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:
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Olympus Pen E-PL2 review


Price as reviewed:


Our Verdict

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

Flash hotshoe

The flash hotshoe allows the Olympus FL-14 flash to be attached, but it is also compatible with all Olympus FL-series flashguns

Pop-up flash
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

Live wheel
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

Kit lens
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

  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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