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Olympus E-PL9 Comparison Review

The Olympus PEN E-PL9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was officially introduced in February 2018 and is equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. It offers a resolution of 15.9 megapixel.

camera

Is the Olympus E-PL9 a good camera? The E-PL9 has a Camera Elo of 2503. This rating puts the E-PL9 among the top 50 percent of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (Four Thirds cameras), the E-PL9 ranks among the top 30 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3.5-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-PL9
Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
4K/30p Video
ISO 200 - 6 400 (100 - 25 600)
no viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 1040k dots
Tilting touchscreen
8.6 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
350 shots per battery charge
117 x 68 x 39 mm, 380 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Olympus E-PL9 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Olympus E-PL9 vs credit card front
E-PL9 versus credit card top view
E-PL9 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Olympus E-PL9 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-PL9 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Feb 2018 599i
2.
 
Olympus E-PL10 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Oct 2019 599 i
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 III 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 n Aug 2017 649i
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549i
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649i
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 119 mm 82 mm 46 mm 396 g 320 n Jan 2014 699i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599i
8.
 
Olympus E-P5 122 mm 69 mm 37 mm 420 g 330 n May 2013 999i
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599i
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n Sep 2012 599i
11.
 
Olympus E-PM2 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 269 g 360 n Sep 2012 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Olympus E-PL9 was launched in the US market at a price of $599. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Olympus E-PL9:
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Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Olympus E-PL9 features a Four Thirds sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Olympus E-PL9 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Olympus E-PL9 sensor measures

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of alternatives.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Olympus E-PL9 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
2.
 
Olympus E-PL10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 III Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p........
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
6.
 
Olympus E-M10 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
8.
 
Olympus E-P5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p........
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
11.
 
Olympus E-PM2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The E-PL9 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the E-PL9 can use is 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-PL9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus E-PL9none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-PL10none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 III2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
6.
 
Olympus E-M101440 n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
8.
 
Olympus E-P5optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y
11.
 
Olympus E-PM2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y

The LCD screen on the Olympus PEN E-PL9 is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD can be tilted vertically to facilitate odd-angle shots in landscape orientation. This tilting design is often preferred, for example, by street photographers to a fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment, as it is more unobtrusive during shooting than a screen that flips out to the side.

articulated screen
Flexible screen on the E-PL9

One convenient feature of the E-PL9 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus PEN E-PL9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Olympus E-PL9Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
2.
 
Olympus E-PL10Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
6.
 
Olympus E-M10Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Olympus E-P5Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-PL5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-PM2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the E-PL9 offers wifi support. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-PL9. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-PL9..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2018 599i
2.
 
Olympus E-PL10....4/577/100..4/5 Oct 2019 599 i
3.
 
Olympus E-M10 III..+5/580/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2017 649i
4.
 
Olympus E-PL8........4.5/54/5 Sep 2016 549i
5.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +..80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649i
6.
 
Olympus E-M104/5....80/1005/55/5 Jan 2014 699i
7.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+....5/54/5 Aug 2014 599i
8.
 
Olympus E-P55/5+ +..78/1004.5/55/5 May 2013 999i
9.
 
Olympus E-PL6............ May 2013 599i
10.
 
Olympus E-PL53/5+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
11.
 
Olympus E-PM23/5....77/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus E-PL9 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the E-PL9.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the E-PL9 based on?

The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Olympus equipped the E-PL9 with the TruePic VIII image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the E-PL9?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600.

Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?

Yes, the LCD-screen of the E-PL9 is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Olympus PEN E-PL9?

Olympus does not publish a shutter rating for the E-PL9. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my E-PL9?

Olympus embeds the number of shutter actuations in hidden menus. You can check the number of shots that your E-PL9 has taken up to now by carefully following the steps described on the Olympus E-PL9 shutter count page.

Is completely silent shooting possible with the Olympus E-PL9?

The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Olympus PEN E-PL9 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Olympus E-PL9?

The E-PL9 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Olympus E-PL9 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The E-PL9's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.

Does the Olympus E-PL9 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).

Which battery does the E-PL9 use?

The camera gets its power from the BLS-50 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Olympus E-PL9
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date February 2018
    Launch Price USD 599
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 225 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4 608 x 3 456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 6 400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25 600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VIII
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    V-logging Friendliness Front-flip possible
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 8.6 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs
    Battery Type BLS-50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 117 x 68 x 39 mm
    (4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 380 g (13.4 oz)

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