Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

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Introduction

The Olympus E-P2 is the second Micro Four Thirds camera from Olympus, following last Summer’s launch of the popular E-P1 model. Offering DSLR-like image quality in an ultra-compact format, the E-P2 adds a number of features to tempt you to upgrade from the E-P1. These include a dedicated port for either a detachable high-resolution electronic viewfinder or a microphone, auto-focus tracking mode, two new Art Filters (Diorama and Cross Process), a colour-boosting i-Enhance function, remote slideshow control via the new HDMI connection, and an option to record high-definition movies using the Manual shooting mode. The Olympus E-P2 is also finished in a more serious black rather than the silver or white versions of the E-P1. Other core features remain the same as the E-P1, including a 12.3 megapixel DSLR sensor, built-in image stabilisation, ISO speeds up to 6400, RAW format support, HD 720p quality video with continuous auto-focus, a 3 inch LCD screen, 3fps continuous shooting, and a Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system. The Olympus E-P2 is available in kit format with a 14-42mm lens and the external EVF for £899 / $1,099.99, or with just the EVF for £849.

Ease of Use

Announced last summer to much fanfare, Olympus’ digital re-imagining of its Pen series film compacts of the 1950s and 60s in the E-P1 proved a breath of fresh air to jaded tech journalists and buying public alike. With its up-to-the-minute DSLR-like specification, mirror box-less design, compact yet chunkily solid retro casing that enabled shooting from the hip and the flexibility to do more or less all you asked of it, here was a camera that you might not just own but fall in love with.

Like relationships can, this one hit a rocky patch last Christmas with a series of bafflingly Zen UK TV ads (‘camera chow, picture wow’, ‘hurty thing’ anyone?), but that was OK, because by then we already had our eye on beginning a new affair with the E-P2, the second generation of the Digital Pen, newly arrived on the Photography Blog test slab. 

Again, as is the way with these things, by this point we’re sure that people are whispering behind our backs that our new partner looks very like much like the old one.

Dimensions without protrusions are given as exactly the same as the E-P1, and the weight too is identical at a body-only 335g. Handling wise it still resembles a foreshortened Olympus E-Series DSLR with esoteric yet fun features such as the Art Filter in-camera digital effects, and less esoteric but very useful in-body sensor shift image stabilisation. Unlike the latest raft of point and shoots though, there’s not been a resolution hike to 14 megapixels. At its heart beats the same 13.1 megapixel Live Mos sensor (12.3 MP effective) found in its sibling last year.

Olympus E-P2 Olympus E-P2
Front Rear

Indeed, the first impression of the E-P2 is that Olympus has finally issued an E-P1, formerly only available in brushed silver or white, in black. For those of us wondering ‘is that it?’ there are of course a few additional under-the-bonnet tweaks to justify the ‘new’ camera, which doesn’t replace the E-P1 but sits alongside it for the moment as a sister model, and we’ll examine whether these are essential or inessential refinements.

Most notably, whereas a £100 clip-on optical viewfinder (VF-1) was offered as an extra at the time of the E-P1’s release, with the E-P2 model an electronic viewfinder (VF-2) – tilt-able to 90° so the camera can be used as you would a medium format model and with 100% field of view – is now included as part of the package. This has however prompted the overall boxed price for camera plus 14-42mm (28-84mm equivalent) standard zoom lens used for our test shots to rise to a suggested £899 in the UK (a kit with just body and EVF is also available for £849). In other words, this latest Pen costs serious money, more than the most feature-packed of compacts in the Canon G10, G11, Ricoh GR III, Sigma DP2, whilst being more also than most starter and mid range digital SLRs.

The EVF now has its own newly included port, situated just below the E-P2’s hotshoe and protected as on Panasonic’s own Micro Four Thirds system GF1 – this camera’s closest rival – with a slide-off piece of plastic that will quickly get lost in the recesses of your camera bag. Said port also allows the attachment of an accessory microphone (availability promised this month, says Olympus) if so desired via an adapter EMA-1. The new feature means the hotshoe itself sits a little higher than on the more streamlined E-P1 body.

Whilst these are the only exterior changes, the specification has had a slight reshuffle. Two additional Art Filters are included (so eight in total) – Diorama (making people and buildings look as if they’ve been photographed with a specialist tilt and shift lens and so appear to be on a toy town scale) and Cross Process (ape-ing the wet darkroom process) – along with a purportedly colour boosting iEnhance function. Also added to the Pen’s list of specification is remote slideshow control via HDMI, plus M mode (full manual) HD movie capability. Maximum movie resolution remains at 1280×720 pixels and 30fps with stereo sound, as per the E-P1 (and the GF1, except that its rival records in mono).

Olympus E-P2 Olympus E-P2
Electronic View Finder Rear

One notable omission still remains however. Unlike Panasonic’s very similarly specified GF1, the Digital Pen series – at the time of writing – doesn’t yet offer built-in flash, and deliberately so says Olympus, which offers a FL-14 accessory flash instead. And yet its continued absence, along with the steep recommended price is undoubtedly a barrier to purchase, at least at consumer level. Admittedly, as we’ve found using the E-P1 over the months since its release, if you prefer to utilise natural/ambient light for your photography (or simply shell out extra for accessory flash) there’s a work around in that performance at higher ISOs (here up to ISO6400) is acceptable. Will the E-P2 prove to be the same?

From the front, this camera continues to reveal its closeness to its E-P1 sibling with retro-look leather effect pad to the left hand side of the lens mount, springy and plenty large lens release button over to the right, and pin pricks either side of the Olympus logo (directly above the lens) housing the built-in stereo microphone.

Gripped in the palm, the immediate impression is that, in its black incarnation, the E-P2 looks closer to the more conventionally styled and modernistic GF1 from Panasonic – also available in black. The fact that its rock-solid feel construction is mostly metal – steel and aluminum in fact – is less immediately obvious than it was with the original E-P1 in its silver and white varieties. It’s tempting to therefore draw the conclusion that a large part of the E-P2’s reason for being seems to be that Olympus felt it needed a version in a darker hue, just because that’s what everyone else has in their respective ranges. Plus, at the same time it thought that this might also be an opportunity to perform a few operational nip and tucks to justify its introduction as a ‘new’ model.

Unsurprisingly the top plate control layouts of E-P2 and E-P1 are one and the same, not that there was any reason to go changing. The E-P2 features a dedicated exposure compensation button to its far right (if viewing the camera from the rear), whereas the GF1 uses this space for a dedicated video record button. Next to this on the Olympus is a large raised shutter release button with a nicely definite halfway point – the camera lightning fast in determining focus and exposure when pressed. Adjacent to both of these is an indicator lamp marked SSWF for Olympus’ grandly named Supersonic Wave Filter dust prevention. Due to the fact that we were using the Pen with the 14-42mm test lens, which features a retractable design mechanism to minimize overall size of camera and lens combined when inactive, powering up the camera proved to be a slower process (than without) as, as on the E-P1, the lens has to first be manually unfurled before the camera will operate.

Olympus E-P2 Olympus E-P2
Top E-P1 and E-P2

Hopping over to the other side of the hotshoe we again find a shooting mode wheel recessed into the top plate, keeping the Micro Thirds E-series more streamlined than its Panasonic rival. This is again operated via a ridged edge poking out slightly at the back, where it falls under the thumb of the left hand when gripping the camera in both to take a shot. It’s quite stiff to turn, which, while it means users can’t quite race through the settings, is unlikely to get jogged when fetching the camera out of a sizeable jacket pocket or camera bag. Although press shots may suggest otherwise, like the E-P1 and GF1, this can’t be accurately described as a pocket camera. The shooting settings are identical to those found the E-P1’s mode dial. As well as the creative quartet of program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual, we get the ever-reliable iAuto (intelligent auto) allowing for purely point and shoot operation (the camera choosing which of its settings most aptly matches the scene or subject), the aforementioned Art Filters, plus the usual smattering of scene modes and a dedicated video capture setting.

As with its predecessor and other cameras in the E-series with Art or ‘Magic’ filters, these digital effects are applied at the time of capture which means write speeds are inevitably a couple of seconds longer than for regular images. When shooting using certain filters, such as the new Diorama, the screen’s refresh rate slows dramatically providing a jerkily relayed image as the camera struggles to provide a preview of how the eventual image may look. Rather than try to follow this we found it best just to take the shot and delete any experiments we weren’t happy with – we weren’t wasting film after all.

Olympus hasn’t used the opportunity of a new model to boost the resolution/visibility of the 3-inch LCD screen with Live View that dominates the backplate; here it remains at a standard if perfectly adequate 230k pixels, again mirroring the E-P1, but falling short of the Panasonic GF1’s much more lifelike 460k display.

Alternatively, slide the provided VF-2 EVF into the vacant hotshoe, whereupon its ‘male’ attachment connects with the ‘female’ port below and swap from use of the LCD to EVF with a press of the monitor button provided on the EVF unit. Though useful as a compositional aid in bright sun, or providing the ability to take shots at formerly awkward angles, such as from waist height, we actually preferred to rely in the main on the larger LCD. A more comfortable eye relief for the EVF wouldn’t go amiss.

Olympus E-P2 Olympus E-P2
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Otherwise the rest of the E-P2’s backplate – and general operation – remains the same as that of its predecessor, with controls that fall readily to hand and respond as quickly to each prod and press as you’d like. Top right of the backplate we have a command wheel-style dial with ridged edge for easier purchase that can be used for scrolling through on-screen menu options when in capture mode, or – with a twist to the right – enlarging portions of your images to check focus when in playback. Twist this to the left in review mode and previously captured images appear as a collection of thumbnails. Again, the purpose of this control is clearly marked, as are all the buttons. A case in point is that, to the left, the two separated by the built in speaker, we find an auto exposure/focus lock button as we would on a DSLR.

Just below this in a vertical row of three further identically sized buttons are one for playback, another for deletion of images – always good to have a dedicated control for this – plus equally self-explanatory menu button. Press this and whatever mode the user happens to be in, both image capture playback and set up folders are presented, each with a mixture of large, legible type and common use icons identifiable at-a-glance. A further means of navigating these options is presented by a familiar command pad to the right hand side of the backplate, with ‘OK’ (or set) button at its centre and a Canon PowerShot-style scroll wheel encircling its edge. At four points in between are a means of accessing ISO settings, manually adjusting white balance – which comes in particularly useful when shooting daylight interiors, given a blue-ish cast if left to the camera’s auto default, or familiar orange cast if shooting under tungsten light – plus calling up self timer and continuous/sequential shooting options, and, finally adjusting AF mode. It’s here we find the AF tracking option along with the expected single or continuous AF, plus manual AF options. At the very bottom of the camera back, lurking almost unnoticed is a button marked ‘info’. This isn’t as you might expect from the Olympus Mju series a short cut to an on-screen help guide but rather a means of calling up a live histogram in capture mode or sniper style crosshair, plus in playback mode essential shooting info and also histograms for each colour channel.

The right hand side of the camera features a flap covering combined USB in/out and AV out ports, plus a separate High Definition Multimedia Interface as previously mentioned and now expected from a camera at this price and level. With vacant lugs for attaching the shoulder strap the only other adornments to be found at the camera’s side, the base features a combined compartment housing optional SD or SDHC card plus lithium ion battery, good for up to a perfectly acceptable 300 shots using Live View, along with centrally positioned screw thread for attaching a tripod.

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12.3 megapixel Super Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

We’ve found Olympus images straight out of the camera to be slightly cool in the past but generally the opposite proved to be the case here, particularly when the E-P2 was left on iAuto and landscape setting boosted greens and blues to vibrant levels. However the Pen doesn’t always get it ‘write’ when it comes to accurate white balance, which to us looked ever so slightly off compared with the scene at the time the image was taken. Likewise we were unsurprised to find instances of visible pixel fringing when zooming in to check detail, if not to an insurmountable degree. There’s some slight barrel distortion visible when shooting at maximum wideangle on the provided lens, but again this isn’t to an unacceptable degree. Mostly results are agreeably pin-sharp.

You’ll also want to play with the new Art Filters Cross Process and Diorama if buying this camera, the latter for us producing the most striking results with a little experimentation. Generally the digital effects that worked the best were pop art, pinhole, diorama and grainy film; the others we rarely used.

As to be expected, using our 14-42mm test lens at maximum ISO 6400 setting on the E-P2 reveals a uniform dusting of noise plus softened detail. Up to and including ISO 400 it’s a clean bill of health, with noise creeping into shadow areas at ISO 800 and extending across the entirety of the image at ISO 1600. Olympus could have cut things there but at this price users will expect the higher ISOs provided, hence we have the options of ISO 3200 and ISO 6400, the appearance getting incrementally more ‘gritty’ the higher up we go.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Olympus E-P2. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and the RAW equivalent on the right:

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web – Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes by changing the Picture Modes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Night

The Olympus E-P2 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 60 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times as long as 30 minutes, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/6th seconds at ISO 1600. We’ve included a 100% crop to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Art Filters

The Olympus E-P2 offers eight different Art Filters, which allow you to quickly apply an artistic effect to a photo before taking it (JPEG images only). The most useful of these is Soft Focus, because the FourThirds system lacks a dedicated soft focus lens, and the effect would require advanced knowledge of layers, blurring methods and blending modes if you were to reproduce it in post-processing. The eight available Art Filters are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. Note that applying the Art Filters slows the camera down somewhat as the camera takes several seconds to process and save the image.

Pop Art

Soft Focus

   

Pale&Light Color

Light Tone

   

Grainy Film

Pin Hole

   
Cross Process Diorama

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

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Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Olympus E-P2 camera, which were all taken using the 12.3 megapixel Super Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Olympus E-P2 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We’ve provided some Olympus RAW (ORF) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/250s · f/6.3 · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/320s · f/9 · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample RAW Image

Download

1/200s · f/6.3 · ISO 200
Download Original

Sample Movie

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 13 second movie is 50Mb in size.

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

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Product Images

Olympus E-P2

Front of the Camera

 
Olympus E-P2

Front of the Camera

 
Olympus E-P2

Isometric View

 
Olympus E-P2

Isometric View

 
Olympus E-P2

Rear of the Camera

 
Olympus E-P2

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

 
Olympus E-P2

Rear of the Camera / Movie Displayed

 
Olympus E-P2

Top of the Camera

 
Olympus E-P2

Bottom of the Camera

 

Olympus E-P2

Side of the Camera

 
Olympus E-P2
Side of the Camera
 
Olympus E-P2
Side of the Camera
 
Olympus E-P2
Battery Compartment
 
Olympus E-P2
Memory Card Slot
 
Olympus E-P2
Electronic View Finder
 
Olympus E-P2
Electronic View Finder
 
Olympus E-P2
Electronic View Finder
 
Olympus E-P2
Electronic View Finder
 
Olympus E-P2
E-P1 and E-P2
 
Olympus E-P2
E-P1 and E-P2

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

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Specifications

Type
Body material Metal
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Image Sensor
Type 4/3 ” Hi-Speed Live MOS sensor
Effective pixels 12.3 Megapixels
Filter array Primary colour filter (RGB)
Aspect ratio & area 4:3 / 17.3 x 13.0 mm
Full resolution 13.1 Megapixels
Engine
Type TruePic V
Filter
Dust reduction filter Supersonic Wave Filter
IR cut filter Hybrid type
LPF filter Fixed type
Live View
Displayed information 100% field of view, exposure adjustment preview, white balance adjustment preview, gradation setting preview (SAT), face detection preview, Perfect Shot Preview, gridline displayable, 7x/10x magnification possible, MF/S-AF, AF frame display, AF point display, Shooting information, Histogram
AF type Contrast detection system
Image Stabiliser
Type Sensor shift
Modes Two-dimensional or one-dimensional activation
Effective Compensation Range Up to 4 EV steps
Shutter speed range 2 – 1/4000 s (not available when Bulb is selected)
Focusing System
Method Contrast Detection AF system (when non high-speed contrast AF compatible lens is used, it works as MF assist)
Focus areas 11 points / Automatic and manual selection
Almost all points / Auto selection with Face Detection ON
225 points / Manual selection in Magnified View Mode
AF lock Yes
Modes Manual focus, Single AF, Continuous AF, Single AF + MF, AF Tracking
Exposure System
Modes Programme automatic, i-Auto, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, Scene Modes
Exposure compensation +/- 3 EV ( 1, 1/2, 1/3 steps )
Exposure bracketing 3 frames ( +/- 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1 EV steps )
ISO bracketing 3 frames ( 1/3, 2/3, 1 EV steps )
Scene Modes
Number of scene modes 19
Modes Portrait, Landscape, Landscape with Portrait, Macro, Sports, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Children, High key, Low key, Digital Image Stabilisation, Nature Macro, Candle, Documents, Panorama, Beach and Snow, Fireworks, Sunset, e-portrait
Multi-Exposure
Max. number of frames 2 frames (shooting)
3 frames (editing)
Auto gain control Yes
Frame assistance Live View
Light Metering
Method TTL open aperture light metering
Zones 324 zones Multi-pattern Sensing System
Detection range 0 – 18 EV (50mm, 1:2, ISO 100)
Modes ESP light metering, Spot metering, Centre weighted metering, Highlight, Shadow
Art Filters
Pop Art Emphasizes colors and creates bright, vibrant images with a pop-art tone
Soft Focus Gives images a light, ethereal look and evokes a dreamy, mystical mood
Pale & Light Colour Utilizes muted colour tonalities to create a mood of reflection and nostalgia
Light Tone Subdues highlights and shadows to reflect the ambience of a perfectly illuminated scene
Grainy Film Recreates the rich, grainy look and tonality of black & white photography, imparting a dramatic feel to images
Pin Hole Reproduces the peripheral vignetting and unique colour tone of photos taken with a pin hole camera
Diorama Emphasizes colour and contrast with a rapid change in focus from sharp to soft
Cross Process Unreal atmosphere, or insecurity with unexpected change in colour and contrast
Sensitivity
Auto ISO 200 – 6400 (customisable, default ISO 200 – 1600)
Manual ISO 100 – 6400
Shutter
Shutter type Computerised focal-plane shutter
Self timer 12 s / 2 s
Shutter Speeds
Shutter speed range 1/4000 – 60 s
Bulb mode 1/4000 – 60 s Up to 30 minutes (selectable longest time in the menu, default: 8 minutes)
Shutter speed P, Ps 1/4000 – 60 s
Shutter speed A priority 1/4000 – 60 s
Shutter speed S priority 1/4000 – 60 s
Shutter speed scene mode 1/4000 – 60 s
White Balance
AUTO WB system Advanced detection system with Live MOS sensor
Manual White balance (One-Touch) Yes
White balance bracketing 3 frames / +/- 2, 4, 6 mired steps
One-touch white balance 1 custom settings can be registered
White balance adjustment +/- 7 in each A-B / G-M axis (in Auto WB, preset WB mode & one-touch WB)
Custom WB 1 setting can be registered at Kelvin temperature (2000K – 14000K)
Preset values Tungsten, Flourescent 1, Flourescent 2, Flourescent 3, Sunlight, Flash, Overcast, Shade
Sequence Shooting
Speed (H) Approx. 3 fps
RAW Mode 10 frames
JPEG Mode Depends on compression ratio or number of pixels (Large normal mode: approx. 12 with Toshiba Super High Speed type “Class 6” 4GB)
Image Processing
Colour space sRGB / AdobeRGB
Sharpness + Contrast 5 levels
Saturation 5 levels
Black & White filter Yellow, Orange, Red, Green
Black & White toning Sepia, Blue, Red, Green
Picture mode i-Enhance, Vivid, Natural, Portrait, Muted, Monotone
Gradation 4 levels (auto, high key, normal, low key)
External Flash Control
X-sync speed 1/180 s / 1/4000 s (Super FP Mode)
Type TTL AUTO, AUTO, MANUAL, FP TTL AUTO, FP MANUAL
Displayed information Auto, Red-eye reduction, Slow synchronisation, 2nd curtain and slow synchronisation, Fill-in for exclusive flash
Intensity +/- 3 EV ( 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps )
Note: Some functions are only available if they are supported by the external flash.
LCD
LCD type HyperCrystal LCD
Monitor size 7.6 cm / 3.0 ”
Resolution 230000 dots
Brightness adjustment +/- 7 levels
Colour balance A-B: +/-7 levels, G-M: +/-7 levels
Level Gauge
Detection 2-axis
Display Rear LCD monitor
Super Control Panel
Displayed information Aperture value, Shutter speed, AE bracketing, AF frame, Focus mode, AEL notification, Battery indicator, Face detection, Number of storable frames, Metering mode, Exposure mode, Exposure level view, Flash compensation value, Exposure compensation indicatior, ISO, Colour space, Gradation, Colour saturation compensation value, Sharpness compensation value, Contrast compensation value, White balance, White balance compensation value, Noise reduction, Flash mode, Drive mode, Record mode, Memory card, Internal temperature warning, Histogram
View Images
Index Yes 4, 9, 16, 25, 49, 100 frames
Calendar Yes
Zoom Yes
Slide show Yes
Rotation Yes
Light box Yes
Histogram in playback mode Yes
Shooting information  
Erase / Protect / Copy Function
Erase modes Single, All, Selected
Image protect mode Single frame, Selected frames, All Frames, Release protect (Single/All selected)
Recording Formats
RAW 12 bit
RAW & JPEG Yes parallel recording
JPEG Yes
Aspect ratio 4:3 / 3:2 / 16:9 / 6:6
Image Size
RAW 4032 x 3042 compressed / 14 MB / frame
4032 x 3042 Fine (compression: 1/4) / 5.7 MB / frame
4032 x 3042 Normal (compression: 1/8) / 2.7 MB / frame
2560 x 1920 Normal (compression: 1/8) 1.1 MB / frame
1024 x 768 Normal (compression: 1/8) 0.3 MB / frame
Still Image Recording
EXIF yes
PIM yes
DPOF Yes
DCF Yes
Voice Appendage
Recording format Stereo PCM/16bit, 44.1kHz, Wave Format Base
Recording length 30 s
Movie Recording System
Recording format AVI Motion JPEG®
Movie mode HD 1280 x 720 (16:9) / SD 640 x 480 (4:3)
Frame rate 30 fps
Max. recording time 14 min (SD) 7 min (HD)
Max. file size 2 GB
Compression ratio 1/12
Sound recording Yes , format: Stereo PCM/16bit, 44.1kHz, WAV
Sensitivity ISO 200 – 1600
Image Stabilisation Mode Electronical image shifting (Digital IS)
Image Editing
RAW data edit Yes
Red-eye reduction Yes
Sepia Yes
Black & White Yes
Resize Yes
Correction of saturation Yes
Shadow Adjustment Yes
Trimming Yes
e-portrait Yes
Menu
Menu languages in camera 34 languages / 27 European languages (e.g. English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish)
Customisation Options
Fn Button Yes
Custom preset options  
My Mode 2 settings storable
Power Supply
Battery BLS-1 Li-Ion battery (included)
Sleep mode 1, 3, 5, 10 min. and off selectable.
Live View shooting 300 images (100% with Live View) with BLS-1 and Toshiba Class 6 SDHC 4GB card under CIPA testing standard
Environment
Temperature 0 – 40 °C operating temperature / -20 – 60 °C storage temperature
Humidity 30 – 90 % operation humidity / 10 – 90 % storage humidity
Size
Dimensions (W x H x D) 120.5 x 70 x 35 mm (without protrusions)
Weight 335 g (body only)
Interface
Media SD Memory Card(SDHC compatible) Class 6 (4GB) is recommended
HDMI™ Yes Mini connector (type C)
USB 2.0 High Speed Yes
Combined V & USB output Yes NTSC or PAL selectable

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

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Conclusion

With the tweaks and refinements to the Olympus E-P2 being relatively modest, existing E-P1 owners shouldn’t feel the need for an upgrade. To sum up, chief ‘improvements’ are the newly included EVF and port for such, (slightly) enhanced functionality for video makers, and the two new Art Filters, out of which Diorama was the one we deployed most often for its otherworldly and at times painterly effects. The E-P2 is, like its sibling, not only easy to use but also fun with it, and while there are creative options to dip in and out of, users can simply leave the camera on iAuto and take above par snapshots if so desired.

The disappointment about a lack of built-in flash in a package costing nearly £900 remains, and, if we were betting men, we’d wager that a Pen camera with integral flash mustn’t be far off. Olympus will both need that to remain competitive and reach the wider consumer market with the series – more women users, a younger overall age group – that it originally stated was its intention with the launch of the E-P1. Integral flash and possibly a lower price will help do just that. Editor’s note: Olympus must have been listening, as they launched the cheaper E-PL1 complete with built-in flash yesterday!

The Pen’s dimensions, build and portability also loom large among its appealing qualities. Olympus’ ad campaign may be suggesting ‘don’t be a tourist’, and yet we’d recommend the compact(ish) camera as an ideal tool for the travel photographer. Overall the E-P2 joins the list of cameras that we didn’t want to have to hand back at the end of the review period. And incidentally, for Pen completists a black leather body jacket is being offered by Olympus for the E-P2.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 3.5

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

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Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Olympus E-P2.

Canon PowerShot G11

Canon PowerShot G11 Review thumbnail

The PowerShot G11 is the latest version of Canon’s compact camera range for prosumers and professionals, offering a DSLR experience in a pocketable body. Interestingly Canon have reduced the number of megapixels on the G11 in a bid to improve image quality at higher ISO speeds, and they’ve responded to customer feedback by re-introducing the vari-angle LCD that was missing on the previous G10 model. With a price-tag of £569.00 / €659.00 / $499.99, the Canon PowerShot G11 is one of the most expensive digital compact cameras that money can buy – Gavin Stoker finds out if it’s also one of the best…

Canon EOS 500D

Canon EOS 500D Review thumbnail

The Canon EOS 500D is the latest DSLR camera to jump on the HD video bandwagon, offering 1080p and 720p quality settings. Also known as the Digital Rebel T1i, the successor to the EOS 450D features a 15 megapixel CMOS sensor, 940,000 dot 3-inch LCD screen, Live View and ISO range of 100-12800. At $799.99 / £869.99 body only or $899.99 / £969.99 with the EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS kit lens, find out if the Canon EOS 500D is the best consumer digital SLR in our expert review.

Canon PowerShot S90

Canon PowerShot S90 Review thumbnail

The new Canon PowerShot S90 compact camera offers a lot of DSLR functionality in a pocketable format. Support for the RAW format, full range of manual shooting modes, and a fast f/2.0 lens should grab any keen photographer’s attention, especially as the Canon S90 can easily slip inside a shirt pocket. This seemingly winning combination of size and features doesn’t come cheap though – £449.00 / €519.00 / $429.99 is an awful lot to ask for what is after all still a camera with a tiny image sensor. Gavin Stoker sizes up the Canon PowerShot S90 in our latest expert review…

Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR

Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Review thumbnail

The Fujifilm Finepix F200EXR is potentially one of the most revolutionary cameras of 2009. It features Fujifilm’s innocuous sounding EXR technology, which rather cleverly turns the Fuji F200 into three cameras in one. The first EXR mode shoots a high-res 12 megapixel picture, the second takes a 6 megapixel photo with less noise, and the third combines two 6 megapixel images taken at different exposures to capture more dynamic range. Does Fujifilm’s brave attempt to concentrate on image quality rather than more megapixels pay off? Carry on reading our detailed review to find out…

Nikon D3000

Nikon D3000 Review thumbnail

The Nikon D3000 is a new digital SLR camera for the masses, with simplified handling and guided help that offers a gentle introduction to the world of SLR photography. The D3000 is designed to improve your photos, with an interactive Intelligent Guide mode holding your hand on the road to that perfect picture. Other standout features include a large 3 inch LCD screen, sensible 10 megapixel sensor, 11-point autofocus system and 3fps continuous shooting. Available for £429.99 / €522.00 body-only or £499.99 / €607.00 / $599.95 with the 18-55mm VR kit lens, Gavin Stoker discovers if the Nikon D3000 is the ultimate camera for DSLR beginners.

Olympus E-P1

Olympus E-P1 Review thumbnail

The Olympus E-P1 brings together the image quality and interchangeable lenses of a digital SLR, the video capability of a camcorder, and the size and portability of a point and shoot, all in one compact package. The first Micro Four Thirds model from Olympus is inspired by the popular 1950’s PEN series of film cameras, but is very much a product of the new millennium, offering a wealth of up-to-date must-have features. Mark Goldstein finds out if the E-P1 really is all the camera you will ever need in our latest expert review.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Review thumbnail

The new Lumix DMC-GF1 camera seamlessly combines the image quality and features of a DSLR with the handling and ease-of-use of a compact – at least that’s what Panasonic is trying to achieve. With a 12 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD, high-definition video and wealth of shooting modes for beginners and more advanced users, can the diminutive Panasonic GF1 live up to all the pre-release hype? Mark Goldstein discovers if this is THE camera of 2009…

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 Review thumbnail

The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 is a new DSLR-like camera that can shoot both still photos and high-definition video. Based on the Micro Four Thirds standard, the Panasonic GH1 takes all the good points of the original G1 camera and adds a plethora of advanced movie-making functionality into the mix. Available now in black, red and gold for $1499.95 / £1299.99, Mark Goldstein finds out if the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 is the best ever DSLR / video camera.

Pentax K-x

Pentax K-x Review thumbnail

Pentax have been producing excellent DSLR cameras for some time now, and their latest model, the K-x model, is certainly no exception. The small and lightweight 12 megapixel Pentax Kx has a wealth of features, including 4.7fps continuous shooting, 11-point auto-focus, high-definition video, auto modes for beginners and manual modes for experts. With an official price of £599.99 / $599.95, the K-x also won’t break the bank. Mark Goldstein finds out if the new Pentax Kx deserves a place on your DSLR short-list…

Ricoh GXR

Ricoh GXR Review thumbnail

The new Ricoh GXR is a camera unlike any other – it’s not very often that we get to say that! Ricoh have created a truly innovative modular system, where you swap both the lens and the image sensor at the same time, not just the lens as with a conventional DSLR camera. The GXR is also smaller than either a DSLR or the recent Micro Four Thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus. Can Ricoh succeed with their GXR interchangeable camera unit system? Read the World’s first in-depth review to find out…

Sony A380

Sony A380 Review thumbnail

Sony have revamped their entry- and mid-range DSLR cameras for 2009, with the A380 replacing the A350 as the most sophisticated model. The Sony A380 retains all the key features of its predecessor – 2.7 inch tilting LCD screen, Live View, anti-dust system, ISO range of 100-3200, body anti-shake system, eye-start auto-focus system and Dynamic Range Optimiser – whilst updating the design and user interface to supposedly make it easier to use. Find out if Sony’s designers have been successful by reading our in-depth review of the £700 / $850 Sony A380 DSLR.

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

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Review Roundup

Reviews of the Olympus E-P2 from around the web.

stevehuffphoto.com »

With the E-P1 and E-P2, Olympus has been very smart. They know that there are quite a few people out there who want a small-ish compact-ish camera body that is light, sleek, sexy, and yes…fun to use! When they released the E-P1, nicknamed the “Digital Pen” they presented it as a throwback to the old days of the Olympus PEN F film camera. The PEN was a half frame film camera that was smaller than the average SLR and many loved it for its take anywhere size.
Read the full review »

theonlinephotographer.typepad.com »

One of the objections to E-P1 was the lack of a proper viewfinder. E-P2 certainly remedies that with its electronic viewfinder, the VF-2. Specification-wise, the viewfinder has the resolution of 1.44 MP, a refresh rate of 60 fps and a magnification of 1.15x. To the eye, the viewfinder is as good as the viewfinder on my E-3. While the E-3 might not have as big a viewfinder as full-frame offerings from other manufacturers, its viewfinder is nice and bright, and good for manual focusing. It’s exactly the same with the VF-2: Nice, bright and good for manual focusing.
Read the full review »

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Olympus E-P2 Review Image

Mac users, we’re pleased to announce Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for just $69£52

with special Valentine Day bonuses (two eBooks, Vivid Wonderland preset pack, & Creative Sky Overlay pack) included for free until February 19.

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We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.

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