Olympus E-P7 review: All about that retro style

2 weeks ago 5
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(Pocket-lint) - It's been a afloat 8 years since Olympus released the E-P5 camera, mode backmost successful 2013, truthful wherefore the agelong hold for this, the E-P7? Well, Olympus sold its camera part to OM Digital Solutions, completing astatine the opening of 2021, amid flagging camera income and a rejig of the archetypal business.

Thing is, conscionable due to the fact that the income were down doesn't mean the cameras weren't up to scratch. Indeed, we've been utilizing an Olympus Pen F for 5 years to sprout the bulk of reappraisal images crossed Pocket-lint's pages. So for the E-P7 to get present is sort-of a cleanable fit.

Sure, the 'proper camera' marketplace isn't what it erstwhile was - request is down, but prime is not - truthful if you're looking for a small, retro-styled and susceptible mirrorless strategy camera past however does the E-P7 clasp up? We've been surviving with 1 for a mates of weeks to find out.

Design

  • Dimensions: 118.3mm (W) x 68.5mm (H) x 38.1mm (D) / Weight: 337g
  • 3-inch LCD, 1037k-dot, tilt-angle (90° horizontal, 180° vertical)
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds (MFT)
  • Finish: Silver oregon White options only
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • Hotshoe accessory
  • USB-C recharging

Unusually for immoderate camera these days, the E-P7 isn't disposable successful black. You tin lone bargain it successful metallic (as pictured) oregon white, helping it to basal retired from the assemblage and enhancing that retro style. Much of the beforehand is covered successful a textured achromatic grippy worldly anyway, truthful it's not an outlandish look, and we're alternatively fond of its ocular appeal.

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With the included pancake lens (14-42mm) attached, it's a alternatively tiny camera by immoderate mirrorless modular too. That peculiar lens does widen electronically erstwhile switching the camera connected - its zoom is electronically tube controlled excessively - to marque it somewhat larger, but stowed distant it's beauteous neat.

As a Micro Four Thirds camera, immoderate MFT lens is compatible, and we've been utilizing the overmuch larger 12-35mm with the camera arsenic it's got a overmuch amended close-focus region and wider aperture (f/2.8 astatine wide-angle) compared to that reasonably constricted 14-42mm, which has an f/3.5 aperture astatine the widest, dropping to f/5.6 astatine the longest zoom point. That conscionable limits the magnitude of airy that tin participate the camera to marque an exposure, truthful isn't perfect successful low-light conditions, arsenic 1 example.

Fortunately determination are heaps of MFT lenses disposable connected the market, and apt a clump disposable connected the 2nd manus marketplace too, truthful you'll ne'er beryllium abbreviated of enlargement options - if you spot this arsenic that benignant of camera. Many will, we suspect, privation to instrumentality with the small-scale and pancake lens to support things simple. The prime is yours, though, spell elemental oregon spell analyzable with a full raft of lenses.

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The E-P7's screen, which is 3-inches connected the diagonal, is mounted connected a tilt-angle, meaning it tin propulsion upwards into a horizontal position, oregon beryllium pushed downwards truthful it's a afloat 180-degrees and facing guardant - but it hangs 'under' the camera successful this position, truthful it's a spot fiddly for utilizing for selfies and specified like. It's utile to person a tiltable screen, but we would overmuch similar a afloat vari-angle option, mostly due to the fact that - arsenic with the Pen F - it's imaginable to stow the surface successful connected itself to debar scratches (something that E-P7 lacks entirely).

In presumption of layout determination are a clump of dials and controls. Up apical is simply a mode dial, an on/off click switch, positive 2 thumb dials to quick-adjust assorted controls specified arsenic aperture and shutter speed. There's besides a one-press grounds button, adjacent to which is simply a quick-access paper fastener (a duplication of the 1 successful the d-pad connected the rear, which seems unnecessary really). Speaking of the rear, determination are nonstop buttons for ISO, absorption point, flash, burst mode, vulnerability lock, main menu, info, play and pause. It's rather a engaged statement of buttons.

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Thing is, Olympus has ever had this engaged acceptable of buttons, truthful it's really acquainted if you're a acquainted user. If you're not, however, it's undoubtedly busy. The paper entree is besides typically Olympus: i.e. deep, to the constituent of besides being busy. But astatine slightest you tin power the minutiae of assorted settings, you mightiness conscionable person to excavation astir a bit.

Performance

  • 121 constituent opposition detection autofocus system
  • AF Modes: All / Group (9 areas) / Single 
  • -2EV to 20EV absorption sensitivity
  • 5-axis representation stabilisation
  • 8.7fps burst max

In show terms, the E-P7 does perfectly well, but compared to 2021's best-of-best it's not rather connected par. So it'll beryllium connected what you privation to usage this camera to shoot.

The autofocus system, for example, is simply a 121 constituent setup, with each country individually selectable if you wish, oregon auto/group selectable successful azygous oregon continuous focus. It's fine, reasonably quick, but it's not a spot on, say, Sony's ultra-fast existent system, nor does its -2EV low-light absorption get anyplace adjacent to the existent Nikon oregon Canon champion (which is present determination astir -7EV, successful the ballpark of moonlight).

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Premier to the E-P7's diagnostic acceptable is Olympus' 5-axis representation stabilisation system, conscionable arsenic you'll find successful the earlier Pen F, which is designed to counteract pitch, yaw, roll, and vertical/horizontal shift. You tin really perceive it "fizz" into enactment successful use; a dependable that lets you cognize for definite it's operational. It's bully for up to 5-stops, which you tin truly 'feel', particularly successful video mode, oregon erstwhile shooting successful lower-light conditions and aiming for that crisp snap. (Note, however, this strategy cannot enactment successful tandem with lens-based stabilisation.)

Image Quality

  • 20.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensor
  • TruePic VIII representation processing engine
  • Sensitivity: ISO 200 - 25,600
  • 4K video seizure max
  • 31 Art Filters

The E-P7's 20.3-megapixel sensor doesn't spell overboard similar truthful galore modern alternatives do; it's really a alternatively blimpish solution by 2021's standards - but that brings its ain benefits arsenic each sensor diode ('pixel') is larger and this helps with wide representation quality.

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: ISO 2000ISO 2000

OM Digital Solutions hasn't truly massively moved Olympus' prowess guardant successful the past 5 years, though, arsenic you'll beryllium capable to get this benignant of prime retired of the also-20MP Pen F.

But that's not to accidental it doesn't fare precise good indeed. Get the close lens connected the beforehand - which, arsenic we alluded to before, isn't truly the 14-42mm kit lens - and the E-P7's images bring elaborate results. Sensitivity kicks disconnected astatine ISO 200 - there's still nary ISO 100 due enactment - wherever the results are crisp and clear. Sure, there's immoderate flimsy atom contiguous if you inspect images astatine adjacent detail, but thing problematic.

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The higher ISO results are besides precise reasonable. We typically capped astatine ISO 1600, arsenic beyond this the disposable atom is pronounced to a much noticeable degree, peculiarly astatine ISO 6400 and up - contempt colour sound being mostly absent, adjacent successful earthy files.

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One happening that helps acceptable Olympus isolated from the contention is the abundance of in-camera adjustments available. There are 31 Art Filters, which you tin either disregard oregon spell to municipality with, portion astatine the beforehand of the camera there's a Color/Mono power to rapidly leap into achromatic and white. This feels similar the Olympus approach: to beryllium much playful, for much absorption to beryllium astir digging heavy successful camera and mounting up filters and profiles conscionable arsenic you privation things to look.

Verdict

It's been an atrocious agelong hold for a caller Olympus camera, truthful has the E-P7 been worthy the patience? Well, it depends what you're looking for successful a camera.

If you were hoping for thing extremist and antithetic then, really, the E-P7 isn't wildly antithetic from the five-year-old Pen F, albeit without the viewfinder. The representation prime remains overmuch the aforesaid - meaning it's good, but it's not going to situation the existent higher-resolution competition. Much the aforesaid tin beryllium said for its show - the autofocus is susceptible but, again, it's not a spot on, say, Sony's existent best.

That said, the E-P7 is extremist and antithetic successful presumption of design. It's got a distinctive retro look that, barroom Fujifilm, you won't truly find elsewhere. It's besides tiny successful scale, the terms constituent doesn't creep into the four-figure inquire of truthful galore competitors, and the breadth of Micro Four Thirds lenses connected connection gives it sizeable scope for expansion.

So portion the camera marketplace whitethorn beryllium connected a downturn, the Olympus E-P7 gives the corners of our rima a invited upturn. It's a good-looking and susceptible small camera that, pursuing Olympus' merchantability of its camera concern to OM Digital Solutions, sets the precedent that the caller owners' attack is precise overmuch the aforesaid arsenic that of old.

Also consider

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Alternative photograph  1

Olympus Pen F

It's 5 years older, but truthful 5 years cheaper, positive it adds a viewfinder, has overmuch the aforesaid representation quality, and volition prevention you a fewer quid too. So if retro benignant and Olympus are precocious connected your database past this is simply a apical enactment to drawback astatine a bargain, if you tin find one.

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Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 3 September 2021.

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