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A Beginner’s Guide To The Olympus Pen E-PL7

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I promised you this post sometime back when people cooked in cauldrons and picked wild berries for dinner and HEY LOOK, I’m finally writing it.

It’s a quick Hannah Gale overview of everything you need to know about the Olympus Pen E-PL7, which is the camera I use for all my blog photography as well as for filming my YouTube videos.

(I tend to stick to good ol’ iPhone 7 camera snaps for my Instagram but an Olympus pic does creep through every now and then).

I’m also going to give you a quick outline of the three different lenses I own and what I use them for.

And just a heads up – this is a review from a girl who has no idea about aperture or f stops or any of that technical photography stuff. Perfect if you know as much about photography as you do dragon species, not so perfect if you want something a bit more detailed and, er, professional.

So yeah, let’s get cracking…

THE OLYMPUS PEN E-PL7

I first bought this camera back in November 2015 on the back of some great reviews from other bloggers – and 18 months down the line am now on my THIRD. Lol. Hashtag well done Hannah. (They’re v robust little cameras – one of mine was stolen and the other was dropped approx 478456 times).

Despite Olympus releasing an updated version last year (the E-PL8 – which is a touch more expensive) the E-PL7 still available online although it seems to go in and out of stock fairly regularly. At the time of writing this it’s available at Jessops for £429 – although it’s always worth checking the Olympus shop where you can snap it up for £399.

 

THINGS THAT I LOVE ABOUT IT

– It’s super compact compared to a big ol’ hunky DSLR which means it fits into most of my bags and is ideal for capturing content whilst on the go or traveling. It’s also quite easy on the eyes and I’ve had a few strangers on the street compliment me on it.

– I find the battery lasts ages – with weekly vlogging, outfit photo snapping sessions and the odd sit-down video, I tend to charge it maybe once or twice a week and it doesn’t need long to get back up to full charge.

– The screen flips up or down which makes it great for taking flat lays as well as for vlogging (it does however not flip out to the side which means you need an attachment if you want to be able to see the screen and have it screwed onto a tripod).

– It has built-in wifi which means you can instantly transfer images to your phone without having to whack the memory card into a computer (great if you want to use them on social media ASAP).

– There’s a setting which means you can touch the screen to tell the camera where you want it to focus which is pretty jazzy if you cba to mess about with the settings (or you want to try and train your boyf to take photos of you).

– With the right lens it’s super ideal for photography novices. I’ve had photos I’ve LOVED taken of me by people like my brother who let’s be honest probs hasn’t used a camera since you used to pop to Boots for one-hour developing. It’s a great first proper foray into blogging photography.

THINGS I DON’T LOVE ABOUT IT

– The filming quality just isn’t as great as other point and shoot cameras. And I know a lot of other vloggers prefer the Canon g7x. It also has a pretty small record button which you can sometimes *think* you’ve pressed and then lol no OK no biggie I just spent 10 minutes recording nothing. It also clips off about half a second either side of the video recording so you need to allow yourself extra filming time.

– I sometimes feel like the white balance is off (which is basically to do with the colour) – and even when I take it off auto, I can still never get it quite to a place where the photo exactly matches what I can see with my eye.

– It’s hard to work out which lenses are worth the investment. I’m not sure if this is the same with all lenses and camera combos, but I would ADORE to be able to go to an Olympus shop and test lenses to work out how they all work. You CAN rent them online before you buy, but it’s pretty pricey. My friend Debs has also done a post playing around with 10 different lenses which is well worth a little gander.

 

THE 14-42 PANCAKE KIT LENS

kit lens

When you buy an EPL-7 you can either buy it body only (without a lens) or with a 14-42 kit lens which comes in a normal version or a pancake version – which basically means it’s flattened and takes up less room.

This is the lens I film on and I rarely tend to use it for much else. Whilst it’s slightly crisper than an iPhone snap, it’s still a very flat image that looks relatively basic.

It’s well worth having a basic lens, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to buy it separately from the camera as it costs £329.99 on its own (which, given you can spend less than £100 more and get the lens AND the camera, seems a bit silly).

THE 45MM LENS

45mm

If you only buy one additional lens for your Olympus Pen, you have to make it this one. Not only is it reasonable cheap in comparison to other available lenses (from about £160 if you shop around), it’s also the lens I use for all outfit photography and product photography and the lens that gives that divine blurred background.

I can’t deny that it instantly made my blog look much more professional and from a business perspective the moment I invested in this was the moment I found brands taking notice of what I was doing.

The one disadvantage is that the lens is SUPER zoomed in, which means you have to stand quite far away from what you’re shooting, but I don’t find that holds me back too much.

You can shop the 45mm lens from Curry’s for £199 or Park Cameras for £159.

THE 17MM LENS

17mm

This is the newest lad to join team HG, and one that I’d been deliberating for months when I spied some awesome sample shots from Katy English.

The way I’d describe this lens is like the kit lens but better. You don’t have to stand half a mile away from the thing you’re photographing, but the image quality is just so much nicer and more profesh looking than the 14-42 lens.

It doesn’t do a blurred background quite the way the 45mm does, but it’s a great middle man – really ideal for both interior shots and travel shots and I’m hoping to get loads of use out of it when we head to Cali next week. So I’ll let ya know how it goes!

(Like a complete freakin’ knob, I didn’t shop around for this lens and paid around the £430 mark, but one quick look on Google tells me that you can get it for £370 from John Lewis or £309 from Park Cameras).

 

I hope that was helpful for someone out there! If you’d like a more detailed insight into how to get the most from your Olympus Pen E-PL7, there’s a great post on it over here.



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