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Tom Conelly | profile | all galleries >> Camera/Lens evaluations >> Olympus E-PL2 Camera -- First Impressions tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Olympus E-PL2 Camera -- First Impressions

Equipment: I have been using the new Olympus E-PL2 micro four-thirds camera for over a month. I have two 'kit' lenses for the camera -- the Olympus 14-42 and Olympus 40-150 (and later added the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 lens). Total price for the camera and the two kit lenses was $700. I also use the very good quality Olympus VF-2 electronic viewfinder that attaches to the camera's accessory port / hot shoe on the top of the camera. Coming from a DSLR the electronic viewfinder (an additional $250) seems essential, especially as the 3" LCD screen is only of average quality and is especially problematic in bright conditions, which is almost always the case in New Mexico where I live.

About two-thirds of the photos in the gallery were shot as raw files, the remainder as jpegs. All of the images have been edited in Adobe Lightroom. I am, as you will see, not a professional photographer but a fairly typical amateur with about 10 years of experience with digital cameras, mostly Canon.

Camera impressions: I discuss the Olympus E-PL2 from the perspective of my current Canon cameras -- the G-11 compact and the 7D DSLR with several 'B' level lenses (such as the 15-85 and 70-200 f4 IS). Overall my initial impression of the E-PL2 is quite positive but there are certainly limitations as well. The size and weight, of course are the main advantages. The small and light kit lenses are quite good. The camera seems especially capable at taking photos of man-made objects, producing very clear and sharp images. See, for example the photos of the antique cars in the gallery that I think are quite impressive. The close-up botanical images at the beginning of the gallery are also quite good.

Portraits of people and, especially, landscapes seem a bit softer and lacking the resolution for fine detail. For landscapes it's my initial impression that the aperture needs to be at least at f7.1 or 8.0 for best results, especially with the Olympus 40-150 lens. I have in-camera noise reduction set to 'off' for jpegs and yet noise levels in both jpegs and raw files seem well controlled up to iso 800 and reasonable at 1600 in good light.

Focus is generally fast and accurate, a bit quicker than the G-11 but, of course, it cannot compare to a DSLR like the 7D. So far I have not had much success with moving targets such as dancers at a local Cinco de Mayo festival but this may improve with more practice. The problem has not been so much focus speed as slow handling speed such as framing the shot and making adjustments to exposure compensation.

Legacy lens: In addition to the Olympus kit lenses, I have used the E-PL2 with a 'legacy' lens, the Canon EF 50 1.8, an inexpensive prime lens designed for Canon (D)SLR cameras. This Canon lens can be used on the Olympus E-PL2 with a 'Canon EOS EF Lens to Micro 4/3 Four Thirds System Camera Mount Adapter' produced by Rainbow Imaging. However, when on the E-PL2 the Canon lens must be focused manually and the f-stop cannot be adjusted -- but can be set to a particular aperture when it is removed from a Canon camera. There are a few examples of performance with this lens in the gallery. When you get focus just right the images are excellent but so far I have found perfect manual focusing to be difficult even with a focus assist feature that magnifies your view of the image. This too may improve with more experience but initially I have found it frustrating.
Day of the Dead in Mesilla, NM Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden
Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden
Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden Cleveland Botanic Garden g4/56/151956/3/134602227.Q5pmFzrF.jpg g4/56/151956/3/134602230.CHwxe2mR.jpg
Edited using Photogene on ipad g4/56/151956/3/134602232.CwwJg0gb.jpg g4/56/151956/3/134602233.boiyTsNG.jpg g4/56/151956/3/134602234.O1OtQ1fU.jpg Navaho dancers performing at NMSU g4/56/151956/3/134602236.rVIHPVhw.jpg
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g4/56/151956/3/134656772.ACiWTPRK.jpg Dramatic Tone Art Filter Dramatic Tone Art Filter Pecan orchard g4/56/151956/3/134674477.uFrFxtgE.jpg g4/56/151956/3/134677641.SZQqfhUV.jpg
g4/56/151956/3/134698795.P5aX6LlP.jpg g4/56/151956/3/134703186.TmAZeShn.jpg g4/56/151956/3/134714887.TTHcS5Le.jpg g4/56/151956/3/134723763.cmEzGpVw.jpg g4/56/151956/3/134729596.uQhJLwSq.jpg g4/56/151956/3/134736699.C2pNwblc.jpg
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Mesa Verde - interior area of Spruce Tree House Mesa Verde - Spruce Tree House Abandoned large-scale mineral processing plant near Silverton, CO Durango & Silverton railway in Silverton, CO Durango & Silverton railway in Silverton, CO Durango & Silverton railway in Silverton, CO
Silverton, Colorado