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Author Topic: Olympus Pen E-P2 Field Review  (Read 5632 times)
vandevanterSH
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« on: February 12, 2010, 07:49:51 PM »
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"their GF1, a direct competitor to the new E-P2, will be available in pink in certain markets..."
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If  they put a few "Hello Kitty" stickers on it;  the E-P2 will be a run-away best seller.

Steve
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fredjeang
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2010, 04:59:49 AM »
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Hi, after reading the field review

I would like to know
- if the EP2 design, (and by extention the GF1), with viewfinder mounted (because it seems to add more equipment), appears definitely more "friendly camera" to people in the field. I'm thinking of street photography where I find important to not being percived as "pro". (the built-in stab makes is appetizing for this kind of photography as well but the camera is not that fast in operation). Michael, would you say that the EP2 is a great tool for street photography, snaps ?

-I remember that I've been in the past particularly impressed by the Olympus-right-out-the-box's Jpeg files. My last Olympus camera was the E1, then I gave up after seeing that the 4/3 was a kind of dead-end format. But I've never seen, since that, such good jpeg files in any of my other cameras.
I'm concerned if Olympus maintained this level of quality for their EP1 jpegs.

-Another concern is about shutter. I read in some "reviews" that it is not specialy silent, wich seems to me a paradox. Is shutter sound in real situations quieter than average DSLR?

About the possibility to mount Leica, Voitlander etc...I read in the Online-photographer that Mike was pointing that he did not see many differences in IQ unsing expensive Leica primes or a modern Panasonic lens on MFT   . Sensor size limiting differences between good lens and legendary lens? That is something to be known because if you already have M lenses, that's fine. But if you think "Great, I gonna have a cheap Leicaish body and purchase best Leica glasses in Ebay"...you might be   .
It would be interesting to have Michael's thoughts about that fact. Should we save money?

Thank you.

Fred.
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Pelao
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2010, 08:34:30 AM »
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In some ways this was one of Michael's most interesting field reports.

The way I read it the camera in general is damned with faint praise. The interface (physical and menu) comes in for a lot of criticism, as does the autofocus etc. There are positive points too, but not many.

Yet the bottom line is that he had some fun using the camera. In talking to friends who use an EP1/2 or GF1 this is a common refrain: the cameras are kind of fun to use: less hassle to carry, always ready, fast response and decent lenses - all with great files.

It will be interesting to see where these cameras go over the next few iterations.

In the meantime, it seems reasonably clear that both offer great opportunities for enjoyable photography.
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vandevanterSH
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2010, 10:10:22 AM »
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Are these camera designs on the evolutionary pathway to a "full frame DSLR" with no mirror and high-rez built-in electronic view finder?

Seve
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2010, 10:49:43 AM »
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Quote from: vandevanterSH
Are these camera designs on the evolutionary pathway to a "full frame DSLR" with no mirror and high-rez built-in electronic view finder?

Seve


Hard to say, the main problem is the quality of an EVF is low light, not very good at the moment. To be honest, I see some resistance to EVF's replacing decent OVF's. There is also the question of a processed image, which IMO can be a barrier to some, well to me..kinda kills the pre visualisation aspect. I would have no interest in EVF's in DSLR's. The DSLR is not meant to be small.

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fredjeang
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2010, 10:59:06 AM »
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I think EVF on DSLR is gonna come in a not so far future. They will surely improve them to a point that it will equal what we have now, but with some incredible capacities. EVF are the future I think. I just see advantages in not having mirror any more.

Fred.
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vandevanterSH
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2010, 11:09:47 AM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
Hard to say, the main problem is the quality of an EVF is low light, not very good at the moment. To be honest, I see some resistance to EVF's replacing decent OVF's. There is also the question of a processed image, which IMO can be a barrier to some, well to me..kinda kills the pre visualisation aspect. I would have no interest in EVF's in DSLR's. The DSLR is not meant to be small.

That was my next question....If it is a process of evolution, is the "delay" in having a mirror-less "DSLR" technical or "sociological" inertia.  I don't have a bias toward small size either but from a practical point of view, if ISO performance continues to improve, would an electronic view finder with light amplification capabilities be more useful than the electro-mechanical mirror system?

Steve
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2010, 01:02:03 PM »
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Good question. One thing I notice with some EVF fans (not all I would add)
It appears they want every camera to be EVF, and that alone. Choice?

I like choice! No problem with EVF, but dump the OVF not a great idea.

We've already seem makers abandon viewfinders on most compacts, that's a shame, because in some situations (bright light), the back lcd is near unusable in many cases.

I think it will be hard to match a good pentaprism viewfinder for low light, the gain up of the EVF makes for a rather grainy and noisy image, with limited DR and crushed shadows, not a great choice at the moment, sure 10 years from now, it will be better. But EVF has a few problems of it's own, power drain is much higher, it's a lot more than just resolution on it's own.

OVF has issues, mirror slap (well MLU helps), % coverage, on the best models have 100%. I doubt many experienced photographers need WYSIWYG.

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rennie12
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2010, 02:24:42 PM »
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Quote from: vandevanterSH
Are these camera designs on the evolutionary pathway to a "full frame DSLR" with no mirror and high-rez built-in electronic view finder?

Seve

In my not so humble opinion "evolutionary pathway...to...full frame" is nonsense.   The full frame 35mm was an accidental shape dictated by 2x the then-prevalent 35mm movie frame when the 35mm still camera was (accidentally) created as a test system for 35mm movie film.  It is a nonsense shape invariably wasting space in cropping.

Second, what we really need is what we need - not a specific size/shape sensor.  Somebody like Mr Reichmann seems to need large museum quality prints (he has big bucks in Medium format digital) - while I personally need as high a usable ISO as will give me a wall quality 16x20 print.  

As a final note, I find the use of "full frame" as a "Holy Grail" absurd in a world where most people have never held a 35mm camera, used 35mm, or even seen an actual 35mm negative or slide.

FYI my first 35mm camera was a late prewar Leica bought at considerable effort in 1951.  I used 35mm (ending with Oly OM series) up until Canon came out with the first stabilized lenses when I switched to Canon and then digital.  I now use the Canon G11, Pentax K20D and K-x bodies, and a modest assortment of Pentax lenses, best of which is the 77Ltd f1.8 (a 35mE 115mm prime which benefits from the inbody stabilization of the Pentax).

BTW anybody who tells you the "old days were better" never built a darkroom himself, including building the necessary temp controls to develop color negative 35mm film, or used the old Kodak drum to make 20x24 color prints from 35mm color negatives - (I sold a set of 18 such portraits to a major bank in New Orleans in about 196? for their board room) -  Photoshop/digital is so much more fun, and so much easier, that it is incredible.  Now on CS4, started with photoshop v3.0.

Bill Wilson
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adam_j
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2010, 03:09:31 PM »
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I've really enjoyed using the E-P2 and the EVF.  It was actually the EVF that brought me to this camera.  I've used the Canon G series in the past and found their view finders about as far from accurate as possible and the LCD being not how I want to take pictures.  The EVF was a great evolution for a small camera for me and the E-P2 with it's EVF gave me all the flexibility I needed.  

I've also invested in adapters for loading my Canon and Nikon lenses on this camera, I can't wait to start playing with them when they arrive.

Not to self promote too much but I've also written on the subject at - http://www.knowphoto.com/tag/olympus/

Adam
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feppe
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2010, 07:35:01 PM »
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I think the MFT format is perhaps the most exciting thing to happen to digital photography in the past couple of years. The format is in its infancy, but the EP-1 already rivals the IQ of prior generation entry-level dSLRs - and since new generation only offers higher pixel count one doesn't lose much (if any) IQ going for the smaller format, and gains a lot.

I'm eagerly waiting for the next generation of PENs to come out, hopefully with the promised "pro" level version, improved AF and sensor. And better selection of lenses.

EVFs are certainly the future in dSLRs as well.
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johndriggers
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2010, 08:35:36 AM »
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One of Michael's complaints about the EP2 was that there was no way to set up custom settings to reset the camera to your desired setup.  This isn't correct.

There are two My Settings buried in the B custom menu.  Once set up you can choose either one and then set the Fn button to call up that setting.  I find that method awkward as you have to continue to hold the Fn button.

Instead, I use the the two Custom Resets in the reset menu.  I assign my preferred BW settings to one and my preferred color sttings to the other. They are retained and recallable even if the camera is reset.  Using them takes a little noodling, but you should get than hang of it with a liitle trail and and error.  Admittedly, it's not as easy-to-use as a C1 C2 setting on a mode dial, but it works and is better than not having the capability at all.

There is a comprehensive chart in back of the manual that shows which seeting the custom resets control and which seetings the My Settings control--there are a few differences.
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peterpix
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2010, 01:03:15 PM »
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Quote from: adam_j
I've really enjoyed using the E-P2 and the EVF.  It was actually the EVF that brought me to this camera.  I've used the Canon G series in the past and found their view finders about as far from accurate as possible and the LCD being not how I want to take pictures.  The EVF was a great evolution for a small camera for me and the E-P2 with it's EVF gave me all the flexibility I needed.  

I've also invested in adapters for loading my Canon and Nikon lenses on this camera, I can't wait to start playing with them when they arrive.

Not to self promote too much but I've also written on the subject at - http://www.knowphoto.com/tag/olympus/

Adam


MFT images look great on the web, but  what about prints? How big can you make a quality print? 11 x 14, 13 x 19, larger?
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Peter Randall
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« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2010, 01:07:25 PM »
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Quote from: peterpix
MFT images look great on the web, but  what about prints? How big can you make a quality print? 11 x 14, 13 x 19, larger?

Michael addresses this in his report.
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jjj
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2010, 07:10:52 PM »
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Quote from: Pelao
In some ways this was one of Michael's most interesting field reports.

The way I read it the camera in general is damned with faint praise. The interface (physical and menu) comes in for a lot of criticism, as does the autofocus etc. There are positive points too, but not many.

Yet the bottom line is that he had some fun using the camera. In talking to friends who use an EP1/2 or GF1 this is a common refrain: the cameras are kind of fun to use: less hassle to carry, always ready, fast response and decent lenses - all with great files.
A very underrated attribute, having fun with your camera. A friend just traded in his Canon 40D for a canon S90 and he loves it as he was fed up of the weight and time wasting getting it out of his back pack for street or active photography.  I also want one too, it's the best pocket camera by far. That's trouser pocket not coat pocket. But as I have a G10 and Ricoh GX200, it's hard to justify another small camera.

I've played with the EP1 + EP2 and they are very desirable and like-able cameras despite their flaws, I may hold out for the Ep3 and a 12mm pancake lens, preferable f2.  
I also found the EP2 and EVF great to use as I could alter the menu settings quickly and easily without moving camera away from eye like you need to do with just about every other camera.
Once you grok how the menu settings work, they aren't too bad [but could be better] and are very rich in features. The main issue for most people is they are different from Canikon and confusing simply for being different from what people are used to.
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2010, 09:12:24 AM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
We've already seem makers abandon viewfinders on most compacts, that's a shame, because in some situations (bright light), the back lcd is near unusable in many cases.
Speaking of that... How does fare the EP-2 EVF in very bright light? Is it usable, dim, or dark?
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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adam_j
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2010, 12:00:34 PM »
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I've had no problems with the EVF in bright light, It's got a great rubber cup so when you look through it for me at least most of the outside light is shut out and I'm able to compose my pictures.  I've actually noticed the EVF more when shooting at night as the you start to see artifacts in the EVF when there is low light.

Printing has been great, I've printed a 11x14 with great quality.  I have not tired to print anything shot over ISO 800 yet but lower then that and my prints have come out great.

Adam
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2010, 01:11:57 PM »
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Quote from: NikoJorj
Speaking of that... How does fare the EP-2 EVF in very bright light? Is it usable, dim, or dark?

I have the GF-1 and the EVF is pretty good, but for example shooting into a sunset it's still tough - it isn't large enough to seal off the light.  I don't find the rubber eyecup adequate, where the Olympus one looks a little more substantial.  A solution I've been testing, which looks a little odd is a Hoodman 3" Hoodloupe.  they sell a little rubber band kit that holds it on the camera, and once you do this the large LCD becomes a EVF.  The image is much clearer, and the added benefit of holding it up to your eye it is easier to hold the camera steady - you can hold it much like you would a standard dSLR .. even a little steadier than using the attachable EVF.

It's a little bit of a pain to put on and off, but when I'm doing something a little more critical or in a challenging situation it works pretty nicely.  Now I'm just trying to come up with some type of system that makes it easy and simple to attach and detach with a bracket.

As far as quality, I've printed several 17x22 prints that look terrific, and I read one post about the camera being fun ... that's a nice way to put it.   I'm guessing the EP-2 would provide very similar quality and experience.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2010, 03:22:08 PM »
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Hi,
I would like to ask if you find a big difference when mouting Leica lenses (or top primes) on MFT compare to the Panasonic-Olympus availables. That was a point that caught my attention on the Online Photographer. There are so many options availble now for MFT with adapter that it might be good to know if its worth considering Leica lenses (if you do not have yet ones).

Thank you.
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adam_j
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2010, 08:16:50 PM »
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I'd love to try it with some Leica lenses but I don't have those kinds of resources but I did buy the Canon and Nikon adapters and will let you know how those look once they arrive and I have a chance to use them...

Adam
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