As for the operation of the Olympus PEN P2, we did not experience a whole lot of difference compared to the P1. In that respect, only very little surprise for the tester. Like a standard DSLR camera, you can simply switch lenses, and the offer of Four Thirds lenses continues to expand. In 2010, we expect to see a number of interesting new lenses, not only from Olympus, but also from Panasonic. I can hardly imagine things will stop there. What remains a pleasant experience, is dealing with a compact system camera. What a difference this makes compared to a heavy (semi-) pro DSLR!
Olympus E-P2 offers improved viewfinder
One of the typical features of a Micro Four Thirds camera, is the lack of an optical viewfinder. Included with the Olympus P1, we received a separate viewfinder for the 17mm wide-angle lens, however, personally I was not able to see any added value from this. The Olympus PEN E-P2 is able to score some extra points in that respect, while there is a beautiful electronic viewfinder (EVF) developed for the P2. Using the latest technology for EVF, this is one of the best viewfinders, if not the very best, that is currently available in the market. The view through the viewfinder is great, and with 100% coverage and 1.15x magnification factor, it is pleasant to shoot in practice. Especially in sunny weather, this EVF is an excellent addition from which the P2 camera clearly benefits. The disadvantage however, is that it makes the camera less compact, and the attachment of the viewfinder to the camera is not very convincing. Fortunately, it did not happen to us in practice, but you do get the feeling that not much has to happen in order to make the viewfinder accidentally fall off the camera.
Olympus PEN P2 electronic viewfinder
So it is the electronic viewfinder that currently makes the Olympus PEN P2 stand out when it comes to viewfinder quality. It is the personal choice of the photographer whether or not the viewfinder will actually be used. In any case, this model has many advantages. Compared to the P1 viewfinder, we do get to see the camera settings, and we are able to judge the focus more properly. All that remains now to complain about, is the size, and well; that’s simply a matter of take it or leave it!
Olympus PEN E-P2 focusing speed
A lot has been written about the focus of the P1, and we were very curious to find out what Olympus was able to do with it. No doubt the focus of the Olympus P2 has been enhanced by adding tracking AF for both the photo and video mode.
We must confess that we didn’t really notice a difference when it came to the focusing speed. If you are used to the focus of current DSLR cameras, you will find the Olympus E-PEN P2 responding somewhat slower. However, it is still fine to work with, and in fact, all kinds of photography will be possible without a problem. Personally, I would not use the Olympus P2 as an action camera. However, if you switch from a compact to the P2, you will likely accept the speed without reluctance. It has a reasonably short shutter delay, and sequential shooting is possible at a decent speed.
Olympus PEN E-P2 command dial
The operation of the Olympus E-P2 works unquestionably well. The only thing I have a problem with, is the dial on the back of the camera. It happens too often in practice that the dial rotates when it is unintentionally touched, so that the exposure performs incorrectly. This dial is dedicated to adjust the exposure compensation, or in manual mode; to set the aperture or shutter speed. I had hoped for a solution for this problem on the new P2, but unfortunately this is not the case. It is possible to program the dial, but you cannot disable it entirely. I have heard more complaints about this, coming from the world of photo press, photo journalists and photographers. A genuine new generation will surely no longer suffer from this "problem".
Olympus EP2 equipped with a 3" monitor
The size of the 3-inch screen is pleasant to actually use in practice in order to check the captured pictures or videos, or to share these with family or friends. It is unfortunate however, that the resolution for a camera in this price range is simply too low. We consider 460,000 pixels to a VGA resolution the very least that would fit the Olympus E-P2. The disadvantage of not enough pixels is very clear when you manually focus 7x. The image that is left is a bit scarce to be able to really check the sharpness.