By 20 April 2011 | Categories: news


The mirrorless digital camera standard is gaining momentum with a number of cameras emanating from Olympus, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic’s stables. It was of course the Olympus PEN range that kick-started this, and now the Olympus PEN E-PL2 is taking the legacy further.  
This time round the E-PL2 has a larger 3” display, Live Guide access in HD Movie mode, the handy Live Wheel feature selector and a faster, lighter, virtually silent M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3-5-5.6 II lens. It should be in-store retailing for R6999 in July.
Like its predecessor, the E-PL1, the E-PL2 comes with the excellent integrated Live Guide that teaches beginners step-by-step how to capture great shots – and this feature is now available in HD Movie mode, too. The new Live Wheel on the back makes it easier to navigate menus and pick out the right feature or mode, a feature we’re glad to see since we criticised the E-PL1 for not having one.
More pixels at the back means easier manual focus
Bigger screen
As stated the screen size of the PL2 is now 3” compared to the PL1’s 2.7” screen. The pixel count on the PL2 display is now also double that of the previous model, increasing from 230 000 dots to approximately 460 000 dots. This should make manual focusing easier since there’s no optical viewfinder on the camera.
We enjoyed the E-PL1’s range of filters that can be employed while taking stills or when capturing video. Among the E-PL2’s filters is the new Dramatic Tone Art Filter (taken from Olympus’ E-5 dSLR flagship for professionals) that enhances contrast to create movies and stills with a powerful, other-worldly look. The upgraded Art Filter II feature means users can now overlay additional effects (Art Frame, Pin Hole and Soft Focus) on top of existing ‘filtered’ shots.
New lens
To ensure that quality with fast-moving subjects, the E-PL2 comes with the near-silent M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II lens (equivalent to 28-84 mm for a 35mm camera) that not only focuses faster, but also prevents the whir that can otherwise ruin a good home movie soundtrack.
With ISO up to 6400, shutter speed up to 1/4000th second and sequential shooting at 3 fps, the E-PL2 is fully equipped to make the best of the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens system. Another advantage for PEN owners is the effective in-body image stabilisation system that corrects camera shake irrespective of the lens or adapter attached. This ensures M.ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses are lighter than the competition, since they don’t require built-in IS of their own.
With its 12.3 Megapixel High Speed Live MOS sensor, Multi Exposure for combining up to three RAW images and built-in flash, the E-PL2 is packed with trademark PEN technology.
Another worry-free feature is the new SDX card format that provides the flexibility of a ‘future-proof’ medium with huge storage potential for high-capacity files such as high definition movie recording. 
As far as the ecosystem is concerned, there are 16 dedicated Micro Four Thirds lenses, three new conversion lenses (macro, fish-eye and wide), plus 27 Four Thirds and over 500 other lenses in total (using an adapter). There is also a new close-up spotlight accessory called the Macro Arm Light (MAL-1, pictured), to help with precision illumination of macro photos or close-ups. Very interesting is  Olympus’ new PENPAL Bluetooth accessory. This dongle slides into the accessory shoe (usually where flash units can be placed) and integrates with the camera’s menu system to send compressed files via Bluetooth to any Bluetooth-enabled device that supports file transfer.
The new Macro Arm Light accesory
E-PL2 main features:
Image Quality
Art Filters in HD Movie and still modes, incl. Dramatic Tone Filter
Supersonic Wave Filter dust protection system
Ultra-effective built-in image stabilisation
Compact M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II fast and near-silent lens (movie and still compatible)
12.3 effective Megapixel High Speed Live MOS sensor
Ease of use
3.0” LCD with 460 000 dot resolution
Easy-to-use Live Wheel feature menu
Live Guide in HD Movie and still mode
Live View in HD Movie and still mode
Creativity & Flexibility
Accessory Port 2 for compatibility with a growing variety of PEN accessories
PENPAL Communication Unit compatible
Compatible with new MAL-1 Macro Arm Light
1/4000th sec. shutter speed with 3fps sequential shooting
Multi Exposure mode for 3 RAW images
ISO 6400 sensitivity
Long-life BLS-5 Li-ion battery
Compatible with three new conversion lenses:
WCON-P01 wide-angle (for 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II lens)
FCON-P01 specialist fisheye (for 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II lens)
MCON-P01 macro (for 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II, 40-150mm 1:4.0-5.6 and 14-150mm 1:4.0-5.6 lenses)
Other highlights
Compatible with 16 Micro Four Thirds, 27 Four Thirds and more than 500 other lenses (via an adapter)
Stunning new PEN design
SDXC card compatible


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