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Olympus E-PL2 review
|DATE REVIEWED: 3rd Apr 2011||Add Camera To Comparison Chart|
|Camera Type||DSLR||Shutter Speeds||60 - 1/4000 sec|
|RRP||£500||ISO Range||100 - 6400|
|Megapixels||12.3||Focal Length||By lens|
|Dimensions||115 x 72 x 42mm (WxHxD)||Focus Distance||By lens|
|LCD Size||3 inches||Zoom (Opt)||By lens|
|Zoom (Dig)||None||Storage||SD / SDHC|
|Max Resolution||x||Battery Type||Li-Ion|
The Olympus E-PL2 is the latest addition to the PEN line-up, swooping in to replace the E-PL1. Having said that, though, the E-PL2 offers subtle improvements and updates that keep this model at the forefront of compact system cameras, rather than a bold all-singing all-dancing replacement for the E-PL1.
The star feature of the Olympus PEN models is its slim, compact dimensions. At just 115.4 x 72.7 x 42mm, the E-PL2 is no different – at a push this camera will fit into a coat pocket, even with the 14-42mm kit lens attached. It weighs just 317 grams (body only), making it the ideal companion when travelling or on day trips and events, when the bulk and weight of a DSLR is too much to bear.
The styling of the E-PL2 sticks closely to the Sixties’ original PENs, demonstrating a retro feel coupled with strong, tough and modern materials. It’s this robust styling that gives the E-PL2 such appeal among consumers wading their way through the already bustling compact system camera market. The E-PL2 has a chunky mode dial on the top plate, providing access to all of the shooting modes, plus there’s the obligatory shutter button and power button, which fit neatly in the space. On the back, the buttons follow the same neat and tidy pattern, alongside the bright 3-inch LCD screen.
The E-PL2 now features a wheel instead of a regular d-pad, which enables you to perform all of the regular d-pad functions as well as scroll through menu options at speed. This wheel is used to set functions such as aperture and shutter speed, and also lets you whiz through your images in playback.
The camera as a whole feels a lot more intuitive and speedy to control, and this scroll wheel goes a long way in contributing towards this. There is little need to enter the main menu now, as most of your functions are available to hand either as a designated button or within reach via the scroll wheel.
The E-PL2 features HD video – although not full HD, which is a shame. You can record video through the red record button on the back of the camera, or use the top mode dial in video mode to take more control of your footage, choosing to shoot in Program, Aperture or Shutter priority modes. You can even add the Art Filters while filming – a nice touch for those who want to get creative. This is something that not all manufacturers offer, and this extra control is a welcome inclusion. However, video is limited to 2GB or 7 minutes per clip – after that you will need to start a new one. We found the 14-42mm kit lens to be a very decent performer during video; thanks to its quiet focusing you don’t get any distracting sounds in your footage. In regular stills shooting, the lens is a pretty decent performer too. It does have a little lag when finding focus at times, but once locked on, results are sharp and punchy.
The Olympus E-PL2 also has a few more tricks up its sleeve when it comes to focusing. By using the magnifying glass button, you can zoom in up to 14x and set a focal point using the green box on screen, which is great when you want to pick out a particular face, flower or other subject without struggling to find focus. Push the button twice to zoom in on the focal point you have just selected.
Focusing in low light is a slight problem as there is no illuminator lamp on board the E-PL2. You can achieve focus, but it just takes a little while longer to lock on. This is why the selective focus option is a useful tool and comes into play well here. There is a built-in flash though, which also helps. If you are into night photography, don’t let focusing issues put you off as there are some benefits you will be able to make use of. These include a wide shutter speed range of 1/4000sec to 60 seconds, plus a bulb setting too.
This is activated by a switch on the top left of the camera that propels the flash upwards with quite some force. It sits nice and high above the lens, producing a good spread of light.
Olympus has made a name for itself with its selection of Art Filters, and the E-PL2 has a wealth of options, including Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film and Dramatic Tone, the latter of which produces an effect similar to the Photomatix style of HDR imaging, which is on the exaggerated side. This is a popular style, but may not be liked so much by the photography purists. The Grainy Film filter produces a really moody effect, which is fun to experiment with, and many users will also enjoy the Diorama filter, which produces a miniature effect normally only achievable with tilt-and-shift lenses or lots of image editing.
In playback, the Olympus E-PL2 provides you with basic editing facilities too, such as a crop option and tinting options like sepia, and black and white. You can even set the strength of the toning using the on-screen slider. Other handy adjustments include saturation, red-eye fix and a resize option – ideal if you want to upload images quickly to the web.
Shooting in iAuto provides lots of user options too. You just press OK for the Live Guide, and there’s access to lots of adjustments like blurring motion, freezing motion, blurring the background, and changing the colour and saturation. These are great, easy-to-use modes for those who are yet to grasp the aperture and shutter speed relationship and the effect it has on their shots.
As a package, the E-PL2 pretty much has it all. It’s the perfect camera for those stepping up from a compact thanks to all its handy help options and scene modes, plus DSLR users who want quality shots in a lightweight body will enjoy the manual modes and the possibility of extending the camera with accessories.
Image quality is good with punchy blue skies, colourful images and warm skin tones, and this particular kit lens is a decent performer, which only distorts at the very widest point and most telephoto end. It’s a very solid camera with plenty to explore and experiment with, bringing fun and creativity to photography without compromising on the quality of the shots.
A well-specced camera with plenty of options to get creative with. Its ideal for family outings, travel and events where portability and quality are key
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|A well-specced camera with plenty of options to get creative with. Its ideal for family outings, travel and events where portability and quality are key|
Rosies big passion is travel photography, with a love of capturing different cultures on camera, from scenery and landscapes through to people and food. She studied photography at college and hopes one day find time to submit her images to the Royal Photographic Society for accreditation.
|Total Camera Reviews||36|
|Average Camera Rating||3.4|
|Rosie's Last 5 Reviews|
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