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E-PL2 problems (E-PL2 vs GF2)

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by yottavirus, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. yottavirus

    yottavirus Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    I recently received an epl2, but as much as I'd like to like it, I can't. There are so many things slightly wrong with it that add up to a dislike of it. I haven't had it very long so I won't get too annoyed right now, while hoping that the things can be fixed in the menus.

    Screen saturation:
    This is one of the biggest gripes of this camera. The screen looks lifeless, dull, and has a poor viewing angle. It also is prone to overexposing even when the actual image is fine. It gets slightly better when I actually review the image, and even better when I view it on the computer, but it's not enjoyable to look at. I tried fiddling with the screen settings and I keep trying to increase the saturation on the pictures to improve the screen, but it doesn't change anything. The saturation remains lacking. It's very very misleading and unacceptable for something that relies on its screen so much. I really really hope that it's possible to fix, as pop art seems to make the screen look a bit better.

    It also seems to have trouble in dark settings, bringing the noise up much faster than the gf2.


    While it looks like the gf2 over saturated, it's actually really accurate in real life, which makes the epl2 all the less accurate. Also the epl2 doesn't actually over expose by that much.

    The art filters also make the screen lag, especially some of the more processed ones. Pinhole especially. I tried switching it to mode 2 but it only speeds up on half press, which is quite useless.

    Compared to the panasonic gf2, it feels like a breath of fresh air.
    Touchscreen - selects af points quickly, q-menu
    More AF points - smarter as well
    Button layout - just a preference
    Shutter response - recovers faster and more immediate
    Control quality - buttons all feel responsive
    Build quality - dense, metal body
    Screen quality - wouldn't say good, rather less horrible
    Size - not that big of a deal
    Much better video - not that big of a deal

    Olympus E-PL2
    In body stabilization - 9-18, 20/1.7, 45/1.8 all benefit
    More attractive high iso - less chroma, slightly less noise too
    Looks good - feels like 'made in china' though
    Customisation - good, but trumped by gf2's handling
    Less bad jpegs - less likely to have to use raw

    I'm a prime shooter and although my serious stuff almost never happens at night, I almost always end up shooting night/dim light shots when I go out.
    I have both my lens and body upgraded to the latest firmware. Picking the silver one was probably a bad idea though; it makes it feel and look really cheap.

    If you have anything to say that makes either of them look more or less attractive, please share as I would like some other people's thoughts.
  2. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    I've had GF2 before switching to E-PL2. While I agree with some of the points regarding built quiality, the screen actually is not that bad even under sun when LCD brightness is set to max. Definately black color would look classier. At the end of the day it is about the pictures you get. My GF2 could't even come close to E-PL2's output especially in terms of color, skin, tones, WB, metering...
  3. yottavirus

    yottavirus Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    I'm really considering the VF2 if it will make the viewing more bearable. I really like the pictures of the epl2, but the experience is really draining.
  4. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Usability-wise, I find the GF2 wins (over my previous E-PL1... which handling-wise is even worse than the E-PL2).

    However! There are some big gotchas:

    1) The colors. I didn't think it was a big deal at first but after going on a hiking trip and comparing the pictures from the GF2 and the E-P3, I preferred the Olympus metering and colors. Interestingly enough, at 100% pixel peeping, a lot of the GF2 pictures seemed sharper. However viewed at scaled down resolution, the E-P3 pictures "looked" more preferable to me. I feel like I have to post-process more of the GF2 pictures than the E-P3 ones... In fact, I usually post-process almost ALL of my GF2 pics as I'm really not a fan of the GF2 JPEGs.

    2) The small things... Once you get past the basics, the higher customization options of the Olympus cameras really shines. For example, the flash. You can't adjust the flash power on the GF2. You also can't turn off the pre-flash it uses for TTL metering. With the Olympus cameras, you can do both. You can also use the RC mode for remote off-camera flashes.

    Here's some things I wish Oly would copy from the GF2:
    - the click dial
    - most of the touchscreen interface
    - almost instant turn-on (it cleans the sensor when you turn it off, unlike the Olympus E-P3, which cleans the sensor when you turn it ON, thereby increasing the time between turning on the camera and being able to shoot)

    Don't get me wrong, I really like the GF2. But my experiences with Oly cameras makes me wish sometimes I have an E-PM1 as my second body (currently that's served by the GF2).
  5. yottavirus

    yottavirus Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011

    Gradation: Auto -> Normal
    I first tried Low Key with +0.7, then High Key with -0.7, which was great because it gave me a slightly faster shutter speed, but on second thought, it must have some sort of downside, so I switched it to normal.

    Screen colours are less depressing and far more lively AND accurate.

    The buttons are still mushy, but I found the cool super menu.
    The responsiveness is still retarded, especially with the ~0.4 second blackout after every shot. On/off times are also crap compared to a dslr, but I'm getting over that slowly.

    Overall it's become a lot easier to use, and I had a lot of fun with it today when I accidentally left it in my pocket and shot random people. I even managed to get a shot of a friend who never smiles while smiling.
  6. garfield_cz

    garfield_cz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2011
    Czech Republic
    This list is covering main strengths of GF2 :smile: When reversed the list will be much shorter. from my point of view wireless flash system including internal flash manual adjustments is the only thing that Pany should copy from Oly. But this is not a big problem when you attach FL-36R flash :biggrin: Also I don't count jpeg colours and processing as it can be easily tweaked to anyones personal taste on Panasonic.
  7. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    I have been an Oly user with E-pl1 and now Pana with G2 and GF1.
    From my point of view comparingOly's jpegs to Pana's jpeg OOC is wrong because there's no match: Oly will outcome Pana.

    BUT you can customise and tweak jpegs as you like on Pana cameras untill you find the taste that suites you. So Oly has surely a better in-camera jpeg engine that processes jpegs just with the factory settings; with Pana you have to play a little to find your right adjustment.

    Only my 2 cents and humble experience.
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Graduation Auto (aka "Shadow Adjustment Technology" is the worst thing that Olympus has made!

    I have also noticed that my E-PL2 screen (even using Normal Grad) shows much more overexposed than the actual image in the file. I have had to put my Monitor Brightness down to -7 (the lowest) and even then it's still slightly more washed out than the actual image... but very close. This quasi-ruined my first professional photoshoot with the camera, shooting about 500 singer headshots in an 8 hour shoot, only to open them on the computer and find that they were ALL underexposed, when they looked perfect at the site! I had only just gotten this body then to replace a busted one. Actually, that was the second shoot I did with this camera, but I found out about the images about the same time. The first shoot was just for one photo of 3 models, which had to be printed in a month-long campaign. The photo used on the poster had to be heavily edited in Photoshop due to the underexposure.

    With my monitor brightness down to -7, I can get a pretty good idea from the screen of what I should be getting in the file. Try that and let me know if that feels accurate to your computer screen, as I'm still not sure if I have a defective body or not. ;)  I opened up the same file on the computer screen as on the camera's playback, and adjusted it that way to get the closest match I could. This is what the monitor brightness function looks like:

    (shown from E-3 menu - the E-PL2 has a color temp adjustment as well as just brightness.) Found in the last wrench menu.
  9. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Totally agree, auto gradation is a total junk. I am glad to see that on new Oly cameras it is set to normal by default.
  10. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    The problem is that those tweaks don't work for all situations universally and the only reasonable and reliable way to shoot with Pana cams is Raw. I've spent enough time with both GF2 and G3 to realize that. On top of that, colors in Oly raw files also look better so when I do shoot raw with Oly, I need far less color correction compared to the time I spent with GF2 just to get the skin tones right.
  11. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I completely solved the colors problem on my GF1.....

    ....I'm using it for black-and-whites only....:biggrin:
  12. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Well I think that even Oly colors are not suitable for every situation. I also think that color rendition of Oly's jpegs are surely overrated because it's true that Pana or other brands have not so bright colors, but it is also true that too bright colors are also not true to what you see. But I realize that this is like walking on a minefield because it is easy to start religious wars between Oly and Pana and I don't mean that. I'm simply stating my opinion; given that OOC jpegs are surely much better on Oly cameras.
    Lets say that the new Panas have come very close. And its all about what we like more. I'm fairly pleased with Pana's color rendition and trying to make it better every time I shoot.
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    New generation Olympus cameras have hardly any AA filter. The colors should be truer than ever in the actual lens capture - not just the processing.
  14. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    I have no problem with Canon colors at all, or Fuji but not Panasonic. Don't have much experience with other brands. Great jpeg colors is an absolute must for consumer models (e.g. GF2/3). Those customers will not be tweaking anything, they'll return the camera.
  15. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Totally agree with you if we're talking about consumer customers, but we are not consumers or not all of us. So I'll change my statement saying that surely Oly colors and Canon, Nikon, Pentax ecc. are better and more punchier OOC, for more experienced shooters we can find a good compromise with our Pana colors.
    So maybe our gear makes us get mad trying to find out what suites us better, but it's more fun at the bottom line.:biggrin:
  16. anidel

    anidel Mu-43 Regular

    May 13, 2011
    Twickenham, Uk
    Auto gradation should be used only when needed.
    Dpreview finds it pretty useful, and I do as well, except when I want more control on the final image. Particularly when I want nice blacks on my pictures.

    Look at this portrait (unfortunately out of focus) of International Garden photographer of the year (http://www.igpoty.com/) Philip Smith that I shot at a masterclass during the Thames Festival in London.
    Here I used low-key (and the Zuiko OM 50mm F/1.8, the reason for the out of focus :(  as he moved before I was able to properly focus him):

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  17. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I've noticed this too, but the E-PL2 still overexposes for my tastes.

    The one thing I noticed which in my opinion detracts from the screen is the extra clear plastic in front of the screen. My E-P1 doesn't have this. There is basically a reflection at any off angle from the back of the screen to the front of the clear plastic which does some weirdness with the brightness and usability of the screen.
  18. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    That's interesting. I don't necessarily find the Olympus colors to be better. They remind me of Fuji Velvia (highly saturated and warm) and never having been a huge fan of that look I find Olympus colors look odd to me. I can see where they would be popular but I wouldn't go so far as to say they were better.
  19. blinky

    blinky Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 10, 2011
    Errr, this is either still amateur photographer speaking or I'm not reading it right, but where would I find the gradation or shadow adjustment function on the epl2?

    I have the extra menu functions opened up and I paged through each one, but I couldn't see one that said "Gradation" set to auto.

  20. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    On the E-PL2, it's controlled individually for each color mode. When you select the color mode, you can edit it there. I'm not sure the exact menu operations since I don't have the camera in front of me.
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