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Customer Review

122 of 170 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good camera, but not worth investing in lenses! (REVISED REVIEW), December 1, 2012
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This review is from: Olympus E-PM2 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm Lens (Black) (Old Model) (Electronics)
***Please note that the below review has evolved since my initial purchase and subsequent sale of the E-PM2.***

I am not disappointed at all with the price/performance of the E-PM2. I got it from an Amazon Marketplace seller on sale for $499 and I sold the bundled lens on Ebay for $119 because I prefer prime lenses--new and latest generation, best image quality Olympus has to offer in a digital camera, for $380 net of sold lens.

What I like about the new E-PM2
--Great low light abilities. Pics at ISO 3200 are still good.
--Touch screen controls are quick. I find I can work the controls on this camera faster than the E-PL3 I previously owned.
--Focuses better and faster than the previous generation PEN.
--Includes a little grip on the front. Makes handling camera much better.

I have previously owned Canon APS-C DLSR equipment and had purchased some high end L lenses.

I soon found that my favorite pics were using a 50mm f/1.2, shooting without flash, indoors and wide open most of the time.

I sold my Canon gear a couple years back and decided due to financial and social constraints, I needed a far less expensive camera that had to be small so it would not annoy people, and could still take beautiful pictures.

I read loads of great things about the new Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens, but was hesitant with micro 4/3's due to the sensors lagging behind their APS-C cousins. Not wanting to wait any longer, there were some crazy inexpensive deals on the Olympus E-PL3 during the summer. I sold the kit lens, which by the way is good, and started shooting with the 45mm attached. I got some great photos, but as many of the shots I take are in low light, I was often let down by the 12MP sensor on the E-PL3. The high ISO capabilities showed too much noise at anything higher than ISO 800.

I was very pleased when I saw the OMD E-5 hit the market cause I knew its lower priced siblings would soon be on their way.

Bottom line is the E-PM2 can take photographs that look like more than just snapshots, and deserve to be called portraits. Remember, it is not just the camera, but the lens you put on it that makes the whole package. While the $399 45mm f/1.8 lens is great, it is not in the same class as the $1,600 Canon 50mm f/1.2, but I cannot justify the $1201 difference. As for image quality, at 16mp of near perfection for the price, you would need an immensely more expensive full frame DSLR and/or professional quality full-frame DSLR lenses to substantially improve your photos.

If you want compact and quality, Micro 4/3's is a much better size over any APS-C format camera, and the Micro 4/3's camp have hands-down the best selection of lenses out there for mirror-less cameras.

For me, there is no other choice if you are looking for an inexpensive camera and interchangeable lens system. PEN E-PM2 gets 5 stars from me.

*****REVISION*****
I have been using the camera on-the-go lately. Have to say it is hard to get an in-focus shot of faster moving subjects--kids. Yes, I am using a thin-depth-of-field at f/1.8, but even my old crop-sensor 8mp Canon DSLR from 2007 did better in continuous focus. Still love the form factor. Look forward to further improvements in mirror-less camera focusing. Will still leave 5-stars because this camera is NOT a DSLR. if you need DSLR features, then, for now, it is still only a DLSR can that deliver.

***As of July 8, 2013 - With the Olympus E-PL5 now at $499 and the E-PM2 at $424, I would recommend the E-PL5***

***Sept 11, 2013 - I am now looking forward to the OMD E-1's lower priced siblings so I can have a PEN with PDAF. Increasingly frustrated by inability to shoot moving targets with the E-PM2. Have flirted with the idea of getting a DSLR (like a refurb Nikon D3200 with a Nikon 35mm f1.8 for under $600!), but cannot justify two cameras and want to stay small.

Sold my E-PM2 and bought a niche large sensor fixed lens camera. I will sell it when PDAF hits the PEN series (or any high quality compact camera, noting the Nikon 1 series is not good enough and has too small a sensor for my taste). Waiting for when I can finally have an all around camera in a small form.

9/11/13-- 1 star instead of the previous 5 because, simply put, I am not excited anymore about the E-PM2. Still a very good camera.

12/9/13--There have been some crazy low prices on this camera.

Final words: the 45mm f/1.8 is a great lens but too telephoto for all round use. Seeing as the only quality lens in the normal focal length range
is the Leica 25mm F1.4 at about $529, that pushes up the cost of M43 for a shooter like me who would be happy to keep a 50mm equivalent lens on my camera all the time. In short, a 16mp PEN M43 camera with a prime 50mm equiv will costs about $800+. There are a lot of choices at that price point.

Good luck deciding!!!

All I really needed was a 25mm prime for my E-PM2, but refused to pay $529 for a "Leica" lens that will likely never be capable tracking a moving target. All the talk about investing in a system and how "superior the Micro 4/3's selection and line-up of lenses" is, but no one is talking about how the current generation of lenses (not just Olympus and Panasonic) for mirror-less cameras will likely be replaced by better continuous auto focus performing lenses in the near future.
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Showing 1-10 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 25, 2012 2:11:06 AM PST
svenlovesflo says:
I think this could be a fine camera but it is very frustrating...if you have time would post directions on how to activate the super control panel...it would have been nice if you didn't have to dig for it

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 29, 2013 5:54:54 AM PDT
patticake says:
Here's a video showing how to turn on the super control panel - hope it helps :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_DI8uT6daA

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2013 10:10:43 AM PDT
bostonc says:
I'm on the fence about upgrading from epm1. Your experience is relevant. I also have 45mm and shot most pics w it until I acquired a panny 25mm/1.4. The latter lens should be closer to your 50/1.2.
Am much happier w the new lens. It gives me quality pics that I didn't have before.
I prob will wait another 6month before upgrading the body, for less money.
Thanks for sharing.

Posted on Jun 16, 2013 8:43:45 AM PDT
Relidtm says:
Is the 3x optical a problem?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2013 12:01:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 16, 2013 12:21:41 PM PDT
patticake says:
I find the 3x zoom is a little restrictive in some situations, but the kit lens is perfect for a lot of things, too - and it's pretty sharp for a kit lens. I know people who only use their kit lenses and find it find for their needs. It depends on what and how you shoot. I'm getting a second lens - a Panasonic 45-150 - and then I'll have coverage for most of 14-150, although I hear good things about the Olympus 40-150, also. Later on, I'm planning to get the 45 1.8 and a longer zoom, so I have coverage all the way to 300mm. Being able to get lenses that suit your particular photographic needs is one of the great things about an interchangeable lens system.

Posted on Jan 13, 2014 9:32:33 AM PST
svenlovesflo says:
I have shot ice hockey indoors with the 45 1.8 and my images are spectacular and crisp ...sometimes images are out of focus and the auto tracking does not work as well as on the E-M1...but for a thousand dollar difference the results are quite respectable...and if you think the 45 is too large the 17 1.8 does mighty fine work...I have the 17 , the 75 the 40-150 and the Rokinon 7.5 fisheye...and I am very happy...the e-pm2 is still a great value .

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 13, 2014 10:05:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 13, 2014 10:12:56 AM PST
I presume you were shooting the ice hockey from a distance, in the audience. I found it nearly impossible photograph moving objects that are near to me, such as kids in the house, or son ice skating with me. I owned the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 and the Olympus 45mm. All I really needed was a 25mm prime, but refused to pay $529 for a Leica lens that will likely never be capable tracking a moving target.

Posted on Jan 14, 2014 12:48:39 PM PST
tedolph says:
Good thing you didn't take pictures in the days of film and manual focus. You would have had to get a different hobby.

Tedolph

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2014 3:19:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2014 6:42:56 AM PST
Okay, put a split screen and microprism in my E-PM2 and I'll have a go at manual focus. Maybe some depth of field and distance markings on the lens. Like I said, future lenses will have better tech. I would never want to go back to manual focus.

Posted on Jan 21, 2014 8:23:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 21, 2014 8:24:23 PM PST
I am confused about your review about the lenses:

"the Leica 25mm F1.4 at about $529, that pushes up the cost of M43 for a shooter like me who would be happy to keep a 50mm equivalent lens on my camera all the time. In short, a 16mp PEN M43 camera with a prime 50mm equiv will costs about $800+. There are a lot of choices at that price point."

You are listing one of the most expensive "normal" (50ish mm) focal length lens. At $529 it's actually not that expensive (please do compare to other f1.4 lenses for other systems). You can get a 25mm f2.8 for $249, or 20mm f1.7 for $386. So normal focal length is covered in lower price brackets.

Also you lowered the rating of the camera because you're no longer excited about it (as in you're bored). "1 star instead of the previous 5 because, simply put, I am not excited anymore about the E-PM2. Still a very good camera."

Not a very helpful review I must say.
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