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:



Photographers wanting a slim compact system camera now have a few models to chose from.

The Sony NEX-5 (and NEX-3) and Samsung NX100 have a distinct advantage over the Olympus Pen E-PL2 as they both have larger, APS-C-sized sensors with 14.6-million-pixel resolutions.

Of the two cameras, the NEX-5 is smaller and lighter, but for enthusiasts the shortage of buttons may make it slow to operate.

The NX100 is probably more of a direct competitor to the E-PL2, although it lacks the built-in flash that many will see as an essential requirement for a camera of this type.

There is also micro four thirds competition in the form of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2.

This camera uses the same resolution sensor as the E-PL2, but is more advanced.




White Balance:Auto, 8 presets, plus custom setting and Kelvin adjustment
Built-in Flash:Yes, GN 7m @ ISO 100
Dioptre Adjustment:-3 to +1
Shutter Type:Computerised focal-plane shutter
Memory Card:SD/SDHC
Viewfinder Type:N/A. Optional VF-2 EVF with 1.4 million dots
Output Size:4032x3042 pixels
LCD:3in with 460,000 dots
White Balance Bracket:Yes, over 3 frames in steps of 2, 4 or 6 mired
Field of View:Approx 100%
Max Flash Sync:1/180sec or 1/4000sec in Super FP mode
AF Points:11 points, auto or manual selection possible, plus face detection
Exposure Modes:iAuto, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, plus 22 scene presets and 6 art filters
Sensor:Live MOS with 12.3 million effective pixels
Focal Length Mag:2x
Weight:317g (without battery or card/s)
Power:Rechargeable Li-Ion battery BLS-5 supplied
File Format:Raw, JPEG, raw+JPEG simultaneously
Shutter Speeds:60-1/4000sec in 1⁄2 or 1/3EV steps plus bulb
Drive Mode:Max 3fps for approx 17 JPEGs or 10 raw files
Colour Space:Adobe RGB, sRGB
Lens Mount:Micro four thirds
DoF Preview:No
Focusing Modes:Manual (with focus assist magnification), AF-S, AF-C, AF tracking
ISO:ISO 200-6400
Connectivity / Interface:USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Metering System:324-zone multi-pattern, digital ESP, centreweighted and spot, plus highlight/shadow spot metering
Compression:Three-stage JPEG
Exposure Comp:±3EV in 1⁄3, 1⁄2EV or 1EV steps
Tested as:Compact system camera
  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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