The Micro Four Thirds system gets a much awaited new camera – the Olympus E-P2 which is essentially an E-P1 with an optional EVF and some functional upgrades, but which hopefully will address some of the weaknesses of the otherwise ground breaking E-P1.
Olympus has also announced two new MFT M Zuiko Digital lenses – a 9-18mm f/4-5.6 which covers 18-36mm ultra-wide zoom in 35mm terms, and a 14-150mm f/4-5.6 which covers 28-300mm in 35mm terms.
Although these may not be the top of the list of die hard Olympus fans, I believe they are good marketing options for Olympus wishing to bring point and shoot photographers into the system as they will be much more affordable (one would expect) than the Panasonic 7-14mm and 14-140mm OIS lenses.
They still need to get an affordable portrait/macro lens out there soon though to give a reasonably well rounded starter system. Then they can get to work on looking after the fans looking for very nice wide aperture prime lenses.
The Olympus E-P2 adds the following to the E-P1 feature set:
- available in black as well as white
- optional tiltable EVF or external microphone via the same accessory port
- AF tracking – seems to be a little faster than that on my GH-1 after watching the video
- two additional art filters – diorama and cross-process
- a colour-boosting i-Enhance function
- remote slideshow control via HDMI
- AVI format movies in 30fps 1280x720p HD resolution with PCM sound – not class leading by any means but will be adequate for most users
- option to shoot high-definition movies in M (full manual) mode
The big question is – has Olympus improved the AF speed to match the Panasonic cameras?
Of course the majority of initial owners of the E-P1 did not care for fast AF as they largely bought it for its incredible range of lenses that could be used in manual focus and have them image stabilised. The E-P2 will provide the same functionality but adds some extras, in particular, the EVF will be handy in bright sunlight when the LCD screen gets a bit difficult, while the black color makes it look better when mated with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens which is becoming a must have lens for MFT users.