The PEN E-PL7 is a new $599-$699+ micro four third from Olympus which features a popular classic look while integrating the latest technological refinements at the same time. It is one of the fanciest selfie camera that you fill find, since Olympus has re-worked the user experience by flipping the screen towards the bottom so that users won’t have to move in front of the lens to use the touch screen to activate the delayed shutter, or even shots taken at regular intervals.
Inside, you will find a 16 Megapixel 4/3 CMOS sensor which is mounted on an image stabilized platform (3-axis) to reduce blurring during handheld photo capture, or low-light conditions. The image stabilization (IS) will provide the equivalent of 3.5 stops, which is appreciable, especially with the kit lens (14-42mm f3.5-5.6).
The sensor is connected to the same TruePic VII image processor which has been used by Olympus in previous cameras, so there should not be a big difference in terms of image processing with the E-M10, it’s better than the TruePic VI of the PEN E-P5. The overall setup provides a good photographic base in relation to the size and price.
Because it is relatively compact, the Olympus E-PL7 is light. Its construction is a mix of metal (body) and plastic (buttons, etc…), which provides a sturdy frame, but at the same time, the port covers and other small pieces may appear to be more fragile.
The controls on the E-PL7 are minimal and there is one main dial. In the screen user interface, there are soft controls called Live Control and Live Guide which can change the brightness, color saturation, ISO etc… On one hand, it is useful to access these in an intuitive way, but on the other hand, soft controls are significantly slower than dials. Fortunately, the main dial can be interfaced with a number of controls for quick access.
The Olympus E-PL7 is interesting, but some users will notice the lack of built-in Flash or Viewfinder. The positioning of this camera in the market is not completely obvious. As a point and shoot camera, it would need at least the integrated flash, especially since it does not come with a large aperture lens. For more experienced users, it may not offer all the manual controls they need/want. But the camera market is really vast and Olympus is confident that there are users who will find what they need with the E-PL7. What do you think?