Olympus has announced the Pen E-PL9, a new model in its Pen Lite series of pocket mirrorless cameras. It’s an updated version of the E-PL8 model released back in 2016 that looks to improve on some of the older camera’s shortcomings while updating some specs for the future.
The E-PL9 keeps the same retro styling that Olympus offered on the E-PL8, but the updated model offers a more substantial grip this time around (one of my colleague Vlad Savov’s complaints about the E-PL8). There’s also an integrated pop-up flash, which seems to be in deference towards more amateur users who are using the E-PL9 as a simple point and shoot and don’t want to bother with attaching a separate flash, along with the ability to record 4K video at 30 fps.
Spec-wise, the E-PL9 features a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor (similar to the previous two generations of the camera) and Olympus’ TruePic VIII processor (borrowed from the flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II). There’s still the same three-axis image stabilization (compared to the OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s five-axis system), and Olympus has upgraded the autofocus from an 81 point system to a 121-point system. Also new is the addition of Bluetooth for sharing pictures directly to a smartphone, in addition to Wi-Fi. And of course, as a Micro Four Thirds camera, the E-PL9 is compatible with Olympus’ wide range of Micro Four Thirds lenses.
The E-PL9, as the cheapest model in Olympus’s Pen series of cameras, seems aimed mostly at smartphone photographers looking to upgrade to a proper interchangeable lens camera. Olympus is once again highlighting its auto mode that helps automate much of the shooting process, and flip-around screen for selfies as key features on the E-PL9 (just like it did on the E-PL8) — but that also means it’ll have to compete with the ever more powerful smartphone cameras that customers already have.
The Olympus Pen E-PL9 is set to release in white, black, or brown colors in Europe sometime in March for €699 (roughly $857.62) in a kit that includes a 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Pancake lens, or just €549 (roughly $673.58) for just the body. No US price or release date has yet been announced, but presumably Olympus will have more information on that in the near future.