Click here for complete specs on the new Olympus E-P2 micro 4/3rds camera
H2H Gallery: Olympus E-P2 vs. Olympus E-P1
Olympus announced its second generation PEN Digital camera, the E-P2. The new version shares many features with the original including the 12.3-megapixel resolution and HD video mode, but adds a few perks like an external audio port and continuous autofocus tracking. The Olympus E-P2 will be available in December for $1,099 in a kit that includes a tilting electronic viewfinder and either a 14-42mm zoom or 17mm pancake lens.
The Olympus E-P2 comes just five months since the E-P1 was announced on June 16. The two cameras share more than the image sensor and Micro Four Thirds standard; they have the same compact dimensions and 3-inch LCD screen. They have a full range of manual, priority, and 19 scene modes. Both have 3 fps burst modes, multiple exposure modes, and HD movie modes.
The E-P2 adds a continuous tracking autofocus mode that “locks your subject into focus, and constantly adjusts focus and brightness whether you or your subject is moving,” according to Olympus. The new model also adds two modes to its “art filter” modes. A Diorama mode narrows the depth of focus and enhances colors, and the Cross Process mode adds unexpected enhancements “on the fly,” according to the press release.
The E-P1 is sold for $749 for the body only, and $799 with the 14-42mm lens included. Adding the 17mm lens and the viewfinder, the package costs $899. This is $200 cheaper than the E-P2’s total package, but the newer viewfinder adds some functionality with its tilting mechanism. It is built taller and can fold upward 90 degrees so photographers can shoot at odd angles more comfortably.
The Olympus E-P2 is designed to accept more accessories with its extra port; Olympus is releasing the EMA-1 microphone as an optional accessory to record higher quality stereo audio – a big upgrade from the mono audio on the E-P1. According to Olympus’ Nov. 5 press release, “When you shoot with the E-P2, it’s like having a sound technician built into your camera to capture the nuances of the audio happening all around you.” The extra port is designed for audio right now, but Olympus said they may release other accessories for GPS tagging and other applications in the future. In addition to the extra port, the E-P2 has a hot shoe where the optional flash can attach.
The Olympus E-P2 has a retro black metal body that has the same 4.74 x 2.75 x 1.37-inch measurements and 11.1 oz weight as the E-P1. The original version came in silver and white colors, but the bodies are otherwise very similar. The E-P2 doesn’t wander far from the original body design because the compact form is what made the E-P1 so popular.
“The high demand for the E-P1 demonstrates that today’s photo enthusiasts and consumers want the high-quality imaging like that of DSLRs in a compact retro design,” said John Knaur, senior marketing manager, Digital SLR, at Olympus Imaging America Inc., in the Nov. 5 press release. “The fact that [the E-P2] also offers HD video, creative functions and high-end stereo sound makes it even more desirable.”
The new Olympus E-P2 is part of the Micro Four Thirds standard, which Olympus developed along with Panasonic. Panasonic released its smaller G-series DSLRs, but Olympus opted for the Pen Digital “interchangeable lens system” cameras, as it is calling them. The E-P2 can accept the lenses that were released with the E-P1: the Olympus Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 or 17mm f/2.8. It can also accept any Four Thirds standard lens with an adapter.
Today Olympus announced plans for two more Micro Four Thirds lenses. There will be a 9-18mm wide zoom lens and 14-150mm telephoto zoom lens, both with an aperture range of f/4-5.6. Both lenses are designed to be very compact so they fit comfortably on the E-P2, and will be available in the spring of 2010.