Olympus Pen E-PM2 pictures and hands-on

Olympus has refreshed its Pen range on an annual basis, and with each increment there tends to be a trickle of new features. But the E-PM2, or "Pen Mini" as it's otherwise known, pulls in the same 16-megapixel sensor as found in the OM-D E-M5 and is the first of two Pen cameras to push beyond the "Olympus 12-megapixel barrier".

We might be worried about the resolution because of the Micro Four Thirds sensor size, but the OM-D has already proved just how much its sensor can achieve, so the E-PM2 ought to be very welcome and capable of delivering some ace results. We weren't able to test pictures with our sample camera as it was a pre-production model.

The E-PM2 is still the baby of the Pen range though, replacing the E-PM1 after approximately a year of shelf life.

Compared to its predecessor there aren't stacks of new features, but an upgrade to "fast AF" autofocus thanks in part to the TruePic VI engine is much like the OM-D in speed terms.We were impressed.

Just as with its predecessor there's no mode dial, unlike other Pen models such as the E-PL5 that's also announced (click for our hands-on first look), which makes for a more menu-based user experience. But as the E-PL5 won't cost much more than the E-PM2 at all, we don't think that's a major problem: the decision rests with the buyer.

However there's still no built-in pop-up flash. Yes there's one included in the box, but we think that the baby of the group should, considering its target audience, build one into the body.

Art filters have also seen a small upgrade, with the likes of watercolour and tinted mono added to the menus. There's even the option, so we're told, to fade between one art filter and another during movie capture - but as the model we had a play with wasn't a final version this wasn't something we could test. Shame.

The E-PM2 will also support Toshiba's FlashAir Wi-Fi enabled SD card should you fancy sharing pictures on the go. This means you needn't pay a price premium for Wi-Fi unless it's something you truly want, and there's no bulky extra unit to attach to the camera either.

In addition to the E-PL2's announcement there's also a brand new "body cap" lens. As you can see from the picture in our gallery, this puts the "pan" in pancake - it's teeny tiny. The lens is a 15mm (30mm equiv.) fixed f/8 aperture with an infinity/macro/closed slider on the front rather than a lens cap. It's anticipated to retail for only £70 too and, although it won't be suited to all snappers, it sure does keep the size of the package down to something very pocketable indeed.

Expect to see the E-PM2 hit the shelves soon. It'll be available in black, white and silver finishes - no brown or purple options this time - and has been penned in (yep, terrible pun) for a €599 starting price. No final word on pricing in the UK or other territories however.



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