Wasting no time at all, Olympus has updated its Pen E-P1 camera just five months after it was released. Richard Sibley tests the Olympus Pen E-P2 to find out what has been changed
Like the Olympus Pen E-P1, the E-P2 has a Four Thirds-format, 12.3-million-pixel Live MOS sensor. It also uses the same TruePic V imaging sensor that is capable of capturing and saving images as both JPEGs and raw files, as well as 1280×720-pixel resolution HD video.
There is one major addition, though: the accessory port. This is a small electronic socket below the E-P2’s hotshoe, which allows electronic accessories to be attached to the camera. At its launch, there are two such items available. The first of these is the EMA-1 microphone adapter. This adds a stereo jack socket so that an external stereo microphone can be used. Olympus supplies the EMA-1 adapter in the SEMA-1 kit, which also includes the ME-51S stereo microphone. Although the E-P1 has the facility to record in stereo, the microphone is too close to the lens’s autofocus so it records the sound of the motor moving.
The second accessory, the VF-2 electronic viewfinder, should prove popular and in my opinion should have been a feature on the original E-P1. With a 1.4-million-dot screen, the VF-2 is on par with the EVF of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1. It is an improvement over the Olympus VF-1, which is an optical viewfinder designed for use with the Olympus M Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens.
However, only one accessory can be used at a time, so you will have to choose between stereo recording and using the viewfinder. Of course, as the accessories fit onto the flash hotshoe, you won’t be able to use an external flashgun at the same time. Obviously, this isn’t a problem if you are shooting video as chances are you won’t be using the viewfinder or need flash. However, if you are shooting still images you must choose between having a viewfinder and flash capability. Sadly, the E-P2 does not feature an internal pop-up flash.