Just six months after announcing its first digital PEN camera, the E-P1, Olympus has announced the second model in its Micro Four-Thirds family. The E-P2 offers several features including an accessory port, auto-focus tracking, and two new art filters.

Like its predecessor, the E-P2 features a compact metal body (this time offered in black), 12.3MP, interchangeable lenses and HD video capability. For a detailed look at the features that both models share, check out our article on the E-P1 from June.

A quick look at the back of the E-P2 reveals the new accessory port, located just above the 3-inch color LCD. This port allows you to connect new accessories including the VF-2 electronic viewfinder or the optional EMA-1 external microphone adapter.

The VF-2 is a detachable electronic viewfinder that is included with the E-P2 and attaches to the camera’s accessory port and hot shoe. The VF-2 provides a 100 percent field of view and offers 1.15x magnification and an adjustable diopter. Previously on the E-P1, all composition was done using the camera’s LCD. The VF-2 provides a more traditional DSLR view, and also rotates up to 90° to enable photographers to look down into it like an older twin-lens reflex (film) camera.

The E-P2’s accessory port also accepts the EMA-1 external microphone adapter. With the EMA-1 you can connect an external stereo microphone, including the Olympus ME-51S microphone.

On the inside, the E-P2 features a continuous auto-focus tracking system that Olympus claims will lock onto a subject and then automatically track it throughout the frame. Wherever the subject moves, the E-P2 automatically adjusts the focus and brightness for a clear image.

Olympus has included eight art filters in the E-P2 – two more than in the E-P1. The new filters include Diorama, which produces a tilt-shift effect that makes a scene look like a miniature model, and Cross Process, which changes the contrast and color to create a surreal look.

Other new features in the E-P2 include:

  • iEnhance, which automatically adjusts the color and contrast for a more dramatic, lifelike image;
  • full manual control of shutter and aperture when shooting HD video;
  • control of the E-P2’s playback functions using your TV remote when the camera is connected to an HDTV via HDMI.

The Olympus E-P2 will be available in December 2009. Camera kits will include the E-P2 body, VF-2 electronic viewfinder, and either a 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens (28-84mm equivalent) or 17mm f2.8 lens (34mm equivalent).

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