Olympus Pen E-PL8

3 Reasons Why the Olympus Pen E-PL8 is A Disappointment

Aesthetically this camera has it all, but let’s be honest how much can you expect from a point-and-shoot camera?

Is it just me that thinks the Olympus Pen E-PL8 isn’t worth the hype?

I finally got my Olympus PEN E-PL8 after my beloved Canon camera broke after years of using it for blogging. I searched the entire internet to find a camera that suited all of my needs for shooting blog photos. I admit I definitely fell in love with the look of the Olympus Pen but I was disappointed in its performance, it certainly didn’t live up to my expectations. So I made the decision to send it back, here’s why.

I fell into the marketing trap

The latest Olympus PEN series has a very clever marketing campaign which is aimed specifically at bloggers i.e me. So when I was deciding to purchase a new camera I was led to youtube vids and blogs – all sponsored by Olympus. Whilst I am honest and transparent with my sponsored content, I know this isn’t always the case with other ‘bigger’ bloggers. Especially an ‘Olympus Ambassador’ who has probably been paid a fair amount to get a brand’s message across. The majority of reviews I read online before purchasing led me to believe that this camera was a ‘must have’ for bloggers. With all the pretty flat lay photos and amazing reviews… yup I did it, I fell head first into their marketing trap. 

But is it not practical? 

The screen flip, why does it go down? It’s so bloody awkward. I couldn’t use it on my tripod with the screen flipped down, this was a big no-no for me and I wasn’t going to buy a new tripod to fit the camera. I also found the screen to be really flimsy, and I don’t think its scratch or weather resistant so that was a bit of a worry too!

It’s not all bad tho, I felt that many of the features are really great for bloggers. For example, I loved how they have an app which uploads all the pictures from your camera to your phone for easy posting on social media. They also had a function with Instagram-style filters, to be honest, they weren’t that great but I thought it was a really good idea! I feel that this would be a good camera for someone who was wanting a starter camera for blogging and that just wasn’t right for me. 

The image quality isn’t the best

The Olympus Pen has a 12 MP camera and I bought the pancake lens which had good reviews. But I wasn’t impressed by the images quality (see below). Some bloggers did recommend buying the 45mm 1.8 lens which is apparently great for a blurred background but I really didn’t want to pay another £200.

As for the quality, I don’t know if it is just me, but I thought it was similar to the quality of an iPhone 7 when I tested out a friends phone, so paying £500 for a similar quality to a phone just seemed absurd to me. Also, with the iPhone 8 coming out in September (which I will be upgrading to) it just didn’t seem like a wise choice to have both. 

Shot on iPhone 6

iPhone 6

Shot on the Olympus PEN (unedited)

Visit my Instagram to see the edited versions

Olympus Pen E-PL8

Olympus Pen E-PL8

Shot on my Canon 500D with 45mm 1.8 lens  

This was my first ever DSLR camera, so it’s super old but the image quality is still brilliant. Sometimes getting an old body with a new lens will save you a fortune and still produce good results! My friends do cringe when I whip it out in public because it’s so bulky but if I get high-quality images I’m not too fussed. 

Olympus Pen E-PL8

Overall Verdict 


  • great for quick selfies
  • works brilliantly in the natural light 
  • the camera itself is nice to look at
  • it’s compact and easy to carry around
  • good for vlogging on the go 


  • doesn’t do well in poor lighting 
  • detachable flash is annoying 
  • using it with a tripod is awkward  
  • doesn’t give that crisp photo that I was hoping for 
  • camera lenses are super pricey

So I’m now on a hunt for a new DSLR… I would love to hear all of your suggestions!



  • Sarah June 3, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Not had the chance to try the pen so can’t really comment on it but I understand what you mean that every blogger seems to have one! Most of my pics I take on my phone xx

  • Word of Rachel June 4, 2017 at 8:51 am

    I’m glad to see an honest review of this camera! When I looked at getting a camera the only thing this seemed to have over the previous model was that it was newer! I really like the way it looks but I’ll stick with the E-PL7!

  • Chloe June 4, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    I’m a bad excuse for a blogger but I still use my iPhone for blog photos! I read about camera reviews all the time but like you said, they often get hyped up too much and I don’t want to fall into the marketing trap (especially as I work in marketing and I know what it’s like haha). But thank you for sharing your honest views on this camera, I’ll definitely have to do proper research when I come to purchasing a camera xx

  • Jadirah Sarmad June 4, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I would much prefer my DSLR and I agree that pen and even phones work best in good lighting only! xx

    Jadirah Sarmad | Jasmine Catches Butterflies ʚϊɞ

  • Poppy Mayy June 4, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I’m glad I’ve read this post. I am definitely one of those people who can fall into marketing traps especially when it comes to cameras. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Natasha June 5, 2017 at 6:38 am

    I actually looked at getting an olympus PEN. I think I’ll stick to getting a canon now

    Tasha x


    • Kumbear Xo June 22, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Canon or Nikon. I just bought the Nikon D5300 which is an older model and it’s been working brilliantly for me xx

  • Louise Joy June 5, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I actually like how honest this post is and to be fair, as a blogger who is after a ‘starter’ camera, i think you’ve actually sold this to me! I like the sound of the features and I’m not looking for anything too fancy – just a step up from my iphone camera – so this post has been super helpful. I’m glad you’ve been so honest about it though x

    • Kumbear Xo June 22, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Yep, this would be the perfect camera for you I reckon! For me, it was really easy to use – it just had a bit more functionality than my iPhone. I was just looking for something a bit more advanced I think!

  • Kimmiee June 5, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Oh no, by reading your cons it seems like it wasn’t that worth it to purchase this, but in my eyes all your photos are always amazing quality and very crisp! I love them xx


    • Kumbear Xo June 22, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Aww thank you! I do try my hardest, but I feel like my photography skills still aren’t the best. I need to do an online course or something lol xx

  • Amy June 8, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I still use my iPhone for my photos but I love that you did an honest review so refreshing to see, epsecially with something expensive! X

    • Kumbear Xo June 22, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      I know, I always like to be really transparent in my posts it’s the best way! I use my iphone too, I can’t wait for the 8 to come out I think the camera on it is going to be amazinggg xx

  • olivia June 8, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    I have the olympus pen, i do agree with you it is over hyped and the quality of images were only how I wanted them after I had bought another lens which did make it quite expensive

  • Helena June 12, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    I think the pen is only good with the 45 lens but then thats an awful lot of money!

    • Kumbear Xo June 22, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Yep, I totally agree with that!

  • Marah June 21, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you so much for the honest review! I’ve been seriously getting this camera and buying the 45 mm 1.8 lens too but I want to make sure it’s the right camera for me. I’m very serious about fashion blogging and in the market for a camera upgrade .I know how to shoot in manual and edit in Lightroom. Would you recommend the camera for my situation?

    Fashion Blog


    • Kumbear Xo June 22, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Hey Marah. It’s up to you but I am waiting for the iPhone 8 to come out and this will be my ‘on the go’ camera so I am going to buy the largest screen size with the largest GB too. But if you are quite content with using manual mode, I wouldn’t opt for a point and shoot. I would suggest the Nikon D5300 .. it is an older model but I just purchased one off of gumtree and it’s fantastic – it’s the one I use at work too. You can find some images I’ve taken with the Nikon here – https://www.kumbearxo.com/perfect-glasses-ss-17/ and https://www.kumbearxo.com/spring-home-accessories/. It’s wifi enabled so you can download an app and have the images transferred to your phone easily similar to the Olympus Pen and it also offers photo retouching features and a ton more stuff! I may also do a review on it soon. You can subscribe to my blog to stay updated with my latest posts in the right sidebar xx

  • Ragnhild June 23, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I think you would be happier getting one of the pro Olympus cameras. I’ve got the Olympus OMD E-M10 Mark II, which I’m truly happy with. But in my opinion, no camera will ever replace my Nikon D810 when it comes to image quality and for printing big images. But for my Instagram and blog, the Olympus OMD is perfect! And for when I can’t be bothered carrying my heave DSLR with even heavier lenses.

    I.e. my latest post on my blog (Preikestolen) the photos are shot with both Olympus and Nikon, but I’m sure most people wouldn’t see any difference in the quality. Even I am unsure sometimes of which camera I used for which photos (and I shot them).

    I’ve been working in a couple of camera stores over the years, and Olympus OMD and Fujifilm are big hits! You were probably unlucky with the PEN camera as you’re used to better quality images.