Olympus E-P7 Review
|Full model name:||Olympus PEN E-P7|
(17.4mm x 13.0mm)
|Viewfinder:||No / LCD|
|Native ISO:||200 - 25,600|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 25,600|
|Shutter:||1/16000 - 60 sec|
|Max Aperture:||3.5 (kit lens)|
4.7 x 2.7 x 1.5 in.
(118 x 69 x 38 mm)
|Full specs:||Olympus E-P7 specifications|
Olympus PEN E-P7 Preview -- First Impressions
OM Digital Solutions has announced a new Olympus PEN camera, the E-P7. The Micro Four Thirds camera isn't slated to arrive in North America, but we wanted to give you an overview of the compact, stylish Micro Four Thirds camera for our readers elsewhere in the world.
Before diving into the E-P7, let's touch briefly on market availability. It's as good a time as any to point out that the PEN series is very limited in North America in general. We liked the Olympus PEN-F when we reviewed it in 2016, but it has since been discontinued, as has the PEN E-PL9. The remaining PEN camera available in North America, the E-PL10, is currently available at discounted prices, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence that the camera is selling well here.
But I digress. The PEN E-P7 continues in the tradition of its predecessors, combining a stylish compact form factor with high-end imaging features. The PEN E-P7, unlike the E-PL10, includes a 5-axis in-body image stabilization system (the PL10 has 3-axis IBIS). The image sensor is different, too, with the new E-P7 incorporating a 20-megapixel Live MOS Micro Four Thirds image sensor. The E-PL10 has a 16MP image sensor. The cameras both have the same TruePic VIII image processor.
Olympus PEN E-P7 Key Features and Specifications
- Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens camera
- 20MP Live MOS image sensor
- 100-25,600 ISO range
- TruePic VIII image processor
- 8.7fps shooting with mechanical shutter, up to 15fps with the electronic shutter
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization (up to 4.5 stops of shake correction)
- Profile Control dial
- Tilting LCD
- Advanced Photo mode
- 4K/30p video
- USB charging
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Looking at the front of the E-P7, it looks similar to other PEN cameras before it. It has the same general styling, a slightly protruding front grip, and lots of dials. It has a retro quality to it.
The front of the E-P7 has a lens mount and button to detach the lens, of course, but it also has a Profile Control Dial on the front. This allows the user to swap between standard, color and monochrome photo modes and filter effects.
Moving to the top of the camera, there are a couple of command dials, one rotated from the front and the other from the rear of the camera. These dials are both aluminum. The top of the camera has a shutter release, movie record button, share button, power switch, hot shoe and an area where the pop-up flash, well, pops up.
The back of the E-P7 is dominated by the tilting display. The 3" touchscreen has approximately 1,037K dots. The display tilts 80 degrees upward and downward 180 degrees, making it capable of being used as a selfie screen. To the right of the display is a small thumb rest many buttons, including AEF/AEL, Menu, Info, Playback and Delete buttons, plus a directional pad with four function buttons.
The E-P7 weighs 337g with the battery and an SD card inserted. With its available M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ standard zoom lens, the combination weighs only 430g. The camera is 118.3mm wide, 68.5mm tall and has a depth of 38.1mm (excluding protrusions).
Image Sensor and Shooting Features
The PEN E-P7 has a 20-megapixel Live MOS image sensor. Like other Micro Four Thirds image sensors, the sensor has a 4:3 aspect ratio hence the system's name rather than the 3:2 aspect ratio image sensors found in many other camera systems. The image sensor is 17.4mm x 13mm.
The sensor is paired with a TruePic VIII image processor. The camera has a native ISO range of 200-25,600, which can be extended down to ISO 100. When using Auto ISO, the range is 100-6,400. Exposure compensation is available in +/- 5 EV. Metering is provided by Digital ESP metering, which uses 324 areas. Metering modes include multi, center-weighted, spot, and spot with highlight/shadow control.
The camera includes a mechanical shutter with shutter speeds ranging from 60s to 1/4000s, plus a bulb mode. An electronic shutter is also available, with shutter speeds ranging from 60s to 1/16,000s.
The PEN E-P7 offers many special shooting modes and features. There are many scene modes, including People, Nightscape, Motion, Scenery, Indoors, Close-ups (Portrait, e-Portrait, Portrait + Landscape, Portrait + Nightscape, Children, Nightscape, Handheld Starlight, Fireworks, Light Trails, Sport, Panning, Landscape, Sunset, Beach & Snow, Panorama, Backlight HDR, Candlelight, Silent, Macro, Nature Macro, Documents, Multi Focus Shot). The camera has an Advanced Photo mode, too, which includes the following modes: Live Composite, Live Time, Multiple Exposure, HDR, Silent, Panorama, Keystone Compensation, AE Bracketing, Focus Bracketing.
For your more standard modes, there are 'Picture Modes.' These include i-Finish, Vivid, Natural, Flat, Portrait, Monotone, Custom, e Portrait, Color Creator, Art Filters, Monochrome Profile Control, Color Profile Control. The Art Filters referenced include Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia, Dramatic Tone, Key Line, Watercolor, Vintage, Partial Color (18 colors), Bleach Bypass, Instant Film.
To help new photographers out, the PEN E-P7 has Live Guide functionality, which walks the user through different photographic scenarios and how to achieve specific looks, including how to get images with more saturation and how to blur the background.
Experienced photographers will be pleased to know that all the standard shooting modes, P, A, S and M, are located on the mode dial. While the camera is designed to be appealing to newcomers, it doesn't try to handcuff the user when they want to expand their shooting horizons.
In terms of performance, the E-P7 shoots full-resolution images at up to 8.7 frames per second, which is pretty brisk. Using a UHS-II SD card, the camera can keep this up until the card is full, even when shooting RAW images. In silent shooting mode, which uses the electronic shutter, the camera can shoot even faster at 15 fps. The camera has a stated RAW buffer depth of 42 frames or 49 JPEG images at this speed.
Looking at autofocus, the PEN E-P7 includes a contrast-detect autofocus system. The AF system has 121 focus points and numerous focusing modes, including all target, single target, and group target. The camera includes AF tracking and face/eye priority AF. Olympus says that the AF algorithms are the same ones found in its high-end OM-D cameras. For checking focus or when manually focusing, you can magnify the AF frame up to 14x. Further, focus peaking is on offer.
Wrapping up with video, the PEN E-P7 is 4K capable. It can record stabilized 4K video at up to 30 frames per second (24p and 25p frame rates are also available). Video is recorded at 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) resolution in MOV format with H.264 codec. When recording 4K video, the maximum bitrate is approximately 102Mbps. It's unclear if 4K video is recorded using the full width of the image sensor or what sort of crop factor stabilization may introduce.
Full HD video (1920 x 1080) is available, too, at frame rates up to 60p. You can record 720p video at up to 120 fps in a High-Speed Movie mode for faster video.
Ports, Power and Accessories
The PEN E-P7 includes a few different ports, such as a USB micro-B and Micro HDMI (type D) ports. The camera's USB interface is USB 2.0. The camera also includes wireless connectivity via built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which can connect with the OI.Share app on iOS and Android.
The E-P7 uses a BLS-50 lithium-ion battery, which promises up to 360 images or 80 minutes of video recording. By the way, the maximum recordable time per movie recording is about 29 minutes. The E-P7 can be charged via USB when the camera is powered off.
Olympus has designed its PEN series to be stylish, so the E-P7 has accessories to match. An optional genuine leather jacket (CS-54B) is available in black or white. There are also fashionable camera straps and cases available.
Pricing and Availability
The Olympus PEN E-P7 will be available outside North America starting this month. The camera comes in two colorways: black and silver and white and silver. In Europe, the body only price will be 799. A kit with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ lens will also be available for 899.