Olympus PEN E-P3

Released June, 2011
New: Pen E-P5 (May, 2013)
  • 12.2 MP
  • Four Thirds 17.3 x 13 mm CMOS
  • 3" OLED
The range of adjustments for raw files is impressive, and as well as the usual core white balance, sharpness and NR sliders, Viewer 2 also allows you to apply any of the camera's various color and filter modes to RAW files directly.
by DPReview (Aug, 2011)
8.6 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Olympus PEN E-P3

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

PEN E-P3
7.9
PEN E-PL5
8.9
PEN E-PM2
8.9
DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth and DxOMark Dynamic range

Focusing

How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

PEN E-P3
7.6
PEN E-PL5
7.7
PEN E-PM2
7.9
Focus lag and focus points

Responsiveness

How much delay is there between you and your photo?

PEN E-P3
9.1
PEN E-PL5
9.2
PEN E-PM2
9.3
Focus lag, continuous shooting and Startup delay

Reviews

What do the experts think?

PEN E-P3
9.0
PEN E-PL5
9.5
PEN E-PM2
9.3
Reviews from reviews.cnet.com, techradar.com, dpreview.com, 43rumors.com and 1 more

8.6

Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

PEN E-P3
8.6
PEN E-PL5
9.1
PEN E-PM2
9.0

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Olympus PEN E-P3

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

PEN E-P3
536 ISO
NEX 5N
1,079 ISO
PEN E-PM2
932 ISO

Resolution Results from photos of standard resolution charts

PEN E-P3
2,200 LPH
NEX 5N
2,800 LPH
Lumix DMC-GF5
2,000 LPH

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

PEN E-P3
222 ms
PEN E-P2
956 ms
PEN E-PL1
820 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

PEN E-P3
60 ms
NEX 5N
115 ms
PEN E-P2
72 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

PEN E-P3
900 ms
PEN E-P2
2,300 ms
PEN E-PL1
2,200 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

PEN E-P3
3 fps
NEX 5N
10 fps
PEN E-PL5
8 fps

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Olympus PEN E-P3


7.4
Overall the E-P3's results are very good for a 12MP sensor, but naturally it can't quite match the resolution offered by the likes of the 16 MP Panasonic G3.

7.6
The improvement stems from two main enhancements: a new autofocus system with more AF points, which like Panasonic's Light Speed drives the sensor at 120 frames per second while focusing for faster feedback, and increased parallel processing.

8.0
Although at 12.3 million, the effective pixel count isn't the highest, the rest of the specification is impressive with all the current must have features, including sensor-shifting image stabilization, sensor cleaning, manual exposure control, automated shooting, Art Filters and Full HD video recording.

Overall

7.9 Out of 10

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight

Sensor

But it can't be ignored in the face of less-expensive cameras sporting higher resolution sensors that deliver impressive image quality at ISO 3200 or even 6400 - it's a pity the E-P3 doesn't use the same 16 MP sensor as the Panasonic G3.
by DPReview (Aug, 2011)
We've long been big fans of Olympus's colour rendition, from either out-of-camera JPEGs or raw using the supplied conversion software.
by DPReview (Aug, 2011)
Overall the Auto Gradation tool can be very useful and effective, for both JPEG and raw shooters who process using Viewer 2.
by DPReview (Aug, 2011)

Screen

We particularly like that the screen's touch-sensitive function can be controlled by touching an icon, which remains active even when the touch feature is deactivated.
by TechRadar (Jul, 2011)
It's a very nice LCD-bright and saturated, fingerprint-proof, and you can choose whether to display colors as natural or vivid.
by c|net (Jun, 2011)
The E-P3 features touch AF, which instructs the camera to focus on the point in the scene chosen by a touch of a finger, and, like the Panasonic G3 and GF3, it also has a touch shutter.
by TechRadar (Jul, 2011)

Lens

Exactly how fast it is, and how it ranks relative other cameras, is almost irrelevant (although for the record, it's at least a fast as any other interchangeable lens camera with kit lens).
by DPReview (Aug, 2011)
The other lens, which will follow in September, is one that we've been asking manufacturers to make for some time - a genuine short telephoto, large aperture 'portrait' lens.
by DPReview (Aug, 2011)
As usual, the only sure way to eliminate shake is to use a tripod, especially when working with longer lenses.
by DPReview (Aug, 2011)

Focus

Consequently, Olympus believes that the P3 has the world's fastest AF when used with its MSC (Movie Stills Compatible) optics.
by TechRadar (Jul, 2011)
In addition to the usual single and continuous AF options, the P3 has a Tracking Continuous AF mode (like Panasonic's) that allows the user to specify the subject for focus and then leave the camera to keep it sharp as it moves around the scene.
by TechRadar (Jul, 2011)
In a better-late-than-never move, the updated AF system also includes an AF illuminator, which also helps with low-light focusing.
by c|net (Jun, 2011)

Image quality

And, despite modern cameras making high image quality more accessible than ever, there is an undeniable reverence for the look and feel of 1960s cameras.
by DPReview (Aug, 2011)
Our images reveal that the E-P3 generally handles colours well and photographs look natural, but have punch straight from the camera.
by TechRadar (Jul, 2011)
Olympus' PEN line has frequently delivered great photo quality in well-designed cameras, albeit with poor performance.
by c|net (Jun, 2011)

Specifications Full list of technical specs

sensor

Type CMOS
Megapixels 12.2 MP
Resolution 4032 x 3024
Size Four Thirds
Area 17.3 x 13 mm
Crop factor 2.1x
Pixel size 18.4 microns
Light sensitivity 200 ISO to 1,600 ISO
Light sensitivity (Boost) 1,600 ISO to 12,800 ISO
Codecs
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG
Self cleaning sensor Yes
Tested vertical resolution 2,200 LPH
Tested horizontal resolution 2,200 LPH

focus system

Type Contrast detection
Focus points 35
Supports continuous No

shutter

Min 60 s
Max 1/4000 s

form factor

Size 122 x 69.1 x 34.2 mm
Thickness 34.2 mm
Weight 369 g
Is weather sealed No

features

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

video

Video 1920 x 1080 @ 30 fps
Shoots video in 24p No
Shoots high speed video No
External mic jack None
Autofocus while shooting video Contrast detection
Autofocus type Contrast detection

display

Type OLED
Size 3"
Resolution 614 k dots
Has a touch screen Yes
Has a flip out screen No
Supports live view Yes

viewfinder

Viewfinder mirror None
Viewfinder None

performance

Max continuous shooting 3 fps
Battery life 330 photos
Continuous shooting 3 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 222 ms
Shutter lag 60 ms
Startup delay 900 ms
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