Olympus PEN E-PL8 (no lens included)
16.1-megapixel mirrorless camera with Wi-Fi® (White)
Our take on the Olympus PEN E-PL8 (no lens included) by Crutchfield's Deia Z.
A fresh take on a classic camera
The Olympus PEN E-PL8 continues in the tradition of a long line of Olympus PEN cameras dating back to the film days. If you've ever had one before, you know how fun it is to use. As an amateur photographer with plenty of experience carrying around a bigger camera, I love my Olympus PEN. It has all the manual features I want, but it's light, portable, and unobtrusive — all huge advantages when I need to travel light or don't necessarily want to announce to the world that I'm a photographer.
The Olympus PEN E-PL8's touchscreen monitor tilts downward 180 degrees to face you.
The E-PL8 has intuitive features that make it easy for anyone to use. You can focus and shoot with the shutter button or the touchscreen. The screen tilts upward so you can frame shots from lower angles — perfect for candid photos shot from waist-level — and it also tilts up to 180 degrees downward so you can get a good selfie. One seriously awesome aspect of this camera's Live View mode is that it lets you see how your settings will affect your final image before you shoot. This feature has saved me a lot of wasted test shots with my own Olympus PEN.
Capture things your phone camera can't
When it comes to capturing fast motion or dimly lit scenes, the E-PL8 leaves your phone in the dust. Its fast autofocus system locks onto your subject and tracks it throughout the image plane, so you can fire off a series of burst shots to capture any kind of action. The camera's three-axis image stabilization system compensates for different kinds of camera movement to effectively reduce image blur. This feature also lets you get better shots in low light and minimizes camera shake in your videos.
Share instantly and expand your control with Wi-Fi
Uploading photos is quick and easy with the E-PL8's built-in Wi-Fi. My Olympus PEN is the first camera I've ever had with Wi-Fi, and I really love being able to control it with my phone through the Olympus Image Share app. I've used the app's remote feature to take shots of animals and landscapes with the camera on a tripod or on the ground, and I've also used it for self-portraits and to include myself in group shots. It's so cool to be able to change settings, focus, and zoom right from my phone.
- 16.1-megapixel effective recording
- Micro Four Thirds-type Live MOS image sensor (17.3 x 13.0 mm)
- compatible with Micro Four Thirds lenses
- built-in Wi-Fi for easy sharing and control from smart devices
- three-axis in-body image stabilization provides shake and movement compensation for clear, sharp handheld photos and videos in any light
- 3" (1,037,000 dot) tilting LCD touchscreen with brightness control tilts up to 80 degrees upward or 180 degrees downward for creative composition at high or low angles
- full-time live view mode lets you instantly see how your settings will affect the image
- built-in Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system activates when the camera powers on and uses high-speed vibrations to clean the sensor for spot-free images
- 81-point autofocus for accurate, high-speed focusing, even when subject is in motion
- AF tracking locks focus and adjusts brightness for sharp captures of moving subjects
- face/eye detection autofocus with face recognition captures up to 8 faces for sharp candids and portraits
- small target autofocus lets you focus on AF points within AF points for accurate focus; magnified AF frame lets you see to adjust focus on distant subjects
- 4 different aspect ratios available for specific framing options without cropping
- digital tele-converter lets you use the touchscreen to zoom in up to 2X on the center for still images, and up to 4X on any area for videos, with minimal degradation
- classic retro-style look and feel
Exposure Modes and Controls:
- continuous shooting mode: up to 8.5 frames per second
- shutter speed range: 60-1/4,000 seconds, bulb
- sensitivity or ISO (film speed equivalent) range: 100-25,600 for crisp, low-noise images in nearly any light
- program auto, shutter-priority, aperture-priority, manual, and fully automatic exposure modes
- mode dial provides quick access to exposure settings
- 25 preset scene modes
- 14 in-camera art filters including pop art and soft focus, plus 9 in-camera art effects including pin-hole effect
- 6 bracketing functions include ISO, white balance, flash, art filter, and HDR post process let you choose the best shot from a series of images
- in-camera editing of JPEG and RAW files
- live bulb and live time modes display the scene on the LCD screen at set intervals so you can keep tabs on your exposure while the shutter is still open
- flash sync at 1/250 seconds or less
File Formats and Storage:
- still image storage modes: JPEG, RAW, and RAW+JPEG, MPO (for 3D lens recording)
- top JPEG resolution (pixels): 4,608 x 3,456
- AVC/H 2.64 HD movies and Motion-JPEG files with stereo sound
- shoots HD video up to 1920 x 1080 resolution
- records photos and video onto optional SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards
Connections and Dimensions:
- high-speed USB 2.0 interface
- micro HDMI (Type D) output (cable not included)
- 4-5/8"W x 2-3/4"H x 1-1/2"D
- weight (with memory card and battery): 11.5 oz.
- Fl-LM1 flash
- USB cable
- rechargeable BLS-50 lithium ion battery
- battery charger
- shoulder strap
- body cap
- Olympus Viewer 3 software CD-ROM
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- E-PL8 camera body (white)
- BC-2 Body cover (installed)
- MCC-1 Hot shoe cover (installed)
- BLS-50 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (7.2V 1210mAh)
- BCS-5 Battery charger (DC output: 8.35V 0.4A)
- 6' AC power cord (non-polarized C7 plug)
- FL-LM1 Flash unit
- Cloth pouch for flash unit
- 54" USB cable (Type A USB on one end and proprietary connector on other end)
- Neck strap
- Olympus Setup CD-ROM disc
- Basic Manual
- Warranty Card
- Power plug information
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Features and Specs
|LCD Screen Size||3"|
|Lens 35mm Equivalent||None included|
|Sensor Size||Four Thirds|
|Image Stabilization||Sensor Shift|
|Highest Resolution||4608 x 3456|
|Video Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Weight With Battery (ounces)||9.6|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
Olympus PEN: In 1959, Olympus introduced the PEN, a camera with the photographic optics of an SLR (single-lens reflex) camera with the size and simplicity of a point-and-shoot camera. The PEN was re-introduced in 2009 as the fully digital E-P1 with interchangeable lenses and multimedia capabilities with simple controls. The new PEN E-PL8 features a 3" Touch Screen monitor and fast 8.5 fps sequential shooting. This kit includes the E-PL8 body, the FL-LM1 external flash unit, a rechargeable battery, and battery charger. No lens is included with this "body only" kit.
Micro Four Thirds Mount: The camera features a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, making it compatible with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital Micro Four Thirds lenses. With the optional MMF-3 adapter, it is possible to mount any existing Four Thirds lens on this Micro Four Thirds digital camera.
Recording Media: You can record still images and movies onto SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards including UHS-I compatible cards. (Class 10 cards or better are recommended for movie recording.) Eye-Fi cards, with built-in wireless LAN functionality, are also compatible.
Image Pickup Device: The PEN E-PL8 uses a 4/3" Live MOS sensor (17.3mm x 13.0mm) with approximately 17.2-million total pixels and 16.05-million effective pixels. The Live MOS sensor is complimented by Olympus' TruePic VII Image Processor for clear, true-to-life images.
Dust Reduction System: The E-PL8's built-in Dust Reduction System helps to eliminate unwanted spots on your images. When you turn on the camera, the patented Supersonic Wave Filter silently vibrates, shaking off and collecting dust particles that may accumulate on the sensor.
3" Tilting Touch LCD: You can use the camera's 3" Tilting Touch LCD monitor for framing your shots and viewing your digital pictures and videos. The 3:2 LCD has approximately 1,040,000 dots, and can tilt upward to 80° for shooting from low angles and downward to 180° for overhead shots and self-portraits. It also features an electrostatic capacitance touch screen. Touch controls include: Touch Shutter Release, Touch Enlargement, Touch Live Guide, AF Area Selection, AF Area Enlargement, Touch Super Control Panel, Touch Art Filter selection, Frame Playback forward/backward and more.
Optional Viewfinders: The PEN E-PL8 has a top-mounted hot shoe that allows you to add optional viewfinders. The VF-1 is an optical viewfinder, while the VF-4 is an electronic viewfinder. The VF-4 automatically switches on (and turns off the LCD monitor) when you look through it. Since the optional viewfinders use the hot shoe, you cannot use the included FL-LM1 flash unit at the same time.
Live Guide: The easy-to-use Live Guide control allows you to see the effect of various adjustments on your shot before you take it. In the iAuto mode, the Live Guide lets you change color saturation, color image, brightness, blur background, and express motions, and see how the adjustments affect the outcome of your picture. The Live Guide also gives you framing tips, and tips for photographing children, pets, flowers, and food.
Image Recording Formats: The E-PL8 records digital still images in JPEG format, as well as RAW uncompressed images. RAW images can be processed into JPEG files in the camera or using the supplied software. You can record audio with still images in WAV format. Movies are recorded in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 and Motion JPEG with 16-bit PCM stereo audio at a 48 kHz sampling rate.
Still Image File Sizes: The PEN E-PL8 allows you to shoot still images in 3 sizes (Small, Middle, Large) with your choice of 4 compression modes: Super Fine (1/2.7 compression), Fine (1/4), Normal (1/8), and Basic (1/12). RAW images can be recorded only in 4608 x 3456 resolution with loss-less compression (approximately 1/1.5 compression). The available image sizes for each aspect ratio are as follows:
|Large||4608 x 3456||4608 x 2542||4608 x 3072||3456 x 3456||2592 x 3456|
|Middle||3200 x 24000||3200 x 1800||3216 x 2144||2400 x 2400||1824 x 2432|
|Small||1280 x 960||1280 x 720||1296 x 864||960 x 960||720 x 960|
Movie Modes: Movies can be recorded in two formats: MOV and AVI. MOV format movies feature MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video at 30 fps with stereo PCM audio, while AVI format movies feature Motion JPEG video at 30 fps with stereo PCM audio. The following recording modes are available:
|Record Mode||Pixel Count||File Format||Application|
|Full HD Fine |
|1920 x 1080 / 30p||MPEG-4 AVC/H.164||Display on TVs and other devices|
|Full HD Normal |
|1920 x 1080 / 30p|
|HD Fine |
|1280 x 720 / 30p|
|HD Normal |
|1280 x 720 / 30p|
|HD (16:9)||1280 x 720 / 30p||Motion JPEG||For computer playback or editing|
|SD (4:3)||640 x 480 / 30p|
Built-in Wi-Fi: You can use the wireless LAN functions on the camera to share and transfer images wirelessly, and operate the camera remotely from a Wi-Fi-connected smartphone. The smartphone must be running the Olympus Image Share (OI.Share) application, available from Google Play for Android devices (version 4.0 and up) and from iTunes for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (iOS 8.0 and later). Up to 4 devices can be simultaneously connected via QR code. In addition, you can add location information to your images when using a smartphone with a GPS function. The wireless LAN function on the camera cannot be used to connect to a home or public access point.
Image Stabilization: The E-PL8 utilizes mechanical (sensor shift-type) image stabilization to automatically compensate for camera shake in low-light situations or when using a telephoto lens. With image stabilization on, the effect is equivalent to 3 EV steps (Olympus in-house measurements). You can choose from the following stabilization modes:
- Off: Image stabilizer is off.
- S-IS1 (Auto): Image stabilizer on (still images)
- S-IS2 (Vertical IS): Image stabilization applies only to vertical camera shake. Use when panning horizontally. (still images)
- S-IS3 (Horizontal IS): Image stabilization applies only to horizontal camera shake. Use when panning the camera horizontally with the camera held in portrait orientation. (still images)
- M-IS1 (Movie-I.S): In addition to Auto image stabilization, camera shake that occurs when shooting while walking is also reduced. (movies)
- M-IS2 (Auto): Image stabilization applies to camera shake in all directions. (movies)
Shooting Modes: Using the top-mounted Mode Dial, you can choose from the following shooting modes:
- iAuto: A full auto mode in which the camera automatically optimizes settings for the current scene. The Live Guide lets you make creative adjustments, and view them on the monitor before you take the shot.
- Photo Story: Photo Story lets you shoot a normal, everyday scene from multiple viewpoints and combine them into one image.
- Program Shooting: Shoot using an aperture and shutter speed that the camera sets.
- Aperture Priority: Set the aperture manually, and the camera sets the shutter speed automatically.
- Shutter Priority: Set the shutter speed manually between 1/4000 to 60 seconds, and the camera sets the aperture automatically.
- Manual: Set the shutter speed and aperture manually. In this mode, you can shoot with long exposure times (Bulb and Time Modes).
- Art Filter: You can select from the following Art Filters: Pop Art (2 versions), Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color (2 versions), Light Tone, Grainy Film (2 versions), Pin Hole (3 versions), Diorama (2 versions), Cross Process (2 versions), Gentle Sepia, Dramatic Tone (2 versions), Key Line (2 versions), Watercolor (2 versions), Vintage (3 versions), Partial Color (3 versions), and Art Filter Bracketing.
- Scene Modes: You can select from the following Scene Modes: Portrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Sport, Hand-Held Starlight, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Macro, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Documents, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Fisheye Effect, Wide-Angle, Macro, 3D photo, and Panning.
- Movie Shooting Modes: While shooting movies, you can add effects, such as Multi-Echo, One-shot Echo, Art Fade, and Movie Tele-converter.
Picture Modes (Processing Options): The camera lets you select image tones to create unique image effects. For each picture mode, you can fine-adjust the image parameters, such as contrast and sharpness. The Picture Modes include:
- iEnhance: produces more impressive-looking pictures matched to the scene mode
- Vivid: produces vivid colors
- Natural: produces natural colors
- Muted: produces flat tones
- Portrait: produces beautiful skin tones
- Monotone: produces black and white tones
- Custom: lets you select one of the above modes, set the parameters, and register the setting.
- e-Portrait: produces smooth skin textures (not for bracket photography or movies)
- Underwater: produces colors suited to the underwater scene
- Art Filter: choose an art filter (listed above in Shooting Modes) to obtain the desired effect
Focus Modes: The PEN E-PL8 uses automatic focusing and manual focusing. You can select Single-AF (when shutter pressed halfway), Continuous-AF (always focusing), or Manual (turning the focus ring). You can also fine-adjust the focus manually by turning the focus ring after AF is performed in the S-AF mode (S-AF+MF). If you have a moving subject, you can use the AF Tracking feature (C-AF+TR). In this mode, the camera will track and maintain focus on the subject while the shutter button is held halfway.
Auto-Focus Target: The camera has 81 Auto-Focus targets (9 vertical columns x 9 horizontal rows) for focusing on the subject. In the All-Target AF mode, the camera automatically chooses from the full set of 81 AF targets. In the Single-Target AF mode, you can manually select one AF target for accurately focusing on the subject after composing the shot. In the Small Target or Group Target modes, the camera automatically chooses from the targets in the selected group.
ISO Settings: The sensitivity can be set automatically or manually. You can set the default and upper limits for Auto ISO. The manual ISO sensitivity ranges from Low (about ISO 100), ISO 200 to 25600 and Low, with selectable ISO steps of 1 EV or 1/3 EV.
White Balance: Color reproduction depends upon light conditions. You can choose from 4 options for setting the white balance:
- Auto: For General Use, used for most light conditions
- Preset: You can choose from the following presets:
- 5300K: for shooting outdoors on a clear day, for sunset/sunrise, or fireworks
- 7500K: for shooting outdoors in the shadows on a clear day
- 6000K: for shooting outdoors on a cloudy day
- 3000K: for shooting under a tungsten light
- 4000K: for shooting under fluorescent lighting
- 4500K: for shooting under a neutral white fluorescent lamp
- Underwater: for underwater photography
- 5500K: for flash shooting
- Custom: Color temperature set in the custom white balance menu (between 2000K and 14000K)
- One-Touch: Color temperature set by the one-touch WB method
Sequential Shooting: In addition to shooting single frames, the E-PL8 can also shoot multiple images for as long as the shutter button is pressed. When the camera is set to Sequential H, up to 64 images are taken at about 7.1 frames per second (8.5 fps with Image Stabilization off). In Sequential L mode, images are taken at about 3.7 fps. Focus and exposure are fixed at the values for the first frame in each sequence. When shooting RAW images, up to 20 frames can be recorded in Sequential L, and 16 in Sequential H modes.
Self-Timer: The Self-Timer lets you take pictures after a preset amount of time. You can choose from 2 seconds or 12 seconds. Self-timer Custom lets you set the number of frames to be shot (1-10), length of delay (1-30 seconds) and interval between shots (0.5, 1, 2, or 3 seconds).
Bulb/Time Shooting: The PEN E-PL8 can take extra long exposures with Bulb and Time photography. When the camera is set to Bulb, the shutter remains open as long as the shutter button stays pressed. When set to Time, the shutter opens when the shutter release is pressed fully and closes when the shutter release is pressed fully a second time. Use of a tripod and remote cable (RM-UC1) are recommended for Bulb and Time Photography.
Interval Shooting: You can take a series of photos over a period of time. You can shoot 1 to 99 shots at intervals of 1 second to 24 hours. You can convert the series of pictures into a time-lapse movie. The maximum time-lapse movie length is 10 seconds for 99 shots.
Flash Modes: The E-PL8 does not have a built-in flash. It includes an external flash unit (FL-M1) that attaches to the camera's hot shoe. With the flash attached, you can select from several flash modes: Auto, Fill in flash, Red-eye reduction flash, Slow synchronization (1st curtain), Slow sync (1st curtain) with Red-eye reduction, Slow synchronization (2nd curtain), Manual, and Flash off. You can also manually set the intensity of the flash between -3.0EV to +3.0EV.
Optional Flash Units: Optional flash units that can be used with the E-PL8 include FL-14, FL-900R, FL-600R, and FL-300R, as well as RF-11 Ring Flash, TF-22 Twin Flash, and FC-1 Macro Flash Controller.
Bracketing: To increase your chances of getting the perfect exposure in difficult shooting conditions, you can set the camera to take a number of photos at different exposure values for each frame. Frames are shot at optimum exposure, plus pictures adjusted in the opposite directions of exposure. You can perform bracketing in the following ways:
- AE Bracket: Two, three, five, or seven frames are shot using automatic exposure. You can set the compensation value to 0.3 EV, 0.7 EV, or 1.0 EV.
- WB Bracket: Three frames are shot using different white balances; one at specified WB, one adjusted toward amber-blue color, and the other toward green-magenta. You can set the bracketing adjustments in 2, 4, or 6 steps.
- FL Bracket: Three frames are shot with different flash intensity. Compensation values can be set at 0.3 EV, 0.7 EV, or 1.0 EV.
- ISO Bracket: Three images are taken, each with different ISO sensitivity, with shutter speed and aperture fixed. Compensation values can be set at 0.3 EV, 0.7 EV, or 1.0 EV.
- Art Bracketing: Each time the shutter is released, the camera records multiple images, each with a different Art Filter setting.
- HDR Bracketing: The camera records multiple images, each with a different exposure for HDR imaging.
Metering Modes: There are 5 ways to measure the subject brightness:
- Digital ESP: Camera measures light levels and calculates the differences in 324 separate areas of the image.
- Center-Weighted Average: Camera provides the average metering between the subject and background lighting, placing more weight on the subject in the center.
- Spot: Camera meters a very small area (about 2% of the frame) around the center of the subject.
- Spot with Highlight Control: If overall background is bright, the camera shifts toward over-exposure so white areas don't turn gray.
- Spot with Shadow Control: If overall background is dark, the camera shifts toward under-exposure so black areas don't turn gray.
Face Detection: The camera will detect people's faces in the frame and adjust the focus and metering automatically.
Multiple Exposures: The E-PL8 can overlay multiple frames and save the result as a single image. You can overlay an image while taking a picture, or overlay a recorded (RAW) image in playback mode.
Photo Playback: You can play back images one at a time, or in an index display of 4, 9, 25, or 100. You can also display images recorded on the memory card by date (calendar display). While in single image playback, the image can be magnified to 2x, 3x, 5x, 7x, 10x, or 14x for a closer look.
Playback On TV: The PEN E-PL8 allows you to play back your still images or movies on a TV. The camera has a Micro HDMI (Type D) connector for playback on an HDTV with an optional Micro HDMI-to-HDMI cable. You can set the HDMI output resolution to 1080i, 720p, or 480p (576p for PAL). The camera also offers a composite video output, using the supplied A/V cable plugged into the camera's Multi-connector.
HDMI Control: When HDMI Control is set to "On", the camera can be operated by a TV remote control when it is connected to the TV via HDMI. The TV must support HDMI control. During single-frame playback, you can display or hide the information display and the index display.
PictBridge Printing Capability: Using the supplied USB cable, you can connect this camera directly to a PictBridge compliant printer, regardless of brand.
Power Options: The E-PL8 is powered by the supplied BLS-50 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (7.2 volts, 1210mAh, 8.5Wh). The battery charges in approximately 3 hours 30 minutes in the supplied BCS-5 battery charger. The BLS-50 battery is good for approximately 350 shots on a single charge.
Accessory Port Options: The rear-mounted Accessory Port can be used for optional accessories such as the VF-2 or VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder, or the Olympus Penpal (PP-1), which lets you wirelessly transfer images and movies to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
Olympus Viewer 3 Software: The PEN E-PL8 includes Olympus Viewer 3 software on CD-ROM for Windows and Macintosh operating systems. The software lets you do the following:
- Import images and videos taken by the E-PL8 camera
- View, edit, and manage images and videos
- Organize images into folders, albums, people, and timelines
- Process and print images
- Assist you in selecting the best shot from a large number of images using color marks, and selection and light boxes.
System Requirements: The Olympus Viewer 3 software is compatible with the following operating systems:
- Windows Vista (SP2), Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10
- Mac OS X v10.8 - v10.12
USB Mass Storage Class: The camera supports USB Mass Storage Class, allowing you to transfer images to a computer with the provided USB cable. The following operating systems are compatible with the USB connection:
- Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista
- Mac OS X version 10.8 - 10.11
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