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Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Review

Our review of the new Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 - the new compact Micro Four Thirds camera with 16mp sensor.

| Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 in Mirrorless Cameras

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Review: Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2

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

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Review: Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2

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.

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Review: Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2

Key Features

  • 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

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Handling

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Review: Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2

- 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.

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Review: Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2

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.

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Review: Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2

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
Sony RX100
Shutter Response
<0.05 0.0
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
0.20 0.3
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
Continuous Shooting
(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.

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.

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.

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Verdict

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.

  Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Review:  
  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
HDR Bracketing
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


Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeLive MOS Sensor
Sensor SizeMicro / Four Thirds
Sensor Size (width)17.3mm
Sensor Size (height)13mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460,000 dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing modes
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity200 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Wi-FiNo Data
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion BLS-5
Battery Life (CIPA rating)360shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsE-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

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Photographs taken using the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2

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16 Nov 2012 9:29PM
Great review, thanks! But lack of real world high ISO pics
16 Nov 2012 10:59PM
Why the obsession with high ISO settings? That isn't the real world.
Dixxipix 13 29 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2012 2:49PM
You ask "What do you think of mirrorless cameras?"
I think they are the future, as they offer great weight/size reductions but until a manufacturer makes one that has a viewfinder (I hate using a screen to see what I am trying to photograph) as crystal clear as a pentaprism, and that does not flicker when you pan then I will not be buying one.
Paul Morgan 22 19.8k 6 England
17 Nov 2012 11:28PM
Evf`s stopped flickering a fair while ago, most have decent refresh rates these days.
AlexandraSD 11 773 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2012 3:51AM
Been a quiet fan of Olympus for years, and this camera certainly seems to kick some arse, its a beauty.

Quote:You ask "What do you think of mirrorless cameras?"
I think they are the future, as they offer great weight/size reductions but until a manufacturer makes one that has a viewfinder (I hate using a screen to see what I am trying to photograph) as crystal clear as a pentaprism,....

I can see mirrorless camera's replacing bulky SLR's pretty soon actually, specially with all these pin sharp pancake lenses that are going about. I remember when the first digital PEN came out, most said it was a novelty, and i admit i thought it was too, a camera without a viewfinder? Weird! But now i get it completely, and i would not miss a viewfinder if i bought one of these now.

Test results on this was incredible i thought, the noise is a big issue but Olympus seem to have that one in the bag, they can take a breather for a while. Very nice review, thank you.
franken Plus
20 5.7k 4 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2012 8:21AM
Having recently won an EPL-3 I was sceptical over how cameras like these perform until I tried it.

I have to say that the performance is really excellent. High quality without the weight involved with DSLR's and lenses.

This one is currently on my wish list.

petebfrance 11 3.2k France
18 Nov 2012 10:23PM

Quote: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.

Is software supplied with the camera to do this? (and the panorama pics)

joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2012 9:25AM

Quote: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.
Is software supplied with the camera to do this? (and the panorama pics)


Hi Pete,
The software has an auto panorama feature that will stitch the photos. I can't find anything in the software to auto process the HDR files. I will check with Olympus.
Paul Morgan 22 19.8k 6 England
19 Nov 2012 3:12PM
Is the FREE 8GB FlashAir Card available with the body only kits and is it packaged with the camera or is it something you have to send away for.

I`ve seen the 1,2,3 offer but it dosn`t tell you a lot.
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2012 3:23PM
Hi Paul, comes in the box with the body and kit lens: See here (link to Amazon UK)

Regarding the 1,2,3 offer, Amazon explain it quite well, you buy the camera+kit lens (with flash air card) then the 40-150 kit (with another 8gb card and case), Amazon deduct the price at checkout, then you send off for the "cookie" pancake lens.
Niknut Plus
13 3.6k 82 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2012 3:33PM
Does that 'AP2' socket take an EVF ?????....& what's it's resolution ???
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2012 4:30PM
Yes - AP2 takes the Olympus OVF / EVFs:

VF-1, optical 17mm view, £95
VF-2, 1.44million dots, £175
VF-3, 920k dots, £150
Paul Morgan 22 19.8k 6 England
19 Nov 2012 9:47PM

Quote:Does that 'AP2' socket take an EVF ?????....& what's it's resolution ???

The dots mean jack all without a mention of the viewfinder size Smile

My G series and OMD both have the same number of dots, but the G camera screen is pretty grainy, the OMD`s is lovely, but it is smaller.

Quote:Hi Paul, comes in the box with the body and kit

Thanks Josh, doe this mean, if you buy the body only, you loose out on the card offer.
Metalhead 15 1.9k 2 England
20 Nov 2012 12:13PM
I can't help noticing on the Night Shot of the city scene that all the distant street lights have a horrible "blob" effect surrounding them all. Any ideas what's causing this?

I'm looking at the E-PM2 and E-PL5 with interest but I'd like to include doing night shots and especially star trail shots but I'm a little concerned that point sources of light like stars and distant street lights are always going to have this kind of blobby effect?

It would be good to see some star trail examples. I know it's a bit "specialist" compared to general shots, but I won't bother changing what I have now if M43 doesn't tick all my boxes.

Also looking forward to the E-PL5 full review when it appears!

Edit: Just noticed the same effect on the Olympus XZ-2 night shot. Is this effect an Olympus thing?
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2012 12:58PM
Hi Metalhead, this was due to me shooting through a window in my house, at quite an angle. The video showing how live-time works shows the setup (albeit very darkly).
Metalhead 15 1.9k 2 England
20 Nov 2012 1:24PM
Thanks for the update. That may explain some of it, but I've seen another example from another website also showing the "blob" nature of distant lights in a night shot (unless they were shooting through a window too but difficult to tell!)

Just seen the other pics in your portfolio of the Nikon D800 shots of the same scene. I'd expect the diffraction spikes from point sources as shown in the Nikon shot, but I'm still a bit concerned of the blobbing from the E-PM2. (Thought I recognised it as Sheffield too Grin )
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2012 1:52PM
Hi Metalhead, I've got the E-M5 (same sensor) so will be able to give it another try with that, assuming the weather improves, and I'll try and upload some photos to my portfolio. Cheers.
Metalhead 15 1.9k 2 England
20 Nov 2012 2:02PM
Great, thanks for that. I'll keep an eye out for them or drop me a message if you get a chance! Only other thing might be worth noting is the E-PL5 (same sensor again) hasn't got an anti aliasing filter though I'm not sure whether the E-PM2 has or hasn't or whether or not that would even make a difference?

Thanks again.
Pete 22 18.8k 97 England
20 Nov 2012 2:54PM
Metalhead 15 1.9k 2 England
20 Nov 2012 3:02PM
Thanks for that, Pete, but your photo states it was the E-P2 so not using the OM-D/E-PM2/E-PL5 sensor. Viewed large it still looks quite blotchy to me, though not "blobby" around the stars as I was explaining above with the street lights. Maybe that's just a restriction of viewing it on the web though?
Pete 22 18.8k 97 England
20 Nov 2012 4:30PM
whoops yes sorry. Not thinking straight. Doh!!! Sad I've not got around to doing any decent ones with the OM-D yet. I did one at Malham but I'm not happy with the foreground. I plan to try again when we get a clear night. I've a pentax GPS device to trial at the same time. I'll upload one so you can check the raw out
Metalhead 15 1.9k 2 England
20 Nov 2012 4:37PM
Thanks, that would be appreciated!
Pete 22 18.8k 97 England
20 Nov 2012 4:52PM
This is the jpeg from the raw file. I've lightened it in lightroom Malham sky
I've linked to the RAW file but the system doesn't appear to give public access so checking with IT guys how we let you see it. I might have to use download section.
Metalhead 15 1.9k 2 England
20 Nov 2012 5:09PM
Thanks very much. I see it's 30 seconds at ISO400. I wonder if my expectations are too high of night shots on M43 sensors? Or at least of longer exposures? It still looks pretty grainy to me when zoomed in at 50 to 100% (I know there's plenty of arguments for not viewing at this level!) for a relatively low ISO and a new, high spec sensor.

I haven't done many night shots with my trusty old 400D but I'm sure the ones I have done don't seem as grainy as this viewed at 100%. Must say though the stars don't show the blob effect I was concerned about earlier.

Your focus is good for what must have been a very dark scene!
joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2012 11:45PM
Hi Metalhead, I have been trying some night shots with the E-M5, the E-PM1, and X-E1, and it seems that the blobs are more likely with longer exposures, but also more likely with the kit lenses - I used the 14-45mm Panasonic lens with the Olympus m43 cameras, and the 18-55mm lens with the X-E1 (all at full zoom, and at various apertures), and all cameras were capable of producing the blobs you see. Here's a 14-45mm E-M5 image (at 45mm): 13 sec | f/8.0 | 45.0 mm | ISO 200

I also used the Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 lens and Olympus OM Zuiko 135mm f/3.5 lens and these produced the stars you see with the D800 image in my portfolio.

Here's a 50mm image: (100mm equivalent) 15 sec | f/8.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 200

Here's a 135mm image: (270mm equivalent) 3.2 sec | f/5.6 | 135.0 mm | ISO 200

PS - I'm really really impressed by these old prime lenses Grin
I wasn't shooting through a window this time either.
Metalhead 15 1.9k 2 England
21 Nov 2012 8:42AM
Wow, thank you very much for that comprehensive reply! To be honest even in the top image with the 14-45 I can't really see the blobbing effect on the distant light sources. If it's there, it's very subtle. I had read the Panasonic 14-45 is a better kit lens than the current 14-42 lenses that ship with Olympus cameras. Maybe this is good evidence of that?

As for the two shots with the primes, they are excellent! Smile I think the diffraction spikes around the light sources are unavoidable and maybe not shooting through a window has played its part too. I'd be guaranteed to be outdoors if/when I do any night shots so that would rule that one out.

Well, overall I'm very impressed with that sensor but it does look like for long exposures then I may have to invest in a good prime lens somewhere down the line.

Thanks again for all the extra info. Really appreciate it!
7 May 2014 12:32AM
But it DOES have Panorama mode?

DOH! Spoke too soon, I see it is only panoramic "assist" as you say...
indysteve1949 10 104 United States
21 Jan 2015 11:55AM
bought mine as upgrade from PM-1. i love mine the image quality is better than Canon t2i, t3i. i use a EVF-4 because of eyesight, but a/f can be trusted 99% of the time.coupled with a Panny 20mm f 1.7 it's a world beater!!!

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