Olympus E-PL5 Review

 
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Olympus E-PL5 RAW Comparison

See crops below to compare the Olympus E-PL5's (12-bit) RAW image quality to its big brother, as well as a few recent compact system cameras.

RAW Comparison with
Olympus E-M5, Panasonic G5, and Samsung NX200
RAW files converted with ACR, no NR, no sharpening
Daylight-balanced illumination
Olympus E-PL5

Olympus E-M5

Panasonic G5
ISO 160
Samsung NX200
ISO 100
N/A,
ISO 100 not
supported.
N/A,
ISO 100 not
supported.
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 200
Olympus E-M5
ISO 200
Panasonic G5
ISO 200
Samsung NX200
ISO 200
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 400
Olympus E-M5
ISO 400
Panasonic G5
ISO 400
Samsung NX200
ISO 400
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 800
Olympus E-M5
ISO 800
Panasonic G5
ISO 800
Samsung NX200
ISO 800
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 1,600
Olympus E-M5
ISO 1,600
Panasonic G5
ISO 1,600
Samsung NX200
ISO 1,600
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 3,200
Olympus E-M5
ISO 3,200
Panasonic G5
ISO 3,200
Samsung NX200
ISO 3,200
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 6,400
Olympus E-M5
ISO 6,400
Panasonic G5
ISO 6,400
Samsung NX200
ISO 6,400
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 12,800
Olympus E-M5
ISO 12,800
Panasonic G5
ISO 12,800
Samsung NX200
ISO 12,800
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 25,600
Olympus E-M5
ISO 25,600
Panasonic G5

Samsung NX200

N/A,
ISO 25,600 not
supported.
N/A,
ISO 25,600 not
supported.

As you can see, noise in E-PL5 RAW files is very similar to its big brother, the E-M5. The E-PL5 also does better than the 16-megapixel Panasonic G5 and the 20-megapixel Samsung NX200. Excellent performance, though contrast in the red leaf swatch is a little low.

Here's a comparison with some moderately priced APS-C models.

RAW Comparison with
Canon T4i, Fuji X-E1 and Nikon D7000
RAW files converted with ACR, no NR, no sharpening
Daylight-balanced illumination
Olympus E-PL5

Canon T4i
ISO 100
Fuji X-E1

Nikon D7000
ISO 100
N/A,
ISO 100 not
supported.
N/A,
ISO 100 not
supported.
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 200
Canon T4i
ISO 200
Fuji X-E1
ISO 200
Nikon D7000
ISO 200
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 400
Canon T4i
ISO 400
Fuji X-E1
ISO 400
Nikon D7000
ISO 400
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 800
Canon T4i
ISO 800
Fuji X-E1
ISO 800
Nikon D7000
ISO 800
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 1,600
Canon T4i
ISO 1,600
Fuji X-E1
ISO 1,600
Nikon D7000
ISO 1,600
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 3,200
Canon T4i
ISO 3,200
Fuji X-E1
ISO 3,200
Nikon D7000
ISO 3,200
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 6,400
Canon T4i
ISO 6,400
Fuji X-E1
ISO 6,400
Nikon D7000
ISO 6,400
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 12,800
Canon T4i
ISO 12,800
Fuji X-E1

Nikon D7000
ISO 12,800
N/A,
ISO 12,800 not
supported.
Olympus E-PL5
ISO 25,600
Canon T4i

Fuji X-E1

Nikon D7000
ISO 25,600
N/A,
ISO 25,600 not
supported.
N/A,
ISO 25,600 not
supported.

The Fuji X-E1 Adobe Camera Raw conversions are by far the cleanest here, but they look as if some filtering has been applied, spreading out chroma noise and attenuating luminance noise while reducing acuity in the process. We're not sure if this is a deliberate attempt at noise reduction (something we don't like to see in RAW files), or just a by-product of the interpolation algorithm needed to demosaic the X-E1's unique 6x6 filter array.

The Olympus E-PL5 compares favorably to the cameras using conventional sensors, producing noise levels that are pretty much on par with the 16-megapixel Nikon D7000 and slightly better than the 18-megapixel Canon T4i. That's a remarkable achievement considering the E-PL5's pixel pitch is significantly smaller than both, at about 3.7µm versus 4.7µm for the D7000 and 4.2µm for the 7D.

 

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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.

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