|Olympus E3 digital SLR camera review : In 2003 Olympus introduced the first model of the FourThirds System: the E-1, aiming at the professional photographer and equipped with various innovations. Four years later Olympus have come up with the successor to the E1. There had been some rumour about the name; P-1, P3 and E-3 were mentioned and the latter was chosen. Although the Olympus E-3 may be considered the successor to the E-1, it differs considerably from its predecessor. Among other things; its price tag. The Olympus E-3 finds itself more or less in the category of the EOS 40D and the D300, a heavy competition.
Olympus E-3 Built-in image stabilizer
It's quite logical Olympus have equipped the Olympus E-3 with many of the same features as introduced with the other Olympus models over the last few years. Such as the SuperSonic Wave Filter (SSWF). You'd almost forget that Olympus was the first manufacturer introducing a vibrating filter in front of the sensor for removing dust. Nowadays nearly every digital SLR camera has this functionality. New is the fact that the sensor is placed vibrating, so the Olympus E-3 is now offering incorporated image stabilization.
Olympus E3 Tilt & Shift vari-angle monitor
Together with Panasonic, Olympus were the first to introduce Live View in a DSLR. Olympus take the E-3 even a step further. The Olympus E-3 has been equipped with a tilt and shift vari-angle monitor just like Panasonic's L-10. It enhances the ease of use considerably and makes Live View very efficient. I am curious to see if and when the other brands will follow. They have (almost) all just discovered Live View and they are already behind at this point. Live View is enabled by swapping the Kodak sensor for a Live MOS of Matsushita, you may say Panasonic. The sensor fits seamless into the FourThirds System offering a huge pack of lenses. The amount of pixels has doubled compared with the E-1 and the E-3 is now offering 10.1 million effective pixels. The TruePic II image processor should enable the E-3 to deliver beautiful pictures.
Olympus E3 Auto focus system
One weak point of the E-1 was the auto focus with only three focus points. This is where Olympus took a giant step forward. Or so they claim. Olympus claim that the E-3 offers the fastest auto focus in the world at this moment providing you use the new Zuiko Digital SWD (Silent Wave Drive) lenses with the camera. The amount of focus points has been enhanced to eleven and Olympus have done some thorough research to find out where exactly these focus points should be placed. Combined with a maximum image speed of 5 frames per second and a buffer that holds up to 19 RAW pictures, the Olympus E-3 is suitable for real action photography.
Olympus E-3 Camera housing
The new housing will appeal to professional photographers. With its magnesium alloy body the camera can stand a few bumps. And what's even more important; the E-3 is weatherproof. We have already experienced that at the press conference in Istanbul. The Olympus passed with flying colours for a day in extreme rain showers. What's also important is the 100% coverage of the E3's viewfinder that enables you to see exactly what you're capturing. The viewfinder is enhanced too, making it easy to check sharpness. This was not the strongest point of the E-1. The E-3 lets you shoot to your heart's content; the shutter is guaranteed to 150,000 pictures. Sufficient for a few years of intensive shooting.
Olympus E3 SLR review
We had a good impression of the capacities of Olympus' new flagship on that rainy day in Istanbul but it's not until you extensively test a camera before you detect its real character. We have had the Olympus E-3 in our possession for quite a while and have tested the camera comprehensively. Whether or not we are still so impressed by the E-3 you can read in the following Olympus E3 review.
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"During the Olympus E-3 event I was able to work with the camera for an entire day and I must admit that I was nicely surprised. Not that I did not have faith in the long development period necessary to build a new D-SLR camera but more so because Olympus once again have presented a full D-SLR with its very own character. The competition is heavy and ruthless and the technique advances with big steps. The Olympus E-3 seems to fit in perfectly in the current D-SLR market but it is capable of keeping its own identity."
Continue to read our Olympus E3 preview and take a look at our test photos!