Olympus Pen E-PL7 review (pssst: it's not a good 'un)


If you enjoy reading all about how much I spend each week, would you consider paying $1 a month to become a patron? You’ll be supporting the work I do (podcasting, writing, the occasional YouTube upload) by paying for that content – and it will allow me more time and financial freedom to concentrate on writing, podcasting, YouTubing and God knows what else! Read more about how you can become a patron (and why you would want to) here.

Pic credit: Lily Like

It's pretty difficult to find a photograph of the Olympus Pen E-PL7 on the interwebs that hasn't been taken against a backdrop of peonies, or make-up brushes, or white marble. Most of the time, I try to take my own pics, but I honestly had such bad feelings about my Olympus that I never even bothered taking any shots of it. It was like my personal Everest – just looking at it reminded me of my failure.

That, really, is the crux of this Olympus Pen E-PL7 review, FYI; it's not it, it's me. The downfall is with me and my lack of photography skills. I'm sure, in more capable hands, this camera is fabulous. In mine? It most certainly was not.

Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera review Bang on Style

Pic credit: Bang on Style

My Olympus Pen E-PL7 origin story

I got my Olympus Pen E-PL7 for my 31st birthday, in February of 2016. I had been after one for a while; after all, everything I read said that it was the blogger's camera. It was an Instagram essential, I heard. It would make my life so much easier.

I'll admit that I was an eejit and I fell for it purely on looks – although I did have my pride and, rather than get the blogger's favourite cream version (pictured here), I went for the cooler black version (the black was also marginally cheaper).

I somehow thought that, because it looks a little like it should be subtitled "Blogger's First Camera", it would be easy to use. Herein lies my problem.

Why I didn't like the Olympus Pen E-PL7

Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera review London Beauty Queen

Pic credit: London Beauty Queen

There is a really simple reason that I didn't get along with the Olympus Pen E-PL7: I'm just not a great photographer. I'm not technically proficient, nor am I particularly skilled at taking photographs with proper cameras. I do fine on my phone – I post a lot to Instagram, and I think I do all right – but, when it comes to cameras, I get very flustered at all of the many options.

The Olympus Pen E-PL7 looks like a camera for simpletons – when, in fact, it's a pretty advanced piece of tech that's basically been dumbed down to look like it would be the perfect option for a teenage Instagram queen who just wants to point and shoot.

Well, it's mostly me but also...

There are a few more particular niggles with the Olympus Pen that would aggravate even the more proficient photographer. For one thing, the screen flips down, rather than up. It's good for taking selfies while holding the camera with your hand (you avoid ceiling eyes, for one thing) but, when it comes to vlogging, it's an absolute pain in the tits.

You can't see the screen while you have a tripod attached. Sure, you can buy an extender gizmo on Amazon or eBay if you really want to – instead, I used to set my mirror up behind my camera so that I could see the screen that way. I thought it was pretty stupid.

Speaking of the screen, it definitely feels flimsy – and I was always afraid I was going to damage mine. I've heard a few horror stories of people flipping theirs down too enthusiastically, and I can easily see how you'd do that. It's also really delicate and prone to scratching; I think I had mine about three days before my screen was (lightly, but visibly) scratched, which was annoying (even if it was totally my fault).

What I bought instead

After all of that, I sold my Olympus Pen E-PL7 and went for a Canon G7X Mark II instead. It was recommended by vlogger extraordinaire, Casey Neistat, with the result that it's sold out almost everywhere – but I ordered mine from the Camera Centre and it came back in stock within around a fortnight. (You get a free online Canon course when you buy from the Camera Centre, which was a big draw – I'm determined not to let my own crapness get in the way of my photography success this time!)

I've only used my Canon a little so far – to film my latest YouTube video (below) – and, I have to say, already I prefer it. It may not look as good in a flatlay, but (note to self) that's not the most important thing in life.

This post contains affiliate links. What does that mean? If you click through and buy something as a result, I’ll get a small percentage of the sale (even if it’s not the exact thing I linked to). The site will keep my “referral” on file for 30 days – so, even if you don’t buy something immediately, I may still get a cut. It won’t cost you anything extra, but it will help me continue to create content on rosemarymaccabe.com and beyond. I will always disclose if a post is sponsored or contains affiliate links; for more, check out my disclaimer.