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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Noise

Noise, ISO 1600

Noise, ISO 3200, E-PL1 vs. E-PL2

Distortion, 14-42mm MSC lens

Art Filters updated

New Art Filter

Sharpness, 14-42mm MSC lens

Like the E-PL1, the E-PL2 delivers noise performance on par with most similarly priced dSLRs. You can shoot pretty comfortably up through ISO 800; at ISO 1600 things start to soften and detail starts to degrade; color artifacts become readily apparent at ISO 3200.
Caption by / Photo by Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality at ISO 1600. Though this is a little soft, the noise reduction looks very good and it doesn't clip the shadows as much as a lot of other cameras.

(1/30 sec, f3.7, ISO 1600, ESP evaluative metering, AWB, Natural picture mode, 17mm lens)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Olympus has tweaked its default color noise reduction, I think for the better. You lose a little sharpness, but the results look more natural. As long as you don't have small details in the image, photos shot at this sensitivity can be quite usable.

It also seems like Olympus has tweaked the metering as well. I had to manually force the settings to match the E-PL1's slight underexposure (shot about a year ago); on shutter priority, the same mode I used for the older E-PL1 shot, the E-PL2 chose a wider aperture for a brighter exposure.

(1/30 sec, f5.6, ISO 3200, ESP evaluative metering, AWB, Natural picture mode, 17mm lens)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The new 14-42mm MSC kit lens has very little distortion at its widest.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Olympus has updated its Art Filters with selectable variations on many of them. For example, the Pinhole filter now offers three different coloration schemes.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The new Dramatic Tone filter renders a faux overprocessed HDR effect.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Olympus' lenses are generally pretty sharp, and there's only a tiny bit of fringing on the edges of the highlights.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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