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Olympus E-P2 review: Olympus E-P2

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 Samsung NX10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Olympus E-P2
Sensor (effective resolution)
Color depth
Sensitivity range
Focal-length multiplier
Continuous shooting


Image stabilization
Video (max resolution at 30fps)
Audio I/O Mic
Battery life (CIPA rating)
Dimensions (WHD, inches)
Weight (ounces)
Mfr. Price

Though the E-P2 significantly improves on the serious shutter lag and focus issues of the E-P1, it's still pretty slow. It powers on and shoots in 1.6 seconds. In the best lighting conditions, it takes 0.9 second to focus and shoot--that's worse than any Panasonic in dim light--and 1.1 seconds in suboptimal conditions. It takes about 2 seconds to shoot two consecutive photos, and even in the field it feels awfully slow at saving and displaying images. Though it can boast the fastest continuous-shooting of its class, about 3.1 frames per second, the camera itself is pretty useless for shooting action.

I found the continuous AF and continuous AF tracking extremely frustrating to use, as well. Unless you consider yelling at the camera "NO! It was locked! Why did you move!" as it grabs and loses focus repeatedly a good user experience, I recommend sticking with still subjects and single AF. When recording my standard test video of a flag waving in the breeze it kept losing focus as well. However, I will add one caveat: I got to briefly try a preproduction version of the 9-18mm lens (on the E-PL1) and it seems significantly more responsive than either of the currently shipping Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses, and was able to hold AF better. So it's possible that you'll have a better experience with better/different lenses.

The low-resolution LCD is just okay. It seems good enough for manual focusing in conjunction with the magnification (though it blows out highlights, which makes focusing in bright areas difficult), but not as useful for judging sharpness for photos you've shot. Plus the battery life simply doesn't seem to last very long. All together, it adds up to a pretty mediocre showing in performance, albeit better than the E-P1's.

I expected to see the exact same photo quality as with the E-P1, since it uses both the same sensor and TruePic V image processor, but found the noise suppression a bit different. Olympus delivers decent noise performance for this price class, with clean photos up through ISO 400 and only slightly degraded photos at ISO 800. But oddly, at all ISO sensitivity levels the E-P2's photos look a hair noisier than those of the E-P1's (which is borne out by the numbers). The E-P2's high-ISO sensitivity performance is actually a bit disappointing; it seems to get soft a stop sooner than the less expensive E-P1. I don't really recommend using it above ISO 800. There's more color noise than I'd like at ISO 1,600 with the default level of noise suppression. On the other hand, it maintains the excellent color characteristics, and exposures are spot on with a solid dynamic range. While sharpness looks good on screen, full-size (13x17-inch) prints look a bit crunchier than I'd anticipated, or than I like. That's tweakable, though. Aside from the aforementioned focus issues, the video looks fine; pretty typical still camera 720p capture.

I really enjoyed shooting with the E-P2, but it's not for everyone. As long as you understand its quirks and pace your shooting to its speed, you'll probably like it a lot.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

Olympus E-P1

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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