0.72 lb (325 gr / 11.46 oz) & has outside size of 111mm x 64mm x 38mm (4.4" x 2.5" x 1.5"). The weight of general Entry-Level Mirrorless camera is 329 gr so the Olympus E-PL5 is very similar as compared with various competitors.

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Here is a shot of the Olympus E-PL5 beside a soda to help you get a sense of its scale.

Olympus PEN E-PL5 dimensions scale

The top view just below will illustrate the button layout on the E-PL5.

Olympus PEN E-PL5 topview buttons dials

Olympus E-PL5 Lens specs

The E-PL5 fits the Micro Four Thirds mount and has 162 lenses available for sale. Below is a small number of the lenses we have in our collection which will work with the E-PL5.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Olympus-9mm-F8-Fish-Eye-Body-Cap-Lens lensOlympus 9mm F8 Fish-Eye Body Cap Lens9mmf/8.0 30g
Panasonic-Lumix-G-Vario-100-300mm-F4-5.6-II-Power-OIS lensPanasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS100-300mmf/4-5.6 520g
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Panasonic-Leica-DG-Vario-Elmarit-50-200mm-F2.8-4.0-ASPH-Power-OIS lensPanasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm F2.8-4.0 ASPH Power OIS50-200mmf/2.8-4 655g
Sigma-30mm-F1.4-EX-DC-HSM-Four-Thirds lensSigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM30mmf/1.4 430g
Panasonic-Lumix-G-Vario-100-300mm-F4-5.6-OIS lensPanasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS100-300mmf/4.0-5.6 520g
Olympus-Body-Cap-Lens-15mm-F8.0 lensOlympus Body Cap Lens 15mm F8.015mmf/8.0 22g
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Lensbaby-Velvet-56-Micro-Four-Thirds lensLensbaby Velvet 5656mmf/1.6 400g
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Olympus E-PL5 Connectivity

The E-PL5 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • Wireless Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Cameras that include NFC and / or Bluetooth connectivity can be used wirelessly by smartphones. You can easily transfer pictures and sometimes alter camera settings without the hassle of connecting physically to the camera.

Several applications even allow a Liveview and press the shutter whenever you aren't near the camera. If the camera contains a HDMI port, it can be hooked up to an external screen. The majority of cameras enable you to recharge the battery through the USB socket.

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Olympus E-PL5 Video specs

The highest video resolution in the Olympus E-PL5 is 1920 x 1080 and you can shoot in MPEG-4, H.264 and Motion JPEG format. 1080p resolution is an excellent balance between quality vs file sizes but FULL HD isn't going to leave you with any room to downsample. The camera doesn't include a microphone and / or headphone port so you have little control over the audio. It is perhaps a better idea to look into an alternative model should you need better audio for your video clips.

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Olympus E-PL5 Weather Sealing

Olympus E-PL5 doesn't include weather sealing so wet conditions can easily ruin the camera.

Olympus E-PL5 Display and Viewfinder

The Olympus E-PL5 comes with a 3 inch tilting display supporting a resolution of 460 thousand dots.

The display is selfie friendly to take self portraits as well as group photos when required. Additionally the display is touch friendly so you can set focus points plus adjust settings using your fingers.

Olympus PEN E-PL5 screen and viewfinder Samsung Releases Faster Versions of EVO MicroSD Cards

The View Finder details for Olympus E-PL5 are below:

  • ViewFinder Electronic (optional)

For sunny outdoor situations which make the camera screens washed out and difficult to see, viewfinders are very helpful.

Olympus E-PL5 Shutter specs

Olympus E-PL5 has the ability to shoot continuously at 8.0 frames per second. The highest shutter speed is 1/4000 seconds.

Photography Glossary

Olympus E-PL5 Flash and Hot shoe specs

Olympus E-PL5 has external flash ability but comes without built in flash. The maximum flash sync is 1/250 seconds.

Olympus E-PL5 Autofocusing specs

Olympus E-PL5 has just Contrast Detect Autofocus & is missing Phase Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection focusing is more snappier & accurate when compared to Contrast Detect focusing. The camera comes with Face detect which is helpful for portrait photography.

The Sensor comes with 35 focus points to pick from. Olympus E-PL5 has tap to focus. You are able to use your fingers in order to adjust where you focus. It also includes Tracking Autofocus for objects on the move. Olympus E-PL5 has the ability to use manual focus in case it is required during low light conditions or you need to have more exact focus control.

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Olympus E-PL5 Battery life

The battery power (BLS-5) in the Olympus E-PL5 is made to last for 360 photographs according to the CIPA standards making it about average when compared to it's competition. The typical Entry-Level Mirrorless camera battery life is 343. Fujifilm X-S20 features the highest (750) battery life within this range of cameras.

Following is a listing of Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras having the strongest battery life:

Olympus E-PL5 for various types of photography

The following diagram presents a overview of the Olympus E-PL5 for various types of photography. To learn more, scroll to the specific paragraph underneath.

Olympus E-PL5 Portrait photography highlights

The Olympus E-PL5 receives a points tally of 71 which is nice, and means the camera is a respectable fit to use for portraits. Photographing portrait photos leans greatly towards sensor size, support for RAW photos and option to work with off-camera lighting.

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has manual focus
megapixel count good (16MP)
decent sensor size (Four Thirds)
comes with face detection focus
delivers RAW formats

Olympus E-PL5 Street photography advice

Having a excellent points tally of 85, the Olympus E-PL5 is a excellent option for street photography. A very good street photography camera gives a fine balance of picture quality plus portability.

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screen tilts
image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is good (Four Thirds)
saves RAW formats
has focus via touch
above average ISO range (25,600)

Sports photography with Olympus E-PL5

A very good sports photography points total of 66 suggests the Olympus E-PL5 is a very decent fit for taking photos of sports. A camera should have excellent tracking and fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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has image stabilization (Sensor based)
good megapixels (16 megapixels)
good sensor size (Four Thirds)
comes with tracking focus
lacks phase detect AF

Olympus E-PL5 Travel photography details

Size is really crucial when picking a camera for travel. Over-all, the Olympus E-PL5 gets a very good 75 as a travel camera which is a fine pick to take on your vacations.

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includes focus by touch
decent sensor resolution (16MP)
screen is selfie friendly
doesn't have Time Lapse function

Olympus E-PL5 Landscape photography features

For anybody who is planning to choose a digital camera for landscape photography, the biggest factor is going to be image quality. The Olympus E-PL5 with it's very good grade of 74 as a landscape camera is a respectable pick compared to it's competitors.

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has manual focus
change lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
pretty good screen size (3")
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
decent MP (16MP)
sensor size is nice (Four Thirds)
great ISO range (25,600)
saves RAW files
lack of Time Lapse recording

Olympus E-PL5 Vlogging factors

A camera for vlogging ought to offer a articulating display screen, microphone input and preferably image stabilization. Taking all things in to account, the Olympus E-PL5 is a excellent option as a vlog camera as it gets a outstanding score of 78.

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screen is selfie friendly
touchscreen capability
built in image stabilization (Sensor based)
includes face detect autofocus
high quality video (1920 x 1080 resolution)
does not have microphone socket

Olympus E-PL5 Alternatives

If you want replacements to the E-PL5, below is a number of the highest placed cameras that fall in to the category of Entry-Level Mirrorless.

The graph just below provides you a summary of the E-PL5 versus it's top ranked competitors mentioned previously.

These are various other cameras you may regard as alternative options. To look at a complete comparison, just click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Olympus PEN E-PL5
Entry-Level Mirrorless
Physical type
Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Four Thirds
Sensor measurements
17.3 x 13mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
16 megapixel
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
Highest resolution
4608 x 3456
RAW pictures
Highest native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Focus manually
Autofocus touch
Continuous autofocus
Single autofocus
Autofocus tracking
Autofocus selectice
Center weighted autofocus
Autofocus multi area
Live view autofocus
Face detect focus
Contract detect focus
Phase detect focus
Number of focus points
Lens mounting type
Micro Four Thirds
Amount of lenses
Focal length multiplier
Type of display
Display size
Resolution of display
460 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch operation
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder type
Electronic (optional)
DXO scores
DXO All around score
DXO Color Depth score
DXO Dynamic range score
DXO Low light score
Lowest shutter speed
60 secs
Highest shutter speed
1/4000 secs
Continuous shooting rate
8.0 frames per second
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Exposure compensation
Custom white balance
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash range
7.00 m (bundled FL-LM1)
Flash options
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Sync, Manual (3 levels)
Hot shoe
AE bracketing
WB bracketing
Highest flash synchronize
1/250 secs
Multisegment metering
Average metering
Spot metering
Partial metering
AF area metering
Center weighted metering
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Highest video resolution
Video data format
MPEG-4, H.264, Motion JPEG
Microphone port
Headphone port
Eye-Fi Connected
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
325 grams (0.72 lb)
Physical dimensions
111 x 64 x 38mm (4.4" x 2.5" x 1.5")
Battery life
360 photographs
Form of battery
Battery Pack
Battery model
Self timer
Yes (2 or 12 sec)
Time lapse recording
Storage type
Card slots
Price at launch