A Filmstrip…”Visit To Moms” with the E-P2

Yes I know, I have been shooting quite a bit with my “wifes” Olympus E-P2 but truth be told, my Leica M9 is away at Leica getting a check up. I sent it in with my lenses to have it checked out and calibrated as the 90 Elmarit I received was a little bit off. I figured I would have it calibrated so I sent it off to Leica on Monday. I hope to have it back on Tuesday so I can start getting these Lens reviews going!

So while the M9 is away, the PEN will play! I took out the “take anywhere” E-P2 today to try and get some video samples and ended up shooting with the B&W art filter again. I stopped by my Mothers house to visit and shot a few snaps of her and the surroundings. I liked the way they came out and put them into another “film strip”.

I have to say that this is “the one” art filter I find myself using on a regular basis with this camera. BTW, the Panasonic GF1 does not have the art filter feature. Many find these filters gimmicky and I agree many of them are, but this one can be special.  Also, I was speaking to a friend of mine who also shoots the E-P2 and he says when he prints the “grainy B&W” files that they look wonderful.

What is also pretty cool is that you can shoot video with the art filters enabled. I am putting together a short video to show how all of these filters appear when taking video so look for that tomorrow or by the end of the week. Also, the review of the 20 1.7 lens is coming very soon. This lens is pretty much locked onto the E-P2 as I find it the perfect match for the camera.

One last thing. I get a lot of e-mail questions regarding which one to buy…the E-P2 or GF1. That is a really tough call and both cameras have their fans. Personally, I now prefer the E-p2 due to its EVF, black body, ART filters and ability to control Aperture and Shutter Speed during video recording. Sure the GF1 is sharper, has a better LCD and faster AF but for some reason I am really digging the images I am getting from the E-P2.

While not perfect, if someone can figure out how to get the ISO clean up to 3200 with these m4/3 sensors AND we get some high quality fast primes then these cameras will explode even more in popularity.

As long as you do not expect too much from the m4/3 format (and most hobbyists do not) then it is an awesome daily companion camera.

BTW, I linked to it above but B&H Photo has the E-P2 with 17mm 2.8 kit in stock. This is usually the more desirable kit so if you have been waiting for it, they have them!


  1. Thanks Joe,

    Only issue with the M4/3 using Leica lenses like a 90 APO is that they become a 180 and for me, that is much too long of a lens for daily use. The m4/3 sensor has less resolution, less DR, and more noise at every ISO than the M9. The files are also not as hardy nor as “rich”. To me, I could care less because at the end of the day they both take great photos.

  2. If the M9 did not pump out a much nicer file than E-P2, pour gasoline on it and burn the M9.

    In good light, the E-P2 is not far, at a much lower price, and with someone adept at post processing, especially with top lenses like the 90mm APO ASPH, superb ! Same with the 90mm Elmarit-M. Even the 50mm Summicron-M or R.
    Add someone good at both photography and post processing, it’s a winner.

    IMHO, a Leica M8 to 9 is excellent too, but their greatest contribution is for feeling good :), at least that’s what mine does. For a printing kind of person, I’ll go with film, especially B&W. Same with one who needs better DR through the latitude on film.

    You said your M9 pics were better than M7 ? How can that be if printed traditionally ? Scanned ? You need the best scanner, 35mm is tough unlike medium format, get a Nikon 9000 scanner as a start.

    Anyway, I enjoy your website :), keep it up !

  3. Interesting isnt it? We all bitch, moan and complain about DR, IQ, sharpness when the reality is that almost any camera today could be used to take beautiful photos. For me, I just pick a camera that I enjoy using and enjoy taking with me every day.

    I love my M9 and I really enjoy that little E-P2 in a big way but the M9 does pump out a much nicer file if you are a pixel peeper or large printing kind of person. Also, Leica lenses look much nicer when shot on an M7 or M9.

  4. Lovely pictures. Interestingly someone just posted some EP1 and M9 shots without saying which were which. People found it very hard to tell the difference without a label giving them the answer.
    And funny how we’re all so obsessed with noise and DR, then love pictures like these Grainy B/W ones, which have vast amounts of faux noise added and deliberately awful dynamic range. Go figure.

    Nice work anyway.

  5. Hey Krish,

    The GF1 has a lighter AA filter so it produces slightly sharper images out of camera. Not a big deal as the E-P1/E-P2 files are plenty sharp IMO. Thx!

  6. I don’t mean to start a flame war here but I’m a bit perplexed at your statement – “GF1 is sharper”. This is news to me! Again, I don’t mean to offend anyone’s opinion. I was just curious, how did you come to this conclusion?

    Nice snaps BTW Steve!

  7. Dan, Yea I hear the 90 Elmarit and Cron are sometimes trouble. As long as I can focus reliably with it Ill be fine. As it was it was front focusing up close and had massive back focus when shooting anything at a distance. The Nocti was great on my M9 but may have had some slight front focus now that I look back as some images. Thanks

    Mark, I’m guessing a GF2 will have a better EVF but as far as high ISO, I feel it is a limitation with the 4/3 sensors. Always has been. Unless they lower the MP to 8 or 9 I do not see any noise improvements. I also do not see them lowering the MP but rather probably trying to raise it.

  8. Re the EP1 vs EP2 vs GF1.
    If the only issue is the slippery body, try this:

    A friend who has the EP1 sold me on getting this for my GF1.
    It fits perfectly and I love both the feel and look.

    Now as for the more critical issues…there is clearly no “right” answer.
    I like the GF1 a lot, but the only thing keeping me from an EP2 is the hope and expectation that the GF2 will have a better EVF and perhaps some improved high ISO noise effectiveness. And if the EP2 with EVF were available sans lens I might still be tempted. The built in image stabilization is also a draw for me since I do have a slight age related hand tremor at times.

    I would pass on the EP1 if I were trying to decide right now for the first time, but it would be a toss-up between the other two.


  9. That is interesting that you had a problem with the 90 elmarit. I had a problem with mine too, I just got my M8 back from DAG for a RF calibration, and he was able to get the elmarit close but not perfect, although the M8 is now right on for my other lenses. But you have shot your M9 with the Nocti 50mm and had no problems? I suspect the 90mm is a bit much for the M8, but it interesting to hear that you have focus problems with the M9 too, are you finding a backfocus? or a focus shift. Anyways nice pics as always!

  10. hey Steve
    after reading your reviews i still cant make up my mind weather to buy the ep-1-2 or the gfi
    My wife asked me to get her a good camera and they both seem to be great
    could you help me there ? 🙂

  11. I guess I just figure that the GF1 lacking this art filter is no big deal given it can be accomplished in post – the evf on the other hand…. I got a good deal on a gf1 + pancake (in hand for 800 otd) and the ep2 seemed really.. slippery.. and not ergonomically friendly for my hands when i held it, strangely the gf1 is way better.

    I agree though – fast primes are what can make this cam.. i am prfectly happy so far with the 20 but would like to have choices beyond the expensive leica or 45-200. For now I shall continue my learning on fixed focus – which seems to be a pretty good path.

    Kudos on more great thoughts and shots Steve(i’m sure you could make a box of matches look good), your site is a great help to those of us entering the art.

    I still have an x1 on pre-order, but given the price and quality of the 20 – I have a feeling I will cancel before it ships to me (unless reviews indicate remedied issues).

    How about a one cam to shoot them all segment for beginners? an analysis of the best cameras for the price for those entering who don’t want a massive dslr or to spend more than $2k 😀

  12. Hey Michael! Glad to hear you are enjoying your M9 and Gf1! Hope you are enjoying that 50 as well 🙂 I sent mine to Leica only for adjustment. It was slightly off so they are getting it perfect and by sending the lenses they can make sure that everything is calibrated correctly.

    BTW, I bought a new old stock 90 elmarit, new in box with warranty card intact. Great lens but it was not focusing right on my M9. I should have it all back next week sometime. Can’t wait as I miss it already 🙂

    Ashwin! Cant go wrong with either camera. GF1/EP2, both are good. Its true they are not up to the M9 or DSLRS when it comes to ISO or DR but since you already own the M9, I would presume you would use that for your serious work and the GF1 more for fun snaps or whatever.

    The m4/3 format has its drawbacks (noise, DR) but they are fun cameras. I like the video on the E-P2 and having the ability to have full manual control over aperture and shutter speed (GF1 doesn’t let you do this) and the grainy B&W mode is really fun.

    The GF1 is faster and has better specs AND comes with the 20 but the EVF is not as good. Just depends on what your preferences are.

  13. Agreed, Steve. I am so tempted to pick one of these up, as it is birthday season for me (and I haven’t gotten myself a present yet….though maybe last December’s M9 constitutes this)….I am leaning towards the GF-1, since it comes with the 20 f/1.7 in kit form and has the added viewfinder as well. I am dubious about ISO quality and RAW files, and I keep hearing that these cameras don’t have great dynamic range in contrasty settings…that makes me hesitate bigtime!!! THoughts?

  14. Why send the M9 with lenses to LEiCA – was your Elmarit used or new
    Would you send the cam with all your lenses (ie Noctilux + Elmarit) or only the lens of question
    So far I haven’t had issues, but maybe I am not aware what to look for.
    I have sold my EP1 for a GF1 and am very happy – both have great images but I liked the GF1 more – love the LEICA…

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