Over the past couple of weeks, I've had the pleasure of trialing the new Olympus PEN E-PL 8. This is one of the brand's new interchangeable lens cameras and, as you can tell by these images, it is one of the most stylish cameras out there. What I really like about this is that Olympus, unlike some other brands out there, haven't forgone quality for style. I find that others are too scared to pour funds into creating a camera that excels at both those features in fear that their external design won't appeal to the masses.
The lens I was sent to use with the PEN was a 14-42mm. I tested the equipment in a few different environments and in each, the photos turned out quite well. The first was at home, taking some flatlay shots. What I aim for, when taking these kinds of shots, is clarity of each item - I want massive amounts of detail to really bring the photo to life. I definitely got that with the PEN and the proof is in the flatlay image below where I shot a few different makeup products. Usually, since makeup items are generally quite small, the branding becomes pretty much illegible, however, it is clear as day.
The second scenario was late at night on a veranda at an event where the only source of light was coming from inside the venue. I'm pretty sure that the only reason why the photo wasn't 100% clear was
because I had a few too many and couldn't keep my hand steady. But even so, I think the clarity is pretty good for a drunk who couldn't stop giggling. The image stabilisation is incredible and the colours you are able to capture in such low light is surprising.
The third time I took out the PEN was with my friend, Nick Alfie, who so happens to be a wonderful photographer (who also so happens to be exhibiting his work at The Other Art Fair in Waterloo next weekend - tickets here). We went down to La Perouse Beach (very much not aware that there is a nudist beach from next to it, you've been warned) to enjoy and rays and take some snaps. I really loved the vibrancy of the all the shots and how the camera was able to define skin tone automatically. On my DSLR, if I don't adjust my settings right, my skin lights up like glow-in-the-dark stickers.
The last place I tried this camera was at my parent's home. I absolutely love my dogs and love taking photos of them - the only thing is that they tend to always move away when I put a camera in front of their face which means that a lot of my photos turn out to be a massive blur of black, white or grey fur. However, the PEN still managed to capture them even when I thought it wouldn't - just don't try to take photos of one little dachshund when he's looking an elusive lizard (example below).
Although all three colours of the PEN are fantastic, my favourite is the white. It comes with the genuine leather strap which is embossed with the model name and you will be able to change the strap when Olympus release their PEN Generation fashion accessories (my eye is on the chain!). I would have loved to try shooting with a portrait lens to test the bokeh or a macro lens to test how much detail it could capture in close range. One feature that I completely forgot to use was the preloaded filters that are usable whilst taking the photo, and I'm kicking myself for it!
Overall, the Olympus PEN E-PL 8 is a great little camera that packs a powerful punch. It would be the perfect travelling companion, weighing only around 374g (pre-lens), making walking around with it so easy when comparing it to a full size DSLR. And with its easy-to-use smartphone linkage, you can post all your photos almost immediately, which is something you need in this fast-paced era.