After waiting what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was really only a few weeks, my new Olympus PEN E-PL8 finally arrived in October and I couldn't have been more excited! When Olympus announced the PEN E-PL8 a couple of months ago I knew straight away that I needed to get my hands on it. I put together a post with Park Cameras (the photography experts) on why it's the perfect camera for bloggers and how it differs from the the hugely popular E-PL7 - which you can read here, if you haven't already. Now I've been using the E-PL8 for a few weeks I wanted to write a first impressions post for anyone who may be considering buying it. Although I do feel like I should also add a short disclaimer first..... I am no technical wiz, I don't have a photography degree, never done a photography course, read a book or anything - Like most I would imagine, I'm completely self taught. What I can say is though, that my photography has massively improved since I've been blogging and if you've looked at my Instagram since I started using the PEN E-PL8 you will see its definitely stepped up a gear, so much so that others have commented on it which is lovely of them.
So if you're like me and want to know from a non-techhy point of view what my first impressions are of the Olympus PEN EPL-8 then read on.......
Look & FeelAs much as a camera is a functional tool I like everything in my life to look the part and Olympus E-PL8 certainly does that - it has real retro 60's look to it with a leather effect body and silver trim. I've opted for the black version which I think is a classic look, and has the added benefit that it is less likely to get grubby (I'm so clumsy!), but it also available in white and in tan. It's the perfect size to hold in the hand - about 11.5cm wide and 3cm in depth. It feels robust yet isn't too heavy, so I often have it hanging round my neck while I'm sorting out props between shots. A big selling point of the Olympus PEN E-PL8 is that it's small enough to take out and about with you and fits in so many of my handbags, which you just isn't practical with a heavy chunky DSLR.
UsabilityHaving not used an Olympus before I was concerned that I would struggle moving from one brand to another and knowing how to navigate round the settings. I'm also not great at reading manuals. Let's rephrase that. I'm stubborn as hell, too impatient and don't read manuals! I'm in the school of thought that I'd rather work things out for myself so I then feel a much greater sense of achievement once I've got something working, than if I had relied on a manual to explain it. So again from someone who isn't at all techhy I've found it so much easier to use and navigate than I thought. As it has only been a few weeks I haven't used every function on the camera but I've had no issues adjusting aperture, balancing colour or brightness and setting up the Wi-Fi to my phone, and so many of the functions are easily adjustable at one touch of a button which makes it really handy. I would say that regardless of your experience with cameras or what brand you are used to you would find it easy to switch to the PEN E-PL8.
Favourite FeaturesThere are so many features I love about the Olympus PEN E-PL8 and I'm sure the more I use it the more I'll discover, but here are the main four that have not only saved me time, but have massively improved the quality of my photos.
Auto touch screen focus - It sounds so simple but makes my life so much easier!! Point your camera at what you want to take a photo of, press the screen where you want it to focus and ta da!! No more manual focusing for me!
Remote control - Using the Olympus app I can control my PEN E-PL8 via my smart phone, so I can finally do fashion shoots without having to call my Mum up, and quite frankly they are a hell of a lot better as I'm taking the photos rather than her - Sorry Mum, you're now out of a job (she will really be quite pleased!). I set up my camera on a tripod, connect my phone to the camera and snap away. Take a look at my Instagram and most of my recent shots of me have been taken using this method.
Flip Screen - If you take flat lays or selfies then you need this feature. The screen flips up so you can see what your photographing when doing flat lays, as well as flipping 180 degrees so you can see yourself when taking a selfie. On top of this the E-PL8 detects when you have it in selfie mode and automatically zooms out and displays a few keys controls for easy one touch use.
Wi-Fi - The Olympus PEN E-PL8 has built in Wi-Fi which means via the Olympus app I can transfer my photos from my camera to my phone and upload to social media within minutes. Not only is this handy for when I'm at home but it's a life saver for when I'm out at events or go on holiday, as I don't have to worry about downloading them to my laptop anymore.
On top of these features there are many other usual suspect that you would expect to find in a camera of this quality - video capability, square sized photos perfect for Instagram photos, inbuilt arty filters and quick touch buttons for adjusting things like brightness (I use this a lot) and colour tone.
|14-42mm lens on body and 30mm lens next to it|
NEW Olympus 30mm LensI'm sure you've heard every blogger that already owns an Olympus PEN talk about the 45mm lens, and it's for good reason - with the 1.8 aperture this lens is brilliant for creating a shallow depth of field - or in simpler terms, that lovely blurry background. However you probably haven't heard much about the new Olympus 30mm lens and that's because it only launched in October.... This macro lens helps you capture minute detail that the 14-42mm or 45mm could never do.
Like the 45mm, the 30mm is a fixed focal length lens, which means there is no zoom function and you need to physically move towards or away from the object you are photographing. The difference with the 30mm is how close you can get to the object. With the 45mm you need to be a fair way away from the object even for it to be a close up shot, where as with the 30mm you can get incredibly close and therefore capture so much more detail.
The best way for me to highlight the difference between lenses is to show you, so I've taken a variety of shots with the kit lens (14-42mm) and the 30mm lens so you can see just how much detail this lens can capture. None of these images are zoomed in or edited. The 30mm has an f3.5 meaning you can still create that dreamy shallow depth of field too. The shots with the 14-42mm lens are the closest you can get to the object with it still being in focus.
As you can see from these photos the Olympus 30mm lens is a must for any beauty, fashion or food blogger wanting to capture small patterns and details which you just can't get with the 14-42 mm or 45 mm.
Olympus 30mm Lens Discount CodePark Cameras are offering £50 off the Olympus 30mm lens when purchased with the Olympus PEN E-PL8 body or kit, which is a fantastic deal!
All you need to do is visit Park Cameras online or in-store and use the code "Devoted-To-Olympus" to receive the £50 off! And no, I'm not getting any commission from this, I'm simply sharing it as I love this camera and lens so much!
Hurry though as its only available until the 28th February 2017 - one for the Christmas list I think!
As you can probably tell I'm thrilled with my new PEN E-PL8 and apart from the amazing features I mentioned above I am so happy with the quality of photos its produces - I can't recommend it enough! I'm well and truly a coverted PEN user!
What do you think of the Olympus PEN E-PL8 and 30mm lens?
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