The PEN has returned with a spec boost and new black livery – but can the retro compact-cum-SLR match the success of its predecessor?
The retrotastic E-P1 was a bit of a favourite of ours, and while it had its flaws – most notably a lack of built-in optical viewfinder and flash – its ‘rangefinder’ looks meant we could (almost) forgive it.
Its successor keeps the same stylings as its old-school sibling, this time foregoing the silver for a slightly more contemporary black chassis. But with a hike in price, it'll have to do more than change its outfit to sway punters from the ever-cheapening world of DSLRs.
The 13.1MP Micro Four Thirds E-P2 has gone some way to assuage our annoyance at the E-P1's lack of optical viewfinder by incorporating a new port to plug in a supplied electronic viewfinder.
The viewfinder can be tilted up to 90 degrees for awkward angles or that old-school waist-level shooting technique. It's also really useful for accurate manual focus.
Taking the mic
The port can also be used with an external microphone, to boost the audio in HD video mode – although given the limit on movie recording at this quality is only seven minutes, it's debatable how likely it is you’ll bother hooking a mic up.
Much more useful is the ability to control the depth of field, angle of view and autofocus when shooting in HD, as well as the electronic image stabilisation.
Another new addition to the E-P2 package is the inclusion of two new art filters – Diorama and Cross Process – for you to mess about flipping colours and generally having some fun with your images (and video).
Improved AF tracking answers critics of the E-P1's AF system, so you get better, more consistent image quality on the E-P2. Interchangeable lenses also offer more versatility than your average compact or bridge, with a 14-42mm included in the box.
The E-P2 is out in January, but it'll have to be a frugal Christmas – you'll want to save up for one of these.
Olympus PEN E-P2 review
Still one of the most unique, creative cameras out there, but we’re not yet convinced the improvements justify the price hike
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