Olympus E-PL2 Review
The Micro Four Thirds system turned two years old last October, and a lot has happened since Panasonic debuted the DSLR-inspired, but mirrorless Lumix DMC-G1. What was then a brand new system has had time to mature, and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs) now make up one of the fastest-growing and competitive segments of the consumer digital camera market.
Although the Micro Four Thirds system got in first, Panasonic and Olympus haven't had everything their own way. After a decent head start, Panasonic's G-system and the Olympus PEN-series have been joined by Samsung's small-but-growing NX range, and Sony's innovative NEX-3 and NEX-5. All this competition has resulted in a rash of new releases from both 'original' mirrorless ILC manufacturers in recent months, as Panasonic and Olympus attempt to consolidate their early lead and grab as much market share as possible.
Part of that strategy is to aim lower, at novice rather than solely enthusiast consumers. The Olympus E-PL1, released in February 2009, was designed to appeal to precisely this market, filling the gap between high-end compact cameras and enthusiast-oriented, mostly DSLR-inspired, ILCs. The E-PL1 dispensed with the control dials of the E-P1 and E-P2, but retained the same sensor (albeit with a lighter AA filter), in a smaller, considerably more compact-like body. It also boasted - gasp! - a built-in flash; something which Olympus opted to dispense with in both the E-P1 and E-P2.
The E-PL2 has the same sensor as the E-PL1 and doesn't officially replace it, but sits above it in the product line, beneath the E-P2. As well as a physical makeover (the E-PL2 reminds us slightly of the rather beautiful Stylus Verve) its ergonomics have been refreshed too. The all-button operation of the E-PL1 has been ditched, in favor of a more conventional combination button/dial approach, with a rear plate that's much closer in design to the E-P2 than the E-PL1. The LCD screen is better too - its size has increased to 3 inches and it doubles in resolution, topping out at 460K dots. Indeed with its 3:2 aspect ratio and deep blue anti-reflective coating, it bears a startling resemblance to the unit used on Panasonic's DMC-GF2, although without that model's touch-sensitivity.
There are a couple of specification and firmware tweaks, too. The available ISO range now covers 200-6400, with the low-noise but limited-dynamic range ISO 100 option dropped. There's also an intriguing extension of the familiar face-detection AF mode, in the shape of 'iDetect' that aims to focus specifically on your subject's eyes. Some of the Art Filters gain a number of variations, plus the ability to add a stylized border.
The E-PL2 also comes with a new kit lens, that made its debut alongside the Japan-only E-PL1s late last year. The collapsible M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II MSC is 25% lighter than the previous generation, but boasts three aspherical elements rather than two. Its mechanism has also been modified, with one extending barrel section rather than two, making for a more solid construction than its notoriously-wobbly predecessor. It also gains a bayonet fitting at the front which can accept not only a lens hood, but also a new series of add-on lens converters - fish-eye, wideangle and macro.
Perhaps most significantly, though, the lens now gains the 'Movie and Still Compatible' (MSC) designation, signifying a much faster and quieter internal-focus design. According to Olympus, this makes the AF speed of the E-PL2 and 14-42mm II combination on a par with the best cameras in its class. However it does come at a slight cost to the lens's macro capability, with a maximum magnification of 0.19x rather than 0.24x.
It is worth noting that E-PL1 users will see a significant leap in AF performance from the new 14-42mm II. With the new lens mounted, we found that AF acquisition is typically around 0.2secs faster than when using the original kit zoom. This amounts to an increase in AF speed of almost 30% in some circumstances - a substantial boost. Back to the E-PL2 though, and the impression of better AF speed is aided by the silent focusing of the 14-42mm II. Not only does this make the lens feel swifter in use, but crucially it also means that movie footage from the E-PL2 is not marred by the sound of the lens' AF motor racking back and forth.
- 12 megapixel Four Thirds sized sensor
- In-body image stabilization
- 'Live Guide II' interface works in still and movie capture modes
- 3" LCD screen (460,000 dots)
- Built-in flash
- Eye-detection AF
- Direct record movie button
- 720p 30fps HD video (AVI Motion JPEG format)
- ISO 200-6400
- Accessory port for add-ons such as electronic viewfinder and new 'PENpal' bluetooth transmitter
E-PL2 vs E-P2: Key differences
Although the E-PL2 is a less expensive camera than the E-P2 that sits above it, it gives very little ground to its big brother in terms of specification, and is better specified than the E-PL1. The biggest differences between the E-PL2 and E-P2 are in fact cosmetic and ergonomic: the E-PL2's more compact-camera-like interface, the simplified construction and of course the slightly more compact, more 'styled' body shell.
- One control dial (vs. 2 on the E-P2)
- Built-in flash (external flashes only on E-P2)
- Compatible with PENpal PP-1 bluetooth accessory (the E-P2 is incompatible).
- Direct record movie button vs. movies as position on E-P2 mode dial
- Mono mic with option to add stereo using adapter vs. built-in stereo mics
- No orientation sensor on E-PL2
Feb 7, 2014
Jan 31, 2014
Feb 12, 2011
Mar 3, 2011
|Moon 99% D55 C14 St-Zénon 20170806 DP by MarioSS|
from Best Picture of the Week
|Reeds on lake by kkardster|
from Abstracts in Nature
|Florence & the Machine by Dutch Newchurch|
from Second chances..
If you're shooting the solar eclipse here's a hint: don't fry your camera's sensor. Use a proper solar filter that offers at least 16 stops of light filtration, along with UV and IR filtering. More important? Don't look at it unless you've got solar filters. Sensors can be replaced, your retinas can't.
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.