The latest addition to the Olympus PEN series of rangefinder-style cameras, the PEN E-PL9, is targeted at entry-level shooters stepping up from a smartphone.
The new PEN E-PL9 shown in brown with its pop-up flash raised and the monitor in selfie mode. (Source: Olympus.)
A relatively minor update to the PEN E-PL8, which was announced in September 2016, the new camera has the same 16-megapixel M4/3 (17.3x 13.-0 mm) sensor and the same built-in 3-axis shake reduction. Another advantage of the E-PL9 is support for 4K video recording at up to 30fps with the ability to extract still images from the video files. The same frame rate applies to 1080p Full HD recording. The new camera includes the original 16 Olympus original Art Filters plus a new Instant Film filter that creates a nostalgic feel.
The PEN E-PL9 also features the latest True Pic VIII image processor and can support continuous shooting at up to 8.5 fps. It also boasts an enhanced contrast-detect AF system with a 121-point array that covers most of the frame. Focus points can be individually selected via the touch pad on the rear of the camera or by touching the LCD screen. The mode dial now includes an Advanced Photo (AP) mode with direct access to functions like Scene presets, Multiple Exposure, Live Composite, HDR (high dynamic range), Sweep Panorama and Focus Bracketing.
Top view of the PEN E-PL9. (Source: Olympus.)
Physically, the E-PL9 adds a built-in pop-up flash, while retaining the hot-shoe for attaching external flashguns. But the body design has changed little from the earlier model and retains the flip-down monitor for shooting selfies. No viewfinder is included. The hand grip is slightly larger and the control dials are easier to grip. The Touch AF Shutter function makes selfies (self-portraits) easy for both still images and movies. When the monitor is flipped down, it automatically switches to a mirror display where e-Portrait, the shutter, video recording, playback and the custom self-timer can be operated by touching the LCD monitor.
Integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in conjunction with the Olympus Image Share (OI.Share) smartphone app make it easy for users to view and transfer images on the camera to a smartphone. Automatic transfer is also supported and the Share Order button on the back of the camera enables users to transfer selected images to a smartphone for instant sharing once the camera is turned off.
Colour options for the new PEN E-PL9. (Source: Olympus.)
Compact and lightweight, the E-PL9 weighs only 380 grams and measures 117 x 68 x 39 mm. It features a leather-like body cladding with details such as foil stamping and inking on the body and will be offered in white, black, brown, and blue. The PEN E-PL9 will be sold as a kit with the EZ14-42 mm lens for an RRP of AU$1099. It will be available in black, white, and brown from March and blue from June 2018. For details, visit https://www.olympus.com.au/Products/Interchangeable-Lens-Cameras/Olympus-Pen.