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Olympus Pen E-P2

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 SLR

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.) 

So far, the best carry options I've found for the PEN is an Optech neoprene case.  It's light, flexible, and relatively non-bulky compared with other camera case options I've seen. 
For carrying the entire system, I'm using a Mountainsmith Zoom Camera Case in size medium.  This case was designed to hold an SLR mounted wiht a single medium zoom lens, but given the small size of the Micro 4/3 components, it is capable of holding my entire system.  (Camera body, 3 lenses, flash, viewfinder, Novoflex adapter for Canon FD lenses, cleaning supplies.)   If I'm carrying the camera body in it's separate case, I can fit a 135mm or 85mm Canon FD lens instead of the camera body.
Mountainsmith case
Optech neoprene case

Olympus Pen E-P2

The E-P2 is the cornerstone for a very good backpacking camera system for a photo-intensive backpacking trip.  Although there is a compromise in image quality compared with a full-frame SLR sensor, the E-P2 and the compact Micro 4/3 lenses provide the flexibility of an interchangable lens camera at a small fraction of the weight of the full size SLR system. 

Weights for the Pen system:
Micro 4/3 system:
Olympus E-P2 camera with strap, viewfinder  16.1
Olympus 9-18mm f:4-5.6 zoom lens   5.7
Olympus  14-42mm  f:3.5-5.6  zoom lens   5.6
Panasonic  20mm  f:1.7 prime lens    4.1
Olympus flash     4.2
Novoflex adapter for Canon FD lenses   2

Full system in Mountainsmith case  with extra battery, cleaning supplies, etc.   3 lbs, 6.6 oz.
 Canon FD legacy lenses:
35-105 zoom lens      23.6 (27.4 w/case) 
85-300 zoom lens (including case)    72.7
24mm lens       9.9  (14 w/case) 
85mm lens       17 (22.3 w/case) 
135mm lens       15.1 (20.2 w/case)


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