Olympus E-PL2 – Part 3 – Initial Handling Notes

Continued from the last post!

It’s not easy deciding whether the Olympus E-PL2 is a significant or a minor upgrade from the E-PL1. It doesn’t help that Olympus doesn’t seen to be phasing out the E-PL1 yet at the moment, and letting the two models sit side by side on the same shelf.

Functionally, they’re pretty similar. In fact, I didn’t even bother with the E-PL2’s Instruction Manual. From the first pick-up at the Funan Center outlet of Alan Photo, I found myself instinctively navigating through the menus to toggling modes and options to make sure the camera was working properly before handing over the money for the camera yesterday morning.

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Here’s a list of my small notes; ranting off and in no particular order:

– I went with the Black edition this time, just for a change. And I’m starting to have mixed feelings about the color. Sigh. Should had gone back to the Champagne Gold one, like my old E-PL1.

– Out-of-camera JPGs remain outstanding. I took a few shots outside at The Rivervale and they look just great. This is one camera I have no problems shooting in JPG.

– Flash recycling times have improved – nice!

– The hotshoe cover slides off easily. I took it off first thing and left it in the box, lest it slips off accidentally when in actual use!

– The new MSC Mark II kit lens focuses internally, silently, and very briskly (hooray!!!). Even Ling was impressed.=)

– The new kit lens however uses a different lens diameter. 37mm. Gaaah. What am I gonna do with the 40.5mm filters I bought for the E-PL1 now?

– On the other hand, the new kit lens feels a little more plasticky. Maybe it’s the color.

– The 3 inch 460,000 dot rear TFT LCD is gorgeous. Not as pixel-dense as the D300, but definitely an upgrade from the 260,000 dot 2.7 inch LCD on the E-PL1.

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– The rear four button controller on the E-PL1 has been replaced by a control dial that supposedly offers faster navigation through menu options. I didn’t care much for this though as the control dial itself is still too small to make rotation easy.

– Whatever happened to the volume control of the focus-beep? It’s on or off now only in the new camera.

– Rotatable Ring strap eyelets included now as a design improvement over the E-PL1. I actually prefer the rectangular metal ones from the old E-PL1 instead. These new rotatable ones rattle.

– The UI really looks antiquated. It’s functional yes, but not particularly pleasing aesthetically. Having seen the Sony NEX-5 and Samsung NX100 UIs, the Olympus one looks like it’s from a 2000’s rather than 2011 line of digital cameras. Maybe it’s the font or the color scheme, or both.

– The E-PL2 feels more robustly made than the E-PL1. It’s still a large plastic construction, but exhibits no flex at its joints.

In all; I’ll put it somewhere between a significant and a minor upgrade from the E-PL1. The faster focusing is the singularly most important benefit for me, with the larger and higher resolution LCD following next. More and final notes to come after I’ve spent a bit more time using the camera. =)



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