Olympus PEN E-PM2
Category: Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Olympus PEN E-PM2 Review
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
Everyday 'auto everything' photography where speed, responsiveness and great JPEGs are what you need.
Not so good for
More involved, critical work where the lack of external controls can make more 'hands-on' operation a little difficult.
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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