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

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Olympus Pen E-P3

LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:
AWB Colour:


Olympus Pen E-P3 review


Price as reviewed:


Noise, resolution and sensitivity

The Olympus Pen E-P3’s sensor has the same 12.3-million-pixel resolution as the first Pen back in 2009.

Although this is a new Live MOS unit and promises improved noise performance, Olympus has chosen not to step this up to a 16-million-pixel sensor, as Panasonic has done with its Lumix DMC-G3 and GH2 models.

At base ISO 200 the E-P3 reached 22 on our chart for both raw and JPEG files. The detail is well maintained to ISO 1600, still scoring a 22, and at high ISO shows an improvement, scoring higher at ISO 12,800 than the previous sensor on the E-PL2 was capable of at 6400.

This puts it slightly behind the Lumix GF3 and G3 models overall.

Noise is present in the images from around ISO 2000, but remains monochrome and well controlled up to ISO 6400.

At the highest ISO 12,800 setting the images start to lose saturation and gain magenta noise.

Overall, though, this is an impressive performance and much improved from previous models.

Image: At the camera’s highest setting of ISO 12800, coloured noise starts to show itself in the image and detail becomes muddied


Olympus Pen E-P3 – Resolution





















Noise, resolution and sensitivity: These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the 14-42mm kit lens. We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution is at the specified sensitivity setting.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. Autofocus
  5. 5. White balance and colour
  6. 6. Noise, resolution and sensitivity
  7. 7. Metering
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. LCD, live view and video
  10. 10. M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2 lens
  11. 11. Competition
  12. 12. Verdict
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