Olympus, an established brand to micro four thirds system cameras, recently came out with the PEN Lite E-PL6 which they say is the low-cost alternative to their OM-D E-M5 or their equally new E-P5. The PEN Lite E-PL6 seems to be headed to the Asian market only and we were able to briefly play with it.
Design-wise the E-PL6 looks a bit less retro than its older brothers. It’s smaller with a detachable rubber handle grip (not shown) but still encased in an all-metal body. Buttons and dials are littered all over its body which may seem confusing to some but is actually convenient if you get used to it, which I did in just a short time.
The dials, particularly at the back, are designed so you can have quick access to shutter speed and aperture when shooting in Manual which I particularly like. ISO control is further embedded within the menu though and requires a few clicks but you can assign it to a Quick programmable button should you wish to. There’s also a dedicated button near the top to easily shoot Full HD videos.
This camera doesn’t have a built-in flash so you have to rely on an external one you that you can attach to its hotshoe, which can also accept an optional electronic viewfinder accessory or a flash strobe.
The swivel LCD touchscreen at the back has a below-average resolution of 460k although I still find the images projected on it quite sharp. This camera allows for some touchscreen modes ““ you can turn it off to prevent accidental touches, only use the touchscreen for focusing, or only use it to access onscreen menus. The swiveling screen also makes it easy for me to stay behind photographers and just take shots overhead without any problem.
Compared to the E-P5, the E-PL6 is just slower at 8 frames per second, no WiFi or that 5-axis stabilization (replaced with a 2-axis digital level guide), and has a lower LCD resolution. Other than that, everything’s intact with its sensor resolution of 16.1 megapixels to go with the TruePic VI image processor. Shutter speed can go as fast as 1/4000 while ISO can go as high as 25600.
It also has some nice features to make for some fun and creative shooting ““ Short Release Time Lag mode that decreases shutter lag to 44 milliseconds, ISO LOW quickly drops ISO to 100, Interval shooting mode can do up to 99 shots over up to 24 hours, and Time Lapse movie will give you some interesting videos. There are also a lot of Art filters you can use to add some artistic flair to your shots.
Here are some sample photos for you to look at:[nggallery id=60]
Overall, I pretty much enjoyed bringing this compact yet powerful camera to events and still able to get decent shots with its 14-42mm (24-84mm eq.) kit lens even in low-light indoor settings. Controls were easy to pick up and focusing was acceptably quick despite the lens having a 3.5 max aperture.
Now the big question here is how much does the E-PL6 cost? Unfortunately, we don’t know yet. It’s not yet even available in the country but we’ll update this review once the distributor is ready to share those information to us.