Olympus PEN E-PL3

Released June, 2011
New: PEN E-PL5 (Oct, 2012)
  • 12.2 MP
  • Four Thirds 17.3 x 13 mm CMOS
  • 3" LCD
Shot-to-shot times are also very quick, even when you're shooting RAW and JPEG files simultaneously.
by TechRadar (Sep, 2011)
8.5 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Olympus PEN E-PL3

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

PEN E-PL3
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-PL3
7.4
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-PL3
8.5
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-PL3
9.0
PEN E-PL5
9.5
PEN E-PM2
9.3
Reviews from trustedreviews.com, techradar.com, photographyblog.com and reviews.cnet.com

8.5

Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

PEN E-PL3
8.5
PEN E-PL5
9.1
PEN E-PM2
9.0

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Olympus PEN E-PL3

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

PEN E-PL3
499 ISO
PEN E-PM2
932 ISO
PEN E-PL5
889 ISO

Resolution Results from photos of standard resolution charts

PEN E-PL3
2,300 LPH
Nikon 1 J2
2,000 LPH
Nikon 1 J1
2,600 LPH

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

PEN E-PL3
241 ms
Nikon 1 J2
94 ms
Nikon 1 J1
94 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

PEN E-PL3
73 ms
PEN E-P3
60 ms
PEN E-PL5
64 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

PEN E-PL3
2,100 ms
PEN E-PL5
600 ms
PEN E-PM2
700 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

PEN E-PL3
5.5 fps
Nikon 1 J2
60 fps
Nikon 1 J1
60 fps

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Olympus PEN E-PL3


8.0
The Olympus E-PL3 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 60 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times as long as 30 minutes, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography.

8.0
With a current street price of around £500-550 with a 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko kit zoom the E-PL3’s competitors within the Micro Four Thirds standard include its predecessor, the highly-rated E-PL2 (c.£430 with a 14-42mm zoom), and the classy little Panasonic Lumix GF3 (c.£380 with a 14-42mm zoom) which comes with an intuitive touch-screen control and built-in flash.

8.0
Exposure and color are quite good regardless of format, though.

8.0
Viewing images at 100% reveals relatively noise-free images right up to ISO 800, although colour fidelity and the level of sharp detail are well maintained up until ISO 6400.

Overall

8.0 Out of 10

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight

Lens

On the whole, though, this is a useful everyday lens that'll tide you over until you feel ready to explore the vast range of other MFT optics available.
by TechRadar (Sep, 2011)
The E-PL3's manual controls enable you to set the aperture and shutter speed, so you can be in charge of the depth of field and/or amount of movement recorded in your shots.
by TechRadar (Sep, 2011)
Shooting with a relatively wide aperture, it's easy to create images with a shallow depth of field that ensures the focus remains squarely on your main subject.
by TechRadar (Sep, 2011)

Sensor

By ISO 6400 colour has begun to degenerate as well as detail.
by TrustedReviews (Nov, 2011)
At ISO 6400 images become noticeably softer, while at the top setting of ISO 12,800 red colour noise pretty much wrecks the image.
by TrustedReviews (Nov, 2011)
With a stylish metal body, the EPL3 features the world’s fastest auto-focus system, a high resolution and tiltable 3 inch LCD screen, 5fps burst shooting, 1080i HD video recording, a maximum sensitivity of ISO 12800, sensor-shift image stabilisation, a hot shoe and an accessory port.
by Photography Blog (Aug, 2011)

Screen

While in iAuto mode we like how the Live Guide feature (accessed by pressing the OK button) brings some additional creativity to the table by allowing you to make simple adjustments to things like saturation, white balance, brightness, depth-of-field, and motion blur using simplified on-screen slider controls.
by TrustedReviews (Nov, 2011)
The range of tones captured is impressive, making it easy to create well-balanced shots under bright or stormy conditions.
by TechRadar (Sep, 2011)
To get straight to the point, even though the headline resolution of 12.3 megapixels from a high speed Live Mos sensor has remained static, the hot-out-of-the-factory E-PL3 is the first Olympus Digital Pen to include an angle adjustable, wide-screen ratio tilting LCD screen at the rear.
by Photography Blog (Aug, 2011)

Iso

In practical terms, this means you can set the EP-3 to ISO 640 if you think a situation warrants it, whereas many other cameras would limit you to a choice of either ISO 400 or 800.
by TrustedReviews (Nov, 2011)
ISO 3200 is the point at which the effects of noise become visible at less than100%, although images shot at this setting often remain usable.
by TrustedReviews (Nov, 2011)
BY ISO 800 shadow area detail has begun to break down although images at this sensitivity still remain perfectly usable.
by TrustedReviews (Nov, 2011)

Image quality

On its default colour setting, JPEGs straight out of the camera deliver pleasing colours with just the right amount of saturation.
by TechRadar (Sep, 2011)
Dynamic range is better in the shadows than the highlights-I had trouble recovering some blown-out detail-but it's still pretty good overall.
by c|net (Oct, 2011)
Colours are generally very pleasing, although images shot under tungsten lighting can turn out very warm indeed.
by TechRadar (Sep, 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 12,800 ISO
Light sensitivity (Boost) None
Codecs
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG
Self cleaning sensor Yes
Tested vertical resolution 2,300 LPH
Tested horizontal resolution 2,300 LPH

focus system

Type Contrast detection
Focus points 35
Supports continuous No

shutter

Min 60 s
Max 1/4000 s

form factor

Size 109.5 x 63.7 x 37.3 mm
Thickness 37.3 mm
Weight 313 g
Is weather sealed No

features

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 LCD
Size 3"
Resolution 460 k dots
Has a touch screen No
Has a flip out screen No
Supports live view Yes

viewfinder

Viewfinder mirror None
Viewfinder None

performance

Max continuous shooting 5.5 fps
Battery life 300 photos
Continuous shooting 5.5 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 241 ms
Shutter lag 73 ms
Startup delay 2,100 ms
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