Ilse Jurriën : December 31th 2011 - 11:30 CET
|Olympus PEN review
Olympus PEN E-P3 review : The Olympus PEN series has a relatively large sensor, while the system camera itself is not as compact as a digital compact camera. It combines the creative freedom of a digital SLR combined with the ease-of-use of a compact camera. The Olympus E-P3 is Olympus’ flagship in the PEN system camera series. The Olympus PEN E-P3 has a classic retro-look with a timeless metal design, and is equipped with a 12.3 megapixel Live MOS sensor. Additionally, the Olympus PEN E-P3 has the fastest autofocus system in the world. We brought the Olympus PEN E-P3 with us to Tunisia in order to test it extensively in practice. |
Olympus PEN review
The Olympus PEN E-P3 is the successor to the Olympus E-P2. In comparison with the E-P2, some buttons are in a different place, which is not terribly exciting. It is handy that the video record button is on the back and another more obvious change is the addition of a pop-up flash. Further, the display of the Olympus PEN E-P3 has been upgraded, including a much faster autofocus. The grip on the front is also unique, as this is replaceable by another type of grip and/or another color.
Olympus PEN E-P3 review
The Olympus PEN E-P3 is equipped with an incredibly fast autofocus with face detection that is operated via the touch display. However, a fast autofocus alone is not enough, which is why Olympus has also renewed the image processor. The Olympus PEN E-P3 has the powerful TruePic VI processor that was especially developed for system cameras. Due to this combination, the Olympus E-P3 camera thinks and reacts very fast. The tracking function also works well, although the camera still has some trouble with fast moving objects and the photos are a bit disappointing in low light. It is a fact that the Fast AF autofocus is one of the best in terms of mirror-less cameras.
Olympus PEN E-P3 operation
The Olympus PEN E-P3 has a large OLED-touch display with Live View function. The 3" touchscreen display is easy to read and offers a better contrast and a larger viewing angle than its predecessor offers. Unfortunately, Live View is not available for continuous shooting. The camera is comfortable to handle, has a good grip and has two dials. The more advanced photographer will miss the ISO and White balance buttons. The Olympus PEN E-P3 is equipped with three function buttons to which users can assign functions themselves, so that the camera is arranged according to personal taste.
Olympus PEN E-P3 image quality
First of all, we would like to say that it is pleasant shooting with the Olympus PEN E-P3, whether you are an enthusiastic photographer that likes to take nice photos easily, or a more advanced photographer that likes to take a compact camera along. If you only look at the image quality, then there is not much difference with the predecessor. A new ISO value has been added, ISO 12800, however, in practice it is unusable. Nice photos can be taken up to ISO 3200, above that is not recommended. Further, the sensor has remained the same, the 12.3 megapixel sensor is less than the higher resolution cameras that the competition has. This is especially noticeable in the detail captured in a photo.
Download : pinhole (3.86MB), dramatic (3.49MB), diorama (4.60MB), pop-art (3.92MB)
Olympus PEN E-P3 Art Filters
The Olympus PEN E-P3 is equipped with ten Art filters. These filter effects are seen in every PEN camera, however, the creative filters in the E-P3 are the most extensive: Pop-art, Soft-focus, Pale and light color, Soft tones, Grainy film, Pinhole, Diorama, Cross-process, Dramatic and Soft sepia. The latter two have not been seen in a PEN camera previously. The filters can also be combined with five different effects, such as a white edge or starlight. The advanced photographer will probably not use the Art filters so much, however it is a fun addition that is easy to apply.
Olympus PEN review conclusion
The Olympus PEN E-P3 is the top model in the Olympus PEN series. As successor to the E-P2, there are clearly a number of improvements visible, such as a very fast autofocus in the Olympus PEN E-P3, a more powerful processor, a new touch display with a larger viewing angle and a built-in flash has been added. Furthermore, the Olympus PEN E-P3 is easy to operate, however, as always there are not only positive points to name. There is no apparent improvement from the E-P2 in terms of image quality. The 12.3 megapixel sensor has remained the same and the new ISO 12800 is simply unusable. This does not mean that the camera shoots bad photos, there are competing models available that capture more detail. It does depend on what you need/want. Overall, the Olympus PEN E-P3 is a fine camera to shoot with.
Olympus E-P3 review rating
• User-friendliness : 90
• Features : 85
• Image quality : 80
• Design : 85
• Price : 80
• Rating : 85 out of 100
Olympus PEN review
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Olympus PEN E-P3 test photos
Download original : Olympus PEN E-P3 photo (3.93MB)
Download original : Olympus PEN E-P3 picture (3.23MB)
Download original : Olympus PEN E-P3 photo (3.17MB)
Download original : Olympus PEN E-P3 picture (3.85MB)
Download original : Olympus PEN E-P3 test photo (3.49MB)
Download original : Olympus PEN E-P3 test picture (4.01MB)
Download original : Olympus PEN E-P3 test photo (3.26MB)
Download original : Olympus PEN E-P3 test picture (3.98MB)
Download original : Olympus PEN E-P3 photo (4.05MB)