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Olympus E-PL5

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Olympus E-PL5 Performance


Timing and Performance

Very good performance overall for a compact system camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~0.7 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~1.0 second

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
8 seconds after 15 large/super fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
9 seconds after 16 RAW files*
24 seconds after 14 RAW + LSF JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup time was quite fast for a CSC, at well under a second. Buffer clearing time depends on the quality and number of shots, and on the speed of the memory card. With a fast 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card, the E-PL5's buffer clearing times were good with JPEGs or RAW files, but slowed significantly with RAW+JPEG.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.6 second
Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1.5 seconds
Time to display a large/super fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.4 second
Time to display a large/superfine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching was quite fast, except for Record to Play which was slow.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
0.221 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All AF timing performed with the new Olympus 14-42mm II R kit lens at medium focal length.)
Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode
0.255 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto Flash Enabled
0.327 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, TTL Auto flash enabled.
Continuous AF
0.185 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.100 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.064 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Olympus E-PL5's full-autofocus shutter lag in single-area AF mode (center AF position) was only 0.221 second with the 14-42mm II R kit lens. That's faster than most consumer DSLRs these days. In 35-point "All Targets" AF mode, this time increased slightly to 0.255 second, which is still very fast, especially for a contrast-detection system. Full autofocus shutter lag increased to 0.327 second with the flash enabled, which includes an additional delay for the preflash metering. Continuous AF mode resulted in a shutter lag of 0.185 second. When manually focused, the E-PL5's lag time was 0.100 second, which is pretty fast. The E-PL5's prefocused lag time of 0.064 second is also quite fast, though not as fast as most point and shoots.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Super Fine JPEG

0.56 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 7 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.56 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 6 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LSF JPEG
0.55 second

Time per shot, averaged over 18 shots, 19 seconds to clear*.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous H Mode
Large/Super Fine JPEG

0.12 second (8.05 frames per second);
15 frames total;
8 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 15 shots, then slows to an average of about 0.5s or 1.99 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H Mode
RAW

0.13 second (7.98 frames per second);
16 frames total;
9 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 16 frames, then slows to an average of about 0.55s or 1.81 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H Mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

0.12 second (8.02 frames per second);
14 frames total;
24 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 14 frames, then slows to 1.06s or 0.95 fps when buffer is full.

Flash Recycling

4.7 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were quite good for a CSC, at under 0.6 seconds per shot no matter the type of file. Continuous mode was very good, at around 8 frames per second in any quality mode. This matches Olympus' spec, though we must point out that the burst speed will fall to 3.5 frames per second when tracking AF is enabled. (Not tested.) Buffer depths were good for its class, at 15 frames for large/super fine JPEGs, 16 for RAW files, and 14 frames for RAW+JPEGs. Note that our test target for this was designed to be difficult to compress, so JPEG burst lengths should be longer with typical subjects.

Flash recycle time was about average with the included external flash, at 4.7 seconds after a full power discharge.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

10,561 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were fast, quick enough that you probably won't feel the need for a separate card reader. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Olympus E-PL5's performance is generally very good for a CSC, and improved on almost all fronts compared to the E-PL3. Our only real quibble is the slow buffer clearing for RAW+JPEGs.

Battery

Battery Life
Good battery life for a CSC.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard)
360

The Olympus E-PL5 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The rated 360 shots per charge is a little better than average for a compact system camera, though still well below the capacity of most DSLRs when using the optical viewfinder. We recommend getting a second battery for your E-PL5 if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))