Olympus is officially marketing the E-PL2 as a 'step-up' model from the E-PL1 rather than a replacement. However, experience tells us that in such scenarios the older model is likely, sooner or later, to vanish from retailers' shelves when stocks are depleted.
Having said that, despite both cameras featuring the same sensor unit, the differences between the E-PL1 and E-PL2 could just be significant enough to justify retaining both models side-by-side in the Olympus line-up. Some differences, like the modified control layout and the improved build quality, become immediately obvious when you pick up and use the cameras, but most of the new features are a little harder to spot. Here we have listed the most important ones:
USB remote shutter release. Like the E-P1 and E-P2, the E-PL2's shutter can be triggered via the optional RM-UC1 remote release that plugs into the USB socket.
Rear control dial. The E-PL2 gains a rear control dial similar to that on the E-P1/2. It's a real step forward from the E-PL1's all-button interface, and will be very welcome to all shooters who change their settings more frequently.
New Battery. Like most recent cameras the E-PL2 comes with a new battery. The BLS-5 is the same size and capacity as the BLS-1 used by previous Pens, but its contacts are more recessed. It is compatible with the E-PL1 though.
Bigger, higher resolution screen.
The new 3.0" (4:3 aspect ratio) screen offers a higher resolution of 460,000 pixels (E-PL1: 230,000).
The E-PL2's maximum ISO is 6400 (E-PL1: 3200) but base ISO has also shifted from 100 to 200.
At 1/180 sec the E-PL2 offers a faster flash sync time than the E-PL1, and at 1/4000 sec also a faster maximum shutter speed (vs 1/2000 on the E-PL1).
The E-PL2 features the new 'Dramatic Tone' art filter first seen in the E-5, and some of the art filters now offer variations plus the ability to add a border.
As well as shooting tips, the E-PL2 can also assist you to find the right accessories for your camera or lens.
PENPal Bluetooth. The PENpal device fits into the E-PL2's EVF port and is available as an accessory. It allows you to transfer reduced size images (1290x960 or 1920x1440) to a smartphone via a Bluetooth connection. Currently the PENpal supports Windows, Android and Blackberry phones, but doesn't work with Apple's iPhones. It also has a 2GB built-in memory.
The MAL-1 macro light is a new accessory for the E-PL2 and E-P2. The light, which features two LEDs on bendable arms, connects to the hot shoe and accessory port and will retail for around $150.