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In its line of mirrorless cameras, Olympus’s PEN and OM-D series both feature retro-inspired design lineups. One of the most notable distinctions between the two series is that PEN cameras have a low-profile design and do not include an integrated viewfinder. This line of entry-level mirrorless cameras has been updated with the introduction of the new PEN E-PL10 model.
Those new to photography will find a lot to like about the E-PL10, including beautiful photographs, an unrivaled selection of creative shooting settings, a flip touchscreen that is easy to use, and robust image stabilization.
This retro-style camera is a powerful shooter that makes the transition from using a smartphone to using a camera easy, and it also has a few manual options as a bonus.
We’ll get this out of the way right off the bat: the changes between the E-PL10 and the E-PL9, its predecessor by two years, are so minute that you’ll need a magnifying glass to see them. The consensus, which is not unique to Olympus, is that these entry-level mirrorless cameras are not very high on the priority list.
Olympus PEN E-PL10 Price
See: Best Lenses for Olympus PEN E-PL10 | Best Memory Cards for Olympus PEN E-PL10
Olympus PEN E-PL10 Build Quality
Because it is such a cute little camera, the E-PL10 will immediately put a grin on your face as soon as you take it out of the box. For some people, the decision might be made based just on appearance.
We got the white model with a gold Olympus logo stamped on it, but it’s also available in black and brown. The outside of the body is made to feel like leather, sandwiched between the top and bottom plates that have the appearance of metal.
A thumb and a curved front hand grip give some additional traction, but you probably shouldn’t use cumbersome lenses with this camera. Heavier lenses are better suited for cameras in the OM-D line, such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III.
The E-PL10 is a beginner camera. Therefore its build is predominantly made of plastic, which is particularly noticeable on the top and bottom plates. Nevertheless, every control seems to have a reasonable level of heft; the faux leather looks and feels fantastic, and turning the top dials is a very satisfying experience.
Olympus PEN E-PL10 Features
Olympus has decided to use a tried-and-true sensor with 16.1 million pixels for the E-PL10 camera. This resolution is considered to be relatively low-key by today’s standards.
Picture quality is not just determined by how large an image can be printed or seen when scaled to 100% of its original size (without losing quality due to interpolation). Photos taken with the E-PL10 have a lot going for them, which will be discussed in more detail in a little while.
The E-PL9 was an impressive camera released two years ago, and its successor, the E-PL10, has the exact video specifications virtually. There is footage in 4K at 30 frames per second. In addition, in-body image stabilization (IBIS) is available for video and still photography with the E-PL10, an essential feature.
Olympus’ standard offering is image stabilization, which implies that it has a range of up to 3.5EV (or 3.5 stops). Still, it is feasible to produce incredibly smooth handheld movies using the device. Not many other cameras at this level have such a capability, and Olympus has been providing the best stabilization in its class for a long time.
Olympus PEN E-PL10 Image Quality
The E-PL10 has a resolution of 16.1 million pixels, which is lower than most other digital cameras. It results in a print resolution of 40 cm by 30 cm when printed at 300 PPI. We believe the pixel count is adequate for an entry-level camera that can also serve as a general-purpose camera for the whole family.
The Olympus PEN E-PL10 may help you take your photography to the next level by providing access to various lenses. These lenses include a solid price-to-size ratio, such as the 45mm f/1.8 and the 12mm f/2.
When shooting in bright sunlight, the E-PL10 is capable of producing images that are crisp, rich in contrast and tone range, and have a beautiful color reproduction. JPEG photographs, which are immediately exported from the camera, look fantastic, especially when utilizing the ‘natural’ color profile. Art Filters also provide some amusingly unique alternate styles.
A poor low-light performance would be more of a deal breaker for a camera if it were used frequently for ordinary family photos rather than having a low resolution. However, the native sensitivity range of the E-PL10 is just 200-6400, which is a relatively small number. This suggests that photographs captured with the E-PL10 will suffer more than those charged with larger-format cameras under low-contrast lighting.
Olympus PEN E-PL10 Specs
|Body type||Rangefinder-style mirrorless|
|Max resolution||4608 x 3456|
|Image ratio w h||4:3|
|Effective pixels||16 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||17 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|White balance presets||6|
|Custom white balance||Yes (4 slots)|
|CIPA image stabilization rating||3.5 stop(s)|
|JPEG quality levels||Super fine, fine, normal|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (Olympus ORF)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Number of focus points||121|
|Lens mount||Micro Four Thirds|
|Focal length multiplier||2×|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Minimum shutter speed||60 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed (electronic)||1/16000 sec|
|Exposure modes||AutoProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual|
|Scene modes||Portrait-PortraitLandscape + PortraitNight + PortraitChildrenNight scene and-held StarlightFireworksLight trailsSportPanningLandscapeSunsetBeach & SnowBacklight HDR1PanoramaCandlelightSilentMacroNature MacroDocumentsMulti Focus Shot|
|Flash Range||5.40 m (at ISO 100)|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash modes||Redeye, Slow Sync. (1st curtain), Slow Sync. (2nd curtain), Redeye Slow Sync. (1st curtain), Fill-in, Manual, Flash Off|
|Flash X sync speed||1/250 sec|
|Continuous drive||14.1 fps|
|Metering modes||MultiCenter-weighted spot|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±5 (3, 5 frames at 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 50p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-I supported)|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (micro HDMI)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (via wired remote or smartphone)|
|Battery description||BLS-50 lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||380 g (0.84 lb / 13.40 oz)|
|Dimensions||117 x 68 x 39 mm (4.61 x 2.68 x 1.54″)|
Olympus PEN E-PL10 Verdict
The Olympus PEN E-PL10 is an entry-level camera that is both capable and fashionable. It’s the camera you’ll want to have in your hands, making taking photographs more enjoyable. Automatic shooting modes and manual control are available to camera users, regardless of their skill level.
Especially when it comes to the automatic shooting modes, the LCD tilt-touchscreen operates quite well. Unfortunately, there is no viewfinder option because the screen might be difficult to see when there is a lot of light in the room. The lack of in-body image stabilization is the deal breaker in handling, though. Nevertheless, it is possible to produce films and photographs that are clear and smooth.
You get JPEGs with a lovely color rendition and the option to edit Raw images in-camera, even though the 16.1MP resolution Four-Thirds sensor may be underwhelming. There is potential for better image quality across a broader range of scenarios from competitors such as the Fujifilm X-A7 and the Sony A6100.
Olympus PEN E-PL10 Pros & Cons
- Silent shutter mode
- of modes that are easy to use for beginners
- Stabilization of the image within the body
- Beautiful color reproduction in JPEG format
- Editing of raw data done in-camera
- The sensor is a little bit old
- No viewfinder option
- Contrast autofocus might be hit or miss.