Olympus PEN E-PM2
Category: Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Conclusion - Pros:
- OM-D image quality in smaller, lighter, cheaper body
- Excellent JPEG color and exposure
- Suprising level of customizability with several user-assigned function buttons
- Raw shooting and in-camera processing
- Small but functional handgrip
- Flash accessory included
- Fast 8 fps burst shooting mode
- Touch-sensitive screen available for those who want it; enough physical buttons for those who don't
- AF is very fast and accurate - among the best AF systems out there for single AF
Conclusion - Cons:
- Flash competes with other potential accessories for single accessory port
- Image on LCD is difficult to see in bright sunlight
- No external dials for exposure mode/shooting parameter setting
- Sparse controls and compact layout may be too cramped for some
Despite its small size, the E-PM2 has plenty to offer. At the top of the list is very good JPEG image quality, and though it's unlikely to be a key feature for the camera's target audience, RAW shooting is available. The now-standard (and lest we forget - Olympus-originated) Art Filters are on hand too, and they're a lot of fun to play with. For those just learning to use an advanced camera and eager to tweak settings, Olympus' Live Guide mode is available at the press of a button. And of course, advanced photographers can find manual exposure modes in the camera menu.
The Mini was introduced to appeal to point-and-shoot owners wanting an upgrade that wouldn't weigh them down. It certainly satisfies this requirement. But as well as this main target audience, experienced shooters who just want a decent small camera as a second body should also pay attention to the E-PM2. It's small and compact, and it's still very much a point-and-shoot with a lot more options. But with a touchscreen, some ergonomic tweaks and the inclusion of some top-notch imaging components, the E-PM2 is definitely a more mature product than its predecessor the E-PM1. Essentially it's a slimmed-down OM-D - a camera we like very much indeed.
The EMP2 is still missing a few things that advanced photographers might look for, like a built-in viewfinder, but the AP2 port does offer the option of adding one (along with other accessories, although not at the same time) if your ambitions start to outgrow the E-PM2's 'out of the box' capabilities.
If you're interested in the E-PM2, for an extra $100 (~£100, going by street price in the UK), you could spring for the tilting LCD, external mode dial and removable front grip of the E-PL5. Photographers with larger hands may also find the ergonomics of the E-PL5 a better fit than the decidedly 'Mini' E-PM2, but there's not much in it.
As well as the E-PM5, if you're shopping around for a small ILC and you're not committed to the Micro Four Thirds system, Sony's NEX-series is worth a close look. Most significantly, the NEXs offer a larger image sensor, which some photographers will appreciate for the sake of slight gains in depth of field control and low-light shooting. But for casual photographers and enthusiasts looking for a lightweight secondary camera, the E-PM2 is definitely worthy of serious consideration.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
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Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The Olympus PEN-EPM2 is a point-and-shoot mirrorless camera which does exactly what a novice will need it to. For more adventurous users, there's a lot of functionality hidden beneath the skin (including the image quality of the OM-D) making the E-PM2 a potentially very attractive second camera.
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