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Product Preview: Olympus E-P2

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Company Expands Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera Line

By Diane Berkenfeld

EP2 front

The Olympus E-P2 with the 17mm pancake lens and accessory viewfinder attached.

Less than six months after launching the PEN E-P1 Micro Four Thirds camera, Olympus has released the follow up camera, the E-P2. The new PEN, like the E-P1, offers 12.3-megapixels in resolution, and an interchangeable lens system with In-body Image Stabilization. Like the EP-1, the E-P2 can capture HD video and stereo Linear PCM audio recording. The E-P2 comes in a black metal body.

There are a number of improvements and additions to this new Micro Four Thirds camera model from Olympus. One of the biggest features that photographers desired—and was missing on the E-P1—but is available for the E-P2 is a detachable electronic viewfinder (VF-2). The VF-2 and the optional external microphone adapter EMA-1 both utilize the same accessory port which is just below where the electronic viewfinder sits near the top of the body, on the rear. One of the cool things about the viewfinder is that it pivots, which means you can use it normally, or unfold it and use it as a waist level finder. This feature is great for street shooting or when shooting from the ground. The viewfinder, although an accessory, is being included with the purchase of the E-P2 body.

The E-P2 offers most all the features of the E-P1 as well as the following new features: a newly-developed Continuous Autofocus (C-AF) Tracking System that tracks the subject across or back-and-forward through the frame; iEnhance to automatically adjust color and contrast for a more dramatic effect; two new art filters added to those that the E-P1 has; full Manual Control of shutter/aperture in Movie Mode; and HDMI Control of camera’s playback functions using the TV Remote when the camera is connected to an HDTV.

The two new art filters, Diorama and Cross Process—along with the other six art filters—can be used for still images and HD video. The Diorama art filter offers selective focus and gives users a miniature model photo feeling by narrowing the depth of focus and enhancing color and contrast.

The E-P2 comes with either the Olympus M. ZUIKO Micro Four Thirds 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 (28-84mm equivalent) or 17mm f/2.8 (34mm equivalent) lenses.

The Olympus E-P2 will be available in December. For more information, go to www.olympusamerica.com.

Just before the E-P2 camera was announced we were treated to a sneak peek and were quite impressed with what we saw. Look for a full review of the E-P2 to be posted soon!

To read the Picture-soup.com review of the E-P1, click here.


Product Review: Jill-e Chocolate Brown Suede Medium Camera Bag

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By Diane Berkenfeld

Jill-e Chocolate Suede medium bag with leather accents.

Jill-e Chocolate Brown Suede medium bag with leather accents. Note the double row stitching on the pocket flaps and handle straps.

Take a look in my gear closet and you’ll find almost a dozen different camera cases. I’ve got cases on wheels, backpacks, hip-packs, a messenger bag and a few standard-style bags in different sizes. Except for a small grey camera bag and deep blue tripod bag, all the other cases and bags I own are black. Pretty much all of them are made of the usual Denier nylon exterior material. Do they look like camera bags and cases? Of course.

The latest camera bag to join my collection however looks nothing at all like the others. It’s a medium sized camera bag from Jill-e. (Dimensions: (l.) 14 x (w.) 8 x (h.) 9.5 inches) The exterior is chocolate brown suede with brown leather accents to give it style and flair, and has the look and feel of a quality product. The bag has plenty of outside pockets with snap closures and a large back pocket that you can easily slip paperwork or maps into.

The bag, like other Jill-e models, has dual handles and a removable shoulder strap. One of the really useful accessories is a little pouch that can be tethered to the interior of the camera bag. I’ve found it to be great to house personal items like cash, keys and ID. Like most camera bags and cases, the Jill-e bag has moveable Velcro partitions, which allow for a variety of configurations based on your equipment needs. The interior is light brown with polka-dots, making it easy to see loose items when you’re in a hurry. Most of the time I carry a camera, three lenses, flash, media card case and a few other accessories. The medium Jill-e bag easily held all of that equipment with plenty of room for more. The main compartment has a wide zipper closure that is easily opened or closed with one hand.

Jill-e chocolate suede medium camera bag. Note the accessory pouch tethered inside the bag at the top left, moveable partitions, and accessory netting on the inside of the top flap.

Jill-e chocolate suede medium camera bag. Note the accessory pouch tethered inside the bag at the top left, moveable partitions, and accessory netting on the inside of the top flap.

Jill-e burst onto the photography scene in June of 2007 with the line of stylish camera bags that has changed the camera case landscape for the better. I really like the line of Jill-e camera bags. Just because you want to look stylish doesn’t mean you’re any less of a professional photographer. If we weren’t meant to have a choice of color, style and design then all luggage would look alike. With my Jill-e bag, I don’t have to sacrifice style just because I’m carrying around camera gear.

Jill-e added its Jack line of stylish bags and cases for guys in October 2008. They include medium, messenger and rolling cases in brown distressed leather.

The Jill-e line includes a range of bags, in different sizes from pouches and small to medium bags, as well as two sizes of rolling bags in a variety of great colors including pink, red, bone, pale yellow, and combo designs, to suit the needs of any fashionista photographer. Many of the bags are leather with leather accents, a few are suede with leather accents.

MSRP of the chocolate suede medium bag is $239.99. Check the website at www.jill-e.com for more information.