Olympus PEN E-PM2 Review - Digital Photography School

Olympus PEN E-PM2 Review

You can’t complain about the lack of variety in the current crop of mirrorless interchangeable lens compact cameras! This one will sure fit many people right down to the ground.

Olympus PEN  E-PM2 Review.jpg

Although I have to admit it’s not my style of camera, mainly due to the lack of external controls — it’s mostly menu driven — the Olympus PEN E-PM2 is agreeably small and light and, with lens detached, the body is pocketable.

With the f3.5/14-42mm kit lens fitted to the review camera, the distance from the back of the camera to lens front stretched to a lengthy 10cm … and that was with the lens at minimum ‘stretch’!

Olympus PEN  E-PM2.jpg

Olympus PEN  E-PM2 top.jpg

Olympus PEN  E-PM2 back.jpg

Olympus PEN E-PM2 Features

Top deck controls: on/off button, shutter button, Function button, replay, trash.

Rear: video record, four way rocker (exposure compensation, flash options, single/continuous shooting, AF targets), menu and info buttons. And that’s all!
Menu 1.jpg

Choices of Program AE, aperture and shutter priority and manual shooting modes are selected via the menu system, which is initially graphics supported and then moves into the familiar lines of text. Five minutes practice with this and you will become familiar with it. I have to say that using menu driven exposure options does remove a major hazard of rolling the mode dial to your choice: on some cameras the mode dial can be easily knocked to an unwanted spot.

I found the touch screen LCD screen to be bright and clear and useable in bright daylight, although I regretted the lack of a vari-angle screen. A novel touch is that you can tap the screen to take a shot!

The maximum image size is 4608×3455 pixels, enough to make a 39x29cm print.

Movies in Full HD 1920×1080 pixel resolution are on hand.

Menu 2.jpg

Those who have experienced Olympus’ Art Filters will enjoy the options of capturing an image with a Pop Art, sepia, grainy look, pin hole and other ‘looks’ in a total of 12 ‘looks’.

People who like the joys of connectivity with smartphones and tablet devices, will appreciate the PM2 which fully supports the new Flashair SD storage/wireless card that transforms the camera into a wireless access point.

The top accessory shoe can support a wide variety of optional accessories, such as the eye-level digital viewfinders VF-2 and VF-3, an external stereo microphone, and the PP-1 Bluetooth data transfer module.

Olympus PEN E-PM2 ISO Tests

Olympus PEN E-PM2 ISO 200.JPG

Olympus PEN E-PM2 ISO 400.JPG

Olympus PEN E-PM2 ISO 800.JPG

Olympus PEN E-PM2 ISO 1600.JPG

Olympus PEN E-PM2 ISO 3200.JPG

Olympus PEN E-PM2 ISO 6400.JPG

Olympus PEN E-PM2 ISO 12800.JPG

Olympus PEN E-PM2 ISO 25600.JPG

Excellent performance all the way to ISO 6400. At ISO 12800 noise is still down and definition acceptable. By ISO 25600 the noise level has gone too far but definition is OK.
City traffic.JPG

Mortuary station 3.JPG

Tongue ad agency.JPG

Olympus PEN E-PM2 Review Verdict

Quality: very good.

Why you’d buy the Olympus PEN E-PM2: small, easily carried camera.

Why you wouldn’t: you don’t like menu mining!

This is a MILC model that will take very good quality pictures.

Available in black, silver, red or white.

Olympus PEN E-PM2 Specifications

Image Sensor: 16.1 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi zone, centre-weighted averaging, spot.
Effective Sensor Size: 17.3×13.0mm (22.5mm diameter) Live MOS.
35 SLR Lens Factor: 2x.
Shutter Speed: 60 to 1/4000 second, Bulb.
Continuous Shooting: 8 fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4608×3455 to 1024×768. Movies: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 640×480 at 30fps.
LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (460,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, MPEG4.
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 200 to 12800.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, AV, accessories.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 110x64x34 WHDmm.
Weight: 269 g (inc battery and card).
Prices: Get a price on theOlympus PEN E-PM2 at Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Olympus PEN E-PM2
Author Rating
3

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • Jim Rock

    Thank you for this review. I have an Olympus E-PM2 and I have extensively used an Olympus E-M5 too. You know, the famous OM-D. Well, I can tell you right now from experience, that if you want the image quality of the OM-D but in a smaller package, the E-PM2 rocks! The same awesome image quality in a compact and lightweight body. Very good image quality all the way up to ISO1600 (some would even go to ISO3200). I was a bit skeptical about the controls of the E-PM2. There are not many buttons and dials on it. If you configure the camera smartly though, you can control it quite fast actually. This really surprised me. The little E-PM2 does a freaking eight frames per second too, more then I need. To some it’s a burden, but I just love the fact that you can customize almost every setting of an Olympus camera. It’s such a flexible and high quality camera system and the latest 16 megapixel Sony sensor is a gem! If you really need a viewfinder, just get the Olympus VF-2 or VF-3.

  • http://www.avalonrf.com AvalonRF

    What a nice product by the Olympus, I think there are so many advantages over the limitation. It is a really very smaller than others and easily carried anywhere, where we want to go. We can make a perfect video through this awesome gadget, I think it is a good example of wireless video recorder.

Some older comments

  • AvalonRF

    August 7, 2013 04:30 pm

    What a nice product by the Olympus, I think there are so many advantages over the limitation. It is a really very smaller than others and easily carried anywhere, where we want to go. We can make a perfect video through this awesome gadget, I think it is a good example of wireless video recorder.

  • Jim Rock

    February 16, 2013 05:01 am

    Thank you for this review. I have an Olympus E-PM2 and I have extensively used an Olympus E-M5 too. You know, the famous OM-D. Well, I can tell you right now from experience, that if you want the image quality of the OM-D but in a smaller package, the E-PM2 rocks! The same awesome image quality in a compact and lightweight body. Very good image quality all the way up to ISO1600 (some would even go to ISO3200). I was a bit skeptical about the controls of the E-PM2. There are not many buttons and dials on it. If you configure the camera smartly though, you can control it quite fast actually. This really surprised me. The little E-PM2 does a freaking eight frames per second too, more then I need. To some it's a burden, but I just love the fact that you can customize almost every setting of an Olympus camera. It's such a flexible and high quality camera system and the latest 16 megapixel Sony sensor is a gem! If you really need a viewfinder, just get the Olympus VF-2 or VF-3.

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