Olympus E-P2 Review

by Enche Tjin on January 7, 2010

Olympus ‘PEN’ E-P2 is Olympus second micro four third system camera which is an improved version of Olympus E-P1. Both cameras has very similar body design and features. The main different is E-P2 has optional electronic viewfinder and external microphone while E-P1 does not. Because they are very similar, Many part of this review is applicable to E-P1 as well.


Olympus E-P2 main specs (shared with E-P1)

  • 12MP Live Mos sensor 4/3 sensor
  • HD 720p video at 30 fps with stereo sound recording
  • Built In Image Stabilization
  • Dust removal mechanism (SSWF)
  • Eight Art filters for creative processing and fun (E-P1 has six)
  • 3 frames per second continuous shooting.
  • No built-in flash nor AF assist light

Below are new features that added to Olympus E-P2

  • Manual focus and aperture control in video mode
  • AF tracking (focus lock for moving objects)
  • Magnified Focus Assist
  • Tiltable hi-res electronic viewfinder with 100% coverage and 1.15X magnification
  • Optional microphone adapter for better sound


Olympus E-P2 weights 385 g with memory card and battery. The dimension is 4.74in (W) x 2.75in. (H) x 1.37 in (D) / 120.5 mm (W) x 70mm (H) x 35mm (D) (excluding protrusions). It is significantly smaller than regular DSLR camera. Camera body is around 120g lighter than beginner DSLR camera. It feels solid and dense.  If you are coming from compact camera, you will feel this camera a bit heavy. It is around 2-3 times heavier than advanced compact camera. If you are coming from DSLR camera especially from Olympus DSLR camera, you will love the reduction in size. However, this camera is not light. For comparison, E-420 weights 370g and E-620 weights 475g body only.

That being said, E-P1/2  and 17mm lens is not a pocket-able camera. It will only fit large winter jacket/coat pocket. You might find yourself carrying it around more than you carry a DSLR camera, but this camera can’t compete with compact camera in portability.

Olympus E-P2 construction quality and design are worthy of praise. The outer shell are 85% metal. Plastic are still there for buttons and round dial. Design wise, it is very classy, retro style. I especially like the leather texture grip. However, some people might prefer more industrial design like Leica X1 or Panasonic GF1. It depends on each individual taste.

Olympus E-P2 has one thumb dial, one round dial, and four-way controller and two customizable function buttons. To change major setting such as ISO, AF mode, WB are very easy because there are dedicated buttons embedded in four-way controller. You can also access quick menu by pressing OK button. Unfortunately, the quick menu is unlike super control panel that I find in Olympus DSLR cameras. It is more similar to compact camera function menu.

Like E-P1, Olympus E-P2 does not have built-in flash. This is quite a blunder by Olympus because built-in flash is very useful for various scene, where you want to use flash to fill-in shadow or use it to light up an extremely dark room.

Ergonomically, it is very pleasing. The  curves are in the right place. The protruding leather grip is really nice. Buttons and dials are placed within reach of your right hand thumb.

Olympus E-P2 compares to Nikon D90 and 16-85mm

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Danny January 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Its obvious to me that you have an inferior copy of the 17 2.8 if indeed you find it of poor quality.Tested in Shutterbug Magizine the reviewer refered to it as phenominally sharp.I also have found my copy to be of wonderful quality.
I have been shooting over thirty years and owned dozens of cameras and lenses of practically every brand and am very critical of quality.What exactly are you looking at? I am curious sence there are so many different reviews coming to so many different conclusions on the same lens.Go to SLR gear.com and read their review .Can they really be that inconsistent?

Enche Tjin January 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Thanks for your comment. What I find is similar to slrgear test. It is reasonable sharp in small part in the center but loss its acuity in other part of the frame, stopping down does not help much.

humpty August 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

The new (optional) viewfinder cost about the same price as the camera body.
What a con.

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