Olympus E-3

Released October, 2007
  • 10 MP
  • Four Thirds 17.3 x 13.5 mm NMOS
  • 2.5" LCD
Features like in-body IS and a tilting screen are all well and good, but a camera at this level needs to offer the ultimate image quality and total shooting versatility, and here the E-3 can struggle to match its direct competitors.
by DPReview (Feb, 2008)
9 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Olympus E-3

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

Olympus E-3
8.1
EOS 70D
8.9
DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth and DxOMark Dynamic range

Focusing

How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

Olympus E-3
9.1
EOS 70D
10.0
Focus lag

Responsiveness

How much delay is there between you and your photo?

Olympus E-3
8.8
EOS 70D
9.3
Focus lag, continuous shooting and Startup delay

Reviews

What do the experts think?

Olympus E-3
9.4
EOS 70D
9.5
Reviews from 43rumors.com, techradar.com, trustedreviews.com, dpreview.com and 1 more

9

Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

Olympus E-3
9.0
EOS 70D
9.4

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Olympus E-3

Low light image quality Highest ISO setting that still achieves great image quality

Olympus E-3
571 ISO
EOS 1D Mark III
1,078 ISO
EOS 70D
926 ISO

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Olympus E-3
135 ms
E-620
298 ms
Lumix DMC-L10
230 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

Olympus E-3
76 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

Olympus E-3
1,200 ms
EOS 40D
400 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Olympus E-3
5 fps
EOS 70D
7 fps

Battery life How many photos per battery charge (CIPA)

Olympus E-3
610 photos
EOS 1D Mark III
2,200 photos
EOS 40D
1,100 photos

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Olympus E-3


9.0
At low ISOs images are pretty noise free and very smooth, but raising the gain produces some noise, especially from ISO 400 and increases more as the ISO is raised.

8.1
Although the 10-megapixel Live MOS sensor it uses may be a bit low resolution for some applications-uncropped and unretouched, the math dictates you shouldn't print photos much larger than 11x15 at 240dpi-that's more than sufficient for many people.

9.0
When used with the sublime Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4 SWC zoom lens, the Olympus E-3 makes for a compelling photographic tool that we simply couldn't help falling in love with.

Overall

8.8 Out of 10

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight

Lens

At 100% the image sharpness is excellent, using the Zuiko 50-200m f/2.8 lens.
by TrustedReviews (Feb, 2011)
I evaluated the body with the new f/2.8-4.0 12mm-60mm (24mm-120mm equivalent), a far more expensive lens that uses an extra-low dispersion coating and incorporates a supersonic motor.
by c|net (Feb, 2008)
But if you're buying into a system, think carefully: Olympus currently offers only 13 pro-quality lenses, and the gap since the last pro dSLR release was about four years.
by c|net (Feb, 2008)

Sensor

A Four-Thirds sensor is quite a bit smaller than the APS-C sensors found in most other D-SLRs and yet the E-3's high ISO performance looks very good indeed.
by TechRadar (Feb, 2008)
And to its credit the result is very impressive; with a true 100% field of view and 1.15x magnification it's as good as most APS sensor cameras, and a good deal better than many.
by DPReview (Feb, 2008)
Closely tied to the metering is the camera's White Balance, and Olympus has added a dedicated WB sensor, which combines data from the main sensor to produce a more accurate white balance.
by TrustedReviews (Feb, 2011)

Focus

Like the other cameras in the E-System the E-3 provides for Auto Focus in Live View,and once again it does so by closing the shutter and dropping the mirror so that the AF sensor can be used.
by DPReview (Feb, 2008)
Individual AF points can be selected, and auto and manual focus may be combined for fine-tuning or particularly tricky subjects.
by TrustedReviews (Feb, 2011)
The AF is an improvement and pretty quick at picking out the AF points in auto mode, using the standard lenses.
by TrustedReviews (Feb, 2011)

Screen

Here it scores well on price and size/weight, has the requisite weather sealing and brings a tilting screen and in-body image stabilization to the table, but in some areas (burst mode, resolution) it looks a little underpowered.
by DPReview (Feb, 2008)
On the other, that reminder hogs the display for valuable seconds when you're impatient to shoot.
by c|net (Feb, 2008)
Although it has a top plate LCD control panel the E-3 offers what Olympus calls a 'Super Control Panel' on the LCD screen, accessed simply by pressing the INFO button.
by DPReview (Feb, 2008)

Iso

This is unfortunate because some of the stuff in here (auto ISO options, focus options, white balance tuning and so on) is actually very useful, and even a more logical approach to the ordering of the menus (prioritizing things you're likely to need when shooting, for example) would have made a huge difference to the usability of the wealth of options on offer.
by DPReview (Feb, 2008)
In particular, the colors are gorgeous: saturated, yet some of the most accurate we've tested in this class (at low ISO sensitivities, at least), with impressive automatic white balance.
by c|net (Feb, 2008)
Our experiences with the focus in low light and at the long end of the zoom would seem to suggest that what it isn't ideal for is shooting indoor sports (and in fact if you want to shoot at high ISO settings there are better alternatives out there, full stop).
by DPReview (Feb, 2008)

Specifications Full list of technical specs

sensor

Type NMOS
Megapixels 10 MP
Resolution 3648 x 2736
Size Four Thirds
Area 17.3 x 13.5 mm
Crop factor 2.1x
Pixel size 23.4 microns
Light sensitivity 100 ISO to 3,200 ISO
Codecs
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG

display

Type LCD
Size 2.5"
Resolution 230 k dots
Has a touch screen No
Has a flip out screen Yes
Supports live view Yes

shutter

Min 60 s
Max 1/8000 s

performance

Max continuous shooting 5 fps
Battery life 610 photos
Continuous shooting 5 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 135 ms
Shutter lag 76 ms
Startup delay 1,200 ms

video

Video None

focus system

Type Contrast detection

viewfinder

Viewfinder mirror Opaque
Viewfinder Viewfinder
Type Pentaprism
Coverage 100%
Magnification 1.15x
Viewfinder size 0.55x

form factor

Size 142 x 116 x 75 mm
Thickness 75 mm
Weight 890 g
Is weather sealed Yes

features

Is a smart camera No
Includes a GPS No
Supports HDR No
Automatic panorama No
Create realistic 3D images No
Image stabilization Sensor shift
Report a correction

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