Olympus E-PL5 Review
Olympus E-PL5 Flash
Bundled Flash Test Results
Coverage and Range
A weak flash despite being external, with somewhat narrow coverage.
|14mm, ISO 200
|42mm, ISO 200
ISO 200, 1/60s
+3 (+1.0 EV)
ISO 200, 1/6s
+3 (+1.0 EV)
Coverage and Exposure. Flash coverage was uneven at wide-angle (14mm), but much more uniform (albeit quite dim) at full telephoto (42mm). In our Indoor Portrait flash test, the Olympus E-PL5 underexposed our subject despite using an external flash, and a higher-than-average base ISO of 200. +1.0 EV flash compensation produced the brightest exposure, though it was still quite dim. The camera's Slow-Sync flash mode produced much better results at +1.0 EV aided by the slower 1/6 second shutter speed, though with a stronger orange cast from the ambient room lighting.
ISO 200 Range. Flash exposure started out dim at 6 feet at wide-angle, then became dimmer as distance increased. At telephoto, flash exposures were even dimmer at 6 feet than they were at wide angle, and gradually became dimmer as distance increased. Poor results here, especially considering the bundled flash is external, though you can always mount a more powerful flash.
Manufacturer Specified Flash Test. The Olympus E-PL5's bundled flash has a Guide Number (GN) of 10 meters at ISO 200. That works out to about 9.4 feet at f/3.5 and 5.9 feet at f/5.6, the maximum apertures of the kit lens at both ends of the zoom range. In the shots above, the E-PL5 did not perform as Olympus says it will, producing dim exposures at the rated distances. Our standard test method for flash range uses a fixed setting of ISO 100 (when supported), to provide a fair basis of comparison between cameras. We've now also begun shooting two shots using the manufacturer-specified camera settings, at the range the company claims for the camera, to assess the validity of the specific claims.
Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.