What is the Olympus PEN E-PL9?

Olympus was the first manufacturer to launch a retro-inspired digital camera with the original PEN E-P1 back in 2010. Few were sure at the time about making the leap from SLR to this new compact approach, but now in 2018 many are making that leap, (although not all to Olympus) and there’s a massive choice out there.

The E-PL series has done well in the past with the vlogger, blogger and influencer set because of its small size, cool retro looks, fun range of Art filters and great image quality. 

Like the rest of the Olympus PEN series, the E-PL9 is a mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera, which is aimed at photographers who have outgrown their smartphones or aspiring vloggers looking for a simple-to-use, good-quality camera. 

The PEN E-PL9 is the entry-level model in Olympus’s range, and though it shares the same 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor with the PEN E-PL8, it does offer some modest upgrades over its predecessor.

The Olympus PEN E-PL9 price tag is £579.99 for the body only, or £649.99 when you upgrade to the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom lens kit. Which is a great little lens, by the way, and if you are purchasing the E-PL9, it’s worth getting the kit.

The PEN E-PL9 comes in white, black and brown.

Features & Specifications

What’s new with the Olympus PEN E-PL9 vs the PEN E-PL8? To start, there’s now 4K video recording at 30, 25 and 24p, and Full HD video can be recorded at 60p.

To go along with that 4K video recording is a vlogger-friendly 3-inch, 1,040k-dot touchscreen that articulates 80 degrees up or 180 degrees down on its bracket for shooting selfies and vlogs.

Video is an essential feature in 2018, especially for vloggers, so the E-PL9’s 4K at 30fps is quite impressive for a camera of this size and price.

There’s also a new High Speed Video mode for capturing slow-motion movies, a Clips video mode for capturing 4sec movies and you can also add the camera’s Art Filters and a wide range of other effects to your videos.

You’ll also find the addition of Bluetooth connectivity (a first for Olympus cameras), new art filters, more AF points and Oympus’s new TruePic VIII image processor, inherited from the company’s flagship E-M1 Mark II.

As well as popular Olympus stalwarts Live Composite and Live Bulb modes, the E-PL9 also adds new Focus Bracketing (shoot up to 999 frames at different focus differentials, which you can merge into a focus stack in your photo editing software), Sweep Panorama, HDR Backlight and Keystone Compensation (for correcting converging lines in-camera) modes.

These are included in a new Advance Photo (AP) mode on the E-PL9’s shooting mode dial.

Let’s go back to that 3-inch touchscreen because that might have the most appeal to smartphone users and those looking to make vlogs. Like other Olympus cameras the touchscreen is articulated, but with the E-PL9 you have the option when pulling the screen out to flip it down 180 degrees.

This is handy for selfies but it’s also quite useful for shooting vlogs. When you flip the screen down the camera’s direct controls become accessible. You’ll see on-screen buttons to stop and start recording, change exposure settings and more.

Like the E-PL8 the new PEN E-PL9 uses a 3-axis image stabilisation system to keep your stills and video sharp. You’ll also find 121 contrast detection AF points, compared to 81 on the E-PL8.

The E-PL9 offers mechanical and electronic shutters, providing maximum shutter speeds of 1/4000sec and 1/16,000sec, respectively. The electronic shutter can also be quickly accessed via the new AP mode on the camera’s top plate.

Burst shooting is 8.6fps, which is pretty high for a camera at this end of the market. Switch to the electronic shutter, and then suddenly you have 14fps continuous shooting.

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