updated 08:00 am EST, Thu November 5, 2009
E-P2 official with continuous AF
Olympus as promised today released the E-P2 as its second-generation Micro Four Thirds compact. The update to the 12.3-megapixel camera primarily adds continuous, motion-track autofocusing that can better follow a subject across the frame. HD movie recording likewise gets a boost with manual control over the aperture and shutter speed.
The camera gets a significant lift in accessory support as well, including a new VF-2 electronic viewfinder with a 1.44-megapixel image; unlike the previous optical viewfinder, it provides 1.15X magnification regardless of the attached lens and 100 percent coverage. A microphone adapter, the EMA-1, lets videographers attach a stereo microphone. The HDMI video output now gains CEC support and can be controlled by a compatible TV's remote.
In software, the camera gets iEnhance, a mode that pumps the color saturation for scenes where shots would seem unusually dull. Live Art Filter image effects have been expanded to include a Cross Process mode that flips color values for a surreal look and a Diorama mode that simulates the narrow depth of field from a tilt-shift lens or add-on.
The E-P2 comes solely in black and has seen its price increase to compensate for the new autofocusing and other systems: Olympus sells kits with either the 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lens or the 17mm f2.8 pancake lens for $1,100.
As part of the launch, Olympus has also previewed two new Micro Four Thirds lenses that work with both any of the E-P cameras as well as competitors like Panasonic's Lumix G series. A 9-18mm (equivalent to 18-36mm in film) f4.0-5.6 lens will give Olympus its first wide-angle zoom lens for the mounting system; a 14-150mm (28-300mm equivalent) f4.0-5.6 lens will give users an alternative to Panasonic's telephoto-ranged lens. Either isn't due to ship until sometime in the first half of 2010 and won't receive pricing until nearer launches.