Olympus PEN EP2 Review
Olympus Pen E-P2, a follow-up model of E-P1. It has expanded features than its brother although a costly alternative than available DSLR cameras.
E-P2 is very similar with E-P1, though it only comes in black with a chrome accent than the silver and white version of the EP-1. It may have a retro look yet it shares the elegant and functional body design, and totally modern digital camera. Also another difference from the E-P1 is its accessory port, for VF2 Electronic ViewFinder that comes with the kit, and for Olympus microphone for quality movie sound.
The E-P2’s control array seems a little cluttered compare to its original Pen F version back then, but it provides many options for shooters do today. For more demanding shooters, E-P2’s controls are logically placed and can be easily accessed, though its sub-dial is very sensitive and needs to get used to. Over-all, E-P2 is still ergonomic and feels fit right in your hand.
If you’ve never used and Olympus before you will find E-P2’s menu to be overly complex. It may take time for you to find what you are looking for and some options aren’t placed to where you would expect them. Fortunately, E-P2 provides sufficient external controls to avoid its complex menu system, with its Super Control Panel which displays all settings and parameters at a glance.
E-P2’s primary viewfinder is its 3 inch HyperCrystal II LCD, it’s relatively clear and has wider viewing angle, but its 230K resolution is not as accurate for judging image sharpness.
Olympus included the clip-on VF2 electronic viewfinder, it can be mounted to the camera’s accessory port or the hotshoe and connection port beneath it. The VF2 provides 100% view with magnification of 1.15x, it looks and behaves like a DSLR and tilts which gives an advantage in shooting flexibility. Yet, the add-on limits your capability to slip the camera to your jacket pocket.
E-P2 have an added speed in AutoFocus mode for continuous focus tracking compared to E-P1, which makes it easier to keep up with moving subject. Compared to other makers however, the E-P2 is still the slowest with regards to AF. It can capture general action with good light condition, but not that quick enough for extreme movements and action.
E-P2 doesn’t have an onboard flash but it can be mounted with an external TTL flash unit through its hotshoe adaptor. The E-P2 also features an internal sensor-shift image stabilization to secure capture from a shaky-hand.
The kit comes with a Zuiko f/3.5-5.6 14-42mm zoom, the collapsible lens is an ingenious way of retracting when not in use. Also available a Zuiko f/2.8 17mm prime lens which provides a wider maximum aperture for more compact shooting solution and some said to have a faster AF in E-P2.
Lens operation is very quite and zooming is fairly smooth. The 14mm lens does show some minor corner softness to the image, but it’s still decent for a kit lens. Other Micro Four Third lenses are also compatible with Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras provided with an adaptor.
Photos appear to have a very good color, contrast and sharpness. It’s image quality range from very good to excellent provided with a good light condition. Despite a slight tendency to clip highlights and noticeable chromatic aberration, the image is still decent in overall.
Taking quality picture is easier with the E-P2’s auto exposure system which provides beginners a simple and a better than the average image than its Program and Auto modes. For an advance options the shooter can tweak to its Super Control Panel for image parameters including saturation, contrast, and sharpness.
E-P2’s higher ISO sensitivity performance appeared to have not improved with this model than its earlier E-P1 version. Above ISO 400 the noise is already noticeable and loss of fine detail is barely perceptible. The colors however, have maintained its excellent characteristics, exposures are superb on solid dynamic range. Olympus’s TruePic V image processing may have a little special sauce after all.
E-P2 records movie in AVI format, at 1,280 x 720 or 640 x 480 pixels, both at 30 fps. Recording time is 7mins max in HD mode and 14min max in Standard with a limit file size of 2GB.
Video recording in E-P2 now allows full manual control of both shutter speed and aperture. It gives you a choice of either Programmed, Aperture-Priority, or Manual exposure modes, and which ISO sensitivity the camera will use.
E-P2 incorporates Olympus' digital image stabilization for video mode, so any lens attached to it effectively becomes an image-stabilized model. It worked quite well, lending a good bit of added stability to hand-held movie recordings, and the IS operation turns to be silent than expected.
Audio recording is done either via two microphones on the camera's front face, appearing as small black dots on either side of the Olympus logo above the lens, or via the EMA-1 adapter that connects to the accessory port and offers an external stereo microphone jack.
The internal microphone did a pretty decent job of providing a stereo effect, although it wasn't as good as with a high-quality external stereo microphone in localization of sound sources. E-P2's sound seemed to have a bit more background noise in its audio tracks than other competitor cameras. Audio levels are set entirely automatically by the camera since there's no manual volume or input level control.
Overall, Olympus E-P2’s video mode wasn’t the most capable than the other cameras available, but it works pretty well. With its ability to use a variety of lenses for video recording, and offers greater control over depth of field it can cope-up with its similar rivals.
- 12.3 MegaPixels
- 3 inch LCD
- VF-2 Electronic Viewfinder
- Weight: 385g
- HD video 1280 x 720 Aspect 16:9
- Manual Exposure Control for video
- Accessory Port for accessories like viewfinder and microphones
- SD/SDHC Memory Card
- New Art Filters (Diorama and Cross Process)
- New iEnhance function for color boasting
- EMA-1 Microphone Adapter
- Fast AutoFocus Tracking
- Excellent build quality with outstanding design
- Very good image quality
- Bright Electronic Viewfinder included
- Compatibility with wide range of lenses using adapters
- Reasonably light and balanced even with lens
- Slow AutoFocus in dim light
- Short Battery Life (300 shots)
- Low-Resolution LCD (230,000 dots)
- No built-in flash
Olympus E-P2 can indeed capture excellent quality photos. The E-P2 camera may appeal professional and semi-professional shooters that are looking for an easy to carry back-up camera and have an excess budget in their pocket.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Prices last updated on: Mon, 22 May 2017 08:36:42 PDT