24 hours in Bristol with my new camera: Olympus Pen E-PL8

24 hours in Bristol with my new camera: Olympus Pen E-PL8

Recently I decided to take the plunge and upgrade my camera. For years I'd been using an old second hand Nikon D70, which is a good camera, but it is heavy and cumbersome and I always felt I wasn't quite getting the results I wanted from it. The fact it is so large and heavy meant I very rarely took it out, and even at events like family parties it felt too 'in your face' and people tend to clam up when you pull out a 'big camera' like that. 

I had recently started listening to Stylonylon's Phototalk podcast where Julia talks a lot about her Olympus cameras, including the Olympus Pen E-PL8, and it sounded exactly like what I was looking for. From what Julia was saying I quickly realised that if I bought this camera it was definitely worth buying an additional lens for it, as she suggested the kit lens that comes with it isn't that great. Her recommendations were either the 45mm or the 17mm lens (or both!). So off I trotted to my local John Lewis to have a play with the camera and the lenses. Straight away I knew the 17mm was the one for me (of course it would be the more expensive one!). With the 45mm you have to be quite far back from your subject which doesn't really suit my style of shooting. After testing the camera out and a good old chat with the JL staff, I went ahead and took the plunge. The camera with the kit lens is £550. They didn't have the 17mm lens in stock, so I decided to look elsewhere for that, and found one on eBay, for about £70 cheaper than the high street price tag of £369.  

LEFT: Taken with kit lens at max aperture of f3.5 RIGHT: Taken with 17mm lens at f1.8

LEFT: Taken with kit lens at max aperture of f3.5 RIGHT: Taken with 17mm lens at f1.8

I had a few days between buying the camera and receiving the new lens from the eBay seller, so spent some time testing it out with the kit lens. When the 17mm arrived, I was overjoyed! The difference was huge and I totally agree with Julia that it is worth adding this to your kit. Above I've tried to take the same shot with both lenses, and you can see the difference in the depth of field, which is down to the fact the kit lens only has a max aperture of f3.5 while the 17mm opens to f1.8. So, ever since, I have yet to take off the 17mm lens, there just doesn't seem any reason to switch back to the kit lens. 

Above is one of the first photos I took with the 17mm lens, as I played around with it at home when it arrived. It's made me enjoy photographing Ruby even more now, when I can get her to stay still for 5 secs that is! 

Technology really has moved on since my last camera purchase, and I was so excited by some of the features the Pen has. If you download the Olympus Image Share app you can do some use it as a remote control. So for the image above I had the camera set up on a surface, and then on my phone I could see what the camera was seeing and I could then release the shutter via my phone! I'm not one for taking many self portraits anyway, but it is such a handy feature and great if you do take outfit shots or self portraits. 

Not only that, you can transfer images directly from the camera to your phone using the app, which I have used SO much. Obviously this is great for uploading pics straight to your social media, but also for sending to family or friends, rather than waiting til you get home to download them all. Another fave feature is the fact you can change format from normal (4:3) to square (1:1). Sometimes if I'm photographing for Instagram, I find it much easier to view in square than having to think about the crop afterwards, so this is super handy. That's why you'll notice a difference in the format of the images here as I keep jumping between the two!


We recently went on a little family trip to Bristol and it was the first time I'd really got to properly try the camera out. Of course it's size made such a difference, you barely even notice it in your bag or on your shoulder. With my Nikon, I'd so often take it away on trips, but then not bother to take it out and about as it was just too heavy to lug around all day. And of course, the fact I could send images direct to my phone meant I could share moments from our day on Instagram without waiting to download them - or like I used to do, having to take the same photos on my phone! So, here's a little photo story of our 24 hours spent in Bristol when my new camera got a really good airing....


We stayed in a really gorgeous Airbnb apartment in the Gloucester Road area, which was just a bus ride into the centre of Bristol with lots of lovely cafes and restaurants nearby. 

On our first afternoon, I stumbled across new candle shop Osmology when we were exploring the Christmas Steps. I had recently heard of them online but hadn't realised the shop was there. It is beautiful and filled with so many of my favourite candle brands. I'm not sure why I didn't treat myself to a candle, I think I was too busy taking photos!


That evening we headed down to Wapping Wharf for dinner, which is lovely, but unfortunately it was raining so I didn't really bother with taking photos, so this is from Saturday morning, when we headed down to Clifton. 

Papersmiths was a must-visit of course - totally dreamy as expected! And then we popped across the street into Anna Cake Couture for hot drinks and macarons...

We then headed back over the suspension bridge to the car and headed to our last shopping stop - Mon Pote. Another shop I've been dying to visit and it didn't disappoint! After a mooch around Up Fest (the street art festival that was on) and a messy burger from a van, we bundled back into the car and drove back to London, just as the rain came on again! 


BTW - This post is in no way a sponsored post (I wish!) - I've just had lot of questions about my new camera so thought it would be useful to share my review of it. Also, I had loads of pics of Bristol that I didn't want to leave languishing on my computer forever! I loved Bristol by the way, I can't wait to go back!

 If you've got any questions about the camera at all, just drop me a line. I found it really useful listening to Stylonnylon's podcasts and also watching Emily Quinton's videos about it. Bye for now!