For its latest addition to the PEN ILC line, Olympus makes a few design and feature enhancements to its E-PL1 Micro Four Thirds camera, resulting in the subtly--but not significantly improved, E-PL2.
The most obvious functional differences include a larger LCD, multiple variations for come of the Art Filters, support for the new accessory connector and redesign of the buttons. It also supports an extra stop of sensitivity, up to ISO 6,400.
|Olympus E-PL1||Olympus E-PL2||Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10||Samsung NX100||Sony Alpha NEX-3|
|Sensor (effective resolution)||12.3-megapixel Live MOS||12.3-megapixel Live MOS||12.1-megapixel Live MOS||14.6-megapixel CMOS||14.2-megapixel Exmor HD CMOS|
|17.3mm x 13mm||17.3mm x 13mm||17.3mm x 13mm||23.4mm x 15.6mm||23.4mm x 15.6mm|
|Color depth||n/a||n/a||Venus Engine HD II||n/a||n/a|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 - ISO 3,200||ISO 100 - ISO 6,400||ISO 100 - ISO 6,400||ISO 100 - ISO 3,200/6,400 (expanded)||ISO 200 - ISO 12,800|
|Continuous shooting||3.0 fps
unlimited JPEG/7 raw
10 JPEG/ 3 raw
unlimited JPEG/8 raw
|Optional plug-in articulating EVF
|Optional plug-in articulating EVF
|Optional plug-in EVF
|Autofocus||11-area contrast AF||11-area contrast AF||23-area contrast AF||15-point contrast AF||25-point contrast AF|
|Metering||324 area||324 area||144 zone||247 segment||49 segment|
|Shutter||60-1/2000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes||60-1/
||60-1/4000 sec; bulb to 4 minutes||30-1/4000 sec.; bulb to 8 minutes||30-1/4000 sec; bulb|
|3-inch fixed AMOLED
|3-inch tiltable 921,600 dots|
|Image stabilization||Sensor shift||Sensor shift||Optical||Optical||Optical|
|Video (max resolution at 30fps)||720p Motion JPEG AVI||720p Motion JPEG AVI||720p Motion JPEG MOV||720p H.264 MPEG-4||720p H.264 MPEG-4|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||290 shots||n/a||380 shots||420 shots||330 shots|
|Dimensions (WHD, inches)||4.5 x 2.8 x 1.6||4.5 x 2.8 x 1.6||4.9 x 3.3 x 2.9||4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4||4.6 ? 2.5 ? 1.4|
|Weight (ounces)||12.4||12.4||13.9||11 (est)||10.5 (est)|
|Mfr. Price||$499.99 (with 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lens)||$599.99 (with 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 MSC lens)||
$599.95 (with 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lens)
|$599 (with 20-50mm 3.5-5.6 lens)||$599.99 (with 18-55mm lens)|
The kit comes bundled with a new version of the 14-42mm lens, dubbed MSC, that's designed to operate more quietly when shooting video--it doesn't use any fancy new technologies, just internal focus. And it is quieter. But the continuous autofocus is just as inconsistent as the with the older lens and PEN cameras, with a tendency to continue hunting even on stationary subjects. The lens has a bayonet mount on the front as well for filters and add-ons; Olympus will be adding a line of these types of accessories.
The LCD is a nice upgrade from the earlier models, bright and crisp, and much nicer for manual focusing. I also like the control redesign, which includes a return to the control dial (rather than individual navigation buttons), and the recessed power and record buttons.
In other features, Olympus' Live Guide, with its user-friendly adjustment interface and shooting tips, now works with video, and the company has expanded its Art Filters to accommodate more variations on each filter. There's also a new Art Frame that you can add in-camera as well as overlay two filters. For those who use it, Olympus has tweaked its face detection algorithms to lock focus on the eyes, which is how it should work. This newer generation model also supports the more recent version of the accessory connector for an add-on EVF, the new PEN Pal Bluetooth module and the antenna-like macro light.
While we haven't yet performance-tested the camera, the innards are pretty much the same as the E-PL1, and it feels the same--that is, okay for still subjects but otherwise a little sluggish at both shooting and autofocus.
There will be four colors of the E-PL2: black, silver, white, and red, and it's slated to ship this month.