16MP | Micro Four Thirds | $499 £403 (street price)

Olympus introduced the first Pen 'Mini', the E-PM1 in late 2011. Where most interchangeable lens cameras fall somewhere on the spectrum between a point-and-shoot and a full-fledged DSLR, the E-PM1 skewed decidedly toward the compact camera side of the scale. Unlike its Digital PEN predecessors, it offered no external mode dial and relatively few physical controls, exchanging these features for the smallest and lightest footprint of any Olympus ILC.

The Olympus E-PM2 follows suit, building on the previous model's specs by adding a 3.0 inch touch screen, two more buttons and a small built-in grip on the front panel. It shares the same essential 'guts' with the Olympus E-PL5, which was introduced at the same time.

Olympus E-PM2 key specifications:

  • 16MP CMOS Four Thirds sensor
  • 3.0 inch touch-sensitive LCD with 460,000 dots
  • ISO 200-25,600
  • In-body image stabilization
  • Up to 8fps continuous shooting (fixed focus and exposure with I.S. off)
  • 1080 HD video at 30p
  • TruePic VI processor
  • 12 Art Filters
  • Raw image capture

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The E-PM2 and E-PL5 borrow the Olympus OM-D E-M5's proven 16MP CMOS sensor, a class-leader in image quality. Coupled with a TruePic VI image processor, a fast rate of 8fps continuous shooting is possible. Twelve Art Filters are available to the shooter, with a number of Art Effects ready to be applied on top of these processing modes.

A rechargeable BLS-5 lithium-ion battery is included, rated at 360 shots per charge (CIPA standard). Also in the box is an FL-LM1 clip-on flash unit, external battery charger with the necessary cable and a copy of Olympus Viewer 2. The E-PM2 stands a good chance at delivering excellent image quality with the inclusion of the E-M5's highly capable 16MP sensor. Enthusiast photographers and beginners alike will find a lot to like in its lightweight, portable form factor.

Compared to the E-PM1

Compared to the E-PM1 the new Pen Mini is about the same size, but its more generous handgrip makes a real difference to how it feels, moving it away from the 'bar of soap' feel of the earlier model.
From the back, the E-PM2 is similar to its predecessor but offers up a different operational layout. Most obviously, playback and delete buttons have migrated to the upper left of the camera (into an area which was wasted space on the E-PM1). The E-PM2 also offers a more practical thumbrest 'nub' of thick rubber at the upper right.