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Field Review: Olympus EPL-2 (Day 1)

by Chris Gampat on 02/21/2011

With the Olympus E-5 review finished, the Olympus EPL-2 suddenly appeared at my doorstep. Now, do note that I raved about this camera during the announcement despite my total dislike (more than once) of the EPL-1. We’ve reviewed a number of Micro Four Thirds cameras here as well like the EP-2, GF-1, and the G2. This field review though will be a special one geared towards the professional and semi-professional looking for a carry around camera so that they don’t have to lug their DSLRs around. So is the latest addition to the bunch really worth purchasing for this segment of the market?

Gear Used

Olympus EPL-2

Olympus 17mm f/2.8 Lens

Olympus ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6

Olympus 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 ED

Olympus VF-2 Electronic ViewFinder (Black)

Ergonomics


The Olympus EPL-2 feels significantly better than its predecessor. The grip just feels right, the body feels tougher, there is a dial for manipulating the settings, and the on/off button is in a good spot.

I’ve been using the camera in two different ways:

– With it wrapped around my body like an old-school rangefinder or DSLR

– With it wrapped around my wrist similar to how I keep my DSLR when shooting events.

The back dial is nice and I’m so glad that Olympus chose to put one on this camera. However, it isn’t all perfect: more on that later.

The LCD screen is relatively bright and clear, so I have no major complaints about it at all. In fact, I’m often using the viewfinder instead of the screen.

Autofocus

The autofocus is fast and the camera doesn’t tend to hunt for something to focus on. At the time of writing this piece, I’ve only used it in Single Focus with Manual override and with the 17mm pancake lens. For the most part, it is also relatively smart and will be able to find exactly what I want to focus on based on my composition of the image.

Face detection works very well. In fact, I see almost no reason to turn it off in this camera.

Menus

I’ve used this camera so far in Aperture mode and Manual. The menus are very thin. In fact, I can’t even find how to turn off the AF confirmation beep and don’t even think the camera has the ability to do this.

Quirks

The camera has a couple of quirks that I believe I’m either going to overcome, get used to, to find absolutely annoying.

Note to the PR reps: Chill, I think very highly of this camera so far.

– Can’t figure out how to turn off the AF confirmation beep at the time of writing this.

– I wish that manipulating the aperture and shutter speed in manual mode were easier. You need to set one, then press the exposure button and either press up or down on the function wheel.

– Battery life seems a bit short at the moment (using it with the Eye-Fi X2 pro card that I gave a glowing review to.)

Editor’s note: after a while I was able to figure out how to turn off the AF confirmation beep. In order to do this, you’ll need to unlock the hidden menus that should not have been hidden in the first place. Said menus also allow the user the customize the camera settings much more than previously allowed.

These customized settings will help to make my review experience more pleasant, hopefully. They could also make yours better.

Question: What do you want to see in the review? Let us know in the comments and I’ll try to incorporate it into the testing.

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