|Compact, Versatile System
The Olympus Pen E-P2 is Micro 4/3 system camera. It accepts interchangable
lenses on a compact body. It is my replacement for the film SLR system that I've used for almost 3 decades
(the Canon F1.) It has several benefits over the old Canon F1 camera, or a full size digital SLR. The primary
benefit is size and weight. The camera body itself is smaller than a full size SLR, and the micro 4/3 lenses are also
smaller. In traditional film cxamera terms, the Olympus Pen system is analagous to a viewfinder camera system like the
Leica M series.
Even with a small pancake lens, the PEN is really too bulky to fit
in a shirt pocket. However, it's sized nicely for a large jacket pocket. It's certainly more portable than a traditional
One of the most useful aspects of the Micro 4/3 camera is that it will
accept my old Canon FD lenses. All that is required is an adapter (I bought mine from Novoflex.) Adapters are
available for a broad range of legacy lenses.
One thing to keep in mind is that the effective focal length of the lens you attach
is double that of the same lens on a 35mm film camera. The legacy lenses I find most useful are my 85mm f1.2 and 135
f2.8 These relatively compact lenses give me very useful, wide aperture telephoto options 170mm and 270mm
equivalents, respectively for not much bulk or weight.
The only disadvantage of using the Canon Fd lenses is that you don't get
autofocus. However, I've found that the manual focus action on the Olympus Pen EP-2 is quite user friendly,
so manual focusing these lenses is relatively fast and accurate.
The ability to use legacy lenses was one of the
primary reasons why I purchased the Olympus Pen rather than the Panasonic GF1. The Olympus uses in-camera image stabilization
which works no matter which lens the camera has mounted. In contrast, the Panasonic GF1 relies on image stabilization
incorporated into the lens. If the lens doesn't have it, there is no image stabilization. So, for utilization
of legacy Canon FD lenses, the Olympus in-camera stabilization was a big benefit.
One of the highly touted features of the E-P2 compared with the original
E-P1 camera body is the availability of a viewfinder. The viewfinder slips onto the hot shoe mount and provides a nice
adjunct to the standard lcd viewfinder, which can be particulalry helpful in bright light or when using manual focus.
When not in use, the viewfinder can be kept attached to the camera strap in a small case.
The hotshoe also serves its traditional purpose as the attachment point
for a flash. The Olympus flash unit is compact, and reasonably effective given its small size. It's extremely
simple to use, at least with native Micro 4/3 lenses (I haven't used it with legacy Canon FD lenses.)