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Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 review

Small but mighty

Our Verdict

For

  • OM-D sensor
  • Touchscreen
  • Lots of art filters

Against

  • No aperture/shutter speed dial
  • Fixed screen

Olympus launched both the new PEN Mini E-PM2 and the PEN Lite E-PL5 at Photokina 2012. Both share a lot of similarities, most notably the same 16.1 million pixel sensor and TruePic VI processor that have been taken from the highly acclaimed Olympus OM-D M5.

The two new cameras replace those at the bottom and middle of the Olympus PEN lineup, with no replacement for the higher Olympus PEN E-P3 just yet.

Since the cameras have the same sensor as the Olympus OM-D, image quality should be the same, but with the advantage of much smaller bodies, especially with the Olympus PEN Mini, or Olympus PEN E-PM2.

Olympus PEN Mini E PM2 review

The Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 is one of the smallest compact system cameras (CSCs) currently on the market, having fewer dials and direct access buttons than the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5.

It also doesn't have a tilting screen, but unlike its predecessor, it is touch-sensitive, and capacitive. This sensitivity doesn't extend to an on-screen menu in semi-automatic and manual modes as it does on the Olympus OM-D, but it can be used to set the autofocus point or trigger the shutter release.

When using the camera in fully automatic mode, the touchscreen can be used to access the Live Guide menu.

Olympus PEN Mini E PM2 review

Unlike the Olympus OM-D, neither this nor the Olympus PEN E-PL3 have an electronic viewfinder, but there is a port for connecting an optional extra EVF should you find you need one.

Both Olympus and Panasonic claim that their cameras have the fastest autofocusing speeds in the world. Speeds of 0.1 seconds have been quoted for the new PENs.

Anyone who has used an Olympus CSC before will know of the company's love for digital art filters. The new PENs contain the widest selection yet, with 12. There are several here that weren't found on its predecessor, including Cross Process and Key Line, along with others that have been around for longer, such as Pop Colour. Art filters can be used on both stills photographs and when shooting HD video.

Olympus PEN Mini E PM2 review

Olympus, along with Panasonic, uses the Micro Four Thirds format for its compact system cameras. This uses sensors that are smaller than the APS-C devices currently found on the Canon EOS M, Sony NEX-5R, Samsung NX1000, Fuji X-E1 and other CSCs.

Although there are downsides to using a smaller sensor, it does mean that these cameras, and their compatible lenses, tend to be a bit more compact.

Because the Micro Four Thirds format has been around since 2008, it currently has the biggest range of proprietary optics. And, since Panasonic shares the format, lenses from both companies - and third parties such as Sigma - are compatible with PEN cameras.

Olympus PEN Mini E PM2 review

Despite its smaller size, Olympus claims that the sensor technology inside its cameras is class leading and capable of taking on those with larger devices. We'll find out if that's true in our labs tests.

Other interesting specifications of the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 include sensitivity capability up to ISO 25,600, Full HD video recording and 8fps shooting.

The Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 is priced at around £499/AU$579.99/US$599.99 with a 14-42mm kit lens.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenYes
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyPEN
Image StabilizationElectronic, Optical
ColourBlack
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameOlympus
FeaturesSelf-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, Live View, Orientation Sensor, External Flash Shoe, Face Detection, Noise Reduction, 3D Shooting
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4 AVC, Motion JPEG (AVI), MOV
Weight (Approximate)223 g
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeLive MOS
Total Camera Resolution17.2 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Camera AssemblyBody Only
HD Movie ModeYes
Battery Model SupportedBLS-5
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC UHS-I), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC UHS-I), Flash Air, Eye-Fi Card
Height64.2 mm
Width109.8 mm
Depth33.8 mm
Autofocus Points35
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG, MPO
Audio FormatsWAV
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelE-PM2
Product NamePEN E-PM2 Mirrorless Camera
Product LinePEN
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberV206020BU000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

Creative power in a small package.

The Olympus PEN E-PM2 is all the proof you need that small and stylish can deliver impressive images. This compact technological wonder features an expansive 16 MP Live MOS sensor and TruePic VI Image Processor for powerfully vivid images that rival the quality of an SLR. Let the camera achieve photographic perfection with features like iAuto and 23 Scene Select Modes. Or take control using Direct Live Guide. Explore your creative side with 12 ready-to-use Art Filters. The PEN E-PM2 features technology to help you shoot brilliantly when light is hard to find. There's blazing speed with an incredibly responsive touch shutter and 8 fps sequential shooting. The PEN E-PM2. The camera you want when you're ready to leave compacts behind and capture your stories in spectacular fashion.

Battery Life360 Shot
Display Resolution460000 Pixel
Built-in DevicesWireless Flash Control, Microphone, Speaker