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

Typical Price: £850.00
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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

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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.

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