I've written here often enough about how my Olympus E-P2 is my favourite camera in terms of looks and the aesthetics of the design. When I bought the silver version earlier this year, I thought it the most beautiful camera I'd ever seen, and I still do. People rave about the new Fuji X100 but to my eyes the E-P2 looks better.
Having said that, I find it a pain to use. Very fiddly controls and a menu system from hell. It also produces images that are some way short of what I get from my GH1 or even GF1. There's a "graininess" in the images that I don't like much, its very poor at high ISO's and I can't seem to get a really sharp picture out of it. Because I like using it, despite my reservations about the handling, I took a lot of pictures with it last summer. This is one with the Leica 14-150mm D zoom fitted.
This was shot as a multi-image stitched panorama to get the file resolution up. While it probably looks fine at this size, at 100% on my screen its not great. It will probably reproduce OK but compared with the following shot taken with the same lens on the following day using a Panasonic GH1 it suffers from the comparison.
This shot was also taken as a multi image panoramic stitch and its crisp, sharp and clean.
My reservations are not just limited to the E-P2. I've seen it in the E-P1 and E-PL1 that I had & also in the samples of the E-5 I looked at. When I compare these results to what I'm getting from the GH2 I've just bought, I really do wonder what to do with it.
When I pick up a camera to go out and take photographs, my GH2 and Sony A55 get preference over the E-P2 if I'm looking to use AF. Both are much more user-friendly than the E-P2. Its a real shame because the VF-2 electronic viewfinder is great, and this should be a great camera for my m-mount lenses, but its really difficult to use them. You have to go to a different screen to get the magnification screen, then press a button to magnify and focus, then press the same button to exit the magnification and then press the shutter button to take the picture. Because of the layout of the camera, this means an uncomfortable couple of thumb manoeuvres which I find difficult holding the camera to my eye. This results in a very slow fiddly process. If I then want to change anything, ISO etc. I have to exit the screen I'm on, go to the main screen and then go back to the previous screen. If anyone out there knows a simpler way, please let me know. The E-PL1 is a lot easier to use MF lenses on, by the way.
So do I keep a camera for its looks alone? Knowing full well that I will use it rarely, if at all. I'm planning to try a two camera system with the E-P2 fitted with an Olympus 14-150mm zoom and my GF1 fitted with an Olympus 9-18mm zoom, to see if that works for me. I'll also try to see if I can improve the image quality I'm getting, though I must admit I've tried virtually everything I can think of so far, without giving me the results I want.
Aesthetics v Functionality - it would be nice to have both. The E-P3??