First look: Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7

First look: Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL7 mirrorless camera.

Pricing unknown. Available next month

Controls and button layout

As the E-PL7 is a mid-range model in this series, it does not have as many buttons and dials as its illustrious OM-D cousins. However, it does have most of the essential controls. All the buttons and dials are on the right. Sorry, left-handers.

On top, there is a metallic Mode dial, a control dial, the shutter release button and the power button.

At the rear of the camera, a dedicated video recording button sits next to the thumb rest.

On the bottom right rear, you will find a four-way controller for quick access to functions such as exposure compensation, shooting speed, and selection of AF points. Overall, the button layout is well thought out and handling is good.

Feel and build

Made of metal and plastic, the camera feels solid despite being quite a lightweight at 357g.

In front is a band which does not feel like faux leather. With a metallic top and base, the body has a more premium feel than the PEN Lite E-PL6.

The contoured rubberised grip in front and a small rear thumb rest allows a good grasp of the camera, even with only one hand. Not even when used with Olympus' M.Zuiko 14-42mm electronic zoom lens does this feel front heavy.

If you tend to get the shakes when shooting selfies single handed, the E-PL7 has a helpful three-axis image stabilisation system to reduce camera shake.

Image sensor

Olympus' PEN Lite E-PL7 uses a 16-megapixel Live MOS image sensor with 81 autofocusing points that cover almost the entire image area.

Using its TruePic VII image processor, the camera is able to shoot at a high speed of 8 frames per second and supports continuous capture of up to 20 RAW frames.


In an earlier model, the PEN Lite E-PL6, the display could flip upwards by 180 degrees. But it could not be flipped all the way or might have its view blocked if you had a flash or electronic viewfinder mounted on the hot shoe.

The E-PL7 gets around this problem by having its 3-inch touchscreen display (1,037,000 dots) flip 180 degrees downwards to give you an unobstructed view of yourself to take selfies more easily.

In addition, the camera has a special touch interface with selfie-optimised camera controls. A virtual shutter release button appears at the bottom of the screen, just like the one on your smartphone, when its display is flipped 180 degrees.

When you tap this virtual button, it allows you a full second to capture the picture, ample time to set up that perfect selfie.

This article was published on Sept 10 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.

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