Olympus E-P2: How's the view? Electronic, expensive

Olympus has announced the E-P2, the second retro-styled Micro Four Thirds camera in the Pen range

The Olympus E-P2 has been announced. The E-P2 is the much-anticipated follow-up to the E-P1, Olympus' first Micro Four Thirds compact camera with interchangeable lenses. At least we think it is -- we're hard-pressed to see anything different about it.

The 12.3-megapixel E-P2 isn't much of a design departure from the E-P1, except for the slick black livery, a more staid look than the E-P1's louche retro styling. The E-P2 shoots high-definition video at 1,280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second and includes an HDMI connection. Depth of field and art filters can be used in movie mode. Stills can be captured while shooting. You can choose from different aspect ratios: 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, and 6:6, in movie and still mode. Burst mode fires 3fps, up to 10 raw files.

Features include image stabilisation, onboard spirit level and blemish-busting face-fixing technology. Auto gradation and wide dynamic range adjustment are designed to prevent blown highlights and blocked-in shadows. It's all controlled by two control wheels.

The E-P2 shoots raw files as well as JPEGs. A multiple exposure mode combines up to three raw files into one image. Bracketting the different exposures will allow you to create high dynamic range pictures. Pictures can also be bracketted for white balance, heck knows why.

E-P2

SLR-style features include a sensor-protecting dust filter. There's still no built-in viewfinder, but you do get a port for a 1,440,000-dot electronic viewfinder or external microphones. As with the E-P1, sticking a viewfinder on top means the hotshoe is tied up, so no flash for you. EVFs aren't for everybody, but at least we now have a choice as the E-P1's viewfinder was a simple optical type. Live view and menus are viewed on the 76mm (3-inch) screen.

Olympus loves its art filters, even though no-one else cares. The E-P2 gets two new filters: Diorama, which approximates a tilt-shift effect, and Cross Process, which simulates the efect of developing silver halide film. Alright, the ability to apply filters to images you've already taken is a bit clever.

E-P2

Two new Micro Four Thirds lenses join the E-P2 in the first half of next year: a 9-18mm, F4.0-5.6, 18-36mm wide-angle zoom and 14-150mm, F4.0-5.6, 28-300mm telephoto zoom.

The Olympus E-P2 will be in shops from January 2010 for around £850 -- sufferin' succotash! -- including the 14-42 zoom lens and electronic viewfinder.

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