I had planned to write a post back at the start of the year with my thoughts about the Olympus PEN E-PL7, but then through a series of events I ended up upgrading to the E-PL8 last month.
The two cameras are ultimately very similar, with the main addition to the latest model being the video editing features. I love both cameras, but will focus on the E-PL8 for the purpose of this review.
The camera cost £499 from Currys and it came with the standard 14mm kit lens. I had already received the brilliant 45mm lens (available from amazon for around £180) from Ed for Christmas last year, so I have the two lenses.
The camera is fairly expensive, but I would definitely recommend it as an investment, especially if you are also a blogger. My photography has instantly improved since using the Olympus PEN cameras and I feel it’s definitely upped my blogging game with brands I’ve worked with commenting on how nice my images are.
I will admit I am a bit of a novice when it comes to cameras and I haven’t used this camera to its full potential yet, tending to point and shoot rather than play with the settings, of which it has a large range including some fairly cool art effects and a collage function.
One of the best features of the PEN is its screen, which can be flipped out at different angles, making that selfie even easier and flat lays for blog photography a whole lot less hassle (no more standing right on top of things to get that all important shot). It felt really alien to be manipulating the screen to start with but now it’s second nature.
The camera has its own built in wi-fi, which means that I can transfer my photos instantly from camera to iPhone. This was a real game changer when I first got the PEN, as I hadn’t come across it before. It’s so quick and simple to use, and it’s made working on the go really easy. I took so many images in Spain, so being able to transfer them onto my phone whilst still out there rather than having to wait to get home and load them onto the laptop made all the difference.
The strap which comes with the camera allows me to wear it round my neck when shooting, something I definitely recommend if you have butter fingers like me and are prone to dropping things. I also bought myself a screen protector right away on amazon, just in case I do end up having any accidents, to avoid scratching the screen.
I use the camera for all my blog photography, and for my Instagram shots. I’m incredibly proud of some of the images I’ve taken, and people often assume I’ve taken them on a DSLR. As somebody who has owned one previously, I can happily say I have no regrets of trading it in for this camera. Not only is the Olympus PEN much lighter, and therefore easier to carry around and have on me when out and about with the children, it also takes shots that are just as good as those I used to take with my Canon DSLR.
I tend to use the Instagram editing tools to just brighten up my images a little, then I adjust the warmth and/or the saturation a tiny bit before uploading them. I don’t do anything fancier than that as I’m not clued up on photography editing software.
I haven’t worked out how to change this as my usual editing won’t get rid of the tone. It’s not a huge problem, but it does seem to happen to other people with the camera as well. I think it’s likely to be something that can be fixed by playing with the settings, but it is a little frustrating when taking images, especially at restaurants, where they come out with that yellow tinge.
I also use the camera for all my YouTube videos. The kit lens works best for video, and I love the image and sound quality for videos. The flip screen means that it’s easy to talk to the camera whilst checking you’re in shot and in focus, but one downside is that an adapter is required if you want to use a tripod. I haven’t bothered with this yet but I do think it will be necessary if I continue with YouTube.
As I mentioned previously, the E-PL8 has built in video editing functions. I haven’t used these much as of yet, but being able to edit videos at the touch of a button is amazing, and something I definitely plan to use in the future.
Being a totally girly girl, I love the look of the PEN. It does come in a range of colours, but I had to have the white one as, in my opinion, it’s the prettiest. At the moment I’m using a mini bag from New Look to transport it, but I’m planning on getting a proper Olympus camera bag to protect it, they have so many pretty styles to complement the camera. My strap is also a little grubby after our recent trip to Spain, and I have my eye on the range of pretty straps on the Olympus website too.
At the moment I have no plans of getting more lenses. I’ve heard really good things about the 75mm and Hannah Gale recently spoke about the 17mm lens, which I’ll admit does sound amazing but, at around £400 each, I simply can’t justify the costs at the moment. I’ll add them to my ever growing Christmas wishlist!
Olympus customer care is brilliant, when I had issues with my E-PL7 I found the company to be really helpful and keen to help solve the issues. There’s also a real community behind the brand on Twitter and Instagram, the PEN range of cameras in particular have the PEN Generation, where members can share images across social media with highlights being shared in the email newsletter and blog. As a blogger l love this!
If you’re debating whether to get the Olympus PEN E-PL8 I would say go for it. It’s such a brilliant camera, with cool features. I would definitely suggest investing in the 45mm lens though as the image quality is amazing, I haven’t looked back.