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Olympus PEN E-PL2 12.3 MP CMOS Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digit

4.1 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews
| 4 answered questions

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DPReview Silver Award
From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 71%
See review summary and sample images
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  • Interchangeable lens digital camera with powerful Live MOS sensor; Micro Four Thirds format
  • Kit includes movie & still compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens (28mm-84mm equivalent)
  • 3-inch, 460,000 dot LCD for bright and easy image composition
  • Live Guide II: preview HD video and still image effects on the E-PL2's high-resolution LCD screen
  • Capture images and HD video to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)
2 new from $577.06 7 used from $144.93 2 refurbished from $504.86

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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: Black

Product Description

Olympus E-PL2 with 14-42MM lens Black

From the Manufacturer

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.

Olympus PEN E-PL2 highlights from Amazon.com

Olympus PEN E-PL2 Highlights

Smaller, silent kit lens
The E-PL2 comes with the new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens. This new kit lens has a smooth, silent and quick inner focus mechanism to make it exceptionally fast and nearly silent when recording high-definition movie.

New Live Guide for stills and movies
The PEN E-PL2's Live Guide system takes the guesswork out of great photography and videography by allowing you to preview effects at the touch of a button. Want more vivid or muted color in your shot? Want warmer or cooler color? Want a brighter or darker subject, or a sharper or softer background? Simply select Live Guide and turn the wheel on the back of the camera to slide through numerous photographic and videographic effects. Make adjustments and watch the LCD as the effects are made live--before the image is captured!

Olympus PEN E-PL2 highlights from Amazon.com
Face Detection with Eye Detect AF
Nail the focus every portrait photo, every time. The new face detection AF employs an "Eye Detect AF" that adjusts focus automatically on the subject's eyes during portrait shooting.

3-inch high-resolution LCD
The E-PL2 provides an overall excellent user experience with a large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch 460,000-dot high-resolution LCD monitor and a control dial.

Expand your creative horizons with built-in effects
Olympus PEN E-PL2 highlights from Amazon.com
Olympus appreciates that you may not have hours to spend retouching your images on the computer. The E-PL2 has improved Art Filters with selectable new Art Filter variations that allow users to customize each filter with different moods and effects and an Art Effect function to add various composition effects to the picture. Six Art Filters are incorporated including the new Dramatic Tone filter. With the E-PL2's Multiple Exposure you can shoot one shot, then another and combine them in real time, or capture both shots separately and combine them within the camera later. Choose from one of six background music tracks when playing an in-camera slideshow.

Big sensor, not a big body
At the heart of the E-PL2 is a large-size image sensor that's the same sensor as the one inside the Olympus E-30 and E-620 Digital SLR models. The only difference between this sensor and what the pros use is that this big sensor is inside the much smaller body of the E-PL2. This high-performance 12.3-megapixel Live MOS image sensor (8 times larger than the average point-and-shoot camera sensor) delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity, and state-of-the-art technology to reduce noise and capture fine image details in both highlight and shadow areas.

HD movies made easy
Recording HD movies with the E-PL2 is simple thanks to an easy-to-reach one-touch record button on the back of the camera body. If you're about to snap a photo and you realize a video would capture the spirit of the scene even better, simply press the record button and instantly you're capturing videos! Easily toggle back and forth between capturing stills and video by using your index finger to press the shutter button or your thumb to press the red record button. Having the ability to shoot still images and videos opens up a world of imaging possibilities.

Additional Features

In-body Image Stabilization
Say goodbye to blurry images. In both still and movie modes - the E-PL2 Image Stabilization excels. The E-PL2's three-mode In-body Image Stabilization system compensates for up to three shutter speed steps in the still shooting modes with any of its interchangeable lenses: Mode 1 for general shooting, Mode 2 for creative high-speed horizontal capture, and Mode 3 for high-speed vertical capture. The camera's Mechanical Image Stabilization automatically compensates for camera shake in low-light situations or when using a telephoto lens. In the Movie Modes the advanced Electronic Image Stabilization tracts the images both vertically and horizontally to achieve clear sharp movies, matching the performance of the in-body IS.

Built-in pop-up flash
Illuminate low-light subjects, reduce red eye, and fill in dark areas. Set the built-in pop-up flash to auto or control the amount of light the flash emits.

12.3-megapixel resolution
Olympus PEN E-PL2 highlights from Amazon.com
The E-PL2's powerful 12.3 megapixel Live-MOS sensor packs a powerful high-quality imaging punch for such a compact camera, allowing you to capture more detail than ever before. The Live MOS image sensor delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity and fine image details in both highlight and shadow areas.

TruePic V Image Processor
In addition to more detail, the image sensor, combined with the next-generation TruePic V Image Processor, delivers excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity and reduced noise, all the way up to 3200 ISO.

Dust Reduction System
A Dust Reduction System assures spot-free images. Every time you turn on the camera, the patented Supersonic Wave Filter silently vibrates, flinging and collecting dust so that it cannot interfere with the picture imaging at any time.

HD Movie with manual control, Art Filter Movie, and new Direct Movie button
Shoot movies at 30 frames per second, with high-quality sound, in 720p with available manual control over aperture and shutter speed. This new level of control allows you to express your vision exactly how you want in your HD videos. A Direct HD Movie Button switches you from still to movie mode with the press of a button. You can also capture HD video (720p) using one of the six Art Filters for more creative shooting options.

Accessory port
The E-PL2 includes a port (AP2) for new accessories including the MAL-1 accessory light, the PENPAL Bluetooth accessory--which makes it easier than ever to share your images--as well as the VF-2 viewfinder, a detachable electronic viewfinder. The external accessory port also allows for connection with the new EMA-1 external microphone adapter for enhanced audio capture.

This Bluetooth accessory plugs into the camera's accessory port to easily save albums, send pictures from your PEN to a smart phone or another PEN. This makes it easier than ever to share images to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. When the information is sent, it includes shooting location to make geo-tagging easier than ever before.

New, easy-to-use Live Guide control
Olympus PEN E-PL2 highlights from Amazon.com
Seeing the results before you shoot can change the way you take a picture. Want more vivid or muted color in your shot? Want warmer or cooler hues? Want a brighter or darker subject, or a sharper or softer background? Or maybe you want to capture the fast-moving action of your subject with a little artistic blur, or perhaps freeze the action? Simply set the camera to iAuto, press OK to engage Live Guide, then press the up and down arrows on the back of the E-PL2 to easily slide through numerous photographic effects. Make adjustments and watch the LCD as the effects are made live -- before the image is captured! Live Guide also features a Tips section on how to compose a shot or shoot kids, pets, flowers and more.

22 Scene-Select modes
From portraits to sunset shots, the E-PL2 is equipped with 22 Scene-Select modes for effortless picture taking, including Fireworks, Sunset, Children, Macro and Panorama, to name a few. Capturing beautiful portraits is easy with the ePortrait Mode that enables you to smooth your subject's complexion. There are even three scene modes that are specific to shooting with the new conversion lenses to optimize the performance of those lenses.

iAuto with iEnhance
iAuto automatically identifies the scene you're shooting--portrait, landscape, night portrait, macro, or sport--and adjusts the settings to optimize results. iEnhance can be used in any mode, and automatically engages when using iAuto to enrich color in any subject, just as the human eye sees it.

Micro Four Thirds mount
The Micro Four Thirds Mount on the E-PL2 provides many key benefits, including the effectiveness of a digitally designed image sensor, an ultra-compact design, and expandability and compatibility with all Micro Four Thirds Lenses and Four Thirds System Lens via the MMF-2 Adapter.

Autofocus Live View with Autofocus Tracking
Keep fast-moving and unpredictable subjects in focus. AF Live View displays subjects, in focus, on the LCD the instant the shutter is pressed half way. AF Tracking locks your subject into focus and adjusts focus and brightness whether you or your subject is moving.

Media cards
The E-PL2 is capable of recording video to SDHC and SDXC media cards to accommodate large files. (SDHC Class 6 cards are recommended.) Videos, stills and high-fidelity audio can also be output via HDMI cable--direct to any HD television.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 4.5 x 1.6 x 2.8 inches
Item Weight 12.8 ounces
Shipping Weight 3 pounds
Item model number 262901
Batteries 3 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
Customer Reviews
4.1 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #14,840 in Camera & Photo
#283 in Electronics > Camera & Photo > Digital Cameras > Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Mirrorless Cameras
#1,602 in Camera & Photo > Point & Shoot Digital Cameras
Date first available at Amazon.com January 4, 2011

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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5 Comments 92 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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