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The Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD boasts an impressive zoom range in a relatively compact package. How does it perform? We took a look.
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.
|As you can see, the revised 14-42mm MSC lens grows significantly when extended for use, but its overall dimensions are virtually identical at its widest and longest focal lengths (it gets shorter in between). When retracted for carrying it's about 2" / 50mm long, making it a bit larger than its predecessor.|
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.
|The E-PL2's design is consistent with the 'classic' looks of the original E-P1 and the newer E-P2 (seen here), but the sloping top plate and remodeled hand grip make it (in our opinion) a better looking camera.|
|The back of the E-PL2 is very similar to the E-P2 - gone is the dial-less interface of the E-PL1, but the E-PL2 lacks the uppermost dial of the E-P2, making do with just one, around the four-way controller to the right of the LCD screen. The E-PL2's anti-reflective screen covering is larger than the E-P2 but the 'active' screen area itself is the same size.
The omission of the uppermost control dial and the addition of a direct video recording button, plus (of course) the flash release catch are the only differences between the two cameras in terms of physical control points, but although we're looking at the same number of buttons in more or less the same place, their functions have been shuffled around a bit. Perhaps most significantly, the E-PL2 sports a magnification button (for both image review and manual focus) in place of the E-P2's dedicated AEL/AFL button.
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What’s the best camera for around $2000? These capable cameras should be solid and well-built, have both speed and focus for capturing fast action and offer professional-level image quality. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing around $2000 and recommended the best.
What's the best camera for shooting landscapes? High resolution, weather-sealed bodies and wide dynamic range are all important. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for shooting landscapes, and recommended the best.
If you're looking for the perfect drone for yourself, or to gift someone special, we've gone through all of the options and selected our favorites.
Most modern cameras will shoot video to one degree or another, but these are the ones we’d look at if you plan to shoot some video alongside your photos. We’ve chosen cameras that can take great photos and make it easy to get great looking video, rather than being the ones you’d choose as a committed videographer.
Although a lot of people only upload images to Instagram from their smartphones, the app is much more than just a mobile photography platform. In this guide we've chosen a selection of cameras that make it easy to shoot compelling lifestyle images, ideal for sharing on social media.
|Reina by Great Bustard|
from in the style of a Large Format Portrait
|_SDI2370bw by rick decker|
from Crashing Wave
|2019_0720_163302AA by old shutter bugger|
from In The Style Of EDWARD WESTON's Sitll Lifes
|IMG_750-16662-2 Dusty drive by Jill Hancock|
from Daylight Pictures of Modern Trucks in Action
|Winter Days by DaveN01|
Copy That for Mac features integrated checksum verification, detailed reporting, presets, thumbnail support, file renaming and automated error detection.
The winners and finalists have been announced for the Siena Drone Photo Awards. We've rounded them up into a photo gallery for your viewing pleasure.
The $150 lens is fully manual and is available for Canon EOS-M, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-mount camera systems.
The Lumix S family of full-frame primes keeps growing. The 18mm F1.8 is the newest member of Panasonic's lens lineup. Check our our sample gallery to see what it's capable of.
Peep some pixels from the hefty 100 megapixel files created by the new Hasselblad X2D 100C, as we prepare our DPReview TV review of the camera.
About 95% of Earth's oceans haven't been observed. Researchers at MIT have built a battery-free, wireless underwater camera that may help scientists explore more of the oceans.
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We (metaphorically) sat down with Brandon Faith of Baggen Photos to ask him a few questions about what it's like to photograph motorsports events with his Crown Graphic large format camera.
Sony's new 320GB and 640GB 'Tough' CFexpress Type A cards are due out next month and while the 640GB card will offer the most storage of any Type A card to date, it doesn't come cheap.
Adobe's Photoshop and Premiere Elements apps make editing photos and videos easy for users of all skill levels. The latest versions add more editing tools, more AI features and improved performance.
The Sony FX30 is an explicitly video-focused camera, but could its technology herald a refresh of the company's APS-C stills line-up? We have a look at what that might mean.
The lens offers a constant F2.8 aperture through a rather unique focal length range for full-frame camera systems. It’s expected to be available starting October 27, 2022 for $699.
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If you've ever wanted to become an action figure, Hasbro is providing you the opportunity with its new 3D-printed Selfie Series action figures.
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iOS 16.0.2 addresses, amongst other bug fixes, a problem wherein the second-generation sensor-shift image stabilization tech was causing camera shake issues in some third-party apps.
For the past eight years, the Library of Congress has been working on figuring out the subjects in a large collection of film, TV and music photos. Many of the mysteries have been solved. However, 17 photos have eluded the LC's best efforts, and the public's help is needed to help put names to the final unknown faces.
After having to pull the initial firmware update last month due to an issue that caused some units to stop working, Sony has re-released firmware version 1.1 for its a7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera.
Sigma's latest wide Art-badged prime for full frame is capable of some stunning landscapes. Check out a new batch of sample photos in the gallery.
Winners for this year's annual Comedy Pet Photo Awards have been announced.
While visiting the team in Seattle, Chris and Jordan attempt to eat some chowder. It's difficult. Also, this week they are puppets.
Meike has released its first adapter for Nikon Z cameras. The new MK-EFTZ-B adapter allows Nikon Z users to attach Canon EF and EF-S lenses to their cameras, complete with autofocus and automatic exposure functionality.
The Canon 5D Mark II was released in November 2008. Since then, a photographer used theirs to capture nearly 2.3 million images, which is an average of about 450 photos per day if they shot every single day. The camera is still going strong for its new owner.
Capture One for iPad users cvan now connect their camera, wired or wirelessly, to their iPad for quick image transfers without the need for memory cards and readers.
Digital film scanners can be pricey, so Lomo's latest scanners let shooters do it themselves. Whether you have a digital camera, or simply a smartphone, there's a DigitaLIZA that'll work with your kit. But are the results any good? Let's find out.
The Leica Q2 'Dawn' is the same camera on the inside, but features an all-black paint job and a special Japanese-woven fabric wrap produced by Japanese brand, Hosoo.