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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.
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
- HDR Bracketing
- 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
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.
|Olympus PEN E-PM2
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.15||0.3|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||0.4||2.2|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||0.5||0.9|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||1.6||2.1|
(shots before slow down)
|8fps (16 shots)||7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)
|Continuous Shooting - Flash||1.5s||1.6s|
|Continuous Shooting - RAW||8fps (15 shots)||4fps (13 shots)
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.
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Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Sample Photos
Drive | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Yellow Leaves | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Thoresby Hall | 1/250 sec | f/7.1 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
Night Shot | 20 sec | f/8.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 200
Portrait Flash | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 32.0 mm | ISO 200
Portrait | 1/100 sec | f/2.8 | 45.0 mm | ISO 640
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
Wide | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Zoom | 1/250 sec | f/9.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 200
Trees | 1/100 sec | f/4.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Macro | 1/10 sec | f/5.6 | 42.0 mm | ISO 400
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
1/10 sec | f/5.6 | 42.0 mm | ISO 200
1/20 sec | f/5.6 | 42.0 mm | ISO 400
1/40 sec | f/5.6 | 42.0 mm | ISO 800
1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 42.0 mm | ISO 1600
1/125 sec | f/6.3 | 42.0 mm | ISO 3200
1/160 sec | f/7.1 | 42.0 mm | ISO 6400
1/250 sec | f/9.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 12800
1/320 sec | f/10.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 25600
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
AWB Tungsten (Warm on) | 1/25 sec | f/4.0 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
AWB Tungsten Warm Off | 1/25 sec | f/4.0 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
Tungsten Preset | 1/20 sec | f/4.0 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
AWB Flu | 1/6 sec | f/4.0 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
Fluorescent Preset | 1/6 sec | f/4.0 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
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
Cross Process | 1/320 sec | f/10.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 200
Sepia | 1/320 sec | f/10.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 200
Grainy 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 200
Keyline | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 200
Watercolor | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 200
Drive Dramatic Tone | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Drive Pinhole | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Drive Pop Colour | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Miniature | 1/200 sec | f/9.0 | 42.0 mm | ISO 200
Light | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Pale | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Soft | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
Pop Colour 1 PB150236 | 1/250 sec | f/7.1 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
Pop Colour 2 PB150237 | 1/200 sec | f/7.1 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
Pop Colour 1 Pinhole PB150239 | 1/200 sec | f/7.1 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
Pop Colour 1 Frame PB150241 | 1/200 sec | f/7.1 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
Pop Colour 1 Star PB150242 | 1/250 sec | f/7.1 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
Pop Colour 1 White PB150240 | 1/200 sec | f/7.1 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
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 MoneyThe 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.
You'll may also want to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
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 Pros16 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 ConsLacks panoramic mode
HDR doesn't auto merge
Advanced menus can seem daunting initially
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Specifications
|CCD pixels||16.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Live MOS Sensor|
|Sensor Size||Micro / Four Thirds|
|Sensor Size (width)||17.3mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||13mm|
|Screen resolution||460,000 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/4000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||60sec|
|ISO sensitivity||200 - 25600|
|Viewfinder Resolution||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Lithium Ion BLS-5|
|Box Contents||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|