Olympus E-PL2 Review

By

First Look posted 01/05/2011
Conclusion and samples added 02/15/2011

Quick Take
Pros

  • Nice, well-built feel in your hands
  • Stylish aluminum body comes in four colors: Black, White, Red, and Silver
  • Produces beautiful 12-megapixel images
  • Records good quality 720p HD video
  • Great High ISO performance up to ISO 3200
  • Excellent shooting performance, improved slightly over past models as well
  • Loads of creative exposure options for beginners and photo enthusiasts
  • Built-in flash unit
  • New Accessory Port 2 for additional PEN accessories; like the new PENPAL Bluetooth unit
  • Great bang for your buck
Cons
  • ISO 6400 shows a great deal of luminous noise throughout the photograph
  • No 1080p HD video option
Bottom Line
Olympus continues to produce some of the best EVIL cameras on the market. The E-PL2 is a great improvement over the E-PL1, which is still a great camera in itself. The new additions are very welcomed, and will surly add to the already high appeal of these models. While I don't expect too many E-PL1 owners to upgrade, for those who are currently in the market, we highly recommend this model. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
olympus_e-pl2_blk_550.jpgThe fourth generation in the now legendary Digital PEN line, the E-PL2 is an updated version of the ver popular E-PL1 from last year, however it's not a replacement. The E-PL2 boasts a very similar feature set with some new additions to set this unit apart from its sibling.

While still offering a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS, micro 4/3 image sensor, the E-PL2 offers an updated body design with a large, more ergonomic hand grip, new Accessory Port 2 (AP2), undated power on/off switch, an added control wheel around the 4-way controller, new Art filters (including filter stacking), face detection with iDetect, expanded ISO coverage up to ISO 6400, broader shutter speed range up to 1/4000s, Live Guide II (still and video), a larger 3.0-inch LCD screen, cable release port, SDXC compatibility, an updated battery pack (can still use previous packs), and an all new M.Zuiko 14-42mm II lens.

The new M.Zuiko 14-42mm II lens has been optimized for both still image and video capture, along with the addition of a bayonet mount on the end of the barrel to accept three new optional conversion lens units; fisheye, wide-angle, and macro. If all of this wasn't enough to get you going, they've also released two new Digital PEN accessories, the MAL-1 Close-up Spotlight, and the PP-1 PENPAL Bluetooh transfer device. Now you can connect the E=PL2 to any Bluetooh enabled smartphone for simple uploads to your favorite social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and more. Note, while all of the PEN accessories are compatible with past PEN models, the PENPAL only works with the new AP2 port on the E-PL2. 

We know that this is quite a bit to swallow in one breath. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on a full production E-PL2 prior to its release, so have a look through our in-depth First look to get the low down on this new model's features, including see some unedited sample photos.

Olympus E-PL2 Features:
  • Four body color choices: Red, Silver, White and Black
  • 12.3-Megapixel Live MOS image sensor produces large 4032x3024 pixel photo 
  • Direct button for HD movie recording
  • Choose from 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 6:6 aspect ratios
  • Micro Four-Thirds lens mount system
  • Compatible with Four Thirds mount and Olympus OM lenses using optional adapters (MMF-1 and MF-2 OM)
  • In-body (sensor-shift) Image Stabilization system
  • TruePic V Image Processor
  • Olympus System Supersonic Wave Filter Dust Reduction System
  • iAuto (intelligent), Program AE, Aperture/Shutter Priority, Full Manual, and Custom exposure control
  • 22 pre-programmed Scene modes as well as  "Art Filter" modes
  • Art Filter stacking options
  • Live Guide II covers both still and video
  • Face detection with new iDetect (Eye Detect)
  • Compressed RAW and JPEG (Fine/Standard) formats, including RAW+JPEG (Fine or Normal)
  • In-camera image editing options, including RAW processing
  • TTL Auto White Balance system with several presets, one-touch custom set, white balance compensation, and bracketing options
  • sRGB or Adobe RGB Color Space options
  • TTL 324-area ESP metering system, Center-weighted average and Spot options
  • Shutter speeds from 2 - 1/4000 sec. seconds and Bulb
  • Manual Focus Assist
  • 3.0 inch HyperCrystal LCD with anti-reflective coating
  • Accepts new VF-2 electronic viewfinder that attaches via the flash hot shoe, and articulates up to 90°
  • EVF monitor adjustments for brightness and hue (±7 levels each)
  • Record Motion JPEG (.AVI) movies at 720p HD (1280x720) or SD (640x480) resolutions (30fps) with stereo sound
  • Auto ISO sensitivity from 200 - 6400, Manual from 100-6400, 1/3 or 1EV steps (Movie mode 160 - 1600)
  • Built-in hot shoe for external units
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot
  • Selectable video output with NTSC or PAL format
  • HD output via MiniHDMI Type C I/O port
  • monaural microphone
  • Optional EMA-1 microphone input jack for optional external mics
  • Accessory port 2 accepts VF-2 and EMA-1 adapters as well as new MAL-1 and PP-1 (PENPAL) accessories
  • CEC compliant
  • USB 2.0 (High-speed) data and control interface
  • Included BLS-5 Li-ion battery and compact AC charger
  • Newly designed M.Zuiko 14-42mm II lens with optional conversion lens adapters

The E-PL2 kit will include the new M.Zuiko Digtial ED 14-42mm II f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens, and should be available sometime this month (January 2011) with an MSRP of just $599.99 US.

Each kit includes:

  • E-PL2 body
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm II f3.5/5.6 zoom lens
  • Li-ion battery BLS-5
  • USB/Video Multi cable
  • Shoulder strap
  • Software CD-ROM
  • Instruction manual
  • Warranty card
Additional Views:

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olympus_e-pl2_fisheye_550.jpg
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