Olympus E-PL5 Review

 
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Olympus E-PL5 Flash


Bundled Flash Test Results

Coverage and Range
A weak flash despite being external, with somewhat narrow coverage.

14mm, ISO 200
f/3.5, 1/60s
42mm, ISO 200
f/5.6, 1/80s
Normal Flash,
ISO 200, 1/60s
+3 (+1.0 EV)
Slow-Sync Flash,
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.


Flash Range: Wide Angle
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft
Click to see EPL5FL06W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL07W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL08W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL09W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL10W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL11W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
12 ft 13 ft 14 ft 15 ft 16 ft
Click to see EPL5FL12W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL13W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL14W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL15W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL16W.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.5
ISO 200

Flash Range: Telephoto
6 ft 7 ft 8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft
Click to see EPL5FL06T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL07T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL08T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL09T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL10T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL11T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
12 ft 13 ft 14 ft 15 ft 16 ft
Click to see EPL5FL12T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL13T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL14T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL15T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL16T.JPG
1/80 sec
f5.6
ISO 200

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 Range
Wide Angle Telephoto
Click to see EPL5FL_MFR094WM0200.JPG
9.4 feet
ISO 200
Click to see EPL5FL_MFR059TM0200.JPG
5.9 feet
ISO 200

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.

 

Olympus E-PL5

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