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E-PL2 - my first impressions

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by stratokaster, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    My review sample of E-PL2 was delivered earlier today. What can I say? It looks like a pretty sweet camera.

    It's much smaller than my Panasonic G2 and even slightly smaller than E-P1. It's also lighter than both, but build quality is very nice. Front panel is made of aluminum. Aluminum is classy, but when there's -20 degrees centigrade outside, it literally burns your fingers with cold. Plastic cameras are much more pleasant to shoot without gloves :) 

    The new kit lens is a huge improvement. It focuses much faster and is built much better than the old one. However, Panasonic G2 is still faster when used with the same lens, this is especially noticeable with Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. To my surprise, focusing sound is noticeably louder when lenses are mounted on E-PL2; even its kit lens is absolutely silent when mounted on G2 but whines slightly when mounted on E-PL2.

    Menu system is typical Olympus (in a word: messy). I also like control layout on my G2 quite a bit better. Thank God you can change video button function to AEL/AFL. Still, I miss Panasonic's wonderful thumbwheel.

    I can't comment on image quality yet, but I see beautiful Olympus colors and very high level of detail.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. fotomatix

    fotomatix Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    I just purchased my E-PL2 yesterday. I had been going back and forth between a few models, including standard DSLRs from Nikon, Canon, and Sony. I realized that I prefer the compact-slim design form factor of a 4 thirds model.
    I actually tried the NEX-5 for a few weeks but returned it. Nothing really bad to say about it. Just that the design is ultra slim like a point n' shoot, and the lenses dominate the body. They feel unnatural to grip and heavy. I missed the mode selection dial and although they're not optimal, I prefer an integrated flash.
    11 years ago I bought my first digital camera, being an Olympus. Thought I'd come back to my first 'love'.
    I enjoy the compact form factor of the E-PL2, yet when you grip it, you know you're holding a DSLR-like camera. I purchased a kit including both the 14-42 and 40-150 lenses. They are terrific. Although video is not full HD, I find the 720p video produced much to my liking and suits my needs just fine for the simple 4 to 5 minute clips I usually take.
    I hope to learn much from the exchange of ideas and opinions on these forums.
    • Like Like x 5
  3. Ihavenewfs

    Ihavenewfs Mu-43 Regular

    My EPL-2 arrived yesterday - I'm over-the-moon about this little package. Although I've been using a D300 for the last few years, holding the Oly feels like I've come home after a very long absence: exciting and a bit scary. So much to learn...where is everything on this camera? Found the shutter-release!

  4. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
  5. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    The "scary" does subside though... don't worry. And the images won't let you down!
    • Like Like x 1
  6. jcdoss

    jcdoss Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    Little Rock, Arkansas
    from Nikon to Olympus

    I'm in the same boat, Marie, except I've been using a D200. The EPL2 is superior in almost every way except for this one significant irritation. I'd really like to be able to have exposure compensation while in manual mode and auto-ISO on, because that's how I've been using my Nikon for ages.

    The camera is perfectly sized, and I'm thinking of picking up a 20/1.7 and/or 14/2.5 pancake so I can stick the whole think in my pants pocket.

    The camera has caused me to go into lens acquisition mode worse than ever before. I have so far picked up 3 manual focus lenses for about $350 total, and the 40-150 Olympus zoom, but most of these lenses are en route. Some of these are m42 Pentax mount because they're so cheap, and the other is a Nikkor. The more I think about it, though, the more I think I'll limit future purchases to Nikon AI or AIS. At this point, I'm leaning toward unloading all my Nikon glass, except the MF ones, and I might keep the D200 if I can't get a good price for it.

    I was initially concerned that "focus-by-wire" would not be acceptable, but after a few days of using the 14-42mkII, I can say it feels natural. I presume all m43 lenses are this way? MF assist is quite awesome.

    ISO bracketing is also awesome, by the way. I just discovered this yesterday and I'm thrilled. The JPGs are indeed much better than they ought to be, and even though I've shot in RAW mode for almost 10 years, I'm thinking of letting this camera do the work. I've never liked post-processing anyway, except light cropping and exposure adjustment... maybe this is my ticket out.

    In summary: :43: = :2thumbs:
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Camerafrog

    Camerafrog Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 12, 2010
    I too love my E-PL2. I was skeptic for a long time but a friend convinced me to try one. Since I'm used to a larger camera body all the tiny buttons were a bit frustrating at first, but then I found out that I could turn off the ones I pressed by mistake and re-program others, so that's no longer a problem. Even though I think the E-P1 is the nicest looking I actually like how the E-PL2 looks and feels too. :) 

    It was great to find that the focus area can be made much smaller, since that is one of the things that scared me off originally. Another thing that worried me was the lack of AF assist light, but I have found that I don't miss one at all.

    I have 20/1.7 and Olympus 14-42II and I find both to be great. The kit zoom has really exceeded my expectations.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. andyw

    andyw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 27, 2010
    Surrey. UK
    I love my E-PL2 and I do mean LOVE it!! It's about the most perfect camera for me. Right size, looks cool and produces the goods and has in built body IS. With the right lens it is as good as any DSLR I have ever had.
  9. Ihavenewfs

    Ihavenewfs Mu-43 Regular

    Well - I posted my first pics in the EPL-2 Image thread - considering I did nothing to the pics (except for one), I'm pretty happy. I think once I learn the mechanics of the camera I can relax and think about all those other things...composition, subject, having fun!

  10. andyw

    andyw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 27, 2010
    Surrey. UK
    Having fun! That's the key!! :2thumbs:
    • Like Like x 1
  11. jcdoss

    jcdoss Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    Little Rock, Arkansas
    I have a question about image editing in the E-PL2.

    Is it possible to edit more than one photo at a time? For example, if I shoot a dozen photos, then decide to apply Dramatic Tone to them all (which the more I look at that art filter, the more I like it), can I apply it to the whole bunch, or do I have to go one-at-a-time?
  12. daveproctor

    daveproctor Mu-43 Regular

    May 27, 2010

    Which lenses do you have and is there one you use more than others?

  13. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Andy... your images done at Brighton speak volumes for the E-PL2 (and the 14mm Panny lens!). Would you elaborate a bit on the post production work on the Brighton images... they are magnificently crafted and no doubt received some expert work in post.
  14. andyw

    andyw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 27, 2010
    Surrey. UK
    I mostly use the 20mm f/1.7 as it's the sharpest tool in the box! If i want a zoom then the 14-42 f/3.5-5.6 EDII is a very very good lens and does me just fine. I also have the 14mm f/2.5 which is very nice. The rest are manual lenses which are: Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 MC / Voigtlander 25mm f/4 Snapshot Skopar / Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Lydith 30mm F/3.5 / Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 MC / Industar-61 L/D 55mm f/2.8 / Helios 44/2 58mm f/2

    oooh blimey!! Thanks :smile: Well I use Lightroom 3.3 and those images are converted Jpegs as lightroom at this time does not support RAW which is my format of choice. The images go through a process of getting the exposure right and bringing out the darker areas if needed then the rest is a preset I made which is made up of using the split toning section which gives it a weird kinda 70's film look.
  15. sipsik

    sipsik New to Mu-43

    Mar 10, 2011
    I received my e-pl2 a few weeks ago and I can't say that I'm very happy with my choice.

    Love: design, size/weight, AF+MF is awesome mode, bracketing modes, overall rich functionality

    Hate: no EVF, overpriced EVF, no choice on wide angle lenses, crop factor x2 is worse than I though, a little slow

    Absence of EVF makes this camera absolutely useless at night. There is no way to focus using LCD, which is very noisy at low light and of course camera itself is not that good at focusing at low light. Also, I feel like a point and shoot photographer without evf :( 

    I've been using dslr (nikon d80) for about 5 years, but recently decided to switch to something more compact with dslr functionality. I could deal with lack of lenses and, small sensor but I can't live without EVF. And I refuse to pay $235 for it. It would make the camera cost more than an entry-level dslr's.

    So, I'm going to sell e-pl2, unless someone give me a good reason not to...
  16. mach330

    mach330 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2011
    The OC
    I got mine this past week as well. Just reading a lot of books before that. Now it's much easier that I actually have something physical to try stuff out on. I'm loving it so far, but then again my only reference is my sony p&s. My friends have gotten their slr's same time as mine and they are impressed with the quality so far with this little toy. In a span of a week I already got my panny 20mm 1.7 as well as the olympus 40-150 that I just bought off a fellow member.

    a couple of questions (sorry if this is dumb as i'm a complete newbie).

    - i noticed i like taking macro type of shots like my watches. what do i need for this? both the panny 20mm and the 14-44 stock can't quite get as close. do i really need another lens (cuz my wife is going to kill me if i get another one this week) ? can I just get an extension tube? what are some of these macro attachements i've been seeing for cheap (like $20 or less)? is that all i need?

    - been playing around with diff exposure mainly shutter speed and aperture. haven't really gone to changing isos. i stay around 200-600 so far. i guess with my lack of a tripod , it's harder to get to the higher iso. is there a rule of thumb on what iso settings we need? maybe on my exposure book i got, they haven't gotten to iso's yet. lol

    - i think i need a bag. any suggestions? i want something small. i don't need to carry all my lens or else my wife would tell me, i might as well have gotten a dslr. maybe all i need is those protection kind of case? i've seen those leather ones that goes to the bottom only. i think those might work.

    - uv and other filters. do we really need it? how about hoods? really functional or just looks?

    learned a new word the other day. bokeh. been trying to play around with it all day yesterday. lol i'll post some newbie tries this weekend. :biggrin:
  17. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Iso is just another knob to achieve whatever you want, really. It's not that different from the shutter speed (for the same light, if you crank up iso, you can lower shutter speed, or, if you prefer, if you are in a situation where light is too low for the speed you wish, crank up iso until you reach the point where you can key in the desired shutter speed), although there are trade offs. Let's say it's the 'electronic shutter speed' of your camera to over-simplify, as opposed to the mechanical speed of the true shutter.

    Now, be aware the camera's sensor has only one true speed (which isn't advertised by the manufacturer), that's the one without any form of gain applied by the camera's electronics over the current generated by the chip.

    The e-pens have a true base iso which is said to be measured circa 200; in my own little experiments, I have a feeling the true native speed of the sensor is really in the vicinity of 160. And for - I suspect - programming reasons, the sweet spot of Image Quality follows that number to the power of 2 (ie, 320 has better IQ than 400, but also better IQ than 300, etc. for 640, and so on). But maybe I'm just misled by my eyes.

    Anyway, if you don't want to bother now, just set iso to auto and define a range of limiting values (menu -> *D -> ISO -> Auto & menu -> *D -> ISO-AUTO SET -> HIGH to 800 & LOW to 200)

    Iso has an enormous influence over digital noise; a consensus says it's visible over 400, annoying over 800 an painful in color over 1600. If you shoot black and white, you can double those figures. But it's also a question of personal taste, experience, etc.

  18. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    Watch picture......

    Great! Another watch nut or "WIS" as we like to say, I just took this one with my 3 day old E-PL2 and kit lens, probably not close enough for what your thinking but it came out well I think.

    View attachment 160474
    • Like Like x 1
  19. mach330

    mach330 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2011
    The OC
    ^^ beautiful watch. this is my first attempt on my watch.

    • Like Like x 1
  20. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    One question... I tested the E-PL2 + 14-42 f/3.5-5.6 EDII in a store last weekend and was stunned by the auto focus speed. E-PL2 seemed to focus sooooo much faster than my E-PL1 (+ Lumix 20mm) and I was wondering if it's the camera or the lens that makes the difference.
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