The Olympus E-P2 is a 12.3-megapixel interchangeable lens camera and it blends the high-quality still images of a DSLR with High Definition (HD) video, stereo Linear PCM audio recording and in-camera creativity - all inside an ultra-portable, easy-to-use body.
The E-P2 also brings a new twist to the PEN lineup an accessory port which accommodates the included VF-2 electronic view finder or optional external microphone adapter (SEMA-1).
A wide-angle pancake lens with a convenient focal length (equivalent to 34mm on a 35mm camera) for shooting everything from landscapes and portraits to close-ups. A slim design with an overall length of just 22 mm ensures the camera remains compact and easy to carry even when the lens is mounted. With its digital-dedicated design and superior performance this lens maximizes the camera's performance for clear, high-quality imaging.
Reviewed by 4 customers
I was looking for a small camera with a viewfinder. My now aging Oly EP-1 is fine, but very hard to see LCD in bright light, and just can't get into the arm's length holding thing; too shaky for critical focussing. Saw demo EP-2 with VF-2 electronic finder with A BONUS, the Oly 17mm f2.8 lens included! A great deal. Now have a viewfinder, and more stability when composing photos closeup, or with 40-150mm zoom lens. Quality of image in VF-2 is much better for manual focus and image viewing in any light situation. I was instantly impressed by the VF-2. Now I feel my carry-around kit is more complete. Being well-seasoned age of 64, I don't want to lug my DSLR and heavy lenses around unless I need them for critical bird photography. Now, I just grab the small canvas bag, go lite, and still have the flexibility to make great photos as I see them! The only non-perfect things are can't use external flash with viewfinder in place, but I can accept that, and not the perfect small camera for bird photography, but again, with the VF-2 to help with focus and giving the user three-point stability of having the camera at eye level, it is adequate for a light grab and go camera kit. Sorry folks, I can't give the kit 5 stars, but I'd rate it 4.5 stars if I could select a half star!
I bought the EP-2 for travel as a small replacement to my DSLR. The size is perfect for carrying around all day. Image quality is as good as my DSLR when shooting jpg with very low noise up to ISO 800. Autofocus is fast and accurate in good light; but a little slow in low light situations. Battery lasts for about 300 shots, a little shorter life than my DSLR and P&S cameras. I have used Pentax 110 and LTM legacy lenses on EP-2 with excellent results. Manual focus assist with EV-2 is a real plus. I would definitely buy the EP-2 again.
Just wanted to post a follow-up to my first review here, having had the chance to work with the E-P2 a bit more and in different situations. First, right now the setup I've got on it is very quick and easy to use. I primarily use the E-P2 with an adapter and a manual focus 35mm format lens on it, so I need to switch lenses and do a little setup to make sure the camera will work best as I switch around with these lenses. You'd be shocked to see how many different adapters are popping up out there to use with the micro four-thirds mount...I've even seen adapters to put C-mount cine lenses on micro four-thirds cameras! You name the mount, from M42 screw mount to Contax bayonet to Leica screw mount, and you've probably got someone walking around out there now with the Olympus E-P2 effectively as a "digital back" with those lenses on it. I've found the "Ok" button and up, down, left, right buttons right underneath your thumb on the back of the camera can become very intuitive to use. They adjust the following: Up = ISO; Left = AF or MF modes; Down = single shot, multi shot, or timer modes; Right = white balance; Ok = brings up the mini menu item you last selected, which I leave right on the image stabilization mode and lens length input. Using that, it's easy to pop on a lens, make every adjustment I need to, and get shooting quickly. And the images you can get -- not to mention the experience of some of the finest lenses out there that give you that intimate control over your image -- is very, very good. I decided to add this follow up to point out the E-P2's most gaping failure: the fact that the electronic viewfinder, VF-2 I think it is, covers the TTL hotshoe and offers no flash connection. The problem is that you can't use a flash there without unplugging the viewfinder, so you now need to focus using the rear LCD, which has far less resolution than the viewfinder does. It works fine, but it's not the same as using the viewfinder, which you may find yourself preferring. It's silly that you can't use the camera's excellent viewfinder and also plug in some kind of flash at the same time. Now, I should say that the camera is so good in low light situations that I haven't really had the need to use flash at all -- haven't tried it once so far. But it would have been a simple matter for Olympus to have at least had a PC sync socket for flash built into the viewfinder, if not a TTL cable socket. Yes, that probably would have made the electronic viewfinder a bit larger, but Olympus could very easily make a new EVF that incorporates a PC sync socket or TTL cable socket. Right now, the EVF has only a plastic dummy shoe that slips over the E-P2's hotshoe plate; why not just have a thin TTL cable board wired at the bottom of it? Someone might even be able to do it aftermarket. For this reason, I had to return to tell you that the Olympus E-P2 is an extraordinary camera. But it's got a few things on it that Olympus chose somewhat stupidly on, and they could easily be fixed. No, I don't think Olympus should have gone the way Panasonic did with the GF1 and include a tiny pop-up flash...that detracts from the sturdiness of the chassis. Onboard image stabilization is by far more useful to you in the field than the Panasonic's little poo poo pop up flash. The E-P2 gets a lot of things right, but it needs just a little tweaking to make it juuuuuuuuuuuuust right. The hotshoe/flash issue is one of them. I wrote in my earlier review that I believed the E-P1 and E-P2 are able to remotely trigger Olympus flashes FL-36R and FL-50R, but no -- the Olympus remote flash system is an optical slave-type system, not a radio remote signal. So Olympus could have and should have found a way to include a PC or TTL socket on the EVF, which the company very well could do and I'll grudgingly pay the $300 or $400 it'll cost. The other thing I should reinforce is that the E-P2 is very like some old 35mm cameras of mine...slightly small vertically, and better with a "winder" if you're going to be using more substantial lenses. Winders and grips with those old cameras gave an additional measure of stability when holding the camera and any larger lens, and the E-P2 with the Olympus leather bottom case has a little more width and vertical length has the same sort of effect. So do add that and improve the tool you're working with. I've actually custom made a "grip" of my own for my E-P2 to build the camera out just a bit with a little protection and a much better tactile feel. It's very, very good to use, but because of Olympus's moment of stupidity in goofing somewhat with the flash conflicting with use of the electronic viewfinder, the camera deserves four and a half stars, not five. So I'll vote four this time to average it out there.
I ordered this little guy as soon as Adorama had it listed, so I got mine Dec. 15 and have had a chance to play with it a bit. Most people who are "in the know" realize that a lot of the excitement behind the micro four-thirds cameras is because the mount can be adapted to almost any kind of 35mm lenses... that means people are putting Leica M-bayonet and screw-mount lenses, old M-42 screw mount lenses of all kinds, and old manual focus Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Pentax...many, many lenses can work on these. If, that is, you know a thing or two about what you're doing. Many people have whined that the EP-2 doesn't have much that's different from the cheaper EP-1. Nope...you can put those complaints to bed, because the differences between the cameras are very significant, especially for those who want to try old manual-focus lenses with it. First of all, it's black. That's just superficial, but it does match much better if you're going to happen to be using (and prefer) black lenses with it. Most important is its viewfinder. While it does take some getting used to (it looks a little odd sitting on the camera at first, but with the right lens looks great), it offers you superb resolution. Basically, pop on your lens adapter, mount your old lens, put the camera on center-weighted metering (I recommend) and aperture priority shooting, set the image stabilization to the focal length you're shooting, look through that viewfinder, and get shooting! I did a test of still indoor subjects (so yes, motion wasn't a factor) and shot a 135mm f/2.8 lens -- which works like a long 270mm f/2.8 with the smaller micro 4/3 sensor -- with razor-sharp results at 1/5 of a second. So basically, if available light photography is your game, there is very serious potential for this little camera to be your secret weapon. Get any fast, sharp 50mm from the 35mm film format and it will perform like a 100mm with the sensor crop factor, mount it on this little beast, and you are sporting an image-stabilized 100mm f/1.7, 1.4, etc. That just happens to be the "zone" I usually work in -- from 80mm to 135mm in many cases -- and the EP-2's viewfinder makes it a pleasure to use. It's very crisp and allows for precise focusing, if your manual focusing skills are up to snuff. In low light, I should note that the viewfinder will struggle to maintain brightness, but so will any regular prism you'll be looking through. I tested it in almost no-light situations to see if I could focus at all, and yep, I could. I managed to get very sharp, great color images doing exactly that. On that note, keep on top of the white balance. The auto white balance works well in some situations, but outdoors in shade I found the "shade" setting much more accurate and inside, it's often easiest to just go to "custom WB" and set the color temperature. Remember that the light colors people think of as "warm" -- orange tones and so on -- are actually "cold" in terms of indoor lighting temperatures, such as that incandescent lighting that gives you a very orange tone. So especially indoors, orange light = cooler temps around 3500-4000K, and warm light is actually bluish. Image quality looks very high so far. I haven't tested it to high-high ISOs like 3200, but you can move it incrementally in small steps, so just push it as far as you need to to get an adequate shutter speed for what you're shooting. In many cases, you won't have to go far...again, you've got the potential for using a very fast lens with in-body image stabilization that works quite well, and you can often shoot down to an eighth or even a fifth of a second hand-held. Practice your technique, and you might be amazed at what you can do with this... One drawback is that I'd thought this would be a typical electronic viewfinder camera, which doesn't have a real shutter in the traditional sense. With many of those, the shutter noise is simply a sound effect, which you can turn off and then be shooting very stealthily indeed. The EP-2 does have a real shutter, but I find the noise is pretty quiet and not obtrusive at all. The little thing definitely grows on you. Two bits of advice: get a second battery (battery life is good, but you'll burn through it with extensive shooting) and get either the Olympus or aftermarket bottom case. Much of the outer body is metal, but its bottom could be a weak point with the plastic battery/memory card cover and could use a little extra protection, in my opinion. The EVF attachment seems sturdy, but I'll have to figure out what kind of bag I want to throw this in and whether I'd take the EVF off for transport. It is much better to focus manual lenses with the EVF than the LCD screen, but the LCD screen responds quickly and is very useable in that respect (as owners of the EP-1 know, I'm sure). The external microphone could dramatically improve sound for video, and that expansion port on the EP-2 will allow for future expandability. What about flash? Well, I actually got this to focus mainly on available light photography, but flash is a consideration. Mounting a flash on the camera will force you to take off the EVF. Also, this camera is fairly small in that regard, so a big flash mounted on it will not balance well. I'm not sure about this yet, but I believe the camera can remotely trigger an Olympus FL-36R or FL-50R, I think in manual mode (not sure about remote TTL). So I might belt one of those onto my shoulder or something, remotely trigger and bounce a flash around, and just shoot the EP-2 otherwise as I have been. I'll try some different things to see what works best. How is the 17mm f/2.8 Olympus lens? How is the auto focus? Ask me again in awhile...I'll get to it sometime. I'm sure it's great, and it'll work well when I need a wider angle for general work. But in the meantime, I'm having too much fun popping a bunch of super-sharp old lenses on this thing and basking in the feel of quality manufacture from an earlier time. That may not be your shtick; I'm a bit of a nut and shoot 35mm film gear all the time. The bottom line is that this camera could be nothing that out of the ordinary...or, for the right user, it's a whole different ballgame. I'm sure having a great time.
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