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September 17, 2012

Touch AF Shutter - A new PEN for active photography

OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL5 Micro Four Thirds System Camera


OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL5 (Left: Silver / Center: Black / Right: White) + M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6IIR

Olympus Imaging Corporation (President: Haruo Ogawa) has announced that it will be releasing a new PEN Lite series camera that conforms to the Micro Four Thirds System standard the OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL5. Designed for people who take pleasure in active photography, this camera will be launched on the beginning of October, 2012.

Main Features

  1. 16.05-megapixel Live MOS Sensor and TruePic VI image processing engine for high image quality equivalent to the OM-D in a compact, lightweight body.
  2. FAST AF for instantaneous autofocusing and Touch AF Shutter on the Live View screen let users experiment with a whole new way of shooting.
  3. Twelve Art Filters including a new "Water Color" filter supported by Variations and Art Effects for even more creative artistic expression capabilities.

Pricing & Launch Date

Category Product Name MSRP Launch Date
Micro Four Thirds System Interchangeable Lens Camera OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL5 Body
Open price Beginning of October, 2012
(Build to Order)
PEN Lite E-PL5
Lens Kit
+ M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6IIR
Beginning of October,
PEN Lite E-PL5
Double Zoom Kit
+ M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6IIR
+ M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6R
* The following body/lens color combinations are available
・When the body color is Silver or White, the lens color is Silver.
・When the body color is Black, the lens color is Black.

The mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera market pioneered by Olympus with the PEN series is fast expanding in Japan and Asia, where mirrorless cameras now account for 50% of the interchangeable lens camera market, as well as in Europe and the United States of America.*1

Following up on the success of the OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3, which was praised by critics for its combination of high functionality and ease of use in a stylish, ultra-compact body, Olympus has refined and improved on its formula with the new The OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL5.

Like the E-PL3 before it, the E-PL5 is designed for people who want to enjoy the pleasures of high-end photography without crimping their lifestyle. At the same time, the E-PL5 boasts some pretty significant improvements in image quality, functionality and ease of use.

The E-PL5 takes its imaging cues from Olympus's top-of-the-line flagship model, the OM-D E-M5, incorporating the same 16.05-megapixel Live MOS Sensor and TruePic VI image processing engine that have made the image quality and sensitivity of the OM-D E-M5 the unmatched standard for Micro Four Thirds system cameras. For style and design, the E-PL5 looks to the Olympus PEN E-P3 for its convenient, stylish, and very functional detachable grip. Finally, from the E-PL3, it inherits the swiveling monitor that enables monitoring during self-portrait shooting with a greatly expanded swiveling range. In the E-PL5, Olympus has brought together the best from its entire lineup, refined and improved them, them combined them all in a compact, lightweight body.

Exciting new features include the Touch AF Shutter function, which allows which lets the user take a picture simply by touching the Live View screen. In combination with the FAST AF system that made the OM-D the world's fastest autofocusing camera*2, digital photographers can now capture precisely the image they want at precisely the moment they want it. With instantaneous focusing and a capacitive touchscreen panel that reacts immediately to the lightest touch, the camera won't shake at the moment the shutter is released, assuring maximum clarity and stability. Incredibly effective with moving subjects, the Touch AF Shutter will make possible completely new ways of shooting, taking the creative power and excitement of photography to a whole new level.

The Art Filters that have been one of the most defining characteristics of Olympus system cameras have also been improved. Offering a total of twelve filter effects, including the new Water Color plus supporting functions like Variations, Art Effects and the new Monochrome effect, the E-PL5 gives users the opportunity to express their own unique perspective, bringing their vision to life with brilliant, easy-to-use effects.

Much more than just an incremental upgrade, the E-PL5 truly fulfills the PEN concept of functional beauty, evolving the system to a new level of maturity with comprehensive advances in all elements, including image quality, functionality and operability. With the E-PL5, Olympus has created a Micro Four Thirds system camera that consolidates the digital photography revolution, setting a new standard for a new age.

With the introduction of the E-PL5, Olympus has made it clear that the Micro Four Thirds system is here to stay. And, of course, Olympus remains committed to advancing the evolution of the system in the future with a view to creating and expanding new markets.

*1 Source: CIPA Statistics digital camera new-category statistics, shipment tables July to September and October to December 2011. Olympus in-house survey.
*2 Among lens interchangeable digital cameras announced for release as of February 8, 2012. The time from the start of autofocusing to the start of exposure after focusing on a subject at a distance of 1 meter was measured with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ lens mounted on the OLYMPUS OM-D, with focal length of 35mm (equivalent to 70mm of the 35mm cameras) and focus position set to infinity. Measured based on Olympus in-house measurement standard.

Main Feature Details

1. 16.05-megapixel Live MOS Sensor and TruePic VI image processing engine for high image quality equivalent to the OM-D in a compact, lightweight body.

1-1. High image quality inherited from the OM-D

  • 16.05-megapixel Live MOS Sensor
  • TruePic VI image processing engine

Committed to the concept of "providing maximum image quality performance for all PEN models", Olympus has generously endowed the E-PL5 with the same 16.05-megapixel Live MOS Sensor and new TruePic VI image processing engine incorporated in the flagship of our Micro Four Thirds system cameras, the OM-D E-M5. This image sensor features vivid color representation and high resolution that reproduce a natural three-dimensional feeling, together with a big improvement in sensitivity and noise reduction, achieving maximum sensitivity of ISO25600 with still images. Dynamic range has also been increased, enabling finer expression of gradations between dark and bright areas with a wide range of intensity. The excellent high-speed data read capability of the image sensor also contributes to the full-HD (1920 x 1080) movie recording capability and the speed improvement of the FAST AF system.

1-2. High image quality, functionality and performance packed in a compact body

Building on the quality and functional beauty that have come to define the PEN series, the E-PL5 embodies the "timeless design" concept that is PEN's hallmark. Its compact, lightweight body weighs only 325 grams (including battery and memory card) and its grip can be detached, allowing users to change it to suit their taste and shooting style. The standard grip included with the camera can be detached to for a streamlined, simplified appearance, or replaced with the optional MCG-2 Camera Grip (priced at 3,500 yen, or 3,675 yen incl. tax), an accessory shared with the E-P3, which supports a firmer, more secure grip. In addition, the grip can also be replaced with the customized MCG-3PR Premium Camera Grip and LC-37PR Premium Lens Cap. Available in dot-pattern, hounds tooth check pattern, or stripe pattern, these accessories will be launched at the same time as the E-PL5, giving users even more to choose from.

The rear panel monitor features a big, easy-view 3.0-inch, 460,000-dot high-definition LCD with an aspect ratio of 16:9, and a new Anti-FingerPrint coating. Swivel range has been increased by about 170° up and about 65° down, making it easier to shoot pictures from low or high angles, as well as giving users more control over self-portrait shooting. With a viewing angle that extends 176° from all directions and improved color reproduction, this versatile, high-quality monitor makes even outdoor shooting easy and comfortable.

2. FAST AF for instantaneous autofocusing and Touch AF Shutter on the Live View screen let users experiment with a whole new way of shooting.

2-1. FAST AF system with instantaneous autofocusing capability

The FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) AF system that enabled the OM-D to achieve the world's fastest autofocusing*1 is incorporated in the E-PL5. During AF, the Live MOS Sensor is driven at the higher speed of the previous system and the speed of AF computation has also been improved. The advantages made possible by the renewed AF system also include an increase in the speed of communication for controlling the lens motion and the synergy with the MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) mechanism, which facilitates fast, quiet movement of the AF system in the lens, as well as faster response time from shutter release to AF system start-up.

*1 Autofocusing to the start of exposure after focusing on a subject at a distance of 1 meter was measured with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ lens mounted on the OLYMPUS OM-D, with focal length of 35mm (equivalent to 70mm of the 35mm cameras) and focus position set to infinity. Measured based on Olympus in-house measurement standard.

2-2. Touch AF Shutter release by simply touching the Live View screen

The rear panel monitor incorporates a capacitive touchscreen panel for comfortable operability. The combination of the high response of the capacitive touchscreen panel and the FAST AF system enables quicker shooting than before.

With the Touch AF Shutter, the user simply touches the target subject on the monitor screen to instantly execute the process from focusing to shutter release. This new shooting style not only makes it easier to capture clear images, it opens up a whole new realm of shooting possibilities, expanding the joy of photography.

3. Twelve Art Filters including a new "Water Color" filter supported by Variations and Art Effects for even more creative artistic expression capabilities.

3-1.Twelve Art Filters including the new "Water Color" filter

The Art Filter function is an Olympus-original function that not only helps users better create the image they envision, it also gives them the opportunity to surprise themselves unusual and unexpected effects, obtaining results that are truly one of a kind. Applicable to both still photos and movies*2, Art Filters let users express their creativity with unique effects that once required, skill, talent, and years of practice to achieve.

The E-PL5 incorporates twelve Art Filters including a new Water Color filter, giving users a more exciting range of options to choose from than ever.

*2 When a movie is recorded using an Art Filter, the number of frames and presence/absence of audio and Art Effects may vary depending on the Art Filter used.
  • Water Color (I/II) (New filter)
    Eliminates darker areas in the image to daringly represent bright color tones on a white canvas, adding soft contours to express a world awash in color.
    The Water Color II filter attenuates the contour lines so that contours are instead represented by gradations in color tone variation.
Normal photo Water Color
Normal photo Water Color
  • Pop Art (I/II)
    Enhances colors, making them stronger and more vivid to create high-impact images with a pop-art feel
  • Soft Focus
    Gives images a dream-like quality that creates a romantic and mystical atmosphere.
  • Pale & Light Color (I/II)
    Encloses the reality in front of the camera in flat, softly illuminated bubble, floating serenely in its own world, like a distant memory of a childhood landscape.
  • Light Tone
    Renders both highlights and shadows more softly to recreate the atmosphere achieved by studio lighting.
  • Grainy Film (I/II)
    Recreates the classic grainy look and tonality of black & white photography, imparting a dramatic feel to images.
  • Pin Hole (I/II/III)
    Adjusts color and reduces brightness at the periphery, recreating the distinctive look of photos taken with a pinhole camera.
  • Diorama
    Creates the look of a miniature diorama by enhancing color and contrast, and blurring the periphery to distort distance perception.
  • Cross Process (I/II)
    Reproduces an unrealistic or unstable atmosphere with unexpected color development like that produced when a positive film is developed in the negative film process with digital processing.
  • Gentle Sepia
    Gives images the look of a vintage sepia-tone print, with gentle contrast and well-defined shadows.
  • Dramatic Tone (I/II)
    Represents real space in a more imaginary way by applying unrealistic tones of light and darkness based on local changes in contrast.
  • Ligne Claire (I/II)
    Based on the "posterization" effect, this filter makes the picture look more like an illustration or block print by enhancing the edge lines.

3-2. Addition of new "Monochrome" Art Effect
With the Art Effect function, users can customize Art Filters by adding various composition effects*4 In addition to the existing Art Frame effect that puts an artistic, elegant frame around the image, the Pin Hole effect that decreases the brightness around the periphery of the image, the Soft Focus effect that provides focusing with both sharpness in the center and softness around it, the Starlight effect that produces an effective trace of light in a night scene and the White Edge effect that defocuses the four corners of the image in white, the E-PL5 features a new Monochrome effect*3. This effect consists of a sepia/blue/purple/green color matching system to vary the tone of monochrome images and yellow/orange/red/green monochrome filter effects to vary the contrast characteristics.

*3 The Monochrome effect is available with the Grainy Film and Dramatic Tone I/II filters.
*4 The number and types of variations and the applicable effect functions are variable between Art Filters.

3-3. Art Filter bracketing to record multiple Art Filtered pictures with a single shot
This function can generate multiple pictures with different Art Filters with a single shot, making it possible to experiment with several different photographic effects at the same time. Combination of an unexpected scene and an unexpected Art Filter may lead to creation of a picture beyond the reach of your imagination. In addition to the Art Filters, this function can be used to select multiple picture modes including Vivid, Natural, Flat and Portrait. A Slide Rec View function is also provided for sequential slideshow playback of Art Filtered pictures.

Other Features

  • "OLYMPUS Image Share" smartphone application for easy sharing of pictures
    Using the OLYPUS Image Share with iPhone/Android compatible smartphone application (to be made public in October) and the Toshiba FlashAirTM SDHC memory card incorporating wireless LAN, it's easier than ever to upload pictures to your favorite social network. The E-PL5 can set up the FlashAirTM using the built-in smartphone connection capability so that Wi-Fi connection is easy. The OLYMPUS Image Share application makes it easy to load pictures in a smartphone by selecting them from thumbnails, apply Art Filters on the smartphone and share the pictures in collaboration with the SNS application.
    Pictures can also be enjoyed by friends and family by issuing a one-time password to connect several smartphones simultaneously.
  • Built-in sensor-shift type image stabilization
    The image stabilization mechanism shifts the image sensor unit instantaneously and precisely, and is built into the camera body so image stabilization is possible with any lens, including an old lens mounted using an adapter or a pancake lens too thin to incorporate image stabilization mechanism, if the focal length is input manually.
    The E-PL5 can also be used with Micro Four Thirds lenses that incorporate their own image stabilization mechanisms.
  • Addition of new "Art Fade" movie effect
    In addition to the One-Shot Echo and Multi-Echo movie effects, the E-PL5 offers a new Art Fade movie effect that makes it possible to fade Art Filters in and out for a seamless, more natural look.
  • One-Push Digital Teleconverter and Movie Teleconverter functions
    The One-Push Digital Teleconverter function magnifies the captured image by 2X with digital processing for easy telephoto shooting. Assigning this function to the Fn button allows you to take 2X close-up photos at the touch of a button. And when you use it in combination with an optional M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 70-300mm f4.8-6.7 lens, you'll be able to capture amazing super telephoto pictures with a focal length of 1200mm (35mm camera equivalent). The captured image is output in the set record mode with all the original pixels thanks to superior image performance of the TruePic VI image processing engine.
    In addition, the E-PL5 incorporates a Movie Teleconverter function, which lets the user select a part of a movie during movie recording in the movie mode and magnify it without deterioration up to 4x by specifying it on the touchscreen panel.
  • Small Single AF target
    For pinpoint focusing, a small single AF target can be selected, besides the existing 35-point area selection AF, group target AF or standard single-target AF.
  • Detailed RAW edit setting in the camera
    In-camera RAW data editing is enhanced with the addition of a detailed setting function. The E-PL5 can select various settings for RAW data editing using the cross-cursor button and also preview the images. Detailed edit setting in the camera without using PC software is particularly convenient when RAW data development is required outside the home.
  • 8 fps quick shooting
    Continuous shooting is possible at a maximum rate of 8 fps. Quick shooting at max. 3.6 fps (in L-sequential shooting) is available even in autofocus modes (C-AF + Tr and C-AF modes).
  • 3D tracking AF with enhanced moving object tracking
    The imager AF used in Micro Four Thirds cameras features better recognition capability of the subject face/color/pattern than an AF based on phase difference detection. Exploiting this advantage to the utmost, the E-PL5 uses a 3D tracking AF with a movement prediction function that can track depth-direction movement, as well as a traditional tracking AF to track objects moving in the up, down, left and right direction, to improve the accuracy of AF on moving objects. In the C-AF (continuous AF) mode, sequential shooting at 3.6 fps is possible by tracking the AF across a wider image area than with digital SLR cameras based on phase difference AF. This system is also able to track objects that are hard for phase difference AF to follow, such as humans and their faces. Precise tracking of objects is possible in movie recording, as well as still photo shooting.
  • Full-time AF
    The full-time AF function continues focusing even when the shutter button is not pressed. Continuous focusing makes it possible to reduce the release time lag in shooting.
  • Full-HD movie shooting (MOV)
    Full-HD movies can be recorded in the MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) format for easy viewing and editing on a PC. Movie recording is also possible in the traditional AVI (Motion JPEG) format. Audio is recorded in linear PCM in both formats. The touch AF is also usable in movie recording.
  • * With the MOV format, file capacity is limited to about 4 GB, allowing about 29 minutes of recording in full-HD or HD mode.
    * With the AVI format, file capacity is limited to about 2 GB, allowing about 7 minutes of recording in HD mode or 14 minutes in SD mode.
  • Advanced iAUTO
    The iAUTO function automatically determines and sets the optimum shooting mode for the subject. With a database of 42 different scene modes, iAUTO can find a mode to suit any scene.
  • Live Bulb and Live Time shooting
    To ensure updated display of the Live View during bulb shooting, two functions are provided: Live Bulb, for shooting while the shutter button is held depressed; and Live Time, for releasing the shutter with the first press of the button and closing it with the second press. Previously, during bulb shooting, the Live View image on the rear panel monitor would disappear during shooting, but now, thanks to these new functions, Live View images can be displayed at set intervals even during exposure. The user can now set the optimum exposure time for bulb shooting, which previously had to be set based on intuition and experience, by checking the updated Live View image.
  • Versatile, high-power removable flash
    The included FL-LM1 removable flash (GN7 (ISO100) or GN10 (ISO200)) can be attached whenever needed and removed when not required. The E-PL5 is also equipped with wireless flash control capability, allowing it to control external flashes compatible with the Olympus Wireless RC Flash System such as the FL-300R. In addition to the wireless control of three groups of flashes, the mounted flash can be fired as an independent group.
  • Proven, reliable dust reduction system
    If dirt or dust penetrates the camera body during lens replacement and attaches to the low-pass filter or image sensor, it will show up in the image and spoil it. Providing an effective solution to this problem is particularly critical with the E-PL5 because its mirrorless structure does not cover the image sensor with the shutter screen. Olympus has been working to solve this problem since the beginning of development of interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras and has developed a powerful solution. When the camera is turned on, the SSWF (Super-Sonic Wave Filter) installed in front of the image sensor is activated to blast dust away from the image sensor with supersonic vibrations. The tremendous power of the supersonic waves effectively blows away dust that cannot be removed by shaking the image sensor, as well as dust that is attached by intermolecular force and cannot be removed by discharging static electricity.
  • Auto detection of horizontal/vertical image direction
    The horizontal/vertical detection mechanism improves the joy and comfort of picture browsing.
  • BGM downloading
    The Multi-Mix Slide Show function provided for PEN / OM-D series and digital-SLR E-5 cameras for slideshow playback with background music now allows users to replace one of the four existing BGM tracks by downloading a new track from the Olympus site. Olympus offers a wide selection of downloadable music from famous creators.

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