Olympus E-P2: Better in Black

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Olympus via Akihabara News: The Olympus E-P2 is the follow-on to the E-P1 that transformed the digital camera market just about six months ago. The E-P1 brought DSLR-like picture quality and performance in a body slightly larger than prosumer compact digital cameras. In addition the E-P1 featured interchangeable lenses and took excellent 720p video. The E-P2 is still billed as the world’s smallest 12.3 megapixel interchangeable lens system with in-body image stabilization (IS). The GF1 from Panasonic doesn’t have in-body IS.

Accessory Port: This port, similar to the one in Panasonic’s GF1, can be used for the optional VF-2 electronic viewfinder (EVF). The EVF provides a 1.15x magnification and a 100% field of view. It can rotate up 90 degrees. The optional external microphone adapter (EMA-1) can also be used to connect the company’s ME-51S stereo microphone or any other microphone. Whether or not the VF-2 and the EMA-1 can be used together is unknown.

Full Control: Full manual control over shutter and aperture in video mode. This feature should usher in some creative video shots from the E-P2.

Continuous Autofocus (C-AF) Tracking System: This newly-developed AF tracks the subject across or back-and-forward through the frame and works in both still picture and video modes. This will be great for taking pictures of kids that like to move about exactly when you want to take pictures of them.

Faster Lenses Please: The lenses continue to disappoint. The 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 is not fast enough for me. I would like to see f2.8. At least. The 17mm prism lens is f2.8, better, but still slow compared to the 20mm f/1.7 that comes with Panasonic’s GF1. Thankfully the MMF-1 Four Thirds System Lens Adapter allows all Olympus ZUIKO Digital Specific lenses to be used with the E-P2. If you have a large collection of ZUIKO digital lenses the MMF-1 would be a must-have if you’re considering the E-P2.

Pre-Order Now: Expected retail price is US$1099.99, a bit more than both the E-P1 and Panasonic’s GF1. Pre-order the E-P2 with 14-42mm at Amazon! The E-P2 with the 17mm lens kit and the 14-42mm kit comes with the EVF, making it competitive in price with the GF1 since the Panasonic EVF (DMW-LVF1) goes for around $200.

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