Does the latest PEN Mini follow in the footsteps of its well-regarded sibling, the Olympus PEN E-PL5? Find out how our testing team rates it in our Olympus E-PM2 review video.
Olympus launched the PEN Mini E-PM2 and the PEN Lite E-PL5 at Photokina 2012. Both PEN cameras share a lot of similarities, most notably the same 16.1 million pixel sensor and TruePic VI processor that have been taken from the highly acclaimed Olympus OM-D M5.
In her Olympus E-PM2 review video, Amy Davies of our testing team investigates what this new PEN camera has to offer.
Olympus E-PM2 Review Video Transcript
Olympus launched two new cameras into its PEN range earlier in the year, and this is the E-PM2, also known as the PEN mini.
It replaces the E-PM1 which was announced last year. Impressively, it contains the same 16.1 million pixel sensor and image processor as the highly regarded Olympus OM-D, which was announced at the start of 2012.
This means that the Pen Mini is capable of producing the same image quality, but with the advantage of a much smaller, more compact body. The also newly announced E-PL5, which sits in the middle of the PEN line-up, also has the same sensor.
There are several noticeable differences between the PEN Mini and the E-PL5, which is also known as the PEN Lite, and of course, the OM-D. It’s a lot smaller than the OM-D and is one of the smallest compact system cameras on the market. Compared with the Lite, it also has fewer dials and buttons.
The screen on the back of the PEN Mini is a fixed, 460,000 dot device, and although it’s not tilting, it is a capacitive touchscreen, which is very responsive and easy to use. It’s particularly useful for setting the autofocus point, and you can also use it to activate the shutter release if desired.
It’s also a good performer in bright light, not suffering too badly from glares in the majority of conditions. There’s no viewfinder, though an optional one can be purchased separately if you prefer not to use the screen to compose images.
As there’s no mode dial, you can switch between the various modes the camera offers by hitting this Menu button. From here, you can choose fully automatic, semi-automatic, full manual or art and scene modes.
Most of the commonly used settings can be accessed quickly by hitting the OK button – here you’ll see parameters such as white balance, aspect ratio, raw format shooting and focusing mode. If you need more extensive settings, you need to go into the setup portion of the menu.
One slight annoyance is the way that aperture or shutter speed is altered. As there’s no direct dial, first you need to push up on the directional key pad, and then up and down again to change the setting.
It’s not the quickest way to make this change, and it can soon get a little frustrating when you need to change exposure frequently.
Although the camera is small, this grip here, combined with a thumb rest on the back of the camera makes it feel very secure in the hand – even when shooting one handed.
Unlike a couple of other cameras currently available on the market, the E-PM2 doesn’t have inbuilt WiFi, however, it is compatible with Toshiba FlashAir Wireless LAN SDHC cards.
This means, with the aid of the free Olympus app, that you can transfer your images across to a smartphone or tablet, without needing to connect to an internet connection. You can’t control the camera with the app, but perhaps that’s something that could be developed in the future.
Like the other cameras in the Olympus Micro Four Thirds range, the E-PM2 boasts very fast focusing speeds. Although there’s some debate between Panasonic and Olympus over who exactly has the quickest speeds, but as we’re talking about microseconds, it’s probably not worth arguing about. Needless to say, the Mini does indeed deliver on those quick speeds promised, especially in good light.
This isn’t really a camera aimed at enthusiast and advanced audiences, and as such the lack of direct access buttons and dials could frustrate those who are often looking to make changes.
For those people, we’d recommend taking a look at the E-PL5 or perhaps even the older E-P3 – or you might choose to wait a little while as there’s likely to be a replacement for that in the pipeline.
As we have tested both the OM-D and the E-PL5, we had no doubts that the E-PM2 would also deliver excellent images, and happily, we weren’t disappointed. That great sensor works well to deliver images with plenty of detail and bright, punchy colours.
Considering this camera is aimed at the beginner end of the market, it’s fantastic to see such great technology being used in what is a much more affordable option than ever before.
We can see this camera being very popular for those looking to get into their first compact system camera and really get creative with their photography.