Olympus Pen E-PL2 at a glance:

  • 12.3-million-pixel micro four thirds Live MOS sensor
  • ISO 200-6400
  • Art filter image styles
  • Hotshoe and accessory port
  • 3in, 460,000-dot LCD screen
  • Street price around £500, including 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens

Olympus Pen E-PL2 review – Introduction

Aimed at entry-level photographers and photography enthusiasts, compact system cameras (CSC) are currently the biggest area of growth in the digital camera market. Smaller and lighter than a DSLR, these interchangeable-lens cameras appeal to people upgrading from a compact camera. They are also attractive to those people more used to a DSLR, but who are interested in a CSC as a secondary camera for when their bulkier DSLR is less convenient. This latest model, the Olympus Pen E-PL2, is perfectly placed to capture users at both ends of the market.

Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, the Olympus Pen E-PL2 is an evolution of its predecessor, the E-PL1, which was released in February 2010. The new camera inherits many of the older model’s features, while updating a few others and adding some new ones of its own.

The Olympus Pen E-PL2 is designed as an entry-level camera, but it uses the same 12.3-million-pixel sensor as the E-P1 and E-P2, which sit above it in the Olympus Pen range. Like the E-PL1, the E-PL2 addresses an issue that afflicts both of the more expensive models: namely, that neither features a built-in flash. The small pop-up flash of the E-PL2 is an essential feature for photographers who are more used to the point-and-shoot approach.

For those using an interchangeable-lens camera for the first time, Olympus has kept the Live Guide that was originally introduced in the E-PL1. This on-screen display helps beginners to easily adjust the shooting settings. The camera also offers shooting tips, to help advise users on the basics of photographing different subjects.

Despite the E-PL2 being designed with entry-level users in mind, at its core is a range of manual exposure, focusing and colour options worthy of a DSLR, giving it a far broader appeal. With competition in this sector of the market becoming increasingly hot, it will be interesting to see exactly how the E-PL2 meets the demands of both groups of photographers.

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