Reviews

Olympus PEN E-PL10 – Excellent entry-level mirrorless camera

The Olympus PEN E-PL10 is an entry-level mirrorless camera that uses Micro Four Thirds lens support, has a 16-megapixel sensor and image stabilization on the body. Its compact body and easy-to-use touch interface make it ideal for beginners and families, while a folding LCD and 4K video make it an option for vloggers.

The E-PL10 is lightweight, easy to hold and surprisingly well built for a low-end camera. The handle is perfect for size and the control dial, shutter release and power button are easily accessible. Most camera buttons are located just below the thumb, which can cause accidental changes in the settings. The buttons are quite small, especially the four-way controller. The E-PL10 has a unique control dial, which is what we would expect in a camera in this price range.

OLYMPUS PEN E-PL10
OLYMPUS PEN E-PL10

The user interface is really a mixed bag. If you are a beginner and want to follow the automatic mode, you can do so, even if Olympus only simplifies part of the interface. Touch menus (known as Live Guides) only allow you to adjust a few things (using cursors on a tab that scrolls out): saturation, color image (white balance), brightness (exposure compensation), background blur (opening), and express motion (shutter speed). Since the camera isn’t telling you what you’re really adjusting, Olympus isn’t leading users to shoot in more advanced modes.

There is also a photo tip option, which gives you basic information on how to take photos of children and pets, among other things. The tips are a bit vague in terms of what settings you need to adjust and where they are, so you need to know your way around the camera a little bit.

The Olympus E-PL10 has an extensive collection of ‘Art Filters’, which give your images a creative touch. There’s also a good set of scene modes, with useful descriptions and sample images of what everyone does.

A known scene mode is ‘light tracks’, which is known as ‘live composite’ in other shooting modes. It is essentially a time-lapse mode that captures only subjects that change brightness with each exposure. For example, if you capture stellar paths and there is a building in the foreground, the brightness of the building will not change over time. We tested on previous Olympus cameras and found that it works quite well.OLYMPUS PEN E-PL10

The Olympus E-PL10 offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for photo sharing and remote camera control. The Olympus Image Share app allows you to set up Wi-Fi and Bluetooth at the same time by simply scanning the QR code displayed on the camera screen. The app’s interface is attractive and easy to navigate and offers two forms of remote control, although you can’t transfer images while they’re being taken. Unfortunately, using one of these features is difficult, as connecting to the camera often fails, both on iOS and Android.

The E-PL10’s BLS-50 battery allows the camera to take about 350 sockets per charge according to the CIPA standard, which is above average for this class. And, in the real world, you’ll be able to do better, especially if you limit the use of flash and Wi-Fi. The camera is one of the few that lacks USB charge, which is a disappointment. If you’re out and about, you can’t connect to a car to recharge. You will need to bring a replacement battery or bring the clumsy external charger with you and wait for a power outlet.

How does that work?
Although it does not have the resolution of its peers, the image quality of the E-PL10 is still very good. JPEG colors in the default (Natural) settings are not too powerful, although it is quite easy to increase saturation in any shooting mode (including Automatic). The white balance was fine, and it’s worth noting that you can choose hot (yellow) or cool (blue) settings in all modes. Photo:OLYMPUS

Body type
Body type Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Body material Composite
Sensor
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)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor TruePic VIII
Color space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter array Primary color filter
Image
ISO Auto, 100-25600
White balance presets 6
Custom white balance Yes (4 slots)
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
CIPA image stabilization rating 3.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Super fine, fine, normal
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.3)
  • Raw (Olympus ORF)
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp Yes
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 121
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier 2×