It’s tough to claim in contrast to the suitability of operating a smartphone as a camera, a notion that hasn’t been mislaid on camera builders. Then creating a devoted camera that can compete for the movability and ease of a mobile is no simple job. Even if the picture excellence has much improved, just receiving folks to choose it up and use can be a defy.
The Olympus PEN series is approximately as near as substitutable lens cameras get to smartphone range, and that lonesome is cost giving the sequences nearly some acclaim. The PEN E-PL9 is the latest in the sequence, an attractive, entry-level model that sit down simultaneously with the senior, but more quality PEN-F. Built about the same 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor as E-PL8 with the same 3-axis in-body image steadiness, it doesn’t propose any vast excellence or performance advantages. It ensures some unexceptional advancements in additional zones: Burst rate has seen a minor bump to 8.6 frames per second from 8.5, though autofocus density has improved to 121 focus points from 81 — both inspiring facts for this group. 4K video is also innovative; a good touch, if not an enormous trading opinion for the unpremeditated operator.
Nonetheless, as advanced as it seems on the spec sheet, the $599 E-PL9 (body only, $699 as verified with equipment lens) discovers itself in a kind of unwieldy central ground. No issue how you shake it, it’s not as suitable as your smartphone for casual photography, but it also struggles below more serious use as its starter-friendly panels make manual use harder. Sensibly, this is the camera you want to advise to your acquaintance and friends searching to improve the quality of their Instagram feed, but deep down you can’t support but wonder: Will they really use it?
METHOD OVER FUNCTION
If we could grade a camera on appearances alone, the E-PL9 would obtain a 9.5 (we’ve got to save that extra 0.5 for the precisely designed PEN-F). The substantial modifications over the E-PL8 are negligible, but the latest right-angled hold provides it a minor ergonomic benefit. Combined with the hopelessly small 14-42mm retractable kit lens, it’s a great looking piece of kit. Our evaluation unit came enfolded in white faux leather, nonetheless brown and black are also obtainable, alongside with a unique version blue that’s new to the E-PL9 and looks unconditionally drool commendable in photos. Yes, we know, a pretty camera doesn’t mean it takes pretty images, but like it or not, this might help people take it out and use it more often, so that’s something.
Underneath the surface, Olympus says the body is built using “premium metal construction,” and while it certainly doesn’t feel bad, it doesn’t feel as well made as the likes of the PEN-F or the OM-D E-M5 or E-M1 sequence cameras. More significantly, it is not weather sealed, so though this is or else a fantastic travel camera, you will need to think twice before taking it out in the rain.
If we could grade a camera on appearance alone, the E-PL9 would obtain a 9.5.
New to the E-PL9 is a built-in, pop-up flash. As always, on-camera flash should be used sensibly, but when you need it, it’s positively more suitable to have it built-in than having to attach a minor outside unit, as was mandatory for the E-PL8. Further stimulating, that flash also allows wireless flash regulator of up to three groups of distant flashes, an astonishingly high-end characteristic for an entry-level camera.
Of sequence, the E-PL cameras have always been about the casual shooter, and the E-PL9 is no different. The LCD screen is unchanged, measuring 3 inches and able to tilt just shy of 90 degrees up and a full 180-degrees down for low-angle shots and selfies, respectively. It is touch-sensitive, and responsiveness is quite good, even if it’s not directly clear which onscreen elements can be accessed via touch and which need using the physical controls.
There is a single command dial, and this is where things can get a bit unclear for skilled photographers. In program auto, shutter importance, or aperture priority, you can hit “up” on the four-way supervisor to toggle contact reimbursement (in manual mode, this will switch from shutter speed to aperture control). Nevertheless, if you are using the touchscreen to choose an autofocus point (inarguably the coolest way to do so), this more-or-less locks you out from being able to toggle contact reimbursement, as beating “up” now merely moves the focus point. To get back to contact comp (or aperture control), you first need to press “OK,” which then returns the center point you just selected on the touchscreen back to wherever it was before you touched the screen.
There are two methods around this. Initially, you can choose not to use the touchscreen to fix a focus point, as an alternative pressing “justify” on the four-way pad to carry up the focus array and choose your favorite point with the directional buttons. When you then press “OK,” it will now lock in the designated AF point, rather than return back to the default. Additional — and this is our favored way — you can go into the settings menu to recast contact compensation to the function/magnifying glass button (located just behind the on/off button). Now you can access your exposure controls and touch autofocus together, but we wish it didn’t needful hopping through hoops like that.
For more instant results, you can also just turn on touch shutter, which will emphasis and take a picture with a sole tap on the screen. This really works quite well, though we prefer unraveling the focus and shutter actions, not to refer using the physical shutter button — call us old school, but it just feels better.
This is the camera you want to mention to your friends looking to improve the excellence of their Instagram feed — but will they really use it?
There is one other benefit of using a camera like this: It aids you to blend in, even when you’re just trying to blend in with your own friends. You can effortlessly shoot from the hip, and when you’re not holding a camera in front of your face, you feel much more a part of the act and other people act more obviously around you. It’s great for street photography, chiefly with the compact lens.
Nonetheless, though we were setting up at the base of a waterfall with tripod and neutral density filters in hand, we confronted a sad outline of the pointlessness of our exertions when a group of three young people showed up and began posing for each other for what we can only pretend was a very significant Instagram photoshoot. They spent no less than 45 minutes trying to get the perfect pose, angle, and instant in front of the instant waterfall — and the whole time used nothing but their phones. This went far beyond “casually” taking photographs, yet seemingly a headset was just fine.