Olympus E-PM2

Started Jan 25, 2013 | User reviews thread
Flat view
Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 25,181
Olympus E-PM2

When Olympus had a $100 off sale on the E-PM2/E-PL5 at the end of 2012, I took advantage of it to pick up a white E-PM2 with silver 14-42mm II-R lens. I really would have liked to get the E-M5 since I'm a fan of weather sealed cameras, but I didn't really have the budget for it. One thing that I liked about the E-PM2 that was a negative with the E-M5, is that Olympus went back to the BLS-1/5 battery, which can be important when you carry multiple cameras.

Over the past 12 years, I have owned 12 Olympus cameras, from point & shoots (D-510Z, C-40Z, VG-120) to prosumers (C-8080WZ) to super-zooms (C-2100UZ, SP-550UZ) to DSLRs (E-1, E-510, E-3, E-5) to Pens (E-P2 and now E-PM2). Several have been sold or are no longer working, some no longer fill a niche but I haven't sold them, and some are taken out for nostalgia every so often. I tend to like the way Olympus renders colors, and in part owning a brand that is not as mainstream as Nikon/Canon. Before I got the E-PM2, my main two cameras were the E-5 and E-P2.

In terms of my cameras, the E-PM2 blows the other cameras away at high ISO. The previous generation cameras (E-5, E-P2) had good out of the camera JPG shots up to about ISO 1250, and could be pushed to maybe ISO 3200 with software post processing with effort, and you still can tell that the processing was done. With the E-PM2, I no longer feel I need to do the amount of post processing at ISO 3200. I have not tried higher ISOs at this point, but I'm am quite pleased with ISO 3200.

Compared to the E-P2, one of the big benefits is the clip-on flash. I would have preferred to have a builtin flash like the E-PL2, but the clip-on flash is nice when I have the camera slung over my shoulder and take pictures as I see the decisive moment unfolding. In general, I tend to use Pens as a carry everywhere type of camera, where I am not specifically doing a large photo shoot, but more of a camera to have on hand if needed. It is a lot easier to have the clip-on flash than to have the FL-36 flash I used on the E-P2. For serious work, sure I use external flashes, but they can get in the way for casual photography. Unlike the E-P2, I can do external flashes via the Olympus remote TTL flash support. At present, I only have one flash (Metz 48 AF-1) that supports the remote protocol, but I've only used it as a remote flash a few times.

Compared to the last two generation of low end Pens (E-PL1, E-PL2, E-PM1, E-PL3), the E-PM2 retains the orientation sensor that was in the upper end bodies like E-5/E-P2. I find it useful to have my download software automatically rotate the images as it is copied from the camera.

I used wired shutter releases quite a bit, and the E-PM2 has moved the USB/AV-out/shutter release port so it is higher on the right side than in the original Pens. While it is still a little awkward holding the camera with a shutter release cable attached, it is a lot better than the position of the E-P2. I would have preferred if Olympus had kept the location used by the port on the E-M5, but it is at least better than before. I'm a big fan of the 1/2 leather case I got for the E-P2, and I needed to search around for a case that had an opening for the shutter release cable. On the E-PM2, all of the cases have a little notch in the back so that you can use the shutter release cable while the camera is in the case.

In terms of shooting with the E-PM2, the touch sensor opens up new possibilities. With the E-5 and E-P2, I almost always put the camera into using a single focus point, and I use the arrow keys to move the focus point around to match the composition I have planned in my minds eye. Now, with the touch sensor, I can configure the camera so that I can touch where I want the camera to focus on, and it will set the focus point. I can then zoom in using the touch icon on the bottom right with the slider on the right side. Or, if I want fast shooting, I can configure the camera to shoot when I touch the screen, and it will focus and shoot the subject where I touched the screen.

Focusing with the 14-42mm II-R lens is much improved over the focusing in the E-P2 or the live view focusing on the E-5. I haven't measured it, but it feels as fast or nearly as fast as the E-5 using phase detect auto focus (using the optical viewfinder). Since I have the E-5, I likely won't use the E-PM2 for shooting sports, etc.

I would have preferred if the E-PM2 did not the dangly triangle to attach a shoulder strap to, but instead had a fixed slot in the body like the E-5 had, but this is fairly minor.

At present, I have not shot any movies other than test videos with the E-PM2, but there quite a few options that the E-P2 and E-5 did not have. It looks like you are now able to shoot up to 29 minutes of video, which is a big step up from the max of 14 minutes (in SD video mode) on the previous cameras. As somebody who shoots lots of performers at renaissance faires, this will be useful, though it likely won't replace my main video camera (Kodak ZX-1), since that camera has much more compression than the Olympus cameras, and I can fit more videos on a card (also the ZX-1 is weather sealed, which is extremely important to me).

I don't change camera modes all that often, so I don't really miss the mode dial (I don't have one on the E-5 either). When I do change modes, it is easy to do with either the touch screen or using the super control panel. In terms of menu, I needed to menu dive to enable the super control panel, and turn off the live guides. I currently have the arrow keys setting the focus point, instead of being different options.

I don't use art filters all that often, but the grainy film looks more like black and white constrasty film than the grainy film art filter in the E-P2, and the gentle sepia gives a nice soft look. I need to remember that the dramatic tone art filter also exists.

I am not a RAW shooter, so I can't comment on developing RAW images. I've done it, but one of the reasons I went with Olympus was its out of camera jpegs were often good enough coming out of the camera, that only minor tweaks needed to be done.

 Michael Meissner's gear list:Michael Meissner's gear list
Olympus Stylus 1 Olympus TG-860 Olympus E-5 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 +19 more
Olympus PEN E-PM2
16 megapixels • 3 screen • Four Thirds sensor
Announced: Sep 17, 2012
Michael Meissner's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Flat view
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow