Monday, September 17, 2012

Olympus E-PL5 and E-PM2: Micro Four Thirds cameras with OM-D-like focusing, performance boosts (hands-on)

Olympus EPL5 and EPM2 Micro Four Thirds cameras with OMDlike focusing, performance boosts handson

We've been very impressed with Olympus' first OM-D camera, the EM-5. That model's 5-axis image stabilization and super-fast autofocus won us over, while the retro design appeased nostalgics as well. Now, it's time for that speedy shooting to make its way to the company's other Micro Four Thirds models -- the E-PL5 and E-PM2. Both models, announced today, offer nearly identical specifications, with notable differences on the form-factor front. The E-PL5 is the premium model of this bunch, coming in at $700 with a 12-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens or $650 for the body only, while the E-PM2 will run you 100 bucks less for both configurations. Both cameras include 16.1-megapixel Live MOS sensors, top ISO of 25,600, 3-inch 460k-dot touch-enabled LCDs, 1080i video and an 8fps continuous shooting mode. The EM-5's five-axis stabilization is absent here, though a three-axis version should suffice in low light. Each model also includes an external flash and a rebate offer for a free Toshiba FlashAir 802.11b/g/n card, which enables connectivity with the OI Share apps for Android and iOS.

We had a chance to check both cameras out just before Photokina, and were quite pleased with the design, along with that OM-D-like focusing performance, which really is as speedy as Olympus claims. The camera focused instantaneously with almost all of the lenses we tried, though it was a bit sluggish, understandably, when paired with the 60mm f/2.8 macro. The displays were equally sharp, though the PL5 packs a nifty articulating version, which can tilt up, down or face forward for self-portraits. We also enjoyed shooting with the super-slim 15mm f/8 body cap lens, which features a tiny front element with a slide-over cover -- while it's limited on the aperture front and includes fixed focus, it's arguably more useful than a traditional cap (Olympus hasn't confirmed pricing for that optic, though it'll likely come in below the $100 mark). That aforementioned dust-and-splash-proof macro will retail for $500 in early October, while a new 12mm f/2 lens will ship during the same time for $1,100. The "Mini" E-PM2 will be available in silver, black, white and red, while the E-PL5 will ship in silver, black and white -- both versions will be available in October. You can take a closer look at each of the offerings in the gallery below, then jump past the break for the full rundown from Olympus.

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Olympus E-PL5 and E-PM2: Micro Four Thirds cameras with OM-D-like focusing, performance boosts (hands-on) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 17 Sep 2012 05:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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