Say hello to the Olympus selfie camera

Nikki ParkinsonLife 30 Comments

Sponsored by Olympus Australia

I can remember my first camera. Can you?

It was rectangular in shape, had a basic point and shoot action and a flash.

The subjects of my photos were always off centre and I’d make each roll of film last as long as possible, knowing the cost of having it processed was going to hit hard on my hard-earned pocket money.

Despite these drawbacks, it was love at first shoot.

I loved being able to capture moments in time, bad ’80s outfits and overly sprayed big hair.

Capturing moments with photography has always been a huge part of most people’s lives but it’s even more so now.

First was the advent of digital cameras, then came phone cameras … and with social media amplifying those moments, everyone can be – and is – a photographer.

For me, my personal love of photography has now crossed over to my work her on the blog and social media platforms.

I love the creativity of framing a great image, of capturing colour, movement and atmosphere.

Immediacy is also a big factor for me too.

To me, that’s what social media is about. It’s about sharing those moments with others to hopefully make a meaningful connection.

So when Olympus asked if I wanted to work with them and the Olympus PEN E-PL7 camera – aka the Olympus selfie camera – I thought about it for approximately .05 seconds.

Olympus PEN E-PL7 selfie camera

The E-PL7 camera has been in my hot little hands for about a week now and I can’t imagine ever leaving it at home. I love its retro chic casing and so much more …

The size

Its compact size is such that it is very at home in the side pocket of my handbag so I don’t need to carry any extra bag to house it.

Yes, it’s wider than a phone (especially with the lens attached) but it’s a fraction of the size of a regular DSLR camera. I own one of those – an early make of DSLR but haven’t carted it around with me for about 10 years … because it’s just too cumbersome and requires its OWN handbag.


The E-PL7 may be small but its ability to shoot and capture with incredible clarity at the touch of a button or by simply touching the touch screen is a huge plus for me.

Technically, this happens because of a combination of a DSLR-sized imaging sensor and Olympus’ renowned TruePic VII imaging processor but I thought the best way to demonstrate the results of this clever-cookie camera was to show comparison photos.

The photos below are typical of the type of photos I take for use on my blog and social media platforms – full-length portraits for #everydaystyle outfit photos; selfies; food photos; drink photos; landscape photos; flatlays; and flowers.

On the left is the moment captured with my iPhone 6 Plus (so the best quality camera phone currently available on Apple); on the right with the E-PL7.

I’ve not edited any of the images – except cropping of the full-length #everydaystyle portrait.

iPhone 6 Plus vs Olympus PEN E-PL7

My #everydaystyle daily outfit photos are taken mostly by my nine-year-old son as we are heading out the door. The verandah of our Queenslander home is not the best for natural light but the E-PL7 adjusts and compensates for this brilliantly. The clarity of image is greater too.

iPhone 6 Plus vs Olympus PEN E-PL7 - flatlay

I love a flatlay photo as much as the next IGer and this example is probably the least different of all the comparisons. The colour from the E-PL7 is truer without editing, though.

iPhone 6 Plus vs Olympus PEN E-PL7 - landscapes

These photos were taken in the harsh light that is the middle of a summer’s day in Queensland. The E-PL7 adjusted to the brightness and offered a clearer result.

iPhone 6 Plus vs Olympus PEN E-PL7 - Food

Food photos should make you want to eat what’s been photographed. I think the phone camera does an admirable job but the E-PL7 blurs out the background and makes the icing on the cake look like you can swipe the photo and taste it.

iPhone 6 Plus vs Olympus PEN E-PL7 - Flowers

The colour result is similar here but what I love about the E-PL7 is that the background blurs so that the foreground area of focus leaps off the page.

iPhone 6 Plus vs Olympus PEN E-PL7 - Drinks

I’ve taken the E-PL7 out a number of nights this week and have been blown away just how well it shoots in low light. These photos very much demonstrate that.

iPhone 6 Plus vs Olympus PEN E-PL7 - Selfie

Ah, the selfie … with a phone camera, once reversed, the quality of the image is compromised. Yes, that might provide a flattering soft focus effect but it’s nowhere near the quality of image that the E-PL7’s articulating screen offers.

Special features

The articulating screen: this enables those clear selfies, dropping down easily to enable you to frame your photo and shoot away. No more blurred or pixelated images. Low-light is no problem either.

On-screen functions for focus, clarity, blurring, brightness, colour: a quick touch or swipe of the screen and you can easily adjust the settings to suit the moment you’re capturing. I particularly like the ability to adjust the “blur” factor – it really makes what you’re focussing on leap out of the background.

Art Filters: The camera includes its own range of filters so you can edit and play with these on the device.

Create montages with the Photo Story option: I’m a fan of the montage and this is now something I can do on the camera.

Capture clear images in low light: I’m amazed at this capability as evidenced in the evening shots above.

Capture clear action images: Want to capture your kids in action at home or on the sporting field? Too easy with the E-PL7’s ability to shoot up to eight frames per second.

The O.I Share app lets your phone or tablet be the remote: This is great for me as most of my blog’s Model and Me photos are taken using a camera mounted on a tripod. Now instead of the remote I have been using, I’ll be using my phone with the O.I. Share app (available free for both Android and iOS devices).

Ability to edit images on the camera: So far the images captured have required little editing because they are SO good but it’s good to know this is there for me.

The ability to take the camera off auto and shoot in manual for individual control over light and focus: This will be my long-term challenge. I want to better understand how shooting on manual and working with different light and aperture settings works.

Social sharing

This is the clincher for me – the best of the special features.

Yes, I love the fact that my photos are infinitely better using the E-PL7 but this factor would be diminished if I couldn’t share them in a quick and easy way like I can with a phone camera.

And I know you’re probably thinking the same.

The camera itself has the capacity to act as its own wi-fi device, allowing you to import any photos direct to your phone’s camera roll via the Olympus OI.Share app.

It’s become my latest party trick and anyone I’ve shown has immediately fallen for the camera and added it to their must-have list.

One friend is a social media consultant and was looking for a way to capture better quality images for her clients; another said she’d finally found a gift for her husband who was notoriously difficult to buy for; another went out to buy one because she could see it working for her family photos as well as social media photos for her boutique.

Me? I’m very much in love.

For more information, visit here.

Olympus PEN E-PL7 selfie camera here.


So, what do you think? What appeals to you most about the Olympus PEN E-PL7?

* The Olympus PEN E-PL7 (rrp from $649 for body only or $849 with included kit lens that I’ve been using) is on loan to me during the time that I’m working with Olympus Australia. It’s available at photo speciality and consumer electronics retailers throughout Australia.

Comments 30

  1. Just re-reading this post as I’m in the market for a new camera as you know. Nikki would you be so kind to update the link to Olympus at the end, as the page appears no longer available. Thanks x

  2. I love your review! this is exactly what I have been looking for in terms of getting a comparison against a smart phone. This will be the first camera I buy and I am so excited!! thanks for posting this it has been an immense help!

  3. Great looking camera – I’ve always been intrigued by the Olympus Pen camera. I remember walking into a chemist when I was 12 years old and very excitedly buying my first camera, a Kodak – $10 – I would then go around posing all my friends (and their pets) for my photography shoots – this still happens today, although not with my $10 camera!!! I’m sure you’ll really enjoy your new camera – lucky you!!!

    1. LOL … I can just imagine the posing! I was the photographer in my group of friends too. I love this and will probably buy at the end of my work with Olympus as it’s already improved the quality of the photos I share.

  4. love the sound of the easy wifi sharing- that’s whats put me off updating my camera in the past couple of years. Also the size and weight is important for carting around! Looks like 2015 may be time to invest in some new technology….

    1. I know how you feel Marilla … I’ve got a compact that’s three years old but was really only using it for blog work, not social media because of the inability to upload there and then. This makes it easy!

  5. I bought the Olympus OMDE10 which has the same wifi functions and I love it…so easy!
    It takes amazing photos…without much skill needed on the part of the photographer…and then I can easily edit them on my phone and share them.
    Although now I wish it had selfie functionality!

  6. Sounds like a great camera Nikki I do like a camera I don’t need a degree to use ,my son has a posh camera but I am just not good at using it,this sounds like my sort of camera,thank you Nikki and have a lovely weekend Xx

  7. That looks all kinds of awesome. I would probably be making a last minute request to Santa for one if I hadn’t splashed out on my Olympus EM-10 in August (which I am so in love with,) but although having two would be great, it would also be just a bit tad greedy!

  8. thankyou nikki! … I’m impressed! … the evidence is clear! … I could use one of those;0 … for better photos if everything!?!
    it’s not that expensive either!… I have a Nikon a few yrs old but I paid over $600 for that! … (I need to use it to it’s extent)
    enjoy your day! … all good lessons to be learned!
    have a great day! love m:)X

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