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Olympus PEN E-PL2 12 MP CMOS Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm Lens (White) (Old Model)

by Olympus
100 customer reviews

Available from these sellers.

From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 71%
See review summary and sample images
What is DPReview and its awards?

Digital Photography Review is the most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site on the Internet. Our authoritative reviews have earned us the trust of photographers and camera buyers all over the world, for more than 15 years.

Gold and Silver Awards are given to products that deserve special recognition based on how well they perform relative to their competitors at the time of review.

  • The E-PL2 comes with the new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens.
  • New Live Guide for Stills And Movies
  • 3-Inch High-Resolution LCD.
  • Expand Your Creative Horizons with Built-In Effects
  • HD Movies Made Easy.
  • The E-PL2 comes with the new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens.
  • New Live Guide for Stills And Movies
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2 new from $499.95 4 used from $156.00

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Color: White

Technical Details

Review summary from DPReview

DPReview Silver Award February 2011
The E-PL2's image quality in good light is excellent and at higher sensitivities is pretty much on the same level as many entry-level DSLRs. The focus speed has noticeably improved over previous models.
Lars Rehm Lars Rehm Barney Britton Barney Britton


If you frequently change your exposure settings or shoot in low light, you might want to try the E-PL2 out before you commit to a purchase, but for everyone else, the Olympus is a great combination of image quality and portability.

Reasons to buy

  • Good resolution and detail at base ISO
  • Compact camera/kit lens package
  • Nice screen with good resolution
  • Abundance of customization options
  • Some manual control in movie mode
  • Small and quiet kit lens

Things to consider

  • Inefficient movie format results in very large file sizes
  • Menu system can be a little overwhelming for novice users
  • Slightly underpowered built-in flash

Suggested for

Anyone who wants a large sensor in a small package

Not suggested for

Photographers who frequently change exposure settings or shoot a large proportion of their images in low light
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (RAW)
Image quality (JPEG)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
DPReview is the world’s most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography website. Since 1998 its mission has remained unchanged: to deliver the best reviews of cameras and lenses anywhere on the Internet, and help you find the right gear for your needs.

Product Description

Color: White

The PEN E-PL2 continues the PEN family’s legacy of a small, light and simple design, intuitive interface and DSLR image quality and expands your creative potential with new lens technology, Live Guide, new in-camera creative features, new auxiliary lenses, a new Close-Up Spotlight accessory (MAL-1) for macro photography and the new Olympus PENPAL Bluetooth accessory. And the newly designed E-PL2’s ergonomic body makes capturing amazing still images and HD video more fun than ever before

Product Details

Color: White
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.6 x 2.8 inches ; 12.8 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • Item model number: 262921
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,042 in Camera & Photo (See Top 100 in Camera & Photo)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Date first available at January 29, 2011

Read about our customers' top-rated cameras and lenses on our review pages: Compact System Cameras, Lenses

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

238 of 252 people found the following review helpful By Kirk Tuck on January 29, 2011
Color: Black
I asked Olympus if I could review this camera. I had written reviews for them before. To preface the review I will mention that I own several of the Olympus EP2 cameras and the EPL1 camera. While the EPL series cameras don't come with the accessory finder, VF-2, I consider it the reason to buy this camera and this family of cameras. More on that in a second. I gave this camera five stars but you should be clear that all ratings are contextual. It's not a better camera than a Nikon D3 or a Canon 1dsmk3 but it is a wonderful and very capable camera for $600 (with a lens). I consider it an $800 camera because I want to be able to use the 1.4 megapixel finder.

Reasons not to buy one: 1. You shoot sports and need super fast autofocus and a very fast frame rate. 2. You rarely see daylight and want a camera that shoots noise free from 3200 ISO up. Nope, this one is not your camera.

Reasons to buy one: 1. The files right out of the camera (as jpegs) are very nice. Rich and accurate color and nice balance of sharpness and contrast. 2. It's a very stealthy package that flies under the radar, masquerading as a point and shoot but fully capable of great results. No one will guess that you're a serious photographer. 3. With adapters there is a very wide range of lenses from other manufacturers that work well with the camera. If you want to try a Nikon or Leica lens for some street shooting this would be the camera to try it with.

The big question I got over and over again in response to my review on my blog was whether this camera has better image quality that the EPL1. No. I find them identical. But the newer screen and newer controls are better.
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75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Michael McKee on February 12, 2011
Color: Black
I am quite surprised at how good the images are that I'm getting, especially jpegs. I'm used to shooting raw because I get better files and can squeeze a bit more juicy goodness out of my photos that in-camera jpeg processing does. Surprisingly, this camera does a great job with jpegs in good light situations. That's the important idea to keep in mind, good light. Kirk Tuck gives this camera a fine review, but realize that he's a lighting pro, who has written several (good) books on the subject.

IMO this camera is targeted toward two markets. For those moving up from a point and shoot, it's wonderful. It's familiar and less intimidating than an SLR. It can create better images than even the best point and shoots. The price is reasonable. It's attractive and it's a lot lighter than an SLR. Those people wouldn't consider shooting in bad light without a flash. They wouldn't consider deliberate long exposures to smooth motion effects. Those last two areas are not the camera's strengths as Brad R. points out. From the things he's asking the camera to do and not getting satisfaction he is a more knowledgeable photographer and demands more than the main target market for this camera. If you want low light capability or low ISO speed then this isn't the best camera around, though it isn't that bad, either.

The other market is more experienced photographers looking for a light and compact second or third camera. They have cameras for low light or fast action shooting. But there are reasons for not carrying around a big, heavy, professional looking camera but still wanting quality image files. That's my reason. My aging back hurts lugging around a fully sealed and rugged SLR. I've also found that I've been questioned about photos when in many tourist places: No pros allowed.
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91 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Richard Sanders on May 5, 2011
Color: Black
I've used the Oly Pen e-PL2 for over a month now (update: over 6 months) and I like it very much. I'm going to try to highlight some of its best features and also recommend some very useful accessories. And I'd also like to show you how to navigate quickly while avoiding unnecessary problems. My review will be long and detailed but will ultimately save you time. I'm a pro fine-art photographer (Dick Sanders) and I shoot medium format film cameras for "the look," but I have numerous other photo needs, and I found myself using my Nikon F100 film camera for everyday apps, which was inconvenient. I didn't want to buy a bulky DSLR for non-pro work, but I also didn't want (even the best) point-and-shoot camera with its tiny sensor. The Oly Pen e-PL2 gives you a quality four-thirds sensor in the ideal body size. And because it has both a front grip and a rear thumb rest, it's easy to hold and shoot, even with one hand. Granted, the Oly is not pocketable (except for a large jacket pocket), but that's not important to me, especially after getting the perfect case, the Lowepro Rezo TLZ 10 (more on this great case just ahead).

A great feature right off the bat is that the Oly e-PL2 comes with a 100 page printed English manual (see page references for various features ahead). It also has a CD ROM with a detailed manual, but I haven't found a need for it. The camera has vast capabilities and can seem daunting at first with so many menus and choices, so expect to spend several hours with the manual and camera exploring, but this is fun and you can customize the settings for your preferences. Before buying this camera, I had read a couple of reviews in which the users said the camera had confusing menus and difficult navigation, but this is not true.
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