Olympus E-PL2 Review
The E-PL2 offers the same 720p HD video mode as the E-PL1 and previous PENs. The footage is compressed in the inefficient but easy-to-use Motion JPEG format. Movie mode allows you to select between program, aperture priority and full manual mode, depending on how much you wish to remain in control of depth-of-field. The movie button on the back of the camera gives you quick access to video capture, no matter what shooting mode you're in.
The Olympus E-PL2 offers a maximum video resolution of 1280x720 (720p) at 30 frames per second. For smaller file sizes you can also record SD video (640x480). The built-in internal microphone captures mono audio, but you can connect the optional SEMA-1 microphone set to the camera's accessory port to record stereo sound. It also allows you to adjust the sound recording sensitivity.
AF is available during movie recording and you can capture in A and M modes (exposure compensation, shutter speed and aperture have to be set before you start recording and cannot be changed during capture). The E-PL2 also makes Art Filters available in movie mode which makes for some interesting effects.
|Sizes|| 1280x720p: 30 fps (HD)
640x480: 30 fps (SD)
|Audio||44.1kHz Mono (Internal Mic), Linear PCM, stereo recording possible with external mic SEMA-1 or 3rd party microphones|
|Format||AVI motion JPEG|
|File size||3.9 MB/sec (720P)|
|Max file size per clip||2GB, HD: 7min, SD: 14min|
Using Movie Mode
Recording a movie on the E-PL2 is a very straightforward exercise. You can press the movie button on the back of the camera at any time to start/stop recording video. If you turn the mode dial to movie mode you can also use the shutter button. If you set Movie+Still in the custom menu to 'on', then a still image is recorded when video capture stops.
You'll also need to set the mode dial to movie mode in order to alter the movie settings. Press the OK button and the on-screen menu appears. You can change IS, shooting mode, WB, self-timer, AF-mode, movie quality and ISO and switch sound recording on and off.
You can shoot in A and M modes but you have to set the mode in the on-screen menu rather than on the mode-dial. In manual mode you can choose shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1/4000 and ISO has to be set manually between 400 and 1600. Auto ISO is not available. Exposure compensation, aperture and shutter speed have to be set before you start recording and cannot be altered during capture. In terms of Auto Focus the E-PL2's video mode offers all the options that are available in stills mode apart from face priority.
Movie mode displays
|This is the movie shooting which cannot be changed. It only shows the selected movie shooting mode, recording time and if sound recording is activated.||Turn the mode dial to movie mode and press the OK button to bring up this menu where you can alter all essential video recording settings.|
|There is also a movie section in the custom menu. Here you can select a movie shooting mode, turn on a the capture of stills image after video recording stops and activate sound recording.||In movie mode you can capture in the P, A and M modes or alternatively use the art filters.|
Video quality comments
The E-Pl2's 720p video mode is from a specification point of view pretty much in line with the direct competitors. The video files aren't quite as big in terms of resolution as the 1080p footage that some DSLRs or the Panasonic GH1 and 2 offer but the footage is still detailed with smooth motion. As expected the E-PL2's video output gets noisier in low light but it's not more intrusive than on other cameras in its class.
With its Micro Four Thirds sensor the Olympus E-PL2 cannot quite produce the shallow depth-of-field footage that APS-C or even full-frame cameras offer but with the right lens it is still possible to achieve a cinema-like look and use depth-of-field creatively. The downside is that it's very easy to record out-of-focus footage or have focus 'jumps' in a clip (when using continuous AF). For 'serious' video capture we would recommend to put the camera on a tripod and focus manually. For shooting a holiday or birthday video you're probably better off with a digital compact camera. Their smaller sensors provide a much greater depth of field and as a consequence keeping the subject in the focal plane is much less of a worry.
As it is common with cameras that use CMOS sensors the E-PL2 can suffer from distortion caused by its rolling shutter. The readout of the sensor means horizontal lines of the image are scanned, one after another, rather than the whole scene being grabbed in one go. The upshot is that verticals can be skewed if the camera (or the subject) moves too fast - the top of the image has been recorded earlier than the bottom, so vertical lines can be rendered as diagonals. On the E-PL2 this effect is noticeable but relatively subtle compared to some previous models, thanks to a fast refresh rate. Exposure transition from bright to dark frames works pretty smoothly and there are no obvious exposure 'jumps' as the camera adjusts the gain and/or aperture.
The internal microphone records monaural sound and is a little prone to wind-noise (there's no wind-cut setting) but thanks to the new kit lens focusing and zooming sounds are hardly ever audible in the footage. If sound quality is a priority you should consider the purchase of the SEMA-1 external microphone.
Caution: very large files
Sample video 1
This video shows the E-PL2's video capabilities in good light. The footage shows good detail and smooth motion.
|1280 x 720 pixels @ 30 fps, .AVI file, 14 sec. 55.1 MB|
Sample video 2
The E-PL2 performs quite well in sub-optimal light conditions as well. Some image noise becomes visible as the camera turns up the sensitivity but it's well within acceptable limits.
|1280 x 720 pixels @ 30 fps, .AVI file, 19 sec. 83.7 MB|
Sample video 3
The E-PL2 allows you to apply Art Filters to video footage. This is the same scene as above captured with the 'Grainy Film' filter. As you can see in this art filter the clips are put out at a reduced frame rate.
|1280 x 720 pixels @ 30 fps, .AVI file, 9 sec. 32.4 MB|
Sample video 4
'Dramatic Tone' Art Filter
|1280 x 720 pixels @ 30 fps, .AVI file, 12 sec. 49.2 MB|
Sample video 5
One more clip in overcast weather conditions.
|1280 x 720 pixels @ 30 fps, .AVI file, 11 sec. 48.8 MB|
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..
Western Digital's new My Book Duo external desktop storage system is offered with up to 20TB of storage capacity and comes with RAID-optimized WD Red hard drives.
Version 1.04 of the camera software can be downloaded from the Sony Support website now.
Not sure how to choose your first drone? In this article, the second of a 3-part series, we discuss what factors you should consider when deciding what drone is right for you.
NASA photo editor Joel Kowsky didn't just capture the solar eclipse from his vantage point in Wyoming, he also managed to capture the ISS buzzing across what remained of the sun.
In these videos, talented photographer and filmmaker Daniel DeArco breaks down several tips that will help flash photography newbies start experimenting with artificial light.
Photographer and master potter Steve Irvine makes incredibly intricate, functional ceramic pinhole cameras that look like robots and monsters.
Chinese gimbal manufacturer Gudsen has released a firmware update for its Moza Air that lets you control the direction and angle of the head remotely just by moving a small handlebar-mounted control unit.
Curious how the Sony a9 performs underwater? Our friends at Backscatter took the camera diving off the Baja California coast, to find out how it handled shooting great white sharks.
While most of the DPReview crew put away our cameras and just watched the celestial event, Rishi decided last-minute to hack together a rig and capture a few shots.
Defunct Russian camera maker Zenit is making a comeback, and they're planning to release a full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018.
The days where you're more or less locked into premium or first-party flash units has gone. They're less than $50 now, so there's one less excuse not to get one. Here's our case for adding one to your kit, and a few pointers to get you going.
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.