Behind its simple looks and clean lines, the Olympus Pen E-PL2 compact system camera hides a number of DSLR-worthy features. Richard Sibley tests the 12.3MP, micro four thirds camera

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Olympus Pen E-PL2

AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:


Olympus Pen E-PL2 review


Price as reviewed:

Olympus Pen E-PL2 at a glance:

  • 12.3-million-pixel micro four thirds Live MOS sensor
  • ISO 200-6400
  • Art filter image styles
  • Hotshoe and accessory port
  • 3in, 460,000-dot LCD screen
  • Street price around £500, including 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens

Olympus Pen E-PL2 review – Introduction


Aimed at entry-level photographers and photography enthusiasts, compact system cameras (CSC) are currently the biggest area of growth in the digital camera market. Smaller and lighter than a DSLR, these interchangeable-lens cameras appeal to people upgrading from a compact camera. They are also attractive to those people more used to a DSLR, but who are interested in a CSC as a secondary camera for when their bulkier DSLR is less convenient. This latest model, the Olympus Pen E-PL2, is perfectly placed to capture users at both ends of the market.

Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, the Olympus Pen E-PL2 is an evolution of its predecessor, the E-PL1, which was released in February 2010. The new camera inherits many of the older model’s features, while updating a few others and adding some new ones of its own.

The Olympus Pen E-PL2 is designed as an entry-level camera, but it uses the same 12.3-million-pixel sensor as the E-P1 and E-P2, which sit above it in the Olympus Pen range. Like the E-PL1, the E-PL2 addresses an issue that afflicts both of the more expensive models: namely, that neither features a built-in flash. The small pop-up flash of the E-PL2 is an essential feature for photographers who are more used to the point-and-shoot approach.

For those using an interchangeable-lens camera for the first time, Olympus has kept the Live Guide that was originally introduced in the E-PL1. This on-screen display helps beginners to easily adjust the shooting settings. The camera also offers shooting tips, to help advise users on the basics of photographing different subjects.

Despite the E-PL2 being designed with entry-level users in mind, at its core is a range of manual exposure, focusing and colour options worthy of a DSLR, giving it a far broader appeal. With competition in this sector of the market becoming increasingly hot, it will be interesting to see exactly how the E-PL2 meets the demands of both groups of photographers.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and Handling
  4. 4. White balance and Colour
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Noise, Resolution and Sensitivity
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. Viewfinder, LCD, Live View and Video
  10. 10. Our Verdict
  11. 11. Competition
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