Olympus Pen E-P3 review

August 13, 2011

Overall Rating:


Olympus Pen E-P3

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Price as Reviewed:


The latest Olympus Pen models are claimed to have the fastest AF of any interchangeable-lens camera. We find out how the new E-P3 handles and if it lives up to this bold statement

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M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2 lens

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2 lens is both a step forward and a look back for Olympus, as it has the look and feel of a lens from years gone by yet includes the latest MSC (movie and still compatible) technology for fast and quiet AF operation.

The 12mm gives an equivalent of a 24mm field of view, so it’s a fairly serious wideangle lens, yet with an aperture of f/2 and a close focus of 20cm you are able to create dynamic shots with a shallow depth of field.

The look really suits the E-P3, as it is compact and resembles a rangefinder-style optic. The focus ring uses an electronic connection, but is weighted to give a very natural feel and is only active when the ring is pulled back to reveal distance guides on the barrel.

It works well for landscapes and cityscapes, and is very sharp, although it would be nice to see a 25mm version (giving a 50mm equivalent view). A 45mm f/1.8 prime lens is also to be launched, but wasn’t available at the time of testing.

This will be a less expensive lens, though, and is not expected to have the same premium feel as the 12mm. The only slight downside is the price, with the 12mm f/2 due to cost around £600, which is almost the same as the E-P3 itself.

  • Video: 1080 HD 60i, AVCHD, 720P Motion JPEG
  • External mic: Yes (accessory port only)
  • White Balance: Auto, 6 presets, manual, 2 custom modes
  • Dioptre Adjustment: N/A
  • Built-in Flash: Yes, GN 7m @ ISO 100
  • Shutter Type: Focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: N/A
  • Output Size: 4032x3024 pixels
  • LCD: 3in, 610,000-dot touchscreen OLED
  • Field of View: 100% (live view)
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes
  • AF Points: 35-point system, touch focus, face and eye detection
  • Sensor: 12.3-million-effective-pixel Live MOS
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/180sec/1/4000sec (Super FP mode)
  • Exposure Modes: PASM, iAuto, 23 scene modes, 10 art filters
  • Weight: 321g (without battery)
  • File Format: JPEG, ORF (raw), AVCHD/motion JPEG
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion (330 shots)
  • Shutter Speeds: 60-1/4000sec + bulb
  • Drive Mode: 3fps
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV
  • RRP: £699 (body only)
  • Lens Mount: Micro four thirds
  • ISO: 200-12800
  • Focusing Modes: Single, continuous, manual, tracking
  • DoF Preview: No (via test picture)
  • Dimensions: 122x69.1x34.3mm
  • Metering System: 324-zone multi-pattern TTL digital ESP, spot, centreweighted, highlight, shadow
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB, HDMI

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