Getting to grips with the Olympus Pen EPL 8

Merry Musing

So as you may remember. Late last year I treated myself to the Olympus Pen EPL 8 and the 45mm lens. Now, this was a pretty big deal to me. I’ve always been a Canon kinda girl. And while I absolutely loved my Canon 700D, it was just too big to use on a daily basis.  I wanted something a little smaller, easier to fit into a bag, but not compromise on the picture quality. And I really think I’ve found that with the Olympus Pen.

Now that it’s been a good three months, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on the camera. And the ways I’ve been using it to get the most out of it. And most importantly, the pictures I want. I probably should also say at this point that I never use the kit lens. I only ever use the 45mm lens. Mainly because I always used the 50mm lens on my Canon, but also because I love the pictures I can get using that lens.

Merry Musing

But let’s get back to basics. You can choose to shoot in AUTO mode, but why would you? The Olympus Pen is a great piece of kit, and you can get so much more of out if by shooting in manual mode. But to shoot in manual, or in any of the other modes, you need to understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. All three play a big part in how your picture will look.

  • Shutter speed – this is the length of time the camera shutter is open to exposure light into the camera sensor. A slow shutter speed allows more light into the camera sensor and is great for low-light or night photography. While a faster shutter speed helps to freeze motion. If I’m shooting freehand, then I never go below 60. Any lower then you’ll need a tripod to steady the camera.
  • Aperture – this is a hole within a lens, which lets lights travel into the camera body. The larger the hole, the more light that can pass to the camera sensor. It’s important to note that aperture also controls the depth of field. If the aperture is very small, the depth of field is large. Whereas if the aperture is large, then the depth of field is small. This is why I love the 45mm lens. The aperture is low, f/1.8 which gives you the desired blurred background. Whereas the kit lens is f/3.5.
  • ISO – this is how you can brighten your pictures if you can’t use a longer shutter speed or a wider aperture. The lower the number, the darker the image, while the higher the number the brighter the image. But raising it too high does come at a cost. As the ISO increases so does the noise/graininess in your images. I tend to stick to around 200-400 depending on light conditions.

Everyone is different. But for me, I like to shoot my pictures in manual mode. Even if you’re a complete beginner, I would really urge you to move out of the auto mode and play around with shooting in different modes. You can get so much more out of your camera if you stay away from auto. But if you’re not sure which mode is what on the dial, here’s a little breakdown:

  • iAUTO – Essentially you just need to point and shoot as all your settings have been selected for you
  • P – This one sits halfway between Auto and Manual. The optimum shutter speed and aperture, but you can control the exposure
  • A – Aperture priority mode allows you to adjust the aperture, while the camera adjusts the shutter speed to match. This is great for getting that gorgeous blurred background
  • S – Shutter priority mode allows you to adjust the shutter speed while the camera adjusts the aperture to match. This is great for shooting moving subjects
  • M– Manual mode means you can adjust both the shutter speed and aperture, which gives you full control over your images

Merry Musing

If you have the Olympus Pen then I hope this has been interesting. I’m planning on doing a post, all about the 45mm lens, but let me know in the comments any other questions or post suggestions you have about the Olympus Pen.


  1. March 31, 2018 / 11:36 am

    Oooh I have been looking into this camera (and also their Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II camera) and I found this post interesting. I’m a Canon girl and like you – finding lugging the camera (as well as all the lenses) to be a pain! So that why I’m looking into a smaller camera. Thank you for this post. xx

  2. Erin
    April 1, 2018 / 12:07 pm

    I love my Pen so much, I highly recommend picking up the 40-150mm lens if you are looking for something else, it is beautiful addition!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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