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The Complete Olympus EPL-2 Review

by Chris Gampat on 03/08/2011

It’s been a long month that I’ve spent with the Olympus EPL-2; as a constant companion to me everywhere I go, I will say that it will be very sorely missed with its sexy curves and simplicity. But will I buy it?

Complete Postings

Rave- I still do believe that it will do very well in sales as I stated here.

Day 1- I ran into a couple of quirks in the beginning.

Day 2- To me, this is the perfect date camera.

Small cameras for Street Photography- The EPL-2 is a perfect choice for street photography.

Day 3- A video test in the office.

Day 4- Playing around with the Art Filters.

Day 5- Putting the camera to a major test: shooting a concert.

Gear Used

Olympus EPL-2

Olympus 17mm f/2.8 Lens

Olympus VF-2 Electronic ViewFinder (Black)

Autofocus


One of the major criticisms of the Olympus EP system was the slower autofocus than Panasonic’s. I had no major issues when testing the EPL-2. I also found the AF tracking focus to be very, very good.

In extremely low light, it may hunt a bit to focus on an object but it won’t have any major trouble for the most part. This performance will be more than good enough for most users. If you want to use the camera professionally, you may want to consider other options but this one still isn’t terrible.

Changing the AF setting is a bit of a pain though: it requires you to go into the menu, scroll down to the AF section and then select the type. I wish there was a faster method sometimes.

Ergonomics


The EPL-2 is almost perfect in terms of ergonomics. I only wish that there were a front dial in addition to the one at the back. Speaking of dials, I became used to the top mode dial despite my love for the one on the original EP-1. This one helped me to switch modes quicker when shooting.

The On/off switch position and design is actually quite genius and makes shutting off the camera by accident almost impossible. Despite this, the camera also does have a slow wake-up time.

This camera seems a bit like it was designed to be used with the electronic viewfinder: which is very nice for the professional wanting a small camera with lots of power.

Menus

At first, users will feel that the menus are a bit thin. Then when you actually unlock the extra menus in the camera, you’ll realize that there is quite a bit of power to this little beast. In fact, there is almost as much versatility in this camera as there is in the Olympus E-5 (in my opinion that is.) We reviewed it very positively, and it would’ve won our battle of the flagships too.

Ease of Use

This camera is best left in aperture priority or with the Art Filters to make use as simple as possible. In fact, you can shoot wide open with the lenses all day and night because of how small the sensor is (it will still keep most of your image in focus but still achieve a nice bokeh effect.)

In manual mode, the camera’s dial will often control the shutter speed and leave the aperture up to the lens. In order to manually change the aperture, you’ll need to press a button first and then press others or turn the back dial. It’s not a terrible process, but I honestly would’ve preferred it to be simpler. The beauty of this camera is just how well it performs when shooting in aperture mode because your mind can just simply focus on creating the images.

Will I Buy One?

Here’s the big question that everyone has on their mind. My answer: I’m leaning very much towards a yes. However, I’d purchase it with a Panasonic pancake lens and the viewfinder. I’d also get mine in white.

What’s holding me back? Perhaps the fact that I haven’t gone anywhere yet without the loaner unit. There was a day where I brought along my 5D Mk II for fun and I actually complained about the weight a bit. That’s a camera meant more for making me extra money on the side, not for fun.

Additionally, I don’t want to shell out loads of money for the fixed lens compacts with large sensors and the Sony NEX-5‘s ergonomics are deplorable in most situations. I can deal with the EPL-2 though.

Once again, I am 90% sure that I will be purchasing the EPL-2.

Questions? Comments? Let us know in the comments below.

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