Hands-On with the Olympus E-P2

Hands-On with the Olympus PEN E-P2

Hands-On with the Olympus PEN E-P2

No more wild speculation, or waiting for the actual confirmation. Olympus has just unveiled its second Micro Four Thirds camera, aptly dubbed as the Olympus PEN E-P2. Of course, with an update to its Micro Four Thirds lineup, we'll also be expecting some new features on the E-P2. Olympus shared some of the highlights and these include:

  • Accessory port for live viewfinder and PCM stereo microphone
  • Resolution of up to 1.4 million dots, 100% field of view and 1.15x magnification on live viewfinder
  • i-ENHANCE to improve colors and contrast
  • New Art Filter modes - Diorama and Cross Process
  • AF tracking
  • Remote control of E-P2 with HDMI-CEC compliant TV remotes

And if you've noticed by now, the list of new features still doesn't have the one thing that was lacking on the E-P1, and now faces the same problem on the E-P2 - the absence of an integrated flash.

The E-P2's aesthetic outlook will largely remain the same as the now available E-P1. Antonio Lei, Marketing Director for Olympus, mentioned that the E-P2 will come in black for the Asia market. Besides the obvious color difference, the E-P2 will also sport a few hardware additions, the most prominent one being its accessory port for its live viewfinder and microphone adapter. Furthermore, the E-P2 will be bundled with the live viewfinder, which sees a bump up in resolution at up to 1.4 million dots and a 100% field of view with 1.15x magnification.

Within the E-P2, new features are aplenty. Joining the crowd will be a new mode called i-ENHANCE that pushes beyond the usual Vivid colors mode and highlights the main subject by optimizing color and contrast.

The usual Art Filter scenes are included on the E-P2, with two new additions - Diorama and Cross Process. As the name implies, Diorama tweaks your image to simulate a diorama effect with a combination of color and contrast enhancing whilst blurring the periphery to produce a distorted distanced look to it. Its Cross Process filter, according to Olympus, simulates an out-of-this-world experience with unexpected color transpositions from mixing positive film with negative film emulsion. In short, the colors won't be what you expect on your images with the Cross Process filter. The Art Filter modes will be viewable on the live viewfinder.

Olympus PEN E-P2 - Video in Diorama Mode from videoman on Vimeo.

Even more features are abound on the E-P2. A notable addition is AF tracking, which we felt was a tad too late, but better than not having it on the newest Olympus Micro Four thirds. Other bells and whistles also include a HDMI output and having remote control over your E-P2 when it's hooked up with a TV set that's HDMI-CEC compliant.

Besides the E-P2, two other Micro Four Third Lenses were also announced. They are a 9-18mm super wide-angle zoom lens (35mm format equivalent 18-36mm F4.0-5.6) and a 14-150mm high-power telephoto zoom lens (35mm equivalent 28-300mm F4.0-5.6). Both lenses will use ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements to suppress the color aberration that can degrade image quality, particularly at wide-angle focal lengths. As expected, these lenses will be compatible with the current E-P1 body and any other cameras under the Micro Four Thirds system.

On the subject of availability, Olympus is confirming the E-P2 for an end December launch, and it will be bundled with the live viewfinder. Whilst pricing and its bundled lens package hasn't been announced, it was understood that the E-P1 won't be seeing any price adjustment and the E-P2 will be positioned at a higher price point than its sibling.

The 9-18mm and 14-150mm lenses have been announced to be available by the 1st half of 2010, though a firm timeline hasn't been given yet.