Lifestyle Photography

Olympus Pen E-PL8 Camera Review

When it comes to cameras, I’ve been a long time fan girl of the Canon EOS DSLR system, owning a 1000D, a 70D and a 6D in the past, but recently, I was on the hunt for a smaller camera which I felt more comfortable taking out with me as my Canon 6D was just too heavy and too conspicuous for me to want to take it out all the time.

Enter the Olympus Pen E-PL8, the blogger’s dream camera.

I had been looking at “best mirrorless camera” lists for weeks, and was almost about to settle on a Sony Mirrorless camera when I remembered looking at Olympus cameras a few years back before I bought the 6D and thinking how great they looked. I originally had my eye on the OMD-10 model, but after checking out the Olympus site and seeing the Pen, I was decided.

I spent a few days reading and watching reviews, especially those from beauty and fashion bloggers and realised this was the camera for me to buy. I was lucky enough to find a shop that did trade ins and ended up trading my old DSLR body and a few lenses for enough store credit to buy the camera and kit lens and a 45mm lens which is currently on back order and I hope to have that in the next few weeks.


I’ve been shooting with traditional DSLRs for such a long time, so it was important that any new camera that I bought had full manual controls as well as the option to change the lenses to suit my needs - the Olympus Pen certainly does all of that and more and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.


  • Interchangeable Lenses: I can use any lens from any manufacturer of micro four thirds lenses as the mounts are all the same which means I have quite a few options at quite a few different price points
  • Flip Out Selfie Screen: I’m a beauty blogger which means I’m constantly taking photos of myself. Sometimes my mobile phone camera just doesn’t cut it in low light situations. Enough said
  • Wifi Transfer: There’s an Android and iOS app available for Olympus which allows you to connect your phone to your camera which is really simple to set up and allows me to transfer photos directly to my phone ready to edit for Instagram. Combine that with the 1:1 ratio which I can set in two seconds on my camera and my Instagram feed just got a thousand times better. You can also use the app as a remote for the camera if you’re taking selfies using a tripod which is handy!
  • Small and compact: I used to get very sore around my neck and shoulders carrying around my old Canon camera since it was so heavy, especially when I had a telephoto lens attached, but this is so light, I feel like I’m not carrying anything at all. I also like that it’s small enough to throw in my handbag and I don’t need a dedicated camera bag for it - although I do have an insert that I use in all of my handbags to keep it protected
  • Great Image Quality: The image quality on this actually blows me away and I do think the images are just as good and sometimes, even better than what I was taking with my old camera, especially when I shoot in RAW and I am able to make adjustments later on in Lightroom
  • Back Touch Screen: I like that I can tap to focus or tap to shoot - it’s just a matter of clicking on a setting right on the screen as I go
  • Auto Setting isn’t all that bad: I know, shooting in Auto doesn’t give you the finite control for the best images out there but when I’m shooting in a well lit indoor location, I’m quite happy to let the camera do the job for me and I haven’t had a complete disaster of a shoot yet. I think once I do get my 45mm lens though, I will go back to shooting almost exclusively in Aperture Priority mode



  • The kit lens: It’s not the worst kit lens in the world but like most other camera kits, they end up shoving the cheapest lens in their line up that meets a customer expected minimum for a lens
  • Selfie Screen Flips Down: You’d think that in marketing this camera to bloggers and vloggers, that they’d have worked out a lot of us use Tripods or stand the camera on something to take selfies or videos and therefore it would be more intuitive that the screen flip up, not down. You can use a tripod extension rod so that the tripod doesn’t get in the way of the screen and it’s not an expensive purchase but geez, it just seems like it was the one thing they didn’t even think about in the design
  • No Viewfinder Accessory included: I know this is aimed at beginner to intermediate photographers and a lot of them aren’t going to need a viewfinder to attach to the hot shoe but I feel like the choice between a flash or a EVF accessory might have been better than just the flash accessory.

I wanted to include some sample photos, so I’ve done so below in a gallery, which you can click to enlarge the picture. These have been minimally edited in Lightroom for Exposure, Contrast & Sharpening.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, all in all, The Olympus Pen E-PL8 is a great little camera for me and I’d recommend it without hesitation to anyone that wants to move up from a basic point and shoot to something with a bit more control to capture everything they could possibly want to snap!

What camera are you currently using? If you’ve got a DSLR, would you consider switching to a mirrorless camera? Talk to me all about cameras in the comments!

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  • Reply
    July 19, 2017 at 4:10 am

    This looks like a great buy! I use my old but trusty Canon 550D that I bought in… 2011? I think? And it does the job for me but I’ve been considering upgrading for a while. I mean, who doesn’t want WiFi transfer capabilities?! That alone would save me so much time. Thanks for the great review!

    Daniela |

  • Reply
    July 19, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Great review, hard to go wrong with an Olympus! xx

  • Reply
    July 19, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Great review….I have been tempted by this before as I currently just use my iPhone!! I have a Sony camera but have never really learnt how to use it! Hubby has a Nikkon but again I really should learn to use it!!! No excuse other than lack of time really! Great pics too! xx

    • Reply
      Jade | The Thirty Blog
      July 19, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      I’ll warn you, once you start learning how to use your camera it becomes addictive! But the iphone takes a good picture too and your blog and insta photos always look great!

  • Reply
    Taslyn Russell
    July 20, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Jade I’ve been toggling between buying this camera or not I think you just sold it to me. Such a great review I had to bookmark it.


    • Reply
      Jade | The Thirty Blog
      July 20, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Taslyn, I’m so glad I could help you! You definitely won’t regret the purchase.

  • Reply
    Rika B (@myrikaness)
    July 20, 2017 at 8:02 am

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about Olympus from my friends.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2017 at 11:40 am

    It seems like a nice camera! I also always use my Canon EOS DSLR but as you said sometimes it’s annoying to travel with because it’s heavy and big…

    • Reply
      Jade | The Thirty Blog
      July 25, 2017 at 6:12 am

      If I was a bit more dedicated to photography, I’d consider keeping the bigger camera but I’m happy I moved to something a bit more compact.

  • Reply
    A Pair of Ones
    July 23, 2017 at 6:24 am

    The Olympus Pens are probably the most trendy looking cameras! We love the quality! It’s so much more compact too for on the go shooting

  • Reply
    How to edit Instagram Photos like a Pro - The Thirty Blog
    September 13, 2017 at 7:02 am

    […] S8 Plus, which has one of the best mobile phone cameras on the market at this time and I have the Olympus Pen E-PL8 which is a micro four-thirds camera with interchangeable lenses. Both cameras have the ability to […]

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