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
TIME Magazine has named the Sony a7R III one of its top 10 gadgets of 2017. It was the only camera that made the illustrious list this year, receiving high praise from TIME, who dubbed it "one of the best mirrorless cameras ever made."
Thanks to Google Assistant integration, the Pixel 2's AI-powered 'Google Lens' camera feature will soon be easier and quicker to use.
Photographer Jenna Martin and her model friend Rachelle Kathleen set themselves a challenge: could they create beautiful portraits in an 'ugly' location? So they went to a local Lowe's hardware store and gave it a go!
The LG V30 differentiates itself from the competition with an expansive video feature set and a secondary wide angle camera, making it something of a Swiss Army knife for content creators.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Holding down the top position is none other than the Nikon D850 – by a landslide.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!