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Four Thirds User
6th January 2011, 04:19 AM
Four Thirds User (Fourthirds-user.com (http://fourthirds-user.com)) is a sibling site to the e-group.

The latest evolution of the Micro Four Thirds compact system camera concept has arrived in the form of the Olympus Pen E-PL2. We find out what the E-PL2 has to tempt us with.

More... (http://fourthirds-user.com/2011/01/olympus_announces_the_epl2.php)

Ian
7th January 2011, 09:24 AM
No comments on the new E-PL2?

Ian

Makonde
7th January 2011, 10:25 AM
OK. Some progress but not there yet. The PENs with their lenses and bolt-on accessories will never be pocket cameras. They are either a step up from P&S or must compete for serious stuff with DSLRs, where they remain a step down. When we have a weathersealed pro PEN that can do everything the E-5 can do, or better, with AF just as fast and glass just as extensive but not as expensive, they will win out on weight, size and cost. Until then, one waits....while other companies also explore this form of camera with other innovative ideas.

Well, that's what I think, however unpopular that may be! I'm less impressed by boltons and 'features' than I would be by a camera that does the photographic essentials better than any other. A poor man's Leica M9?

Ian
7th January 2011, 11:40 AM
OK. Some progress but not there yet. The PENs with their lenses and bolt-on accessories will never be pocket cameras. They are either a step up from P&S or must compete for serious stuff with DSLRs, where they remain a step down. When we have a weathersealed pro PEN that can do everything the E-5 can do, or better, with AF just as fast and glass just as extensive but not as expensive, they will win out on weight, size and cost. Until then, one waits....while other companies also explore this form of camera with other innovative ideas.

Well, that's what I think, however unpopular that may be! I'm less impressed by boltons and 'features' than I would be by a camera that does the photographic essentials better than any other. A poor man's Leica M9?

It's true, Micro Four Thirds is not a pocket camera platform, but the sheer convenience of the lower weight and bulk of something like a Pen compared to even a compact DSLR like the E-620, is very compelling.

But yes, it would be nice to integrate more features we have seen on DSLRs into Micro Four Thirds.

But the primary raison d'etre of Micro Four Thirds is to mop up people who fail to move up to a DSLR from a compact or bridge camera, so that will be the focus for now.

Ian

philippsfrt
7th January 2011, 11:59 AM
I think that this is a good thing but i want to finally see the E-P3, its meant to become a professional body with a built in viewfinder. I really want to get this.

Greytop
7th January 2011, 12:11 PM
I certainly like the look of it, to my eye it's the best looking Pen offering a and probably the best or equal to the best image quality wise. The new 14-42 sounds like a nice improvement too. I would have to say it quite temping as a lightweight high quality output platform but I tend to agree with Keith that it's not yet at the level where it can replace the al-round capability of the smaller Oly DSLRs.


But the primary raison d'etre of Micro Four Thirds is to mop up people who fail to move up to a DSLR from a compact or bridge camera, so that will be the focus for now.
Ian

Currently at least there in lies the problem for Olympus in that there are now no low / mid range DSLR bodies for P&S users to move to if they don't like the concept of the Pen.
Until Oly release a Pro level (or close to it) Pen that resembles a DSLR there will be the feeling that Oly are two men short in the defence and walking out on the pitch to face the current league leaders ;)

Having said all that I do like the E-PL2 and may even contemplate putting my E-30 out to grass for one. For the moment however I'm going to sit tight because I suspect the next Pen release could be a whole lot more interesting (hoping so anyway).

Makonde
7th January 2011, 12:20 PM
... the primary raison d'etre of Micro Four Thirds is to mop up people who fail to move up to a DSLR from a compact or bridge camera, so that will be the focus for now.

Ian
That's understood, and it has to be a sensible course for Olympus. However, if they are to compete along their usual lines of emphasising quality and optical goodness, then for overall marketing purposes they do need to have a worthy flagship that will win accolades from pro photographers, who will wish to use it as a main camera.

I am wondering whether, even with the advantages of MFT format for lenses, AF speed will prove to be a limiting factor for these smaller form cameras? Moving that heavy glass around.... I note that the new lens with the EPL2 is lighter (but doesn't have ED glass) and that seems to be how they have improved focusing speed. For a long time it has seemed to me that grinding heavy glass to make lenses is a rather old and clunky thing to do. Questions:
- Are there other materials or techniques coming down the track which will dramatically alter this technology as sensors replaced film?
- how are other manufactuers of small form, high quality, interchangeable lens cameras progressing with:
--- focus speed?
--- sensor capabilities?
--- alternative technologies (the Sony transparent mirror etc)?

Lastly, I have gone for smaller, lighter SLRs/DSLRs in the past. But although my new E5 is big and heavy, I am finding that its size is more right for my hands and it is sweet and easy to use - easier than the E520. Whereas our pocket Canon S90 is now so small and sensitive for me that it becomes a problem sometimes... That may be because I am getting older and my fingers more fumbly. But I'm interested in the views of others on these handling questions (IIRC, at least one forum member sold up his DSLR and went to the PEN only to return to the E5).

[[After four weeks of the E5 I picked up my 520+kit lens yesterday and was amazed how light it was LOL but somehow I don't think I am going back to it]].

Ian
7th January 2011, 03:58 PM
I think that this is a good thing but i want to finally see the E-P3, its meant to become a professional body with a built in viewfinder. I really want to get this.

Please check your private mail on this forum as soon as possible.

Not happy with you plugging your site the way you are on here.

Ian

EvaWood
7th January 2011, 07:03 PM
I chose the E-P2 after using a small digital camera. I have an SLR, and still keep film in it for when needed, but when looking for a good digital camera, I didn't want the size, weight or noise of a DSLR, but I wanted better quality pictures than I could get from the P&S.

I love the E-P2 for being small and light, especially with the 17mm lens. It lives in a lined pocket in my shoulder bag, so I always have it with me.

I feel like the E-P2 was marketed for me - an amateur wanting better than P&S but with the pocketability of the P&S. I can see that it would feel like a step down for those using professional or semi-professional DSLRs, and perhaps for them it provides a camera without the features and quality, but that might be on hand at times to make the difference between getting a picture or not.

Nova Invicta
8th January 2011, 12:07 AM
Ian

I have an accessory question which I cannot find the answer to on Olympus web-site. Will the PENPal only work on the E-PL2,it only states it works on the accessory port 2. I will be peeved if thats the case only recently purchasing the E-PL1 and I like the idea of transfering images to smart phones & to say something like an ipad.

Thanks

E-P1 fan
8th January 2011, 12:22 AM
Oh dear. Oly are moving further and further away from the original Pen design concepts I love so much in my E-P1. No doubt this is very good - but it just looks like many other compacts to me and probably performs around the same level as the best of them.

A trick is being missed I think. Change for change's sake is never justified IMO

What is the point of this - other than to sell more cameras to the same customer base :mad:

Ian
8th January 2011, 12:00 PM
Ian

I have an accessory question which I cannot find the answer to on Olympus web-site. Will the PENPal only work on the E-PL2,it only states it works on the accessory port 2. I will be peeved if thats the case only recently purchasing the E-PL1 and I like the idea of transfering images to smart phones & to say something like an ipad.

Thanks

No, Pen Pal only works on the Mark 2 Accessory port. The Accessory Port was originally designed primarily for the VF-2 finder and as a bonus audio channels were included for the SEMA-1 external stereo microphone adapter. But Olympus later saw greater potential for the port and so developed Accessory Port 2. It's really new and is not even featured in the new XZ-1 compact, which makes do with the Mark 1 Accessory Port.

Ian

Ian
8th January 2011, 12:02 PM
Oh dear. Oly are moving further and further away from the original Pen design concepts I love so much in my E-P1. No doubt this is very good - but it just looks like many other compacts to me and probably performs around the same level as the best of them.

A trick is being missed I think. Change for change's sake is never justified IMO

What is the point of this - other than to sell more cameras to the same customer base :mad:

I must, politely!, say that I don't understand your point at all. Why is the E-PL2 moving away from the original design concept?

Ian

Greytop
8th January 2011, 04:57 PM
Oh dear. Oly are moving further and further away from the original Pen design concepts I love so much in my E-P1. No doubt this is very good - but it just looks like many other compacts to me and probably performs around the same level as the best of them.

A trick is being missed I think. Change for change's sake is never justified IMO

What is the point of this - other than to sell more cameras to the same customer base :mad:

I tend to think that from a concept point of view this E-PL2 is a more attractive design than the original 'retro' E-P1 and 2.... just my opinion ;)

Further, I think that for anyone that hasn't picked up an E-PL1 (or the previous EP-1 & 2) this has to be quite a tempting package.
The basic sensor & image engine is as the E-PL1 (nothing wrong there IMHO) but it has some useful advancements in the user interface, shutter speed, flash sync speed, ISO range, build construction (all metal) and the new 14-42 kit lens looks to be improvement too.
All sounds good to me, which trick has been missed :confused:

Nova Invicta
8th January 2011, 05:28 PM
Ian - Accessory port 2

This is yet another reason why Im falling out of love with Olympus first they ditch consumer E series cameras which forces you to pay for an adaptor to use existing lenses on the Pen, then when you buy a Pen the accessories are not backward compatable it leaves me feeling Olympus only cares about current sales frankly not impressed.

yorky
8th January 2011, 06:16 PM
Ian - Accessory port 2

This is yet another reason why Im falling out of love with Olympus first they ditch consumer E series cameras which forces you to pay for an adaptor to use existing lenses on the Pen, then when you buy a Pen the accessories are not backward compatable it leaves me feeling Olympus only cares about current sales frankly not impressed.

I completly agree, it used to said of Leitz "They made more accesories than cameras" It appears Olympus are starting down this road.

Ian
8th January 2011, 07:35 PM
I completly agree, it used to said of Leitz "They made more accesories than cameras" It appears Olympus are starting down this road.

The Accessory Port is primarily for the VF-2 electronic viewfinder - which will out-sell all other accessories that use this port by a big margin in my view. And these are just accessories; you aren't forced to buy them (except with the E-P1, where the VF-2 is standard) and the port itself doesn't constitute a major element of cost in the build.

You have to remember that for any camera company to survive and prosper they need to innovate and produce distinctive products.

Ian

E-P1 fan
8th January 2011, 08:52 PM
Ian I don't understand how you can't see what I'm saying.

Certainly the E-P1 design has a few 'flaws' but it's the closest I've seen to a non digital Pen - and - to me anyway - is an object of considerable beauty.

The new camera - though superb technically I'm sure - to me just looks like a lot of other similar units.

It's like comparing a classic sports car to a Nissan Leaf.

IMHO to a discerning eye nothing looks quite as good as the original E-P1

But good luck to the new boy - Olympus need all the luck they can get in this economic climate

Ian
8th January 2011, 09:12 PM
Ian I don't understand how you can't see what I'm saying.

Certainly the E-P1 design has a few 'flaws' but it's the closest I've seen to a non digital Pen - and - to me anyway - is an object of considerable beauty.

The new camera - though superb technically I'm sure - to me just looks like a lot of other similar units.

It's like comparing a classic sports car to a Nissan Leaf.

IMHO to a discerning eye nothing looks quite as good as the original E-P1

But good luck to the new boy - Olympus need all the luck they can get in this economic climate

Oh dear! You think the Micro Four Thirds Pen range was produced with the original Pen concept at its heart? I'm afraid not. There was a neat link between the new line and the old and this was honoured in the styling of the original E-P1 and E-P2 (and I must point out that the E-PL2 is closer to that style than the E-PL1), but the digital Pens will evolve to suit today's requirements and I'm sure the styling and variety of form factor will vary widely over the coming years.

Ian

Zuiko
8th January 2011, 11:54 PM
Oh dear! You think the Micro Four Thirds Pen range was produced with the original Pen concept at its heart? I'm afraid not. There was a neat link between the new line and the old and this was honoured in the styling of the original E-P1 and E-P2 (and I must point out that the E-PL2 is closer to that style than the E-PL1), but the digital Pens will evolve to suit today's requirements and I'm sure the styling and variety of form factor will vary widely over the coming years.

Ian

Totally agree, Ian.

For those who love the style of the E-P1 and E-P2, they can continue to use them. They are still fine cameras and will be for many years to come. However, as Olympus moves the range forward and incorporates more features, the style is bound to evolve. Just adding a built in flash was bound to compromise the original style in some way. Adding a built in EVF, if that ever happens, is bound to force another redesign and a different style.

My take on the E-PL1 was that it was deliberately designed more conventionally than the E-P1/2 to differentiate it as a lower model in the pecking order, albeit with some extra features. This seems to be reinforced by deliberately crippling it with regard to top shutter speed, maximum ISO and reduced quoted IS performance. However, for handling purposes it was the model that most appealed to me and the one I eventually purchased secondhand.

The E-PL2 seems to be not only a logical development in terms of features but also appears to promote it's ranking within the line-up by restoring the crippled features and modifying the design closer to that of the E-P1/2. It's not enough of an improvement to tempt me to upgrade, even if I had the money, but it does keep it competetive and strengthen the appeal to those who do not yet have a micro system camera and are considering entering the market.

I think we need to move away from the false expectation that every new model will be a worthwhile upgrade for existing users rather than just a logical improvement to keep the model competitive in attracting new users and representing a gradual evolution of the system.

We also need to distance ourselves from the false notion that a new model automatically renders the one it is replacing obsolete and redundant. Looking back to the golden days of the OM dynasty, the OM1 wasn't instantly rendered useless by the introduction of the OM2, which in turn wasn't deserted by users in their droves with the advent of the OM4. Along the way we had some pretty minor upgrades with the 'n' derivitives of the OM1 and OM2, the OM2 Spot/Program and the 4Ti.

On the lower tier there were definite style differences between the OM 10, 20, 30 and 40 and the single digit OMs, once again to distinguish the two ranges, so adopting this approach for the E-P and E-PL ranges is nothing new. Who's to say that the E-P3 won't follow the style of the E-P1, added features permitting?

Nick Temple-Fry
9th January 2011, 12:45 AM
The Accessory Port is primarily for the VF-2 electronic viewfinder - which will out-sell all other accessories that use this port by a big margin in my view. And these are just accessories; you aren't forced to buy them (except with the E-P1, where the VF-2 is standard) and the port itself doesn't constitute a major element of cost in the build.

You have to remember that for any camera company to survive and prosper they need to innovate and produce distinctive products.

Ian

I've always thought the accessory port was an opportunity for Olympus and I'm glad to see they are finding ways to exploit it further, so long has the vf-2 remains compatible with future implementations then I will be quite happy.

(Ian - shouldn't your post have said E-P2?)

Nick

Ian
9th January 2011, 10:51 AM
I've always thought the accessory port was an opportunity for Olympus and I'm glad to see they are finding ways to exploit it further, so long has the vf-2 remains compatible with future implementations then I will be quite happy.

(Ian - shouldn't your post have said E-P2?)

Nick

Ooops, yes - sorry about that, of course the E-P2 comes with the VF-2 as standard, and the E-P1 has no accessory port at all.

Ian

Nova Invicta
11th January 2011, 11:28 AM
My view is that whilst cameras are regularly upgraded (they always have been) the accessories in a series have remained uniform AND backward compatable in that series. The E-PL1 is less than a year old and many people would have bought one over the holiday period as presents etc. The VF-2 and the PenPal are two logical accessories one because their is no optical viewfinder and the other because in ties in nicely with the smartphone & i-pad era about immediate consumption of images especially on Facebook or even Flickr.
People dont generally buy everything at once and accessories are mainly purchased after the camera this is why I have a beef with Olympus after all the VF-2 on its own is between 200 to 220 depending where you shop and I assume the PenPal will be 100 - 140 so buying altogether at once assuming the E- PL2 with standard zoom will initially be 450-475 your looking at 750 at best case and 835 in worst case.

I understand the commercial relality of being competitive but equally brand loyalty depends on the consumer feeling they are being rewared for that loyalty by Olympus recognising the investment they are making in a system and increasingly thats not coming across one example of that was virtually no firmware support for the E-400 Olympus may not have a memory but its customers do.

Ian
12th January 2011, 09:38 AM
It's not clear from your post, but the VF-2 does work fully with the E-PL1. The macro lights announced with the E-PL2 is also backwards compatible.

It's a basic reality of IT products universally that there is a high chance a new model will introduce a new feature that won't work with the previous one. Put it this way, I'm sure that Olympus would like to sell lots of Pen Pals to the hundreds of thousands of E-PL1 owners out there. They haven't deliberately introduced the Accessory Port 2 in order to lock existing owners. Only a very few would consider upgrading their camera for this one feature.

Ian

My view is that whilst cameras are regularly upgraded (they always have been) the accessories in a series have remained uniform AND backward compatable in that series. The E-PL1 is less than a year old and many people would have bought one over the holiday period as presents etc. The VF-2 and the PenPal are two logical accessories one because their is no optical viewfinder and the other because in ties in nicely with the smartphone & i-pad era about immediate consumption of images especially on Facebook or even Flickr.
People dont generally buy everything at once and accessories are mainly purchased after the camera this is why I have a beef with Olympus after all the VF-2 on its own is between 200 to 220 depending where you shop and I assume the PenPal will be 100 - 140 so buying altogether at once assuming the E- PL2 with standard zoom will initially be 450-475 your looking at 750 at best case and 835 in worst case.

I understand the commercial relality of being competitive but equally brand loyalty depends on the consumer feeling they are being rewared for that loyalty by Olympus recognising the investment they are making in a system and increasingly thats not coming across one example of that was virtually no firmware support for the E-400 Olympus may not have a memory but its customers do.

R MacE
21st January 2011, 07:55 PM
Got to agree with Makonde, until there's a semi/pro spec Pen with a built in EVF there's very little to see for those who currently use an E-System DSLR but who would adopt m4/3rds. Looking at all the m4/3rds bodies released so far the original Panasonic G-1 is still as good as it gets for those wanting to replace a 4/3rds setup unless you need video, Olympus thus far hasn't even got close.

As for the E Pen system not being intended as a digital version of the original Pen one can hardly be blamed for thinking it was, Olympus milked the association to death when the 1st Digi Pen was released and still do.

I'd gladly switch from 4/3rds to m4/3rds but there isn't a body that can effectively replace my E-420, my camera of choice in preference to my E-3.