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
Viewfinder, live view, LCD and video
Olympus has used the same 3in, 230,000-dot screen in the E-P2 as is found in the E-P1. Although it is bright and clear, I tended to use the screen only when shooting images at around waist height. I much preferred using the 1.4-million-dot EVF.
The VF-2 electronic viewfinder is included with the E-P2 if you buy it as a kit with the 14-42mm lens or the 17mm pancake lens. Like other electronic viewfinders of its type, the VF-2 is hinged to allow it to be used as an angle finder. Despite its plastic structure, the VF-2 is fairly sturdy and it would take a drop on a hard surface or a lot of deliberate force to break the viewfinder’s hinge.
The viewfinder is one of the best I’ve used. I found it doesn’t suffer from the RGB flicker/fringing we have noted on other cameras. There is also very little delay/lag between moving the camera and what is displayed in the viewfinder. It is only when moving very quickly that a slight flicker is noticeable.
Obviously, it still looks like you are staring at an LCD screen, but as we’ve noted with other recent electronic viewfinders, the latest models show far more detail and a more natural view.
Should you wish to use the rear screen instead of the VF-2, there is a small button that switches between the two. There is, in fact, no difference between what can be viewed on the two screens, and there are two display modes in particular that I found useful. One of these is the live histogram, which is a useful tool to have in the viewfinder for checking that highlight and shadow areas are correctly exposed. Similarly, the white balance mode can be displayed on the rear screen or through the viewfinder, allowing it to be previewed and quickly selected. However, it is best shown on the rear display as it is too small to be of much use when viewed in the EVF.
Video capture is possible either by viewing the scene on the rear screen or through the viewfinder. There have been a few changes to the video-capture options since the E-P1. Although the 30fps, 1280×720-pixel resolution remains, you can now shoot video in manual-exposure mode, which allows the aperture and shutter speed to be selected.
Contrast-detection AF can be used in video mode. However, when in continuous-focus mode it seeks back and forth, causing the subject to be thrown constantly in and out of focus before settling on a focus point. Manual focus is by far the best option for those wishing to shoot video.