Olympus PEN E-PL9 hands-on review

A familiar design but a handful of useful upgrades on the inside. We get our hands on the latest addition to the PEN stable

Early Verdict

The E-PL9 marks a steady evolution of Olympus’s PEN series, although it's designed more for influencers and memory keepers than for keen photographers.


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    4K video recording

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    Smart design

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    Fast AF (albeit contrast-detect)


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    Sensor is still 16MP

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    No built-in viewfinder

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    Price compared to OM-D E-M10 III

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UPDATED 21/11/2018: The new Olympus E-PL9 is squarely targeted at smartphone users who want to step up to a serious camera, but don’t want to be intimidated by the complex technicalities of high-spec cameras. 

This target market means the E-PL9 is largely reliant on its tilting touchscreen display and graphical interface, as well as its auto-first operation. There’s no viewfinder, but smartphone upgraders won’t miss what they’ve never had, and they will appreciate the ability to grab a quick selfie simply by flipping the rear screen down through an 180º angle. If you've ever tried getting a selfie with a ‘proper’ camera, you'll know how painful it can be without this feature.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com