I’ve owned the Olympus E-P2 for a while now, and I think I am in the position to make some comments about the camera.*
What I Love About It
It is a very capable camera system, with a good selection of lenses for most purposes. On top of that, the short flange distance is a great way to adapt lenses onto the camera. I personally use Leica M-mount and screw mount lenses on the camera, and love the pseudo-Leica experience. The small size of the camera allows me to remain largely unnoticed to my quarry, except in extremely close quarters. It also allows me to carry a 5-lens system for both analogue (my Leica M2) and digital (E-P2 with M-adapter) systems much easier than a canon set-up. Heck, the whole camera system weighs about the same as a Canon 1n + Grip and a 85mm f/1.8 lens! My camera is black, so it looks like any run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot camera. I also absolutely adore the retro-styling, though that is somewhat diminished when one puts on the excellent but accessory electronic viewfinder (EVF, model VF-2). Some will think that these are merely superficial things, but they certainly add to the experience, and truth be told, some of us out there (myself included) really value the taking experience at least as much as the end result. The VF-2 is a must-have accessory, allowing real-time preview of the scene under various settings (it previsualizes for yous), though it adds significant bulk to the camera. In-body stabilization is a great addition, though to be absolutely honest I don’t know how well it works.
What I Dislike About It
This one has been talked about to death already, but the autofocus speed is pretty ridiculous. It is fairly slow and also not quite accurate, though I suppose if one were not taking candid shots, this does not bother much. Besides, I would strongly recommend the use of pre-focused manual lenses, though with the 2X-crop factor it can be a little hard to find “normal” lenses for the camera. The camera also has a significant lag between pressing the shutter and taking the image, which is frustratingly hard to anticipate (it might just be me), especially for “decisive moments”-type images. The picture below was meant to be taken the moment the two couples align perfectly. Trying to anticipate the lag, I took the shot earlier, resulting in this image. It was difficult to re-photograph the scene because of the delay in resetting of the shutter, too.
Another thing I dislike about the camera is the shutter sound. It is not terribly loud, but loud enough that I will worry about my subject hearing it, especially when I am passing right by them. Compared with my Leica M2, or even the Yashica Electro 35 GSN, this thing literally trumpets its presence. It’s probably not as bad as I think it is, though. Apparently the shutter sound of the Leica M8 is even louder, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much. There is also an incredibly annoying green light around the power button, that is not only too bright, but also UGLY. I mean, how can you have a green light on an otherwise beautiful work of art? Why not white, or even blue? I put a piece of gaffer’s tape over it just to block it out.
The last thing I rather dislike about the camera is that the battery life does not seem great. Granted, I put it through pretty intensive use, but I had to use my back up batteries on each of the three days of shooting during a trip to Chicago. That’s not too bad considering that I took some 300 pictures each day, but what annoys me most is that the battery check will indicate full power, and then one shot later, half-power, and by the third shot it will be out of juice. Kinda defeats the purpose of having a battery indicator, no? Oh, and there does not appear to be a way to perform a battery check without switching the camera off and back on.
I love the camera, and I think as a street photography tool, it is invaluable. It gives poor people like me a change to use a capable camera, in a compact form factor that hearkens back to the golden age of photojournalism. For all its shortcomings, this camera is definitely a keeper! Some more pictures after this.
*A problem with review sites is that they don’t use the camera for quite long enough to get a good feel for the camera. Too often reviewers own a primary camera system which they have used for years and years. Then they get their hands on new equipment and shoot sparingly for a few days and pass a judgment before adapting their own habits to the camera.