Olympus E-PL9 Part 1
Image: Editor AL with the NEW Olympus E-PL9
Photo Credit: Bryan Chihan.
11th February 2018, Singapore – As promised in our Olympus E-PL9 Pictorial Preview, we will be doing a 2-Part Review for the E-PL9. This is Part 1, aka the Singapore review. At the time of review, the Olympus E-PL9 is not available at the stores yet – probably going on sale in a few more weeks once the units reaches the camera stores.
Before we proceed, and as usual we would like to disclaim that we are reviewing based on user experience rather than a technical review which you can easily find on Olympus’s websites. We are really more interested in what the camera can produce and image quality etc. If you are cool, read on.
By now, most of you would already know that Olympus’ E-PL series cameras are pretty much meant for photographers who demands style, travel photographers, or photographers upgrading from compact cameras – seriously I would like to think otherwise. Having reviewed Olympus cameras for years, I will say the E-PL9 is designed and made for those who wants a lighter and compact camera with DSLR image quality, interchangeable lens option, a second camera for that just-in-case situations and definitely a performer in its own class.
Since the E-PL8, the E-PL9 took on some similar specs like the 16 megapixel M4/3 sensor, image stabilizer, contrast-detection focusing, touch screen that flips 180 degree for selfies and similar built and ergonomics. But the real deal is about the updates that includes a 121-Focus Point focusing that had been upgraded from the E-PL8’s 81 point, the E-PL9 has a larger handgrip than the E-PL8 but both weights and sized very closely. Another interesting difference is the Menu interface, which somehow reminds me of the Olympus EM10 MarkIII which I had reviewed not too long ago. On top of that, “Advanced Photo” was added to the top dial which allows fast access to other creative shooting menus – sweet!
And while the E-PL8 has Wi-Fi connectivity, the E-PL9 comes with both Wi-Fi & Bluetooth and this translate to more transfer options and faster transfer speed too. Lastly, the E-PL9 comes with a cute built-in flash and if you remembers the E-PL8 do not have one (but Olympus provided an attached-on flash unit).
And so, I decided to leave my Olympus EM1 Mark II at home & instead, take the Olympus E-PL9 out to URA’s City Gallery & Chinatown to test out its low-light performance, its behavior when used in other varying lighting scenes and check out what the E-PL9 is really capable of. Here we go!
All the images below had been cropped or straightened and added watermarks – otherwise, the image you see below is pretty much direct-from-the-camera and you can click on the below images and view at 100%.
I was pretty amazed at the amount of details captured when I blew up the images to view. The kit lens 14-42mm (equivalent to 28mm-85mm on a Full Frame format) is very capable when paired to the E-PL9.
The E-PL9 is certainly at home when it comes to low-light scenes like the examples on this article and at high ISO, image is clean and smooth. The colors produced are almost 95% of what our eyes sees! Focusing speed is not compromised even when the scene is dim and I got the shots that I wanted easily!
Moving on from URA’s City Gallery to Chinatown, it’s a different challenge for the E-PL9 now. As the sky rapidly dims the evening, I switched to shooting in “P” mode to see how the E-PL9 reacts and I am not disappointed at all. As expected from Olympus – the metering reacts as rapidly as the sky and all my exposure are well balanced in Program Auto and the Auto White Balance works like magic giving me 90% color accuracy!
Just when I was getting worried if the 14mm (28mm) is wide enough for me to shoot the Buddha Relic Temple from across the street, I got the below shot with a breeze. If fact, I am starting to fall in love with this tiny kit lens that is very capable and covers a good focal range that suits many genres of photography!
Without a tripod, I decided to rest the E-PL9 on a wall parapet, switched to Manual mode and started shooting slow shutter. While I am not too worried about the camera falling
2-storeys to an instant death, I was more worried about my image being blurred or captured badly – and when I saw what I’ve gotten from the camera (below image), a smile broke out on my silly face. I was super amazed by the E-PL9!
The focusing speed is another area that I would like to share. Not only its fast & silent, the focusing is accurate and locks-on to your subject every time and importantly, it lands on the right spot without fail! If you ask me, I will say the E-PL9 is well suited to be a low-profile Street Photography camera or simply an all-rounder Travel camera!
Personally, I like E-PL9, small & capable, comes with many professional functions that you will usually find in higher end cameras, lots of fun with its creative Art Filters, well built and solidly made, I can’t find any fault with the Olympus E-PL9 in any way. If you are still wondering if you should get or upgrade with the E-PL9, I will say go for it!
I will be back with a Part 2 review as Olympus Singapore had given me permission to bring the E-PL9 to Thailand later this month! So look out for it!
To view the rest of the images shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL9, you may wish to pop by my Facebook albums here.
OK Guys, Pre-Order & Buy your NEW Olympus E-PL9 here!