In terms of color, the Olympus Pen E-P2 is very consistent. The colors are somewhat strong, which means the images in standard mode come out well. Not all channels are emphasized, cyan and yellow are slightly undervalued, but the end result thus comes across as very pleasant. Also the skin tones come across correct, and this makes taking portraits a whole lot easier and more pleasant. Compared with the Gretag Macbeth ColorChecker, the Olympus P2 performs very consistently with a slight deviation in reproduction, excellent!
Olympus PEN E-P2 test in the DIWA Lab
Up to ISO 800, the Olympus E-P2 knows how to get the most out of the 24 bit color depth. At the higher ISO settings, ISO 1000 and higher, the number of color depth bits becomes fewer and the camera has to give in. Testing the manual white balance in practice and in the DIWA lab, the test results of both tests are almost identical. However, the Olympus P2 has some problems filtering incandescent light effectively in the auto white balance mode. Here, manual intervention is needed, either by fine-tuning the color temperature or by setting an entirely manual white balance.
Olympus PEN E-P2 image sensor
When it comes to the image sensor and the resolution, not a lot is new on the Olympus P2. The P2 seems to have inherited everything from the P1, and the announcement of Olympus that as far as the company is concerned, 12 Megapixels is more than enough for a camera to be able to perform all-round photography, leaves no room for comments. We think this is an excellent choice, while we prefer emphasis on the pixel quality rather than on the amount. The sensitivity of the image sensor is similar to the measured values in the DIWA Lab.
ISO sensitivity & noise
The Olympus E PEN-P2 does well when it comes to noise, in any case up to and including ISO 800. However, from ISO 1600 it diminishes, and if you want to use ISO 6400, I would recommend only doing this in case of an emergency. The results of the DIWA Lab tests illustrate that the Olympus P2 hardly to not at all suffers from color noise, the channels are pleasantly positioned close together. And that should be seen as a benefit, as color noise is so obvious to occur at times.
Dynamic range & Color reproduction
The dynamic range is fine as expected. It is less than an SLR and a lot more than on a compact camera. Concerning the noise, the dynamic range decreases from ISO 800 which is logical. The color reproduction is excellent throughout the entire sensitivity range. Often, you notice that colors fade at higher ISOs, but the Olympus E-P2 does not seem to be affected by it. The curves of the E-P2 stay fairly flat and there are no major differences between the color channels, which makes the pictures look very nice and natural.
Olympus 17mm pancake lens
Both lenses perform well. The Olympus 17 mm pancake lens is even sharp enough at maximum aperture. However, the lens does suffer from slight vignetting, which can be easily corrected afterwards.
Adjusting the aperture with one stop already makes vignetting nearly disappear. Slightly more difficult is chromatic aberration, the graph displays its increase as soon as you decrease aperture. In the sample pictures taken in practice, it does not actually show. Neither does distortion. While the maximum aperture of the pancake lens is slightly larger, the autofocus works a tad quicker than with the zoom lens.
Olympus 14-42 mm lens
It is amazing how Olympus has managed to design a zoom lens this small, whilst at the same making sure it is also able to come up with a decent performance. From the technical lab tests, it shows that it is somewhat more difficult than with a fixed focal point. However, even in the maximum 14mm mode, the 14-42mm lens does not disappoint at all. Sharpness is fine from the beginning and remains so for a while. It's not until f/11 that sharpness drops drastically due to diffraction. The other focal points remain fairly consistent, but do not reach the sharpness the 14 mm mode provides. It must be said that these are minor differences that only show up in a laboratory measurement. However, the 14 mm disappoints when it comes to chromatic aberration, which is significant over the entire range, while the other focal points suffer a lot less from this phenomenon. Distortion is also more significant in the 14mm mode, whereas it disappears upon zooming in. Vignetting stays within the limits throughout the entire range.
Recording HD videos with the Olympus PEN E-P2
Slowly but surely, it is becoming a craze, and manufacturers are tripping over each other in order to enlighten the consumer about the fact that it is also possible to shoot videos with a DSLR or system camera. The P1 was already able to do it, and the Olympus Pen E P2 continues in its footsteps, albeit without taking an actual big step forward. However, when it comes to focusing, the P2 is more advanced, since AF tracking allows continuous focusing on a subject also during video filming. Fortunately, because this was a true shortcoming in the P1. It is also pleasant that it is possible to manually set aperture and shutter speed in video mode. This should actually also have been standard on the P1. Perhaps it will be available soon through a firmware update for the P1, we hope! The video clips are recorded in HD 1080x720, which is fine for the majority of photographers. The recording time is limited compared to a conventional camcorder, but this is also convenient at the same time. It avoids lengthy movies, assembling for an entire movie is now really necessary. The sound, captured in stereo, is of high quality. And the ability to connect an external microphone will only make it better.