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
With the Olympus Pen E-PL2’s simple styling, ease of use and competitive price, it will appeal to entry-level photographers who don’t want to dip their toes into the seemingly murky waters of buying and using a DSLR. The addition of a range of customisable art filters and standard-resolution HD video capture confirm its mass-market position, but it will also appeal to enthusiast photographers looking for a small light camera for travel and street photography.
However, those same enthusiasts might feel more inclined to opt for a compact system camera with an APS-C-sized sensor. The larger size of these sensors mean that they will always be a step ahead of the four thirds format in terms of resolution and noise.
Overall, the E-PL2 is the camera that perhaps the E-PL1 should have been. The few improvements make it a much nicer camera, and one I have enjoyed testing and using. The image quality is good, although the 12.3-million-pixel resolution will no doubt put some photographers off. If you are thinking of making the E-PL2 your first micro four thirds camera then it is a good choice, but for existing users of the system its changes aren’t significant enough to warrant an upgrade.
Olympus Pen E-PL2: Focal points
The flash hotshoe allows the Olympus FL-14 flash to be attached, but it is also compatible with all Olympus FL-series flashguns
This lever activates the E-PL2’s in-camera flash. The flash pops up from the top of the camera and is on a double hinge to raise it further from the lens and help reduce redeye
Direct video record
Like most new cameras, the E-PL2 features a button that starts and stops video recording without accessing the menu or switching to video mode
Previously seen on the E-P1 and E-P2, this control dial makes it quick to scroll through various camera settings and images
Face detection with Eye Detect
Accessed from the main shooting settings, face-priority mode detects faces in the scene and prioritises focus and exposure for them. Not only this, but it features Eye Detect AF, which focuses even more precisely on a subject’s eye, which should be the point of focus in any portrait image
Four thirds adapter
Olympus E-series DSLR users can purchase the MMF-2 converter to use four thirds-system lenses on Olympus Pen micro four thirds cameras, such as the E-PL2
The new Olympus M Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II MSC lens has a smooth and silent AF motor, meaning that sound from the AF and zoom barrel won’t be captured when recording video footage. It also allows the new Olympus MCON-P01 Macro, FCON-P01 Fish Eye and WCON-P01 Wide converters to be attached
Wireless flash control
As well as the built-in pop-up flash and a hotshoe, the Olympus Pen E-PL2 can control and fire flashguns wirelessly. Compatible flashguns include the Olympus FL-30R and FL-50R