Olympus PEN E-PL2 review

Retro styled and easy to use

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Our Verdict

It may not quite match the image quality from an APS-C format DSLR, but the E-PL2 produces high quality images, with plenty of detail and colour noise control at the higher settings is impressive.


  • Easy to use
  • Fun Art filters
  • Good chroma noise control
  • AF fast for a contrast detection system


  • No viewfinder built-in
  • Highest quality JPEG option buried in menu
  • Only 11 large AF points

Olympus Pen E-PL2: Overview

Olympus's Pen range of Micro Four Thirds compact system cameras seems to have captured the imagination of more photographers than its Four Thirds system ever did. The main reason for this is likely to be that the Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses are considerably smaller than the Four Thirds DSLRs, yet they have the same sized sensor.

Although the Four Thirds system promised smaller cameras and lenses than APS-C systems, it never quite delivered the size and weight savings that many people expected. This combined with the image quality compromises resulting from the cameras' smaller sensor meant that the Four Third system failed to attract the following that Olympus hoped for.

Capitalising on digital technological developments, live view in particular, has enabled (Panasonic and then) Olympus to omit the reflex mirror and optical viewfinder arrangement of a traditional SLR and produce significantly smaller cameras and lenses. After a period of indecision these hybrid cameras have become know as compact system cameras (CSCs).

The fact that Olympus is so far the only traditionally photographic manufacturer to produce a compact system camera may have helped the Pen series find favour with some experienced photographers looking for a smaller alternative to a bulky DSLR. However, it hasn't all been plain sailing and the omission of a flash from the Pen E-P1 and E-P2 was strongly criticised.

Olympus's most recent introduction, the Pen E-PL2, now faces fierce competition from Panasonic, Samsung and Sony, with rumours constantly circling that the two big DSLR players, Canon and Nikon will enter the CSC fray soon. It means Olympus has a lot riding on the E-PL2.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution12.3 Megapixel
Wide AngleNo
Product FamilyPEN
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical, Digital
Optical Zoom3x
Brand NameOlympus
FeaturesFace Detection, Aperture Priority, Manual White Balance, Live View, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMotion JPEG (AVI)
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)317 g
Image Sensor Size4/3" (18 mm x 13.50 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4032 x 3024
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height72.7 mm
Width115.4 mm
Depth42 mm
Focal Length14 mm to 42 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelE-PL2
Product NamePEN E-PL2 Mirrorless Camera
Product LinePEN
Exposure Control
  • Programme Automatic
  • Shutter Priority
  • Aperture Priority
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberN4288092
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

The new PEN E-PL2 boosts your photography to the next level. Packed with simple, intuitive settings such as the Live Guide for stills and movies and the Live Wheel for making instant adjustments, the E-PL2 helps you to take incredible pictures.

Package Contents
  • PEN E-PL2 Mirrorless Camera
  • M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II Lens
  • BLS-5 Battery
  • BCS-5 Battery Charger
  • Micro Four Thirds Body Cap (BC-2)
  • Shoulder Strap
  • CB-USB6 USB Cable
  • CB-VC2 Video Cable
  • Operating Instructions
  • Warranty Card
  • CD-ROM
Limited Warranty2 Year