Olympus debuted their latest addition to the pseudo-retro genre with a new compact interchangeable-lens camera. The refitting of classic designs has grown very popular with rivaling companies like Fuji-film and others in the market.
Though the appearance of the camera may spark nostalgia of earlier times in photography’s history, the tech inside and the price outside will quickly snap you back to reality. The new PEN E-P5 camera from Olympus is an almost perfect blend of classic-stylings and modern technology, but that luxury comes with a hefty price-tag ($999 for the body). It harkens back to the PEN-F series, a 60’s style relic that combined silver and black tones over a minimalistic base that featured many straight-lines and often times crisp corners in the contrasting colors. The idea of mixing former stylings and new technology isn’t completely groundbreaking, though many times with other companies the final product came-of as more of a novelty-joke than a serious contender in today’s market. The E-P5 on the other hand is quite stunning, and fully functional. It’s the perfect marriage, one that reminds me of the new Challenger series from Dodge, who also married former stylings with their latest technology.
With the E-P5 ,the base is metal and true to form with the original series and the reinstatement of actual switches and dials are the perfect accessories to the solid frame. In these dials, rests a perfect union of “retro-upgrading”. The dials are classic in nature but you can customize their exact functions within the camera. The UI to do this is by no means fluid, but it is a perfect solution to utilizing the classic design.
The camera does have modern features of course, hidden away are the built in wi-fi components, the pop-up flash and the tilting LCD screen. Other common Olympus features are present as well, including the image stabilization that was really perfect with the E-M5 series. Add to that the new 1/800th shutter-speed, precise flash synch up to 1/320s, 9FPS sequential shooting and the TruePic VI image processor and you can see why the camera may stand out in a line-up. The price-tag is really the killer decision maker in the line. The camera has a unique shape, and a very particular construction, the novelty may not be worth the $999 price-tag to many users.
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