Dec 262009
 

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OLYMPUS E-P2 Review - Hey there, hi there, ho there! It’s 6 am and I am once again sitting down at my stoop with my cup of joe and the snuggy I got for Christmas wrapped around my body. Yes, it’s that time again and today I am writing about the Olympus E-P2 and will show you my tests, images, and everything else a real world review should show. I am preparing to spend the next ten hours at my gorgeous new Imac 27″ Quad Core computer that my wife bought me for Christmas. Man OH freaking man, this computer is so nice for photo editing, video editing, and well, pretty much everything you can throw at it! I just can not imagine going back to my laptop to work on photos. I hope to have my review of the IMac up soon and will even show how fast it is in Photoshop when applying those color efex filters I sometimes use.

Anyway, I am not sitting here today to go on and on about the Imac, but rather I am here to write about the hot new Olympus E-P2 camera. As many of you know, I reviewed the Olympus E-P1 a few months back (see review here at my old site) and I loved the camera but I did eventually sell it to help fund a Leica lens. I ended up missing the camera because it was one of the funnest cameras I have ever used (next to my Leica M9). Isn’t that the case with us photo enthusiasts? We buy, then sell, then miss the item, then buy it again. Ha ha… This time I purchased the E-P2 for a Christmas gift for my son, which turned into a gift for my wife. (My son ended up with a Nikon D3000) So once again I have an digital PEN in the Huff household.

DISCLAIMER: Since the E-P2 only has a few improvements over the E-P1 this review will not go over every detail of the camera. Be sure to read my Olympus E-P1 review to get more info on what this camera can do including high ISO samples, crops and more. In this review I will talk about the new additions and improvements in the E-P2 as well as share some new image samples.

Olympus E-P2 – 14-42 Kit Zoom at 14mm, F3.5, 1/125s and ISO 200 – converted to B&W using Silver Efex Pro

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With the E-P1 and E-P2, Olympus has been very smart. They know that there are quite a few people out there who want a small-ish compact-ish camera body that is light, sleek, sexy, and yes…fun to use! When they released the E-P1, nicknamed the “Digital Pen” they presented it as a throwback to the old days of the Olympus PEN F film camera. The PEN was a half frame film camera that was smaller than the average SLR and many loved it for its take anywhere size.

The E-P1 was sold in silver and white colors and the retro vibe was indeed in full effect. The E-P1 became a hit with so many people who were tired of lugging around 3lb DSLR’s with lenses that weighed even more. For under $1000 you could get an E-P1 with a lens, a cool retro looking flash (Currently, the E-P1 is at a great price at B&H) and optical viewfinder. WOW! I was sold on the looks alone, but the E-P1 was more than just a small interchangeable lens camera. The E-P1 also recorded HD video. Something very cool to have during those occasions where you may want to shoot video as well as take photos.

Most of the reviews and some users of the E-P1 complained about its auto focus being somewhat slow.  While it was a little slower than a DSLR, it was fine. I had no complaints about it as I never missed a shot due to its AF. The E-P1 was/is a GREAT digital camera that I can easily recommend. So what about the E-P2? What improvements did Olympus make? Well, I can say right now that the E-P2 is virtually the same camera as the E-P1 with a few new additions. It has the same AF speed, the same body, and the same features but there have been a few new ones added to make it just a bit more pleasurable. Since that is the case, this review will not be a re-hash of the E-P1 review. Instead, look at this as sort of an “addition” to the E-P1 review. So if you have not done so already, I recommend you read my E-P1 review at my  old site first then come back here to see what is new with the E-P2.

Here is a video overview in my  new “ugly ass red room” that the wife designated as my camera room/office. The room was not being used and she was tired of all of this camera gear littering the rest of the house :) I go over the menu features, the new continuous AF tracking, the EVF with a peek IN it during use as well as some sample images.

M4/3 LENSES AND WHAT’S NEW WITH THE E-P2…

Well, many thought an E-P2 would surface and have blazing AF, more megapixels and a viewfinder. Olympus took a lot of heat from users for not having a viewfinder or even an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). Public enemy #1 to the E-P1 and now E-P2 is the superb Panasonic GF-1 (In stock at B&H or AMAZON). The GF-1 got just about everything right from the get go. You can see my GF1 review here but the bottom line is the GF-1 beat the E-P1 with AF speed, and in my opinion, the included kit zoom with the Panasonic is a bit better than the Olympus kit zoom. Also, Panny came out with the beautiful 20 1.7 lens (see my review here) which is not only fast and can provide you with shallow depth of field but it is SMALL! This is a lens I could recommend for the GF-1, E-P1 and E-P2! Yes, most of you know you can use the Panasonic M4/3 lenses on the E-P2 as they are the same mount, but some of you do not realize this. I have found that the Panasonic M4/3 lenses are just superb and they are coming out with some beauties like the 7-14 , 45 Macro and as I have already mentioned the 20 1.7. Man, that damn GF-1 even had me thinking of selling my Leica M9 due to the cost involved with an M system these days! But of course I did not sell my M9 :)

LENSES

The major addition to the new E-P2 is the EVF which attaches to the new accessory port and addresses the issue of not having a viewfinder. Also, the black paint job is new. Below is the full feature list of the camera:

Compact Design with Pro-system Capabilities

The Olympus E-P2 combines the casual, easy-to-use persona of a pocket-size point-and-shoot camera with the imaging capabilities of a pro-level DSLR. As an extension of Olympus’ proven 4/3 imaging system, the E-P2 can shoot casual stills and video as well as complex imagery with equal ease and precision

High-Definition Stills and Video

The Olympus E-P2 enables high-definition capture of still and video images while maintaining full auto-focus functionality and image stabilization with all 4/3-format optics. And unlike video-enabled DSLRs, the Olympus E-P2 maintains full AF in video mode.

NEW!!! Manual Movie Mode – NEW!!!

Manual movie mode allows for independent control of aperture and shutter for expanded exposure and creative control when shooting HD movies

NEW!!! • C-AF Tracking and AF Target Registration – NEW!!!

The E-P2′s C-AF Tracking and AF Target Registration locks your subject into focus, and constantly adjusts focus and brightness whether you or your subject is moving.

• iAuto mode

This intelligent-auto mode uses advanced automatic detection technology to allow the camera to recognize the six most commonly used scenes automatically.

NEW!!! • iEnhance for Radiant Colors - NEW!!!

iEnhance analyzes colors and brightness and mimics what the naked eye sees. For example, a beautiful sunset looks awesome in person and generally seems to fade when captured in an image. With iEnhance, the warm yellow and orange colors are heightened to be brilliant and closer to the actual scene.

NEW!!! • HDMI Control from Your HDTV Remote – NEW!!!

Connect the E-P2 to your HDTV with an optional HDMI cable and use your HDTV’s remote to control playback functions and navigate the camera’s menus from the comfort of your favorite couch or chair

• In-Body Image Stabilization

An in-camera stabilization system allows for up to 4-stops EV of movement compensation with all 4/3 and Micro-4/3 format lenses

• Dust Reduction

Olympus’ Dust Reduction, which runs an ultrasonic cleaning cycle each time you power up the camera, helps keep dust particles out of the image path

• Multiple Exposure

The multiple exposure function allows you to shoot one shot, then another and combine them in real time, or capture both shots separately and combine them in the camera later.

• Multi-Aspect Shooting

The E-P2 provides four aspect ratios that serve as masks to frame your image to the desired proportions, including: the standard 4:3 aspect ratio that is suited to an 8 x 10″ enlargement; the 16:9 aspect ratio that will display your images beautifully on a widescreen television; and other popular aspect ratios such as 3:2 and 6:6. The Multi-Aspect Shooting further expresses your creative vision when combined with Art Filters and multiple exposures.

• Stereo Audio Sound

The E-P2 features uncompressed CD-quality 16 bit/44.1kHz Linear PCM stereo recording capability to capture the rich sound quality of your scene. It has the versatility to record and play back in the WAV format and can record with its built-in stereo microphone or the optional EMA-1 external microphone. Whether recording audio while shooting a video or adding audio by recording a narration to your still images, the E-P2′s audio sounds great.

• Digital Leveler

The E-P2 is equipped with an internal digital level sensor that detects the camera’s pitch and roll and indicates it on the control panel. This Digital Leveler is a tremendous benefit when capturing architecture and landscapes.

• Magnified Focus Assist

The E-P2 provides two optional methods to help the user focus: a Magnified Focus (MF) Assist Function and Magnification Display. When using manual focus, the MF Assist feature aids with critical focus by allowing you to zoom in on part of the image by simply turning the focusing ring on the front of the lens. The Magnification Display enables you to selectively enlarge the image on the LCD at the touch of a button. This mode works for both autofocus and manual focus.

• 18 x 18 Metering Modes

This mode divides the image area into an 18 x 18 grid, metering each of the 324 separate cells to obtain optimum exposure. In addition to 324-division ESP metering, center-weighted metering and spot metering modes are also available.

• Scene-Select Modes

The E-P2 is equipped with 19 scene-select modes for effortless picture taking. Standard scene modes like Night-Scene, Portrait and Landscape are easy-to-use solutions for everyday shooting. Capturing beautiful portraits is easy with the new ePortrait Mode. It enables you to smooth your subject’s skin – all in the camera and before capture.

NEW!!! • Art Filters – NEW!!!

NEW! - Diorama: Enhances a composition’s depth of field to give the image an unreal touch and model-like structure.

NEW! – Cross Process: Returns depictions with striking color and contrast shifts akin to those achieved through the cross processing technique in silver halide film development.

Pop Art: Enhances colors, making them stronger and more vivid to create high-impact pictures that express the happy, light-hearted feeling of the pop art style.

Soft Focus: Creates a soft tone which gives pictures an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere. It renders pictures as though they were veiled in heavenly light, without obscuring details.

Pale & Light Color: The foreground is enclosed in flat, gentle light – similar to a flashback scene in a film

Light Tone: Creates a picture with a gentle feel to it, similar to one taken under artificial lighting. Both the shade and highlight areas are rendered very softly.

Grainy Film: This effect recreates the feeling of reality evoked by grainy, high-contrast monochrome pictures.

Pin Hole: Reduces the peripheral brightness like an image seen through a pinhole. Added to this is a unique color tone that results in a style that has an air of secrecy.

Olympus E-P2 with 14-42 kit zoom at 18mm, F4, 1/80 and iso 250 – Straight from camera, no PP

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DO THESE NEW ADDITIONS MAKE IT A BETTER BUY THAN AN E-P1 or G-F1?

So while the E-P2 is still the same 12Mp camera with the same performance as the E-P1, the new additions are welcome and are an improvement to the “fun factor” of shooting with it. For example, one of the things that I thought was really cool with the E-P1 were the addition of the “ART” filters. This is something that the G-F1 does not have and now the E-P2 has two more of these filters. This makes it easy to get photo effects without having to mess around with photoshop.

DIORAMA: To me it looks like a tilt/shift effect and a way to add artificial “bokeh”. It is gimmicky, but may be cool depending on the subject matter. I sort of like the effect but be careful not to shoot everything with this filter as it can get old real quick. But, if you want some cool shallow DOF effects, Diorama mode will give it to you!

DIORAMADEMO

You can also get the miniaturization effect using the Diorama mode. Pretty interesting indeed!

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CROSS PROCESS: This one can be kind of cool and also can be kind of ugly depending on the light and the subject. If you want that sort of cool film cross processed look, this filter will turn your ordinary images into funky colored goodness.

MINACROSSPROC

So I really like these two new filters and also my two old faves are still there, grainy “B&W film” and “pinhole”.

wendyjacksl

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The ART filters are not available on the Panasonic GF-1 and honestly, the only thing I feel the GF1 has over the E-P2 is its super fast AF speed and I do like the GF-1 kit zoom slightly better, but remember, the E-P2 has in-body image stabilization and the G-F1 does not! This means your lens has to have it in order for you to have IS with the G-F1. If I were buying today, right now…I would choose an E-P2 and Panny 20 1.7 lens as I really enjoy the E-P2′s styling, viewfinder, and ART filters. But, with that said, the G-F1 is a super camera and you really can not go wrong with either. I do have to applaud Panasonic for bringing out some kick ass lenses for the m4/3 system and I can not wait to review some of then on this E-P2. Also, do not forget that if you have Leica M lenses, they can be used on the E-P2 or G-F1 using this premium adapter, or this less expensive one.

HOW ABOUT A COMPARISON WITH A LEICA X1?

Since I have about 8 cameras here to test and the X1 is one of them, I thought I would post two images. The X1 is also a compact camera but it has a larger APS-C sensor. It is also $900 more than an E-P2 kit and does not have a movie mode or any bells and whistles. What it has going for it is pure image quality. It is a Leica after all :)

Onto the images. One was shot with the E-P2 and one with the Leica X1. Same  time, same place. The X1 was at ISO 1600 and F3.5 with its built in 24 Elmarit lens (35mm equiv) and the E-P2 was shot at F3.9 at 18mm (35mm equiv). I also included a 100% crop to show the details. You must click the image to see the large version with the full 100% crops. These were both out of camera files processed with default settings in ACR 5.6. No sharpening (ZERO) and no Noise Reduction. The X1 is a bit cleaner at ISO 1600 and shows more detail. (Look at the command key, you will see a red piece of fuzz in the X1 shot. In the E-P2 shot it is almost invisible. Still, the X1 is $900 more expensive, and the ONLY light here was from my computer display. The room was black besides the glow of my Imac.

X1COMPAREn

This tells me that both of these do fairly well at low light, high ISO shooting but after shooting both side by side I can say that the X1 pumps out incredible image quality that even surpasses some big leaguers. But it is a minimalist camera and cost $900 more than an E-P2 kit. My review on the X1 is coming soon but I can see it being used as a benchmark for small camera image quality. That is why I put up this side by side with the E-P2.

WHAT ABOUT THE NEW EVF? HOW GOOD IS IT?

The big deal about the E-P2 besides is cool new Black look is the addition of the new EVF. Since the Panny G-F1 had an EVF it did not take long for Olympus to realize that they needed one as well. The positive thing is that the one they provide with the E-P2 is great and enjoyable to use. I love that it tilts up and down allowing you to get shots while looking down into the finder. The quality of the EVF is very good and probably the best EVF I have shot with to date but I have NOT shot with the G-F1 EVF. All in all, its a great addition to the camera and even has a built in diopter for those who wear glasses.

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As for the continuous auto focus (which locks on  to your subject in live view and even if your subject moves the E-P2 stays locked on) this is a welcome addition and I show an example of this in the video near the top of this review. Ienhance, another new feature (although a gimmicky name) actually works quite well. If you are new to digital cameras just turn on Ienhance and you will get great images every time. The camera automatically adjusts contrast, exposure, and color depending on the scene. Yes, it seems the E-P2 has a brain. :)

“The Old Barn” – E-P2 – F4 – 18mm – ISO 100 – 1/30s – processed in CS4 using Nik Viveza Plug In

EP2BARN

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Video with the Art Filters?

Yep! You can shoot video using the built in ART filters of the E-P2. Here is a “just for fun” video I made showing some of the Art Filters in video use:

ISO 6400 on the E-P2.

Yes, the E-P2 has ISO 6400 and it is bad, but not really THAT bad. Here is a worst case scenario example. It was very dim in the room. Night time, 20 1.7 lens set to 1.7 and the ISO to 6400. Here is the result, and I feel this image has some feeling to it even though it has grain:

A Bug Discovered?

I received an e-mail from a reader who noticed his E-P2 EVF would freeze up when using an ART filter and manual focus mode. Low and behold when I went to try it out my EVF froze up as well! It does not seem possible to manual focus using an art filter with the EVF. The screen with just freeze.

I like the color which still appears somewhat rich instead of the funky washed out weirdness you get from something like a Nikon D300.

PRO’s and CON’s of the E-P2

PRO’s:

  • Great size, great feel, great solid build all for under $1000.
  • Now standard with a removable and tilt able EVF.
  • Great HD video recording with manual aperture control for cool effects with fast lenses.
  • Great lenses available from Olympus and Panasonic with more on the way.
  • New black color is more stealthy and classic.
  • As with the E-P1, good high ISO performance up to ISO 1600.
  • In body image stabilization.
  • Cool and fun ART filters.
  • Great battery life (I charged only once during the review process)
  • Superb out of camera JPEG quality.
  • You can buy this adapter and shoot with Leica M lenses! Here is another.
  • Oh yea, you can swap lenses as it is not a fixed lens camera.

CONS:

  • Can not be bought as body only at the time of this writing.
  • Small DSLR’s can be had for half the price these days (Nikon D3000 for example).
  • When shooting with an ART filter the live view is slow and sluggish and is tough to capture “the moment”.
  • AF could be improved to Panasonic GF1 type speed.
  • Smaller sensor so the Dynamic Range and overall IQ is not as good as a DSLR, or even a Leica X1 which has a large APS-C sensor.
  • Details can start to get mush at ISO 1600+ so if massive detail is your thing, beware of the in camera NR at high ISO. (same with GF-1)
  • EVF may freeze/lock up when manual focusing and using an Art filter.

EP2X1SBS

MY BOTTOM LINE CONCLUSION:

There is not much more I can say about the E-P2 as most of it has been said in my E-P1 review. Besides the new black color (which I love) and the Electronic View Finder, the E-P2 has only a few additions to warrant the “2″ in its name. You can get an E-P1 for $300 less but I feel the new additions are worth it, especially if you are one who likes having an actual viewfinder. The image quality, high ISO and color is all the same as the E-P1 and neck and neck with the GF-1. If you like the E-P2′s style and features then the best bet would be to buy an E-P2 with a kit zoom and then buy the Panasonic 20 1.7 lens to go with it for those times you want to shoot in low light. With it’s video, great image quality, superb out of camera JPEGS, small form factor, and versatility the E-P2 is an easy recommend.

These days you can get a small DSLR like a Nikon D3000 for $450 with a kit lens. While not as thin and sleek as an E-P2, and without the video or live view, its a great buy for the money. It all depends on what you are looking for. The D3000 has no video, no live view, no art filters and is a “fatter” camera with bulkier lenses. On the other hand you have something like the new Leica X1. The X1 will give you better image quality at all ISO’s but does not have video or any features. Its a simple camera whose focus is on image quality and that comes in at $2,000. So to me, I feel the E-P2 is priced right at its $1100 price point as you get more features and a slimmer body than a Nikon D3000. The IQ of the E-P2 is great but not as good as the premium Leica X1 which comes in at $900 more.

Yes, I am smitten with the Olympus E-P2. It’s a combo of take anywhere fun and quality all in one compact package at a not so wallet busting price. If you want to buy one I highly recommend B&H Photo. That is where I bought mine as I feel they are the best photo store on the planet. AMAZON also has it and they are my 2nd favorite shop EVER!

I hope you enjoyed my real world review of the Olympus E-P2 and I thank you for reading it!

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Here are a few more images from the Olympus E-P2, enjoy!

P1010279

monroewithep2

CHICAGOTHEATER1400

wendyjack

suntimes

minainbed

stoplight

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  86 Responses to “The Olympus E-P2 Digital Camera Review”

  1. I’ve got to have one. Thanks for the review.

  2. As I could not wait for the m9 (now almost a month since I ordered from B&H) I got the e-p2 for Christmas with Novoflex adapter to use it with the Leica M-lenses.
    It is a fun camera: small, handy, pretty, fast, and the internal stabilizer works well with the Leica lenses; results are amazing! even with very low light.
    I have not use the Olympus zoom lens (it has been raining continuously here in NY and there is not enough light)
    I will keep this camera.

  3. just got mine with voigtlander adapter for m lens.
    It a awesome little camera pair it with leica lens to do video and live view.
    Great job steve thanks again.
    a baby m9 with live view.
    some pics here.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/canonmonster/

  4. Thanks Steve for your E-P2 review and for every review I’ve read so far. I love them!
    The one thing that’s important to me, since I owned the E-P1, sold it, miss it, is:
    How does the new EVF work with MF-lenses? I really enjoyed using M-lenses on my E-P1 and wonder if the new EVF makes it even more enjoyable?

  5. Thanks for the review. I’ve got already a E-P1, so based on your review there’s no need for me to get the E-P2.

  6. Thanks guys!

    I do not have an adapter on hand but will be ordering one soon. I want to try the E-P2 with my Noctilux! When I do, I will be sure and post some samples. Thanks

    Steve

  7. Thanks Steve for the superb review! And I found your comments on GF1/M9 very interesting. If you have not bought the M9, would you buy the GF1 instead and forget about the Leica?

  8. I want to upgrade from my actual Olympus c5060, before digital I used my OM1 and OM4t with different OM lenses I own and keep. I have been following different reviews for the EP1, when I read yours I made my decision (but did not have the cash available then), then came GF1 and I changed my opinion mainly due to the viefinder but also decided to wait for the Leica’s x1 review. Now after reading your EP2 review I am back to Olympus (I have a very bad pulse and want to use the OM lenses I have), but still waiting for your Leica review (I am not so keen on the single lens and also the expected price in Europe) but it’s a LEICA.
    Thank very much for your reviews and samples, I really enjoy and value them.
    Jaime (from Madrid – Spain)

  9. Hi there Steve!

    Many thanks for sharing us your personal in-depth review with the EP-2, I have read your other articles and must say that I love them all! It has been a pleasure to read your findings & its not everyday I hear + see user reviews about the digital Leica + others like the digital Pen; well from where I come from :D

    The photos you posted have inspired me so much that Im tempted to get either an EP-1 or EP-2 because of not just the size factor but also the ability to mount legacy lenses (I have 3 and still use them) via adapter & get superb manual focusing thanks to the x10 magnification + high res EVF but am still on the fence because of a lacking feature (wish it had a PC sinc which the PEN-F had on the side) that enables both flash + high res EVF to be mounted at the same time. Hope the EP-3 solves it and weather sealing is a bonus.

    Anyway here is a sample of legacy glass used on my dads E-520 with a manual Nikkor 55mm Micro + 1960 Prince VA-RI-RIM x2 Telecon mounted via Nikkor to 4/3 adapter:

    1.http://jCumagun.deviantart.com/art/Red-Feast-130429444
    2. http://jCumagun.deviantart.com/art/Ant-Before-Swarm-130455034

    Manual focusing on the Olympus E-520 is a challenge when using the VF & I had to resort to a Katz Eye split screen for better manual focus thanks to the small VF design & man live view + magnification really saves the day when using a tripod for superb manual focus! Well thats one main reason the EP-1 and EP-2 appeal so much to me and your review has made it appeal even more & I thank you for that!

    Thanks again Steve for sharing a wealth of information! I really look forward to your next article especially about the EP-2 using legacy glass mounted via m4/3 to your favorite lenses. Take care and more power to you!!

  10. Thanks for the review, Steve. Since you own both this camera and the GF1, I’m curious to see which one you reach for more over the next several weeks–esp. since you felt the GF1 compared favorably with your Leica. Personally, the E-P2′s art filters seem like a fun addition but not something that would push me over the edge. As a photographic tool, the GF1 looks like a better performer. That said, the E-P2 has great aesthetics.

  11. Thanks for the comments. Michael, I do not own the GF1. The GF1 was sent to me for review and had to go back a while ago. The only cameras I own are the Leica M9 and the Oly E-P2, which is now my wife’s camera. Of course I will be shooting it and reviewing new lenses with it.

    As for the GF-1 vs E-P2 debate…both are superb. The AF on the GF1 is faster but the E-P2 has amazing OOC JPEG quality and if it had a 20 1.7 attached would be identical to the GF1 besides having a slower AF speed.

    Buy the one that “feels” right.

    Jaime,

    Been shooting the X1 all day today, out in the snow. The AF was actually pretty snappy today in the bright light. No complaints. The IQ is out of this world with the X1. Pure Leica but its a camera without the bells and whistles so it all depends on what features you need.

    Thanks again!

  12. Nice review :)

    You should try the 50mm Summilux, Summicron, or even the Lumix 20mm, forget those Olympus kit lenses … how about a follow-up review with better lenses ? :-)

    Playing around now with a Pentax 25mm f/1.4 CCTV lens and it’s great.

  13. I shot the 35 and 50 Lux’s on the E-P1 and 80% of the images in that review were with those lenses. I am waiting on another adapter and then I will shoot it with my Noct, which is my fave Leica lens ever. Thanks!

  14. These are some shots with the 50 Lux (pre-asph).

    http://www.gjamaleddine.com/gjamaleddine.com/Christmas.html#2

    The Olympus zoom lens is not bad (to me better than the G10), but cannot be compared to Leitz/Leica lenses.

  15. hi – when using RAW only what are the writing to card times like on the GF-1 and EP-2, thanks for the great reviews and info. – GREAT! andy

    http://missingfillmore.tumblr.com/

  16. I have had an EP1 for testing, and then a GF1, which I bought. Although their arguable fetish value, I’m not a legacy-lenses-on-Micro4/3 fan, as Panasonic and Olympus digital designed glass generally gives a better overall performance IMHO.
    I think the bottom line here is that Micro4/3 is the real 21st Century Leica system. Whereas Leica is not anymore. They seem to be unable to hit the market with a smart design as they did with the A model in the Twenties. Now there are Panasonic and Olympus brilliantly doing the job. And Ricoh…

  17. [...] Steve Huff has a review up of the Olympus E-P2. We’re in the process of reviewing the E-P1 right now, and honestly I really enjoyed using it. Image quality is quite good and the excellent manual focus more than makes up for the somewhat slow AF (not as bad as some folks say). Also it’s starting to look pretty affordable? Check out the low price at B&H Photo. [...]

  18. hi – sorry – another question – i want to get an slr with hd video, is the 7d much better than the pen and gf-1? i also have m mount lenses so the option of the 4/3rds mount sounds really good. i appreciates your time. with thanks – andy

  19. Thanks for a couple of really great “real world” reviews of the GF-1 and E-P2.

    I really want to like the E-P2. The EVF would be a boon when using my legacy lenses. And I once had a Pen FT (wish I kept it, and the lenses), followed by OM-1 and OM-4 SLRs so I have a soft spot there. But I’m really struggling with two issuess and have no camera stores anywhere near to go and try one out.I’m currently using, very happily, a D-Lux 4 which I intend to keep so that’s my benchmark.

    1. The LCD of the DL4 and GF-1 both have 460,000 pixel view, the D-P1 has only half that. Is this something that really shows in use or is it just numbers?

    2. AF capability indoors in relatively low light. I know the Oly is slower than the GF-1. Is it noticeable? My DL4 is pretty fast for a compact but it has a focus assist lamp. Do you think the EP-1 can match the DL4 indoors?

    Thanks again and congratulations on a great site. Be assured that when I finally decide I’ll link to B&H from your site – every penny counts, right?

    alan.

  20. Hey Alan,

    The E-P2 is a little slower than the GF1 with AF but the EP2 is acceptable and I had no issues getting images. The D-lux 4 is speedy for s small sensor compact but the E-P2 would be quicker IMO. GF1 would be the fastest. If you are looking for speed, the GF1 wins. If you want the retro body and art filters and do not mind to lose some speed, go E-P2.

    There are pros/cons to each system but technically the GF1 is probably the better camera. Either is capable of delivering superb images and its all personal preference really. Me, I like the EP2 due to its design, EVF and fun factor. I like the GF1 for its speed and it does indeed have a crisper LCD.

    The D-Lux 4 is also great but a different camera. It is smaller, has more noise at higher ISO but it also has the versatility of having a great lens with built in macro. Ahhh, so many choices :)

  21. thanks for a great review,

    2 things , firstly i dont think the crops are the same since the leicas a prime its fov is a given , but i think you could have adjusted the fov of the oly to more match the fov of the leica, to my eye they look quite different and the fov discrepency ,i think, favors the leica in this comparison

    secondly the iso comparison, i think a comparison of iq could have had more real world application if you had use 400 iso , i already know that aps c is less noisy and has more visual fidelity at higher iso than m43, i would value a comparison at lower isos where most shooting occurs more , it would have told me more about the 2 machines

    otherwise excellent and informative , btw i own the gf1 and ep1 and your comments about them are spot on , one thing …the gf1s flash cannot be used reliably with non af lenses whereas the oly fl-14 flash gives excellent and repeatable exposures with any lens , of any vintage

  22. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for all the great information on your site. I am struggling to make a decision between the EP2 and the GF1 and have a couple of questions.

    1) I know you mentioned this in your post but is the slow auto focus of the EP2 really that slow? How noticeable is it between the EP2 and the GF1 in real world everyday shooting and taking photos of children playing sports or pets running across your field of view

    2) What are your thoughts on the GF1 flash, is it useful at all?

    3) Is the EP2′s in body IS still the biggest reason to buy over the GF1? When testing the GF1 did you have any issues with shake when taking pics?

    4) Do you have any plans to test the GF1 EVF?

    Thanks,

    Kevin

  23. Great review, very usefull and awesome photos. My first time on your site and I will recommend it to every photo enthusiastic. I now own a Pentax K20D and are very happy with it. I am looking for an easy camera to carry always with me. I like the Panasonic (I also own a DMC-FZ7 and had great pictures at that time, as I can see with your photos, the art of making nice photos is not only a good or bad camera). Your feelings about the features (extras) of the EP2 gives the bonus to Olympus. There are rumours about a GF2. So, anyway thnx for all and I will follow and recommend your site.
    Dennis Hieralal
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands (Holland))

  24. I can’t see a way to use an external flash with the ELV. Does the camera or ELV have a PC connector anywhere?

  25. [...] nice review of the EP-2 by Steve Huff. The Olympus E-P2 Digital Camera Review | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS I have been seriously looking at getting an EP-1 now the prices are dropping, B&H have had [...]

  26. Great review. Ive got the small camera bug as well and if money was not an object I would get the X1. I have looked at E-P2, GF1 and I thought it best to wait to next generation. Currently a D300 and LX2 shooter.

  27. Thanks for your great review. I am waiting for Olympus to sell body only e-p2.

  28. Great review, I jsut picked one up last weekend withthe 14-42 kit lens. The lens is ok at f5.6 to f8.0 but I am looking for some etter lenses out there. I ahve a 20mm f1.7 on order. Have you tried any other prime lenses on this body? I was thinking about a Zeiss 50mm F2 Planar or a Voigtlander 50mm f1.1. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks

  29. Hey Michael,

    The Kit zoom is good but slow. The 20 1.7 has a nice fast aperture and that is what has been on the camera since it arrived. Leica lenses work great on the E-P1/2 and GF1 but you have to ask yourself what focal length you want? A 50 F2 would be a 100F2. Kind of cool to have a 100F2 lens but as an everyday lens maybe not. My adapter should arrive soon so I will be reviewing Leica lenses not only on the M9, but on the E-P2 as well :)

  30. Great review. Does MF Assist work on non-olympus lenses or lenses that require an adapter. I enjoy your website.

  31. Hey Steve! Sure, you can use MF assist with any lens but you have to activate it manually. You have to hit the “info” button until you see the green box. Then press OK and you will be in the magnified view. When I shot the E-P1 with Leica lenses I just kept it in this mode and was able to switch to the assist by pressing “OK”.

  32. Which adaptor did you order for your E-P2? Can’t wait to see yoru reviews with these lenses on an E-P2!

  33. Hey Michael, I am waiting on a Novoflex adapter. Thanks!

  34. Have you tried the Voigtlander adapters? They seem pretty good? I have the Nikon F mount version. It was $179.00.

  35. Hey Steve, I used to have the Voigtlander adapter and then sold it when we sold our old E-P1 a while ago. The Novoflex one will be here Wed morning. Perfect timing as my M9 and lenses just arrived back from Leica!

  36. thanks for your reiview, I’ll buy it very soon.

  37. [...] reviews the Olympus E-P2 and writes; “Yes, I am smitten with the Olympus E-P2. It’s a combo of take anywhere fun and [...]

  38. Hey Steve!

    really bummed out cause im thinking of switching from a compact to a micro4/3s. I am still unable to choose between the EP-2 or GF-1.my heart is with the EP-2 but brains with the GF-1. which should i go for?

  39. Steve, mate, I love your reviews. You tell it like it is, you’re honest, knowledgeable, skilled and informative. So many reviewers tend to be prats with such a sense of entitlement and poo-poo great kit for the sake of legitimating their editorial existence.
    You told me what no sales person would have the balls to, and what any other reviewer was too cool to.
    I’m going to buy one tomorrow.
    Cheer’s from Sydney
    PS
    I will send you pics of a dingo stealing a baby.

  40. [...] Man about u43: STEVE HUFF – E-P1 THE OLYMPUS E-P1 DIGITAL “PEN” REVIEW STEVE HUFF – E-P2 The Olympus E-P2 Digital Camera Review | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS STEVE HUFF – GF1 THE PANASONIC LUMIX GF1 DIGITAL CAMERA REVIEW STEVE HUFF – 20mm lens The [...]

  41. Love your reviews Steve! Keep up the good work… Question, have you tried the Leica/Panasonic Summilux 4/3 25mm 1.4 lens with the EP2? If you have can you please jive about it? I just ordered the lens from B and H along with adapter and can’t wait to mount it on the EP2.

    Your review on the EP2 with the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 was spot on… I have both cameras, swapped the Pana pancake 20mm 1.7 lens on to the EP2 and mounted my Leica 28 2.8 Elmarit on the GF1, not crazy about the Elmarit GF1 combo though. Most likely the 25mm 1.4 will live on the GF1, will know hopefully tomorrow and post some test shots shortly… Now i am stuck with the OLY 17mm 2.8 : (

    Great Review!

  42. Hello Steve

    This was the best review i’ve read so far on the EP2. It provided me a much better understanding of the camera. the video was very helpful.

    thank you

  43. Hi Steve I’ve always enjoyed your reviews – they are the best and most useful camera reviews available!!
    Please keep them up!! Please give me your choice regarding the following question:
    I want to buy a nice portable camera and 80% of the photos will focus on my 11 months old baby girl and my wife. Should I buy the D Lux 4 Safari edition or an Oympus E-P2. They are virtually the same price.
    I know it’s a very personal decision so please give me your personal choice according to me needs. Thanks so much for your time and I’ll make sure to buy the camera through your links…..

  44. Hey Jason, well….the most versatile will be the E-P2 if you buy the 20 1.7 with it. The D-Lux 4 is a GREAT compact. Well made, great image quality but its really the same output as the Panny LX3 which is much cheaper. The E-P2 would probably be the best bet for an 11 month old and is what I would go with between those two choices.

    Thanks!

  45. thx steve! however e-p2 is not offered body only- what do you think of the olympus pancake? or i should buy the zoom kit plus 20 1.7?

  46. Hi Steve,

    ur photos are great…. kinda in dilemma which cam to choose frm… M8 used, EP2 or DLUX4…. just pick up photography, of course buget is still my greatest barrier towards this new hobby… if I had 3k, which camera/combo shd I choose? I love Leica line is exp, but its quality and looks is second to none…

  47. oh ya, no flash on EP2??

  48. @Jason – the zoom and 20 1.7 is a great kit.

    @ Will – No flash, but for me that is fine. I haven’t used any kind of flash in 9 years. :) With $3k I would choose M8 and a Zeiss or Voigtlander 35.

  49. Thanks Steve – about to go and buy the E-P2 in couple days.
    However before I take my wallet out – after reading your X1 review I really want one and the Leica look just gives me an emotional uplift…
    Of course it delivers wonderful IQ but for my needs do you think X1 will be frustrated to use?
    For me It’s either E-P2 now or getting on the waiting list of X1. Honestly E-P2 plus the 20mm is not much cheaper than X1 anyway….

  50. Hey Jason,

    The E-P2 and 20 1.7 is great BUT the IQ of the X1 is better in every way. The camera is a little slower but frustrating to use? Not at all. Ask yourself what you will be taking photos of. As long as it is not action or something that needs a tele, the X1 would be sweet.

  51. Thanks for the fast reply Steve!! Really appreciate your comments – again I have to say your reviews are the most refreshing I’ve ever read.
    Having read so many negative things about X1(however I trust your review th most, the photos speak for themselves) does raise my concern about X1. Also I’ll be shooting 50% of my photos about my 11 months old baby girl. In my opinion it’ll be the most important tool to record her growth in the coming years so it has to be portable and high IQ in most circumstances.
    That being said, mixing with my own preference, I think I’ll wait for the X1.
    Do you personally agree?

  52. If I wanted a camera to record my 11 month old daughters growth and it was between the E-P2 and X1, I would personally take the X1 for its IQ, low light ability, superb lens and portability (its smaller than the E_P2). But do know that the E-P2 does have faster AF but it is not really that much different. The X1′s strengths are its IQ, size, high ISO and it doesn’t hurt that its so nice looking :)

  53. Thanks so much to help me make up my mind Steve!!
    I’m going to B&H through your link now to get on the list – hopefully I’ll get it within this year…..:-))
    Again really appreciate your reviews and help. If you don’t mind I’ll keep you posted with the purchase….

  54. Many thanks Mr. H. I just purchased the ep1 and im in love. The ep2 sounds great but for the moment :), i am satisfied. I too was alittle tired of all the nit picking on the speed of the camera and other things. So, I appreciated your take and approach. I needed a portable type shooter and glad i got this. love your site and direction. Keep up the good work.

    wow! you actually answer these comments…okay now im really impressed.

  55. Hey Pete!

    Congrats on the E-P1! Great choice, and enjoy it!

    Steve

  56. Hey Steve !!!

    I’m a HUGE fan of your site & your photography. Just like you, I “hate” big DSLRs but LOVE Leicas, Micro Four Thirds & Top Notch Compacts.

    I’m planning to get a Micro 4/3 this week. Really love the GF1, but the E-P2 is also breathtaking.

    *** Any thoughts on the GF1 Steve ?

  57. Hey John, my GF1 review can be found by clicking on the reviews tab up top! Thanks!

    Steve

  58. Yes, another great (i read it twice) review. As I do own an EP!, things may change this tax season. I love the new black and added eye piece and added art modes. Loving the site Mr. H., keep it up…

  59. OK! Got it! Thanks! Fabulous review! Congrats!!!

    Man! I digg your site soooo much!!!!!!!!

    Can’t wait to buy your M9 User Guide !!!!!!!!!!

    Keep up your fabulous work Steve !!!

  60. Very good review! I’m trying to find something between a DSLR and a compact, and the P2 really looks like a good option. The only snag is it’s a bit more than I’d really budgeted for. The recently announced PL1 however is a lot more nicely priced. Any thoughts on what I’d be losing if I went for that?

  61. Thanks Endareth,

    The only thing you will lose is some build quality from what I understand. The E-PL1 is said to be more “plastic” but same IQ, etc.

  62. There are to many to pick from. X1, GF-1 and now E-P2. I notice that you had downloadable files from the X1, and I came to see if I could get a copy of the “Chicago Banana Shpeel” picture from the E-P2 to compare the files from the two cameras the X1 and the E-P2 but I don’t see where you allow a download from the E-P2. Being that I can’t buy until Dec at the earliest, I am going to have more to pick from.

  63. Hi Steve,
    sorry man everybody ask u the same question I know, but sorry, here is my turn.
    Still in the training tract, so I got one shot to go for.
    Then according to the reviews , ok I got the lens finally panasonic 20mm f1.7.
    now this is the time for the body selection,
    what do u say?
    E-PL1 on board,
    E-P1 or E-P2 or GF-1,
    I can not afford all, I have to choose,
    need help for sure,
    I appreciate that.
    Thanks,
    Okan.

  64. Sorry Steve,
    It s me again,
    I was reading your wonderful reviews on my off day,
    and ok Im down to E-P2 or E-PL1,
    but all looks good to me,
    what can I do?
    Thanks have a wonderful day.

  65. Hi Okan, ask yourself this:

    Do I want better build or do I want a smaller cheaper built camera? That is really the only difference between the two besides the omission of some filters and the addition of another. The images will look identical. Good luck!

    Steve

  66. Where do you get the music for your videos?

  67. Hi Steve,
    Thanks alot,
    and I just got my E-PL1 today.
    B&H sold out the same day and I ordered from Amazon,
    and received the 20 mm Lumix lens as you recommended,
    so happy,
    looking forward to your review while I am working on it.

  68. Hi Steve, enjoyed your review on the EP-2 and really nice pics there! Nice work!

    Just wondering, since you have now reviewed the X1, do you find the EP-2′s AF to be faster than the X1?

    I tried the EP-2 in a shop and the AF was fine – but that was in bright lighting. I’d use it more in a pub or in lower tungsten based dining environment and I was wondering how the CDAF fares there, especially without an AF assist lamp. I own a GRD2 now and I would prefer that the EP-2 be at least faster than that (or other compacts such as the G11 etc)

    Thanks! :)

  69. Thanks Ed, I wouldn’t worry about the AF of the E-P2. In reality it is plenty fast enough and yes, it is faster than the X1 as far as AF goes. The E-P2 is really a super little camera with much better IQ than the smaller compacts. Thanks!

  70. Hi Steve, thanks for taking the time to reply to the threads. While I need to make a decision of GF1/EP2 or even EP-L1 I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy with any of them!

    Just a quick question though, if I were to bring the EP-2 in a pub for you know some shots of friends chilling out, if the lighting is dim (e.g. mostly tungsten, halogen based), does the EP2 need that AF assist lamp?

    I was also thinking, if it does get pretty dark for any camera’s AF to work well, is the EP2′s EVF a good fallback for me to MF on? – though I understand it will probably gain up in noise a fair bit just like any LCD.

    Thanks!

    Ed

  71. “For example, one of the things that I thought was really cool with the E-P1 were the addition of the “ART” filters. This is something that the G-F1 does not have and now the E-P2 has two more of these filters.”

    tommorow Panasonic will announce G2 and rumors say this will have Olympus filters

  72. Yea, I like the filters too even though many say they are a gimmick. The G2 will be larger/SLR style. I’m curious to see a GF2. That should be a great camera as the GF1 was/is also a terrific cam.

    Steve

  73. Many thanks for the great, understandable, review devoid of the ‘infinitesably’ small measurement parameters others sites offer.
    If only Olympus could come up with a small full frame SLR similar to the OM 1 – 4 series I’d trade in my Nikon gear in an instance.
    I don’t understand why this is not possible?
    Had a good look at the D300S and D700 this week with a view to purchase. Still undergoing physio :-)
    Zuiko lenses are still the best IMHO, and better than Nikon’s offerings (and probaly Canon to boot).

  74. in conjunction with any 3rd party manual lens, using the efv in the grainy b&w art filter mode I get purple lines across the image displayed in the vf (not when magnified and not on the recorded image) – have you seen this?

  75. You have written great reviews of the GF1, the E-P1, and the E-P2. I am expecting my first child in this summer and have decided to move away from DSLRs to save money and space. I am debating between these three cameras. Cost is definitely a factor, but so is image performance. I am leaning towards the GF1 for it’s focus speed and EVF, the E-p1 for image quality and cost (much lower priced compared to GF1 or E-p2). I like the E-p2, but the cost might be restrictive. HELP!!!

  76. Hey Steve,

    I have the olympus EP-2 and was looking to get either a Voigtlander (likely the 40mm 1.4) or Zeiss lens (50mm 1.4 planar). My question was if I get the Zeiss lens, what mount should I get it in (Nikon F, Pentax K, screw mount, or EF mount)? My understanding is that with the EF mount, I won’t be able to have full manual control: I won’t be able to change the aperture easily. Is there a difference in usability between the F, K or screw mount? Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  77. [...] and reviews have been written and are all over the web, just google it… In particular, Steve Huff writes about and shoots the EP2 quite often, he’s got some reviews along with images and [...]

  78. Thanks Steve
    Your review of the EP2 is excellent I bought one last week based on your review, I’ve always admired Olympus products right back to my OM4/ OM2 days, but so far I’m very impressed with my EP2 the image quality is brilliant, easy to use and carry around thanks.

  79. By way of this message, I’m subscribing to this comment list

  80. Hi Steve, great review and nice pics of ep2. I got one too with 20mm 1.7. Just can’t take any decent snapshot. Any tips on the setting?

  81. Great review! Just ordered the e-p2 because of your detailed experience with this camera………

  82. I was wondering, if i can use nikon flash (SB800) mounted or wireless (using made in china radio triggers, RF602) with EP-2. I’m still thinking to get either GF1 or EP2 (i heard that Oly EP-1/2 have better build compared to Panny GF1) but since i’m a big fan of off camera flash, i have to make sure that either one of these camera can use wireless trigger system that i currently have.
    Thanks for the great review of both GF1 and EP2!

  83. Hi Steve
    thank you for a very informative web site. Keep up the good work.
    I was wondering if you could give an unbiased advice on the choice of a camera.

    By way of background I am a hobbyist who has a passion for photography. I have some knowledge of photography without by any means professing to be an expert at it.

    I photograph predominantly people especially my wife and daughter and landscapes. I travel a lot and also take photographs of buildings etc.

    I presently own Leica D-Lux 5(a recent replacement for the Leica –Dlux 3) that i purchased following the review on your site and Nikon D-90 with an assortment of lenses. The Nikon I have found to be too bulky and have tended to leave it behind relying instead on my Leica D-Lux 3 until recently. I am in the process of selling my Nikon with a view to purchasing a real Leica as opposed to a Panasonic incarnation(D-Lux 5).

    I have narrowed my choices to either of the following:

    Leica X1; or

    Leica M9 with 35mm & 50 mm Summilux lenses; or

    Second hand Leica M8 or 8.2 with the above lenses.

    I have however never used a rangefinder camera although I am willing to learn.

    I have always coveted a Leica and also like the simplicity of the Leica versus DSLR’S where I feel, at times, one needs a whole degree in understanding how to use the functions alone.

    Based on what I have told you about my photography skills and my style of photography I would be interested in your recommendation. Video recording is not a necessity.

    Although there is a vast difference in the cost between the X1 and M9/M8 with the lenses, finance is not an issue.

    I had also considered an Olympus Pen EP-2 with Leica lenses but have discarded that option as i am not sure whether the Leica lenses would work terrifically. Am i wise to discard this option?

    i welcome your feedback and invaluable advice.

    thanking you in advance.

    best regards
    Hemant

  84. [...] Cam, 100[/phpbay] Puppy was doing so well with potty training but seems to have lapsed? Our puppy that is 4 mths old h…were out she got out of her pen and got into our room. She has just been let out about 1 hour prior [...]

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