Comparing E-P2 to E-PLM1 ....

Started Mar 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Philly
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Comparing E-P2 to E-PLM1 ....
Mar 24, 2012

I just picked up an E-P2 for $250 from Cameta. I got it because of the low price, and I wanted to see if the E-P2's IBIS and UI would work better for me than the E-PM1 does. Below are some of my observations. I would be interested in others' comments, especially from those who also have E-P2 and E-PM1.

1. It seems that the E-P2 has a somewhat stronger AA filter. Images are not quite as sharp and detailed as those from E-PM1, it appears to me. (I am comparing RAW files processed in LR 2.7 or Photoshop CS5.)

2. I like that the E-P2 has ISO 100. But is this the sensor's native ISO? Does ISO 100 provide the cleanest image, or should I expect that from ISO 200? (It seems to be that ISO 200 is cleaner.)

3. IBIS on E-P2 seems pretty good. I leave it turned on, always. On the E-PM1, I leave IBIS off and only turn it on if I see camera shake after I take a shot.

4. The grip on the E-P2 makes holding the camera more comfortable. But it really doesn't help with a lens like the 12-60mm. Other than the non-slip feel of the grip, the E-P2's weightiness and feel in the hands are only marginally more comfortable for me, compared to E-PM1. I actually prefer the lighter weight of the E-PM1, but don't like the slippery feel.

5. To my surprise, the greater direct button access UI of the E-P2 did not make that much of a difference for me. There are two main reasons for this:

  • the custom white balance (Olympus' "one touch white balance") requires assignment of the Fn button to the custom white balance function. There is no other way to set the CWB. On the other hand, the E-PM1 allows you to set the custom white balance through a fairly easy and fast way through the menu. So the Fn button on the E-P2 is "wasted" if you want to be able to set CWB. If Oly has the resources, they should do a firmware update to make the CWB implementation on the E-P2 to be like that of the E-PM1.

  • the face detect feature on the E-P2 requires BOTH the face detect feature to be turned on AND that all the focus point be selected. So turning face detect on/off requires changing two parameters, if you would usually only shoot with single point focus when not using face detect. Alternatively, you can turn face detect (and select all focus points) on/off by just using the Fn button, but then again you are "wasting" the Fn button for this. On the E-PM1, you can set center point focus and still have face detect on. If the camera detects a face, it will focus on it, otherwise it will use the center point focus. This is a much better implementation on the E-PM1, compared to the E-P2. Again, Oly should update the face detect implementation on the E-P2 to be like that of the E-PM1.

6. The E-PM1 has minor UI improvements which makes the E-PM1 more pleasant to use. For example, when in auto ISO, it actually shows the ISO selected by the camera. On the E-P2, you have no idea of the ISO selected by the camera, until you review the photo. Oly should update the E-P2 firmware to show the selected ISO in auto ISO mode.

Overall conclusion: the E-P2 is a nice camera. Some may prefer the weight and feel, over the E-PM1. The E-P2's buttons offer some benefits, but the improved UI of the E-PM1 actually makes the usability of the E-PM1 to be sometimes preferable to that of the E-P2. Disappointingly, the E-P2 doesn't provide better handling for me with 4/3 lenses, compared to the E-PM1. Overall, I think I may slightly prefer the E-PM1. Maybe that will change with more usage, in the future.

Olympus PEN E-P2 Olympus PEN E-PM1
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