Olympus E-PL10 Review
|Full model name:||Olympus PEN E-PL10|
(17.3mm 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)|
4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in.
(117 x 68 x 39 mm)
|Full specs:||Olympus E-PL10 specifications|
Olympus E-PL10 Preview -- First Impressions
by William Brawley
Preview posted: 02/12/2020
Initially unveiled back in October 2019 for the Japanese and Chinese markets, the compact Olympus E-PL10 Micro Four Thirds camera comes as the successor to the E-PL9. It maintains its distinctive, stylish design and easy-to-operate usability.
Specs-wise, the new E-PL10 is very similar to the predecessor, based around a 16MP Live MOS sensor and the TruePic VII image processor. The E-PL10 features a 3-axis in-body image stabilization system, a large 3-inch touchscreen with 180-degree flip-down design and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for easy image sharing. The camera features a variety of Art Filters and Scene modes, offers 4K at up to 30p and allows for in-camera 4K video still frame capture.
Key Features & Specs
- Compact Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens camera body
- 3-inch touchscreen with 180-degree flip-down design
- 16-megapixel Live MOS Four Thirds sensor
- TruePic VIII Image Processor
- 3-axis in-body image stabilization (rated up to 3.5 stops)
- 121-area FAST autofocus system (contrast-detect AF)
- 4K UHD video at up to 30p
- 8.6fps burst with S-AF; 4.8fps with C-AF
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- $600 body-only; $700 Kit with 14-42mm lens
Design & Build Quality
From a physical standpoint, the Olympus E-PL10 looks and feels exactly like its predecessor; the design of the camera remains unchanged. The E-PL10 is sleek and stylish, yet compact and durable with a "premium" metal construction as Olympus puts it. Like with its predecessor, using the E-PL10 revolves around its large 3.0-inch touchscreen display. There is no built-in EVF like on higher-end OM-D-series cameras, nor is there compatibility with Olympus' line of hot-shoe-mounted EVF attachments -- the E-PL10's hot-shoe does not have the electrical accessory port.
The slim "point-and-shoot"-style body design is focused around portability and ease-of-use, catering towards beginner photographers and step-up users looking for a more capable camera system beyond a smartphone camera. As such, many of the functions can be operated via the touchscreen. The E-PL10, unlike an OM-D camera for example, does not feature an abundance of physical controls or command dials. The E-PL10 is not devoid of physical controls, of course, as the camera features a large PASM mode dial on the top as well as a singular command dial surrounding the shutter release button. The E-PL10 also features a shortcut button and a customizable Function button along the rear top edge of the camera. On the back, there's a 4-way directional button providing quick access to several important shooting modes and settings.
As mentioned, the large touchscreen is likely to be the most prominent way to interact with the camera for most users. In addition to features such as touch-controls for settings and swiping through images in Playback mode, the camera also has Touch AF Shutter -- which lets you tap on your subject for autofocus and capture an image with one touch -- as well as a simple Touch AF mode for quick tap-to-focus functionality. You can also switch into Movie Mode using the touchscreen.
Additionally, the E-PL10 features Olympus' usual array of Art Filters, but they've redesigned the UI to make it easier to apply and adjust the various filters and effects via the touchscreen. The on-screen buttons are larger, and there's now an adjustment or "fine-tune" slider on the right side (when in Art Filters mode) to control the strength of the filter or other settings of a particular effect [the top Control dial on the camera can also be used for these adjustments, too]. There are also on-screen buttons for exposure adjustments, effects changes and more.
In addition to flipping up for low-angle shooting, the E-PL10's touchscreen display can also flip downward a full 180-degrees for easy self-portraits and selfie video recording. What's more, flipping the screen down to its front-facing position will automatically switch the camera into Selfie mode. The UI here changes with a large touch-shutter button as well as an on-screen video record button.
As with the predecessor, the E-PL10 features a pop-up flash, providing a guide number of 5.4 meters (17.7ft), a flash sync of 1/250s and +/-3EV of flash exposure compensation. The hot-shoe on top, meanwhile, supports external Olympus flash units. The E-PL10 now also offers compatibility with Olympus' wireless RC flash system.
When it comes to ports, connectivity and media storage, the E-PL10, once again, offers a similar array of features as its predecessor. The camera features a Micro-USB 2.0 port and a Micro-HDMI (Type D) port. Of course, the camera also includes wireless connectivity, with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy, the latter of which allows for easier pairing to a smartphone and maintaining a low-power connection for faster, easier sharing of images and video straight from the camera. Olympus has tweaked the smartphone pairing process in the E-PL10 to be a faster, simpler process using the OI. Share App. The app also features How-To tips to help first-time photographers learn various photo and camera tips and tricks.
The E-PL10 uses the same BLS-50 rechargeable lithium-ion battery as in the predecessor and is CIPA-rated for approximately 350 shots per charge -- the same battery life rating as the E-PL9.
Photo & Video Features
As mentioned earlier, the E-PL10 is based around the same imaging pipeline as the predecessor, utilizing a 16-megapixel Four Thirds Live MOS sensor and a TruePic VIII image processor. As such, the general image quality performance is more or less unchanged. The camera offers the same ISO range, spanning from ISO 200-25600, with an expanded low ISO of 100.
The camera can capture both 12-bit RAWs and JPEGs, just as before, and offers the typical "PASM" set of shooting modes: Program "Auto", Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual exposure. In addition to these shooting modes, the E-PL10 offers a host of beginner-oriented automatic and scene modes. As mentioned, there are a variety of Art Filter options that can be applied to images, such as "Pop Art" and "Soft Focus."
Additionally, there's also "AP Mode," or Advanced Photo mode. Unlike a traditional Scene mode -- which the E-PL10 also has -- AP Mode provides a way to quickly access and use some of the camera's more advanced shooting modes, such as Live Composite, Live Time, Multiple Exposure, HDR, Bracketing and the new built-in Sweep Panorama mode. There's also a new Silent mode, which disables all camera sounds and captures images using the electronic shutter. (Silent shooting is now available outside of AP Mode, and is usable in traditional PASM modes, as well.)
Continuous shooting specs remain unchanged with the E-PL10, offering up to 8.6fps with focused locked at first frame or up to 4.8fps with continuous autofocus. For some added continuous shooting horsepower, the E-PL10 also allows for "Silent" sequential shooting, using the electronic shutter. In Silent sequential High mode, the camera is capable of up to 14.1fps (no C-AF) or up to 6.1fps with C-AF in Silent sequential Low mode.
Buffer performance is similar to the predecessor, with the camera rated to capture up to 14 RAW frames in sequential shooting Low mode and at 4.8 fps or about 13 frames (in sequential shooting High mode and at 8.6 fps). For JPEGs, meanwhile, the camera can shoot around 220 at Low/4.8fps or about 21 frames with High/8.6fps mode.
Despite the electronic shutter option, the shutter speeds on the camera range from 60s down to 1/4000s.
On the video side of things, the E-PL10 can shoot 4K UHD video at 24p and 30p (as well as 25p for PAL). It can also shoot Full HD at up to 60fps and 720p HD at up to 30p. All video modes use IPB compression, and FHD and HD video modes offer a variety of quality settings. 4K video is offered solely at a 102MPbps bitrate.
The camera also allows for Art Filter to be applied for video recording, though the frame rate might drop depending on the filter selected. There's also an in-camera Timelapse mode, though the framerate use varies by resolution; 4K is captured at just 5fps, Full HD is available at 15fps, 10fps or 5fps, and 720p is available at the same Full HD framerates as well as 30fps. Further, there's a 720p high-speed video mode that captures footage at 120fps.
Continuous video recording time, regardless of video resolution, is limited to 29 minutes.
Autofocus & Performance
Much like the imaging pipeline, the AF system on the E-PL10 mirrors that of the previous model. Unlike higher-end OM-D cameras with a hybrid AF system with on-sensor phase-detect, the E-PL10 sticks with a solely contrast-detection autofocus system. While contrast-detection can be very fast, they've traditionally struggled with continuous focusing performance.
The camera features 121 AF points, with various AF point/target modes, including All target, group target (9-area), single target (standard target size / small target size). The E-PL10 offers both face- and eye-detection AF, including nearer-eye priority (i.e. the camera biases eye-detection to the face/eye closer to the camera), right-eye priority and left-eye priority.
Manual focus is available as well, and the camera features various frame magnification levels as well as focus peaking.
Pricing & Availability
The Olympus E-PL10 is available now in shiro白 (white), kuro 黒 (black), and mocha 茶 (brown). The body-only option has a suggested retail price of $599.99 USD and $779.99 CAD. The camera body bundled with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Lens, camera case, lens cloth and SD memory card will have a suggested retail price of $699.99 USD and $899.99 CAD.
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