Olympus E-PL5 - Review and User Experience - Part 3 - On Location

Following on from the results of my Voigtlander 20mm on my OM-D, today I took out the same lens + Voigtländer 90mm f/3.5 APO-Lanthar SL-II and used them with my Olympus E-PL5. Location was Cleeve Hill in the Cotswolds, and despite the cold wind there was plenty of warm golden light from the low sun. 

As with the OM-D, nice crisp results from two top class lenses. I was also happy with the E-PL5, though after using the NEX-6, the smaller controls were difficult with cold fingers and I really did miss the focus peaking. Hopefully Olympus will add this via firmware, though I'm not that optimistic. 

I'm going to be doing a NEX-6 - E-PL5 comparison in terms of how they work for me in the next day or two (possibly tomorrow) but it pretty much comes down to - I like the NEX-6 handling but prefer the E-PL5 quality of image. One day maybe it will all come together in one camera that we will all buy and everybody else will go bankrupt! However I doubt that day will be coming anytime soon. 

I do like the Pen look, however I like how they work in the field somewhat less. I don't particularly see them as winter cameras for example. As referred to above, cold fingers and small controls don't go together and while I never got to the stage of regretting my decision to use the Olympus, I did keep thinking that the magnification method for focusing manual lenses really needs to be improved. 

Since Olympus don't make manual focus lenses and don't make any profit whatsoever when somebody buys one, this may be a low priority for them. But it is, together with a built-in viewfinder, the thing that most forum dwellers and site commenters seem to want, Including myself. I was only thinking yesterday, using my OM-D, that focus peaking would turn a good camera into a very good one. Its not only us "adapter fiddlers" who want to see this, those who endeavour to use these cameras for video would also see it as an advantage, including using it to accurately manually focus AF lenses.

The magnification system in the Olympus m4/3 cameras was OK when it first appeared, as something is better than nothing, but Sony have really made using MF lenses more accurate and easier and actually a real pleasure. Leica are putting it into the M camera and while I know that is a camera that works exclusively with MF lenses, I don't see how it would harm Olympus to add it. There is a sort-of version on the OM-D already with one of the art filters, so how difficult can this be?

However, leaving that aside, I was pleased with my E-PL5 results, which were pretty impressive in terms of sharpness and overall look. Plus some moderate hill climbing was made easier by the small size and low weight. 

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus

For comment and discussion - join me over at Google+