Review: Olympus PEN

The Olympus PEN is the much hyped about cross camera offering from Olympus. Bloggers love it and there’s quite an Olympus PEN community. Olympus have had an incredibly successful ambassador programme engaging with bloggers and brands which has helped the camera become the must have of the year! I took mine along with me to London Fashion Weekend and I had a number of bloggers come up to me to ask how I found the camera and how it compared to a DSLR, so I thought it’d be a good idea to share my thoughts about the PEN on here too.

I love my Canon 600D, it’s my trusty blogging companion, my first ever DSRL which I saved up to buy and it revoluntised my blogging. My Canon camera holds a lot of sentimental value for me as it’s the camera which began my passion for photography, so I really wasn’t looking for a new camera at all. 

However in the Summer I saw Topshop were running a number of photography lessons in collaboration with Olympus PEN. I was curious to see if this camera really lived up to the hype, so I signed up and went along to a couple of lessons to pick up some photography tips. The classes were great, I got to meet and learn from Victoria from inthefrow, Pandora Sykes (whose Sunday Times Fashion feature I read religiously) and the super talented Jay McLaughlin.

It was great to get blogging tips on how to create and capture the perfect flat lay and I learnt a lot about aperture from Jay and the different effects which could be achieved with the PEN, including my favourite; the Bokeh effect. I was really impressed with the amazing photography Jay has created with the PEN, for me that, in combination with being able to try out the camera for myself, sealed the deal and I headed to John Lewis to invest in an Olympus Pen EPL7 of my very own.

Compared to my Canon, the PEN is super light and transportable. It’s great to use when out and about as I can easily pop it into my handbag and as a friend remarked it’s even clutch sized so great for a night out.

I’m still experimenting with the PEN, there are a lot of functions and features to get to grips with but it’s fun to take the camera out and about and have a play around. I usually take my DSLR to London Fashion Week but this year I thought I’d travel a little bit lighter so took along my PEN and I felt it really came into its own there. I was really pleased with the shots captured especially for the Henry Holland show where I was on the front row. 

As I say, I’m still getting to grips with all this camera has to offer but there are a number of things I love a about the PEN:

The built in wi-fi lets you upload
pictures onto your phone, iPad/tablet or laptop on the go. It’s a great feature
especially if you’re a blogger and you want to get that picture instantly onto
Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram.

The PEN comes with a flip out screen.
Flip it down and it goes straight into selfie mode, great for selfies
obviously but also vlogging which I’m very tempted to give a go now I have this
camera.  The screen can also flip up to help you when taking a photo at a
difficult angle and the touch screen functionally makes it even easier to
capture that great shot.

The Olympus Image Share photo app is free to
download and once you have it, you can upload your photos from the camera, but
not only that, the app enables your phone to act like a remote control. Great
for taking group photos or selfies and great for filming as your mobile screen
acts as a second camera screen. 

I bought mine with the pancake lens
which not only makes it super compact and transportable, the  lens also
comes with a zoom feature, you just need to twist the textured ring on the lens
to zoom in  and out, such a handy and
versatile lens. 

It’s such a user friendly camera. All
my friends have fallen in love with it and they all want to try it out. With my
DSLR, many friends were a little intimidated by it but with the PEN, they’re asking me
if they can help me take a picture for my blog. 

I have to admit it did take me a little while to get used to the lack of a viewfinder, I’d grown so used to the viewfinder on my Canon, I had to re-train myself into using the digital screen to view the image, but it’s all good now. If you really can’t live without a viewfinder, you can purchase a digital viewfinder separately. There also isn’t a built in flash but the camera came with a separate little flash which you can attach.

I decided to also invest in a strong leather retro strap from Sail Handmade for my camera. I love the strap, the quality is amazing and I can either wear the camera securely all day across my body or slung over one shoulder like a handbag. Sail Handmade have also collaborated with PEN ambassador Julia Rebaudo of lifestyle blog STYLONYLON to create the STYLONYLON Riverted Strap.

So as you will have gathered by now, I’m really happy with this addition to my camera collection. I still love my Canon 600D which I still use for outfit and product photos, but I can’t imagine not taking the PEN out and about with me and it’s a crucial tool for my lifestyle posts.

Are you part of the Olympus PEN community? What are your favourite features of the camera?




  1. October 5, 2015 / 10:31 am

    What a lovely post… I bought this camera last month for the same reasons – Light & easy to travel with. I am still getting to grips with it too compared to my usual DSLR camera but I am enjoying using it. I am just awaiting my strap to arrive from Sail 🙂

  2. Jessica Barrett
    October 5, 2015 / 12:23 pm

    Love this post. Been considering buying one for a while! I think I might have too! Would you use this camera for product and outfit posts if you had another lense maybe? Jess xo

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