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Which battery does the Olympus E-PL7 take?

The Olympus PEN E-PL7 is a digital mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that features a 15.9MP sensor. It is powered by the Olympus BLS-50, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery pack. Lithium-Ion batteries offer a high energy density and low self-discharge, and are nowadays found in many portable electronic devices.

Battery Pack

The BLS-50 operates at a voltage of 7.2V and has a capacity of 1175mAh. It can be charged from a standard electrical outlet via the Olympus BCS-5 charger (that can be purchased separately, for example, at amazon). The battery pack measures 56mm in width, 13mm in height, and 36mm in depth. It weighs 45g. The BLS-50 has been on the market since August 2014 and sells at good camera retailers, such as amazon, for about $60. Generic alternatives (see below) that are compatible with the Olympus PEN E-PL7 can be obtained at substantially lower cost.

What is the difference between the BLS-50 and the BLS-5?

The Olympus BLS-50 was preceded as a battery pack for digital cameras by the BLS-5. Both types operate at a similar voltage and are fully interchangeable, so that the BLS-5 can also be used with the Olympus E-PL7. The main difference between the two packs is their capacity. The BLS-50 has a 2.1 percent higher mAh value (1175 vs 1150 mAh) and, hence, somewhat better performance (2.1 percent more shots per battery charge) than the BLS-5.

How many shots can I take with a fully charged BLS-50?

The number of shots that one can get out of a battery pack depends heavily on the style and imaging practice of the photographer. For example, the extended use of the LCD screen for framing or reviewing will result in reduced battery performance.

BLS-50

The Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) has established guidelines (click here to download the pdf-document) that manufacturers are supposed to respect when reporting the battery life of their cameras. According to this CIPA-rating, the Olympus E-PL7 can take 350 images on a single charge. Given the relatively demanding energy usage of the CIPA procedures, this rated number should be achievable or be surpassed in most practical situations. However, if the environment is cold, the LCD screen is used heavily, or the camera is turned on and off frequently, battery mileage might drop below the rating. Also, as the battery pack ages, its performance will tend to deteriorate.

What about generic battery packs?

Olympus sells the original BLS-50 pack at quite a steep price. This premium pricing strategy has left room in the market for third party suppliers to offer fully compatible battery packs at much lower prices. Savings from buying generic replacement batteries can amount up to 70 percent of the price of the genuine battery pack.

Olympus BLS-50 Specifications

  • Battery type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack
  • Compatibility: Olympus E-PL7 & other selected Olympus cameras
  • Voltage: 7.2V DC
  • Capacity: 1175mAh or 350 shots (CIPA) with the Olympus E-PL7
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 56 x 13 x 36mm
  • Weight: 45g

Indeed, one can easily find a variety of competitively-priced BLS-50 replacements from different vendors at major online platforms (see, for example, here on eBay). All these generic alternatives should work fine with your Olympus E-PL7. So why would anybody then buy the more expensive original battery? Well, below are some arguments in favor of the genuine BLS-50, which can perhaps be summarized as "peace of mind":

  • Assurance that the warranty of the camera will not be rendered void if a battery-related failure occurs;
  • Assurance that the battery pack will indeed have the stated capacity;
  • Assurance that the battery will have low self-discharge rates and, thus, will hold its charge even when not in use;
  • Assurance that the power unit will not trigger any warning messages on the camera and can be effectively charged with the standard charger;
  • Assurance that the manufacturing process has respected the safety guidelines for Lithium-Ion batteries;

If you can live without these assurances, then you are in for some nice savings from buying generic replacements for the BLS-50. Unfortunately, the market for generic battery packs is rather fluid, with new trade names popping up regularly while others disappear. Hence it is difficult to keep track of all the suppliers and the quality of their products. That said, in North America, battery packs from Wasabi have gained a good reputation, while in Europe, replacement power packs from Patona have received many favorable reviews. In any case, the existing comparisons tend to find that the cheapest of the generic replacement packs score worse in terms of achieving their rated capacity, holding their charge over time, or allowing for a large number of charge-discharge cycles than somewhat pricier battery packs (or the genuine Olympus offer). Thus, the old adage, "If the price sounds too low to be true, it probably is" has some merit with respect to camera batteries also. You can check the current offers and prices for the original BLS-50 and its clones by using the buttons below.

ebay amazon


Which other cameras use the Olympus BLS-50 or the BLS-5?

The Olympus E-PL7 is not alone in using the BLS-50 or the BLS-5. Several other cameras from Olympus are powered by the same type of lithium-ion pack. The adjacent table lists some of them along with a selection of their headline specifications.

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Cameras using the BLS-50 or the BLS-5
# Camera
Model
Battery
(name)
Battery life
(CIPA)
Sensor Size
(type)
Resolution
(MP)
Weight
(g)
Camera
Launch
Launch Price
(USD)
Street Price
(USD)
1Olympus E-M5 IIIBLS-50310Four Thirds20.2414Oct 20191,199i
2Olympus E-M10BLS-5320Four Thirds15.9396Jan 2014699i
3Olympus E-M10 IIBLS-50320Four Thirds15.9390Aug 2015799i
4Olympus E-M10 IIIBLS-50330Four Thirds15.9410Aug 2017649i
5Olympus E-M10 IVBLS-50360Four Thirds20.2383Aug 2020699i
6Olympus E-P3BLS-5330Four Thirds12.2369Jun 2011799i
7Olympus E-P7BLS-50360Four Thirds20.2337Jun 2021799i
8Olympus E-PL2BLS-5280Four Thirds12.2362Jan 2011599i
9Olympus E-PL3BLS-5300Four Thirds12.2313Jun 2011599i
10Olympus E-PL5BLS-5360Four Thirds15.9325Sep 2012599i
11Olympus E-PL6BLS-5360Four Thirds15.9325May 2013599i
12Olympus E-PL7BLS-50350Four Thirds15.9357Aug 2014599i
13Olympus E-PL8BLS-50350Four Thirds15.9357Sep 2016549i
14Olympus E-PL9BLS-50350Four Thirds15.9380Feb 2018549i
15Olympus E-PL10BLS-50350Four Thirds15.9380Oct 2019599i
16Olympus E-PM1BLS-5330Four Thirds12.2265Jun 2011499i
17Olympus E-PM2BLS-5360Four Thirds15.9269Sep 2012499i
18Olympus Stylus 1BLS-54101/1.711.8402Oct 2013699i
19Olympus Stylus 1sBLS-504501/1.711.8402Apr 2015699i

Olympus BLS-50 FAQ

The BLS-50 is the standard power source for the Olympus E-PL7. As such it is an indispensable camera accessory. Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular aspects of the battery pack and Lithium-Ion power units more generally.

Is there a car charger available for the BLS-50?

Olympus does not offer a travel charger, but third party suppliers do (see here on eBay).

Is the BLS-50 available in colors other than gray?

No, Olympus supplies this battery pack only in gray. However, some generic alternatives from third party providers might be available in other colors.

Can I use the BLS-50 in any of my other electronic devices?

No, the battery is specifically designed for use in the Olympus E-PL7 and other selected cameras from Olympus.

How should the BLS-50 be stored?

Lithium-ion batteries can hold a charge for a long time. However, these battery packs have a safety mechanism built-in that disables any re-charge if the voltage drops below a certain minimum level. To avoid this safety-trigger to be activated, the battery pack should be charged at least once every few months.

How should I discard my old battery pack?

The contents of Lithium-Ion batteries is under pressure and the packs can explode if exposed to extreme heat. Lithium-Ion battery units should therefore never be incinerated and should not be thrown into the household trash, but put into the recycling stream. Most places that sell camera batteries will also accept them back for recycling.

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