The Olympus PEN E-P2 is a sophisticated Micro Four Thirds camera -- a pocket-sized shooter that allows you to change lenses like a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera -- but the newer Olympus PEN E-P3 improves upon it in several ways, experts say. The E-P3 delivers faster performance (including extremely fast autofocus), a higher-resolution 3-inch OLED screen and better controls. But the cameras' 12.3-megapixel image sensors now strike some experts as outdated -- they say you'll get clearer images at high ISOs in dim light with the newer sensors found on Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds cameras, including the top-rated Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 (*Est. $900 with kit lens) and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 .
The E-P2 is sized to fit neatly in a jacket pocket. It can shoot 720p HD video. There's no built-in eye-level viewfinder, but the E-P2 includes a separate electronic viewfinder that you can slide onto the hot shoe, but that leaves no room for an external flash (remember, the E-P2 doesn't have a built-in flash). We priced the camera with a kit lens -- a 28 mm to 84 mm, 3x zoom version -- but you can also buy the body only.
PhotographyBlog.com and DPReview.com both thoroughly test the Olympus E-P2 and write lengthy, multi-part reviews with sample images. CNET and PC World write shorter reviews, but they are still thorough and give good buying advice. Amazon.com is a good place to check for owner reviews.
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The Olympus PEN E-P2 "joins the list of cameras that we didn't want to have to hand back at the end of the review period," PhotographyBlog.com editors write in their holiday gift guide. It's fun and easy-to-use for enthusiasts and point-and-shooters alike. Oddly, it has no built-in flash (the cheaper Olympus PEN E-PL1 does).
Review: Olympus E-P2 Review, Gavin Stoker, Feb. 4, 2010
The Olympus PEN E-P2 wins a Silver Award here for its "always-with-you DSLR quality." This review compares it with the earlier Olympus PEN E-P1.
Review: Olympus E-P2 Quick Review, Richard Butler, April 2010
"Sluggish performance" is the Olympus PEN E-P2's main drawback here, but Lori Grunin says the "elegant shooter's design and high-quality low-ISO photos" may make up for it in some users' eyes.
Review: Olympus PEN E-P2 (with 14-42 mm Lens), Lori Grunin, March 17, 2010
4. PC World
"To put it bluntlyÉ this is one of the most fun-to-use cameras I've ever picked up," Tim Moynihan says of the Olympus PEN E-P2. You could spend less money and get an entry-level DSLR camera with a bigger sensor, optical viewfinder and more lens options, but Moynihan enjoys the camera's diminutive size and robust features.
Review: Olympus PEN E-P2, Tim Moynihan, Aug. 25, 2010
The Olympus PEN E-P2 gets good owner feedback here -- 4.5 stars out of 5, on average -- in about 20 reviews. Several are lengthy and thoughtful.
Review: Olympus PEN E-P2, Contributors to Amazon.com