The PEN E-PL2 is the latest PEN offering from Olympus. Aimed at enthusiast consumers, the E-PL2 is designed to offer a host of creative controls and DSLR-like image quality in a compact body. So does it deliver the goods? The Olympus PEN E-PL2 review finds out...

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Olympus PEN E-PL2

Overall score:87%
Image Quality:85%


  • Design, Build, Handling and competitive image quality


  • No viewfinder may put off some and performance not up to a similar priced DSLR


Olympus PEN E-PL2 Review


Price as reviewed:


Image Quality

Olympus PEN E-PL2 review – Image Quality

Olympus PEN E-PL2 review – Tone & Exposure

The E-PL2 delivers a consistent set of exposures – the multi-zone metering delivering well exposed images, though you may find you want to play around with the exposure compensation, underexposing between 0.3 and 0.7EV to get the most pleasing results.

Images provided a smooth tonal graduation, though shadows can block out a bit if you’re not careful in tricky lighting conditions.

Olympus PEN E-PL2

Olympus PEN E-PL2 review – click for full size image

Olympus PEN E-PL2 review – White Balance & Colour

Set to Auto WB and the E-PL2 delivered no nasty surprises – results were generally neutral. There’s also a wide range of Presets: Sunny, Shadow, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Underwater, WB Flash & Custom.

The E-PL2 produced natural-looking images, plus there’s also a host of colour modes to choose from to boost or mute colours depending on your subject, while the Art filters also add some extra fun too.

Olympus PEN E-PL2 review – ISO sensitivity and Image Noise

The E-PL2 has a native ISO range of 200-6400 and for a Micro Four Thirds sesor (that’s smaller than that found in most DSLRs and the Sony NEX-5), performs very well. At low ISOs, results are very clean, with only very minimal image noise being noticeable. It’s above ISO 800 that noise becomes more prominent, but it’s far from unusable, though ISO 3200 and 6400 can’t compete with an APS-C sized chip. Still, a very solid performance from the E-PL2.

Olympus PEN E-PL2

Olympus PEN E-PL2 review – click for full size image

Olympus PEN E-PL2 review – Sharpness & Detail

With regards detail, the 12.3MP sensor used by the E-PL2 delivers plenty of detail that means high-quality A3 prints are easily achievable. The new 14-42mm II kit lens that’s bundled with the E-PL2 is a solid performer, producing a respectable set of results, though the 17mm pancake lens is still the one to go for.

Olympus PEN E-PL2 review – RAW/JPEG

Adobe has just announced its Camera Raw 6.4 update to support the E-PL2’s Raw files, so CS5, Lightroom 3 and Elements 9 users will be able to convert their files with ease once their software has been updated. The E-PL2 also comes bundled with its own Raw conversion/organisation software to get you started if you’re new to image editing.

JPEG images displayed a touch more contrast and sharpness than their Raw counterparts before processing, but naturally the extra flexibility that a Raw file provides once converted will allow you to push the image even further.

  1. 1. Olympus PEN E-PL2 review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Value & Verdict
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