Olympus goes for the selfie market with the PEN E-PL7
By Simon Crisp
August 29, 2014
The Olympus PEN E-PL7 is the latest camera to target the selfie-shooting crowd, though this time (thankfully) not by mimicking a perfume bottle like the Sony KW1. Instead the stylish mirrorless camera simply boasts features to make shooting and sharing selfies easier. As such, it includes a dedicated Selfie Mode, a 180-degree downward flip LCD, and built-in Wi-Fi.
The latest addition to the Olympus PEN line-up sticks with the retro-styling we've seen on cameras like the PEN E-P5, and uses a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) Live MOS sensor, paired with a TruePic VII image processor. A three-axis image stabilization system, derived from the one in the Olympus OM-D E-M10, is there to help reduce the blurs caused by camera shake.
The PEN E-PL7 has an ISO range of 200 to 25,600 and is capable of sequential shooting at 8 fps, or 3.5 fps with continuous autofocus with tracking. And it's no slouch when it comes to that autofocus either, as the contrast detection AF system uses 81 points and is said to be Olympus' fastest ever. The camera can also record Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps.
While these specs all suggest the E-PL7 to be a perfectly capable and versatile camera, it's interesting that Olympus is choosing to promote it primarily based on its selfie-friendly credentials. Marketing for the camera is using the three-inch 1,037K dot touchscreen, which tilts 180 degrees downward to make composing self portraits easier, as the big selling point.
When the LCD is tilted to the 180-degree position, the camera activates Selfie Mode. This sees a shutter-release button appear on the touchscreen, with a one-second delay to give you time to strike a pose. Selfie Interval Shooting Mode takes three shots at one-second intervals. If an electronic zoom lens is attached, Selfie Mode will also automatically adjust to the wide-angle position, to help take a shot incorporating the background.
Built-in Wi-Fi makes remote shooting and sharing selfies (or any other photos, for that matter) nice and simple. An updated OI.Share app can be used to set the self-timer or activate Selfie Interval Shooting, along with displaying Live View on the smartphone screen and controlling the camera from there.
Measuring 115 x 67 x 38 mm (4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in) and weighing 357 g (12.6 oz), the E-PL7 is one of the smaller mirrorless cameras, and should be easy to carry around, depending on which lens is attached. On that note, given the choice of compatible Micro Four Thirds Mount lenses, and the shooting versatility they offer, seeing the E-PL7 as a dedicated selfie machine arguably does it a disservice.
The Olympus PEN E-PL7 will be available from late September in black, silver or white for US$600 body-only, or $700 bundled with a 14-42-mm F3.5-F5.6 lens.
You can check out the Olympus PEN E-PL7 in the promo video below.
Product page: Olympus PEN E-PL7