Skip to Content

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Mirrorless Digital Camera 2020 Detailed Review

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Mirrorless Digital Camera 2020 Detailed Review.

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Mirrorless Digital Camera: Olympus has been producing its PEN line of mirror-less cameras for over a decade. The cameras were designed to be small and lightweight and ultimately their most portable camera, hence the namesake of being “as portable as a pen”.

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Mirrorless Digital Camera

The first PEN E-Px model was released in 2009, and due to the success of the camera, Olympus has released several models, the most recent model being the PEN E-PL7. The PEN E-PL8 builds on the already stellar features and design of its predecessor and is not only a powerful machine that produces brilliant images but is almost a work of art in itself due to its stunning design. 

First Looks 

Olympus’ marketing for the PEN E-PL8 challenges that you “can’t resist the urge to pick it up and hold it”. At first you may think that that is a silly claim for a camera, but when you see it, we’d expect you are immediately impressed by it. 

The body has an elegant design with high-quality materials, the brushed aluminum and luxurious leather contrast beautifully, and gives some mettle to Olympus’ claim that the PEN E-PL8 looks like more than just a camera, but is also an accessory.

It measures only 4.6” x 2.7” x 1.5” and so depending on the lens you are using with it, makes it extremely portable and fits discreetly in most purses and bags. 

The 3″ rear LCD monitor is bright and at 3”, provides almost 100% field of view when reviewing photos. The monitor is a touch screen and can rotate up to 180 degrees – a necessity these days when you’re trying to get that selfie just right.

All the camera functions such as instant-focus, shutter release are usable through the touch screen monitor, which makes it extremely easy to use. 

Image Quality 

The Olympus PEN E-PL8 has a 4/3” Live MOS RGB Sensor, good for an effective 16.1 million pixels (16.1 megapixels). The large and sensitive sensor produces clear, vibrant images with sharp contrast and bright colors. Olympus has also included a Super Sonic Wave Filter to reduce dust and dust spots. 

There’s a wide selection of lenses available with the PEN line of cameras, that when paired with your new camera will take your photos to the next level. Of course, lenses will add significant size to the already compact body of the PEN E-PL8, and they can be extremely expensive, so you want to make sure you choose your lenses wisely. 



Olympus recommends three lenses for users to begin with the PEN E-PL8. For everyday shooting, they recommend the M. Zuiko 142mm IIR f/3.5-5.6. It’s small and compact, but it doesn’t have the largest aperture so it’s not ideal for shooting in low-light conditions, and doesn’t produce the best bokeh effect (blurred background). 

The M. Zuiko 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 is a good starter option zoom lens and good for traveling, but the aperture range again is not ideal for sharp photos in lower-light. The 40-150mm f/2.8 however, is a very powerful lens that produces brilliant photos but is several steps up price-wise. Capture Modes 

Besides giving you full control over the multiple settings to alter the exposure of your photos, the intelligent Olympus iAuto system can automatically choose one of the 42 picture modes to produce the best picture possible. 

There are also fourteen built-in “Art Filters” with the PEN E-PL8 that can be applied to your photos or videos to quickly and easily add some flair to your photos.

Some of the Art Filter options include “Pop Art”, “Grainy Film”, and “Partial Color”. Partial Color for example, is a great way to make your pictures really shine as it makes only a single color in your picture saturated, while the rest of the frame remains in black and white. 

Image Stabilization 

Olympus has once again included its in-body 3-axis image stabilization tech in the PEN E-PL8. The stabilization accounts for the yaw/pitch/roll of the camera (x,y,z axes), and the amount of stabilization is also variable and can be adjusted within 4 different setting amounts. 

Videos filmed with the image stabilization have noticeably improved smoothness and steadiness, and it allows you some noticeable slack when shooting images in scenarios where you are shooting with one hand (such as taking selfies) or if you are in a bumpy situation like riding in a vehicle. 


The PEN E-PL8 has built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. It’s easy to set up with your iPhone, Android or whatever smart device you are using with a QR code setup system. Once your device is connected to the camera, you can share your photos quickly with your friends or social media accounts.

It’s also possible to remotely control the camera through your device – framing the shot, focusing, and releasing the shutter. Having Wi-Fi enabled on your camera and device, the battery life will be reduced, so it’s important to remember to shut it off when you’re not using it. 

Video and Audio Quality 

The PEN E-PL8 shoots full HD 1920×1080 30p video (1920x1080pixels, at 30 frames per second). The video qualities are variable, and the lower quality you shoot at, the less space they will take up on your memory card. 



The Olympus PEN E-PL8 really is a beautiful machine. Its exterior design boasts a brushed aluminum finish, a quality leather casing, and well-textured dials.

The camera feels great in your hands and looks great too. Besides a stand-out appearance, the PEN E-PL8 holds a powerful 16-megapixel mirrorless sensor, with Olympus’ impressive image stabilization technology that produces clear, bright well-contrasted images.