Saturday, April 17, 2010

The PEN Mightier than...

The PEN is mightier than, NOT the sword; duh!

The "PEN" in this instance, an Olympus Pen E-P2 compact point and shoot digital camera which is mightier than my Canon G7.

According to Wikipedia Olympus Pen is a family of half-frame cameras made by Olympus from 1959 to the beginning of the 1980s. Aside from the Pen F series of half-frame SLRs, they are fixed-lens viewfinder cameras.

When I was a photography student in Melbourne, 1967; I dream of owning an Pen F! But alas it is too much for a poor student, so I bought a used Nikkormat instead :(

Olympus Pen FT with a 38 mm f1.8 lens

The compact Pen look like a rangefinder camera is actually a half-frame SLR!

Various companies had been trying to make SLRs as compact as the rangefinders that they were replacing. But most of their efforts were ineffective!

Even today, there is a fanatical following on "the Pen"; which was designed by Yoshihisa Maitani.

In June 16, 2009 Olympus Corp announced the NEW Pen, the E-P1; five months later they launch the E-P2!

There are more than SIX MILLION Google hits on E-P2 alone, so I am not going to elaborate it's features but what I think of this Pen with an vengeance!

I compare the compact Pen with my other favorite compact, the Canon G7.

My Canon G7, left and the Olympus Pen E-P2 which is slightly larger and heavier.

The weather has not been kind the few days I had the Pen, so I mainly grab some shots indoor.

Taken at my office where Peter Gray, in red; received his farewell card. This was shot at ISO 800, first shocker... the grain (or lack of) were really film like!!

Then I got our Peter to do a Chariots of Fire while I fired the little Pen on continuous. Second shocker... the Pen whirred along at 3 shots per second like there is no tomorrow, eating the G7 for breakfast!

But wait! There is more! Those shots were exposed at a whopping ISO 4,000!

Third shocker... you can actually shoot high ISO pictures with a compact!

If this is not the ULTIMATE point & shoot which the G7 cannot deliver same at ISO 400!

Finally a quick ISO 1,600 grab shot of hungry Malaysians and friends at the Wellington Malaysian High Commission's high tea afternoon. Yes, we are waiting for our yummy Penang laksa!

So what do I think of the Pen?

Hot! Just like the Penang laksa above! A compact retro looking, beautifully crafted camera that you will have lots of fun with!

Famous Last Words:

The myth that the focussing speed is very slow, FALSE!

The camera menu is confusing, FALSE!

Quality of the kit zoom is so so, FALSE!

The truth?



Why then is the E-P2 quality so much better than the Canon G7?

Sensor size!

If you type "sensor size" in Wikipedia, you will see the diagram which explain it so clearly.

The E-P2 contain an Four Thirds System sensor (red) while the slightly smaller G7 have a tiny 1/1.8" (orange) size sensor.

Since the E-P2 sensor is EIGHT times larger than the G7, it can render more light and image data and exhibit less "noise"!

My other much much heavier Nikon D300 use a slightly larger APS-C than the E-P2 and its image quality is better but at the expense of larger camera body and lenses, which can be a real burden while travelling!

I think the E-P2 is a perfect compromise in quality and size!

Viva la E-P2!!

Watch the video below. No, I do not work for Olympus ;)

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