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Olympus E-PL7 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £499
inc VAT (with EZ Pancake lens, £399 with standard kit lens)

A consummate all-rounder, the E-PL7 scores particularly highly for speed and style.


Sensor resolution: 16 megapixels, Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds (17.3x13mm), Focal length multiplier: 2x, Viewfinder: Optional VF-4 unit, LCD screen: 3in (1,037,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 3x (28-84mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/7-11.2, Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds, Weight: 450g, Size (HxWxD): 69x127x67mm


Shooting performance is perhaps the E-PL7’s greatest strength. Autofocus often took as little as 0.2 seconds, and being able to tap the screen to set the focus point helped enormously too. We timed 0.5 seconds between shots in normal use, both for JPEGs and RAW capture. Continuous shooting was at 7.4fps in our tests, slowing to 3.2fps after 37 frames. For RAW, it slowed to 2.2fps after 13 frames. Enabling continuous autofocus gave a 3.5fps shooting speed. These figures are among the best we’ve seen at this price, both from CSCs and SLRs.

Its video credentials aren’t quite as impressive. Support for manual exposure and touchscreen-powered spot focus is welcome, but the fixed 30fps frame rate will deter keen videographers. So too will the slightly coarse details compared to 1080p footage from Panasonic G-series cameras. Noise levels were impressively low at ISO 3200, though, and overall quality was more than up to scratch for casual use.


Olympus has been fitting its PEN and OM-D cameras with 16-megapixel sensors for three years. Image quality of the E-PL7 was in line with previous models we’ve seen, and it also compared well with its current rivals. The lens performed superbly, with sharp focus into the corners of frames and very little evidence of chromatic aberrations. It’s an impressive outcome for such a slim zoom lens.

JPEGs displayed punchy details, although comparing them to RAW files processed in Lightroom, there was a slight glossing over of the subtlest of details. We’d expect best results to come from RAW files, though, so this is hardly a criticism. Similarly, Lightroom’s noise reduction outperformed the camera’s JPEG output, but the camera still managed to deliver print-quality JPEGs at ISO 3200. Low-resolution copies for online sharing looked respectable all the way up to ISO 16,000 – a superb result.

^ Expertly judged exposure settings and sharp details from corner to corner adds up to an excellent result in this challenging scene. (1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, 46mm equivalent)

^ Another tricky scene, but the camera has retained lots of detail in both the highlights and shadows. (1200/s, f/5.6, ISO 200, 24mm equivalent)

^ Focus is just as sharp at the long end of the zoom range. (1/320s, f/10, ISO 200, 84mm equivalent)

^ However, comparing the JPEG and RAW (via Lightroom) output reveals that the camera’s handling of very fine detail is a little coarse.

^ There’s a light smattering of noise in this shot, but it’s still good enough for critical use. The clipped highlights aren’t so impressive, though. (1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 2000, 28mm equivalent)

^ Processing the RAW file in Lightroom has let us recover highlight detail and apply noise reduction more effectively.

^ Respectable JPEGs at ISO 16,000 make this a superb camera for low-light shooting. (1/60s, f/5.1, ISO 16000, 60mm equivalent) 


There are lots of things to praise and very little to criticise about the E-PL7. It’s not short of competition, though, and the price is currently double that of the Samsung NX3000. The Olympus is faster, it’s arguably better looking and the choice of lenses is much greater – that’s enough to keep it in the running. If it’s not quite your thing then check out our regularly-updated Best Cameras guide.

[Price, rating and specs based on the 14-42mm EZ kit]

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Sensor resolution16 megapixels
Sensor sizeMicro Four Thirds (17.3x13mm)
Focal length multiplier2x
Optical stabilisationSensor shift
ViewfinderOptional VF-4 unit
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverageN/A
LCD screen3in (1,037,000 dots)
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (ORF)
Maximum photo resolution4,608×3,456
Photo aspect ratios4:3, 3:2, 16:9 1:1, 3:4
Video compression formatQuickTime (AVC) at up to 24Mbit/s
Video resolutions1080p at 30fps, 720p at 30fps, VGA at 30fps
Slow motion video modesN/A
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)25m 0s
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range60 to 1/4,000 seconds
ISO speed range200 to 25600
Exposure compensationEV +/-5
White balanceAuto, 7 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, spot, spot highlight, spot shadow, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, ISO bracket, HDR, time lapse, multiple exposure
Kit lens
Kit lens model nameM.Zuiko Digital ED 14‑42mm 1:3.5‑5.6 EZ Pancake
Optical stabilisationNo
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)3x (28-84mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/3.5-5.6
35mm-equivalent aperturef/7-11.2
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus (wide)25cm
Closest macro focus (tele)25cm
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Card slotSDXC
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, AV, micro HDMI
GPSVia smartphone app
HotshoeOlympus TTL
Body materialAluminium
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Size (HxWxD)69x127x67mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£499
Part codeV205073WE001

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