The Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 is the latest compact entry level Micro Four Thirds camera from Olympus, and features the 16 megapixel sensor from the top of the range Olympus OM-D E-M5 released earlier this year.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Features
The Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 features the same 16 megapixel sensor from the Olympus OM-D E-M5, a 3 inch touch screen, 12 Art filters, and 6 Art effects, Full HD video with stereo sound as well as 8fps continuous shooting. The Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 includes a lot of features from the Olympus OM-D E-M5, including Live Bulb / Live Time, as well as some new features including a built in HDR mode.
16.1 megapixel Live MOS sensor
Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount
Double-axis in-body image stabilisation for blur-free movies and stills with any lens
3inch touch screen 460k dots
Full HD video with stereo sound
12 creative Art Filters in HD Movie and still modes
Art Fade in HD Movie mode for blending from one Art Filter into another
ISO200 - 25600
8fps high-speed sequential shooting
SDXC card and Eye-Fi compatible
Available in black, silver, white or red
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Handling
Handling - Compared to the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1, the E-PM2 adds a number of additional buttons, as well as a touch screen making it easier to use. The E-PM2 also adds a front grip as well as a redesigned rear thumb grip with a decent sized protrusion for a firm grip. The body is made out of metal with a plastic silver surround, and the battery cover is solid with plastic over metal and features a locking mechanism. There is no built in flash, instead the camera comes with a compact pop-up flash, it is provided with a small case. With the addition of the touch screen and additional buttons the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 the camera is even easier to use.
Menus – The touch screen makes it very easy to select the mode on the back screen despite the lack of a mode dial. The custom menus give you extensive control over settings and options and can seem daunting at first glance, but they can be switched off if you don't want these settings messed with. The custom menus are colour coded, and there is built in help that can be switch on and off.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 360 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, we were able to take over 350 shots before the battery went flat.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
Focus, shutter response, shot to shot, and continuous shooting are all excellent, with the only noticeable slowdown seen when using the flash. Switch on time is also excellent.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Face detection works really well, and the camera can be set to give priority to focusing on faces, on the nearest eye, the right eye or the left eye depending on what your preference is. A focus assist lamp helps to focus in low light. Live Time was used to gauge the correct exposure time for the night shot, a demonstration video can be seen below showing how this works, and it's an excellent feature that can take a lot of guess work out of long exposures.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Dynamic range is good and the lens is quite resistant to flare. Exposure is good with bright saturated colours. The 14-42mm kit lens is capable of taking a decent macro photo at the telephoto end of the lens and performs well for a kit lens producing sharp photos right into the corners whether using the lens at the wide-angle end or the telephoto end. Some purple fringing is visible on edges where there is a high level of contrast, although it's not excessive.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is very low at ISO200, ISO400 and ISO800. Noise increases at ISO1600, with a slight loss of detail. ISO3200 images still show a good amount of detail, and the camera still gives usable images at ISO6400. At ISO12800 and ISO25600 there's a noticeable drop in image quality however images should still be suitable for use on the web. The camera gives almost identical performance as the Olympus OM-D E-M5, as would be expected from the same sensor.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten or fluorescent lighting, with the camera giving the option to keep warm colour switched on. The tungsten preset gives a very slight green cast under tungsten lighting, however the fluorescent preset struggled with our fluorescent lighting, giving a magenta cast. For the majority of situations, including mixed lighting the AWB setting produced good results.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Digital filters
Digital Filters - There are a vast array of Art Filters on the Olympus camera, 12 in total, with each one having additional options, such as Pop Colour Bright, or Pop Colour Dark. On top of the Art Filters, you can also apply upto 5 other effects (examples are shown above). The "Grainy Film" black and white effect has another set of B&W Filters, as well as B&W Tone options.
Panorama mode - The E-PM2 doesn't feature an automatic panoramic mode, instead features a panoramic assist mode to help you line up seperate photos, so that you can stitch them together on the computer later. HDR mode - the camera has a HDR bracketing mode, however the cameras doesn't automatically merge these together, instead you must do this later on the computer.
A demo of how live-time works can be seen above - this is an excellent feature that is currently unique to the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2, Olympus Pen Lite E-PL5 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and takes a lot of guesswork out of long exposures (video recorded with the Olympus XZ-2).
Video - The camera has a number of video options, including image stabilisation, colour mode, single-AF, continuous-AF, manual focus, single AF + MF, as well as continuous AF. P/A/S/M modes are available, as well as the option to record MOV or MJPEG. Wind noise reduction is available, as well as three recording volume settings: Low, Standard, High.
Value For Money
The Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 is available for £499, with kit lens, and 8GB Toshiba FlashAir Wi-Fi card, which makes it quite good value for money, although there are a number of other entry level mirrorless cameras that it is up against, including the Sony NEX-F3 at £369, Samsung NX1000 at £399 (Wi-Fi built in), Nikon 1 J2 at £410, and Panasonic Lumix GF5 at £378.
The Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 features an improved design, with better handling and controls than the previous Mini E-PM1, as well as a great 3 inch touch screen. The camera doesn't feature a panoramic mode, but does include a built in HDR bracketing mode, although unfortunately this doesn't auto-stitch the photos. The Live Time feature inherited from the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is an excellent feature.
The camera's image quality is vastly improved over the previous PEN cameras, inheriting the 16 megapixel sensor from the Olympus OM-D E-M5, image quality is excellent with the 14-42mm MK II lens delivering sharp photos and excellent Olympus colour. Noise performance is the best it's ever been from a Micro Four Thirds camera, with usable ISO up to and including ISO6400.
With the current offer on the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2, where you can get a free FlashAir Wi-Fi card, the camera is very good value for money, and we are very happy to give this camera an Editor's Choice award. The Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 is a camera that will suit the beginner looking for high quality photos and rapid performance, as well as the more advanced photographer looking for a compact mirrorless camera.
The Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 produces excellent photos and punches well above its weight.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Pros
16 megapixel sensor from E-M5
Excellent image quality
ISO noise performance
2 year warranty
Live Bulb/Live Time feature
Kit lens performs well
In-body Image Stabilisation
Art Filters massively upgraded
8fps continuous shooting
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Cons
Lacks panoramic mode
HDR doesn't auto merge
Advanced menus can seem daunting initially
E-PM2 Body, M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R, Flash FL-LM1, BLS-1 or BLS-5, BCS-1 or BCS-5, Micro Four Thirds body cap (BC-2), Shoulder Strap, CB-USB6 USB Cable, CB-AVC3 Audio/Video cable, [ib] Image Management Software, Olympus Viewer 2 Software CD