194 of 201 people found the following review helpful
Great value for a compact DSLR alternative,
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This review is from: Olympus E-PM2 Mirrorless Digital Camera, Body Only (Silver) (Old Model) (Electronics)
I am a photography amateur enthusiast. My other cameras are a Nikon D5100 and a D600 DSLRs with a range of lenses (prime and zooms). I've started shooting film back in early 90s on an old Nikon SLR.
I also own a tiny pocket Canon ELPH HS300 point and shoot, which I wasn't really happy with. The pictures were rarely better than what I can take with my iPhone, at which point as small as the camera is, it's too big.
I wanted something compact that could still take the breathtaking pictures my DSLR is capable of, and I spent a long time researching the best option. The main contenders were mirrorless cameras with largish sensors (for the form factor).
Against a Fujifilm x100: I have to say Fujifilm's x100 (and the upcoming x100s) is a beautiful camera, I really like the retro look of it. It also features a great APS-C sized sensor on it, which makes for a great picture quality. The problem with this camera is the sluggish auto focus, which for a compact "walk around" camera is especially problematic (apparently the upcoming x100s is supposed to improve on this). It was also little pricey for what I wanted to spend.
Sony RX100: Is a great little camera, which can take great photos. But I wanted something with a little bigger sensor and interchangeable lenses. You see I want to be able to invest the bulk of my money into lenses as no doubt the camera bodies become somewhat outdated every 2-4 years.
And then I gave the Micro Four Thirds cameras a consideration. See the Micro Four Thirds is an open standard Olympus and Panasonic have created, where you can freely use all m4/3 lenses on any camera body. More companies are joining this alliance each month. As a result m4/3 cameras have the biggest selection of lenses of any mirorless camera competitor.
It's exactly what this industry has needed for a long time. For companies to put an open standard together. No more vendor lock in and price gauging on lenses. Also you can be sure there will be long term support for this system as there appears to be quite a surge in popularity. More and more wedding photographers for instance are switching to this system, because of the ergonomics offered by much smaller and lighter gear required for all day shooting, as well as the selection of some really outstanding lenses for a decent price.
Just on this alone, the choice for me was clear. All I had to do now is pick a micro four thirds camera.
I've never used an Olympus camera before, but I've met photographers who have praised these cameras in the past. I read some reviews and researched the specs. I wanted compactness, and no need for a swivel screen.
This narrowed the choice for me down to an E-PM2:
- It uses the same sensor as the top of the line OM-D so technically capable of capturing the same quality images.
- It is small and light.
I really wasn't into the design of the camera, at first look I thought it was quite ugly, a more retro look would have been better, but that's just my taste. I have to say the look of the camera is growing on me though.
I elected not to get the kit lens, and I went with the 20/1.7 LUMIX "pancake": Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 Aspherical Pancake Lens for Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras lens (immediately taking advantage of the open standard!)
So my first impressions after using this camera for a week (sorry for the long intro):
Wow! In fact I am so impressed that I am actually thinking about selling my DSLR gear completely. I was little concerned that maybe I wouldn't like the native 4:3 aspect over the 3:2, but it turns out 4:3 is actually much more suited for portraits. In portrait mode it gives you more flexibility. Where it might lack is certain landscapes, but those can often be cropped to 3:2 without much loss in quality. I can't tell a difference in picture quality between this camera and my DSLR.
- Autofocus. The speed at which this camera can auto focus and snap a photo is astounding. Way faster than my DSLR. In fact I thought the tap the screen to take a photo was a gimmick, but with such a fast AF, I find I am snapping twice as many photos than I normally do, and they are all in perfect focus. I was totally cough by surprise with how good snapping pictures feels with this camera, because of its responsiveness. There is a certain quality tactile feeling you get when you snap photos almost at the same time you touch the screen. A feature I didn't think I was going to use became my new favorite way of taking pictures. What's also great about it, if you're doing street photography, you don't even look like you're taking a photo. So your subjects are not distracted by it.
- Image quality. I shoot raw. And I find photos have good dynamic range, which lets me do a lot with them when I post process in Lightroom. And I find even in low light I can take photos comparable to what I take with my DSLR.
- Size. The camera is small and easy to cary, it fits in a jacket pocket, or a small bag. I can also now put it in my laptop case, and bring it to work with me.
- Great UI As someone new to Olympus cameras, this was a concern. But I felt right at home with the user interface only after a few days of using the camera. I assigned the 'fn' key to my ISO settings, I shoot in Aperture Priority mode. Obviously this camera has much less dedicated buttons than the top of the line cameras, but I find E-PM2's buttons are sufficient for Aperture Priority style of shooting I do.
- m4/3 availability of great lenses, with more 3rd parties announcing new products each month, it's truly exciting. Even things like pro cinema Black Magic camera coming out this year will feature an m4/3 mount. The adapters can be purchased for all sorts of lenses. In fact you can get a $31 C adapter and a CCTV lens RainbowImaging 35MM F1.7 TV Movie Lens + Lens Adapter for MFT M4/3 camera, fits Panasonic G1 G2 G3 G10 GF1 GF2 GF3 GH2 GH1 GH2, Olympus E-P1 E-P2 E-P3 E-PL1 E-PL2 which can let you create some very interesting effects/pictures. I've used my Nikon lenses on this camera and it works great. But the lack of focus peeking feature Sony cameras offer hinders this advantage somewhat.
- None. Really, when it comes to price and what you get for it, I can't think of a single negative to say about this camera.
Would like to see improved:
- Manual focus. I haven't yet found the best way to take photos with adapted manual lenses. I have re-assigned my Rec button to let me zoom in. But its not ideal. Though this really can't be counted against the camera of this price, it would still be nice if it offered something like 'focus peaking' Sony cameras have. I think there is a way to use one of the Art filters to help with focus but its not ideal.
- It's not a pretty camera. This might be just me. But would love a more retro (rangefinder look) at this price range. Like the OM-D without the rangefinder bulge would be beautiful. I went with the silver version. I would have liked the white version better if it didn't have the weird colored tan grip pad.
One of the best buys in the category. You are not only buying a great camera but investing into a great system with great lens selection. You are also supporting an open standard in an industry dominated by proprietary lock-ins and price gauging.
Edit July 3 2014: I have purchased this camera at the introductory price $500 and it was a great deal then. At the current price, this camera is a no brainer. There is simply nothing on the market that can compete with this value.
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Showing 1-10 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 20, 2013 6:49:50 AM PST
I agree with you...this is a great little camera...but I kinda like how it looks...yep a rangefinder look is nice but this is not a rangefinder...I have it in silver as well and the 45 1.8 and the 75 1.8 look awesome on it...I keep the flash attached all the time...I think it is a nice looking modern camera...I have noticed people complaining about ugly cameras...I never really think about how they look...just how they perform is important to me.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013 7:33:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2013 7:36:27 PM PST
The look of e-pm2 has been growing on me, but there is something to how a camera looks like. Like if you're doing street photography your subjects act differently if you hold a non-threatening camera, rangefinder vs a DSLR. A retro look can have positive impact on your subject.
A more popular and desirable look improves the resale value as well. But you're right, it is not really important if the function is there, and this camera certainly delivers.
Posted on Apr 14, 2013 3:36:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 14, 2013 3:50:15 PM PDT
Robert Williams says:
A very nice small camera, however, interchangable lens' beyond 200 mm make the camera impractical. I have a Samsung NX200 that suffers from the same problem. Bright sunlight makes the LCD useless and the camera becomes difficult to hold steady. An EVF is needed here like Sony utilizes in the nex7. The kit 18-55 lens is suitable for most applications.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2013 12:15:34 AM PDT
> A very nice small camera, however, interchangable lens' beyond 200 mm make the camera impractical.
Not sure what you mean by this. Are you talking about balance? Also 200mm is quite a long focal length. Because of the 2x crop factor, 200mm lens is a 400mm full frame equivalent. 400mm + lenses are impractical on DSLRs as well, and often have tripod mounts (on the lens).
> Bright sunlight makes the LCD useless and the camera becomes difficult to hold steady.
Not sure how bright sunlight affect you holding the camera steadily. Also there viewfinders are available for this system as well.
Posted on Apr 5, 2014 10:24:48 AM PDT
Kayla N. Warren says:
Hi there! I'm by no means an expert and in fact most of the terminology you use is Greek to me. I am taking a trip to Italy in September and I need a camera. Something that can take landscape photos from a moving bus, landscape photos from various standstill positions, photos of me with landscape backgrounds, photos of landmarks, panoramic photos, etc... all the things you'd want photographic memoirs of from a trip like this. I also want high quality photos. Since I'm not really sure where to start, I was hoping I could get some advice. I don't want a bulky camera or one that requires its own bag being I'll be on the move most of my trip. I also want something that will last beyond this trip and into others. Four hundred is probably my max budget on a camera. Is this the one for me? If not, what do you recommend?
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2014 7:13:58 AM PDT
Done in 60 Seconds says:
I took some pictures with it from a moving car on a recent road trip and they came out beautifully. I also took some pictures of trees and wildlife behind my house and they were very pretty and detailed as well. I could even see moisture collected on leaves. You just have to get to know the settings and the camera. If you leave it in auto-mode, it usually takes care of the rest for you. Most of my best pictures from this camera were on accident so just take a bunch of them and see what looks best. I'm like you, not an expert at all. I think this camera would be great for the shots you want though.
Posted on May 14, 2014 1:09:04 PM PDT
I have recently purchases the PM2 and I'm wondering about the comment from THE NOISE..........I have yet to be able to take an outside shot where I can see much of anything in the LCD....it becomes washed out in the sunlight. Please tell me you're must be using a view finder....maybe the VF-4? Otherwise I can not see how this can work so positively. I also got the panasonic G5 W/ a viewfinder and it is so much better, yet the reviews on this cute little thing were very good........so I got one....but am struggling to 'see' much of anything in sunlight. What is the secret...do all the shooting after the sun goes down?....thanks
In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2014 1:32:30 PM PDT
Please re-read my original comment. I was responding to someone who said the bright sunlight was impacting their ability to hold the camera steady.
Anyways. A viewfinder is obviously much better for taking photos in bright sunlight. I have an em-5 as well, which I prefer for those kind of conditions.
In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2014 7:45:47 AM PDT
Robert H. says:
I in fact did just take this camera on a business trip to Italy. I took several hundred photos with it and am very pleased with the results. My buddy brought a Canon t2i DSLR and to my non-expert eye the photos we took are basically indistinguishable quality-wise but I had much less weight and bulk to deal with when walking around Venice.
The body is very compact, not much bigger than a typical point-and-shoot camera. The standard 14-42mm lens does detract from that somewhat, you can't put it in a pants pocket with the lens attached. That said, it is still a very small and light camera that can hang from the neck strap all day without causing discomfort.
One thing you mentioned that this camera does not do is panoramas, at least not directly. Instead it has a mode to guide you in snapping a group of pictures that you can stitch into a panorama later on your PC either using the included software or any of a number of other tools.