Olympus Pen E-P2 review: Olympus Pen E-P2

Typical Price: £850.00

Olympus Pen E-P2

(Part #: CNETOlympus Pen E-P2)
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Classic styling; top-quality electronic viewfinder; manual controls in movie mode.

The Bad Inefficient controls; annoying 'collapsing' lens; expensive for what you get.

The Bottom Line The enhancements that Olympus has made to the Pen E-P2 over its Pen E-P1 predecessor are worthwhile but hardly earth-shattering. It's a good-looking camera and the quality of both its photos and movies is great. But it can be awkward to use and it costs much more than a digital SLR with comparable specs

7.5 Overall

Olympus made quite a splash with its Micro Four Thirds  Pen E-P1. The Pen E-P2 is similar to that camera but offers a series of enhancements. Kevin Spacey really likes it, too. But then maybe he didn't have to pay around £850 for his camera (including a 14-42mm kit lens).

Black beauty
The E-P2 has the same body as the E-P1, but is differentiated by a new, black finish and a plug-in electrical socket just below the accessory shoe. This is where you attach the rather good electronic viewfinder that's included with the 14-42mm lens kit, or an external flash, or, in future, maybe external stereo microphones and other accessories.

Olympus delivers on its promise of digital SLR photo quality from a compact camera, although there's some chromatic aberration from the 14-42mm lens (click image to enlarge)

The E-P2 has the potential for more advanced movie making than the E-P1 then, and this is boosted by new manual exposure controls in the movie mode. That puts it a step ahead of most rivals, although it only shoots 1,280x720-pixel high-definition movies, rather than 1,920x1,080-pixel ones.

Olympus also has added two new 'art filters' to this camera -- 'diorama' and 'cross process'. They're not bad. The name 'diorama', incidentally, refers to the miniature-model effect that's all the rage at the moment. It uses selective blur to make ordinary scenes look like tiny replicas shot as close-ups. It's very effective, but only really works when you're looking down on your subject from a bridge, say, or a tall building.

The cross-process filter aims to simulate films processed in the wrong chemicals, producing distinctive colour shifts. Like the rest of the filters on this camera, it has some creative and novelty value now and again, but it's not something you're likely to use all the time.

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