Olympus E-PL2 Handson by Spidey89


spidey89

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#1
This is a none technical review of the new Olympus E-PL2. This review will be based on my previous experience with the first PEN, the Olympus E-P1.





Front View
The design of the E-PL2, like the E-PL1, is unique in the PEN family. It looks similar to the E-PL1 but it is more curved that the E-PL1. The grip has been redesigned in a way that it isn’t a sudden bump but somewhat resembles a gentle slope which so far has been a joy to use, even with hands my size, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable. This camera may lack the retro look of the E-P1 and E-P2, but it still has its own beauty to it. Comes in 4 colors. Black, silver, red and white. There’s a tiny LED light used for self timer countdown.



Top View
The on/off button has been refined, it is now long, thin and recessed into the body and placed within reach of my index finger behind the shutter button. Unlike previous models which are circular in shape and a slight distance away except the E-PL1. The built in flash of the Olympus E-PL2 is similar to the E-PL1. Also being able to control 3 groups of wireless flashes. The shutter release button is bigger compared to the E-PL1.



Back View
This camera has more or less all the features and technologies of the older models as well as having new ones not found on any other PEN at the moment.

Like the E-P1 and the E-P2, it sports a large 3” screen unlike the E-PL1 which has a 2.7” screen. Unlike the previously mentioned models, it has a piece of tough plastic protecting the screen which gives more confidence in using the camera without fear of the actual screen underneath being scratched.

It has a data port like the E-PL1 and E-P2 but the one on the E-PL2 is the generation 2 version. Using this port, it is able to use accessories such as the new bluetooth PENPAL and the Macro Arm Lights. In addition to these 2, it can use existing accessories ie the stereo mic input as well as the electronic viewfinder. Like the E-PL1, it has a dedicated video recording button which is a very convenient way to start recording when in any of the still image mode. Rather than having to turn the dial to video model, simply press the record button.

The E-PL2 has the same dial as the E-P1 and E-P2 though it only has one. Coming from the E-P1, it was a little bit difficult to change aperture and shutter speed but it’s easier than pressing buttons like the E-PL1. The advance menu setting by default is hidden so it requires to be shown before advance settings can be changed. Which is not really a deal breaker since the E-PL2 is considered as an entry level PEN. Having the menus shown might create unnecessary problems to new comers should they accidentally change settings.

The lack of a dedicated AEL/AFL button is no cause for alarm as you can simply program the FN button to work as one. As well as programming the other buttons to suit your needs. I left mine as default with the FN working as an AEL/AFL button. The lack of an exposure compensation button caught me off guard but I eventually got used to using the dial instead.

The buttons have changed slightly from the E-PL1 with the layout being similar to the E-P1 and E-P2.



Bottom View
The bottom is where door to the battery and memory card is located. With the new camera comes a new battery. The the old batteries can still be used though. The E-PL2 uses SD cards. Unlike the previous PENs, which takes SDHC, the E-PL2 is the first to take SDXC.
 

spidey89

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#2
Others
The E-PL2 utilizes a Hi-speed live MOS 12 megapixel image sensor and the Truepic Turbo V engine to process the images. Like all E-system cameras and PENs, it uses a Super Sonic Wave Filter (SSWF) to remove dust.

Utilizing the micro four thirds mount, with use of adapters, virtually any lens can be mounted onto the PEN.

The Olympus E-PL2 now has higher shutter speed up to 1/4000 sec compared to the E-PL1 where the top shutter speed is 1/2000, however, it is worth noting that the ISO for the E-PL2 is capped at ISO 200 at its lowest where the E-PL1 is 100, so its back to square one for shooting wide open without the use of ND filters.

The top ISO of the E-PL2 is 1 stop more than the E-PL1 rating at ISO 6400, same as E-P1 and E-P2 as compared to the E-PL1 rated at ISO 3200.

The new E-PL2 comes with a new 14-42 f3.5-5.6 MK II lens which is MSC. Optimize for both silent still or video shooting, it is faster than its predecessor as well as being extremely quiet.

The E-PL2 also has the AF tracking which was first on the E-P2 where once it focuses on something. It will follow that subject in as long as its in its view. It is still a little bit slow in tracking but it works nevertheless.


Modes
Other than the standard P A S M and the usual scene modes. The art filters have changed a little when compared to my E-P1. They both have pop art, soft focus, pin hole and grainy film. The differences are dramatic tone which is a first on the PENs,first introduced on the Olympus E-5 as well as diorama. Gentle sepia has been replaced in comparison to the E-PL1 and there is no cross process like in the E-P2 which I would personally prefer over the diorama art filter.

The art filters now have variations to them as well as having a frame effect which basically adds a border/frame to the processed image which does not appear in the RAW file, only in the jpeg

The pop art filter now has a under exposed saturated along with the original highly saturated image. It can also combine with the soft focus and pin hole art filters.

The grainy film art filter has a lower contrast tone to it along with the high contrast art filter.

The pin hole art filter now has 3 tones to it rather than one. The original has a somewhat greenish tint to it. Now it has a blueish and reddish tint version to it.

The scene modes now have a Fisheye effect,wide-angle and macro mode to it when using the converters on the lens.

The E-PL2 shoots 720p HD video and allows the user to use the art filters like previous PENs. The E-PL2’s video mode allows users to shoot in program mode, aperture priority mode and even in manual mode.
 

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spidey89

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#3
Here are images of how each art filter works. All out of camera jpegs, shot with Zuiko Digital 50mm and adapter on the PEN

Pop art type I


Pop art type II


Pop art type I and soft focus


Pop art type II and pin hole


Po art type II and soft focus
 

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spidey89

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#4
Pop art type I and pin hole


Pop art with frame


Soft focus


Grainy film type I


Grainy film type II
 

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spidey89

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#6
Here are some sample images taken with the camera, ooc jpeg unless stated

Shot with M.Zuiko digital 17mm pancake

Shot with M.Zuiko digital 17mm pancake

Shot with M.Zuiko digital 17mm pancake

Shot with M.Zuiko digital 17mm pancake

Shot with M.Zuiko digital 17mm pancake
 

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spidey89

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#7
Shot with M.Zuiko digital 17mm pancake, processed RAW in Olympus Viewer for art filter, increased contrast in photoshop

Shot with M.Zuiko digital 17mm pancake

Shot with M.Zuiko digital Zuiko Digital 50-200 and adapter, PP to retain details in moon

Shot with M.Zuiko digital 17mm pancake

24 images, 8 sets of 3, to create a pano HDR, shot with M.Zuiko digital 14-42mm MKII
 

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wonglp

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#8
Nice moon & pano shot!kinda small to view tho:bsmilie:

What's ur fav art filter? find myself using alot more than before..it really fun!
 

spidey89

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#9
Nice moon & pano shot!kinda small to view tho:bsmilie:

What's ur fav art filter? find myself using alot more than before..it really fun!
Thanks ah :D Too bad I sold my 70-300, oh well, sorry la, long mah bo pian, if you want, I send you the full size to view lor, 30mb jpeg, 300mb TIFF :bsmilie:

Favorite art filter ah.... Still grainy film, I'm kinda sad they took out gentle sepia which is another one of my favorite, I'm a nostalgic person somehwat :cool:
 

wonglp

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Thanks ah :D Too bad I sold my 70-300, oh well, sorry la, long mah bo pian, if you want, I send you the full size to view lor, 30mb jpeg, 300mb TIFF :bsmilie:

Favorite art filter ah.... Still grainy film, I'm kinda sad they took out gentle sepia which is another one of my favorite, I'm a nostalgic person somehwat :cool:
30mb no tks...heh
sepia u can set via monotone mode or after jpg edit from camera or pp, but maybe won't be so gentle?:dunno:
btw, might drop by tonight to say hi;p
 

spidey89

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#11
30mb no tks...heh
sepia u can set via monotone mode or after jpg edit from camera or pp, but maybe won't be so gentle?:dunno:
btw, might drop by tonight to say hi;p
The whole point of art filters is no need to pp mah tio? :D I also not sure, but I prefer the sepia from gentle sepia then the monotone one, cool cool,hope to see you tonight, so I can kick your ass! :bsmilie: and 30mb is the full size not resized for web size
 

wonglp

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spidey89 said:
The whole point of art filters is no need to pp mah tio? :D I also not sure, but I prefer the sepia from gentle sepia then the monotone one, cool cool,hope to see you tonight, so I can kick your ass! :bsmilie: and 30mb is the full size not resized for web size
Arh right no pp better! Do u know the art fitters can be changed from picture mode too, so u can have more control now?
Why u wan2 kick my a*#? I so good oly fan haha!! Anyway stay 15m nia, family man...
 

spidey89

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#13
Arh right no pp better! Do u know the art fitters can be changed from picture mode too, so u can have more control now?
Why u wan2 kick my a*#? I so good oly fan haha!! Anyway stay 15m nia, family man...
stay 15m only? Really? Hahahha, for fun laughter peace and joy, yes, you didn't read the review and see pikchers ah? you like that, come in disturb me only :thumbsd::bsmilie:
 

wonglp

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#14
spidey89 said:
stay 15m only? Really? Hahahha, for fun laughter peace and joy, yes, you didn't read the review and see pikchers ah? you like that, come in disturb me only :thumbsd::bsmilie:
Never read lah so lor sor :bsmile: I never read manual also...but now i read liao it well written:thumbsup:
 

spidey89

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#16
Ok, so I shot some clips yesterday, not the best video nor the most interesting nor the sharpest as it was tough focusing in bright light without and cover or electronic viewfinder. Shot with the art filters, combined without any post processing other than transitions and uploaded on youtube in HD. Not too bad, it has manual mode which came in handy when I shot the mynah, extremes of exposure, trees and bird is dark, sky is bright, needed to expose for the mynah.

Shot with various lenses using MMF1 adapter to mount my four third lenses on it. At the end shows how fast and quiet the MSC lenses work

A note on the art filters, when you use art filters to shoot still, and say you choose type II with soft focus, and you go video mode and choose art filter, it will use the art filter that was set in art filter mode, using pop art and soft focus slowed the video down a lot, I didn't do it but it can be done.

Pop art was ok, soft focus, grainy film, pin hole and dramatic tone were pretty slow but the worse being the diorama art filter, I had to wait for quite some time just for a 10 sec clip, play back at normal speed results in a very fast stop motion feel. I choose to shoot from high angle specifically because of diorama, so as to see its effect

Enjoy my not so fantastic video. It should play normally on youtube, lagged on my computer using windows media player but played fine on VLC player

[youtube]CRLjvjZL6d0[/youtube]


Final thoughts
My experience with the E-PL2 is that it makes a fine addition to the PEN family and a worthy camera to upgrade from the E-P1. It doesn’t differ much from the E-P2 and E-PL1. The E-PL2 itself has improved ergonomics as well as image quality. If you’re looking for a compact camera with a multitude of different lenses to play with, a transition camera, a backup or a compact camera without compromised image quality, this would be a camera well worth considering. I'd personally prefer gentle sepia and cross process in place of diorama and dramatic tone but of course, that's just me.
 

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