Olympus Pen E-P3 review

August 13, 2011

Overall Rating:


Olympus Pen E-P3

  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:
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  • Autofocus:
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  • Metering:
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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


LCD, live view and video

The new 3in touchscreen display is impressive, and although it appears slightly duller than a regular screen (as all touchscreens tend to do), the 610,000-dot resolution leaves a very crisp image display and really helps to show off the new slick menu system.

Touch pressure is very responsive, with focus selection and even the dragging of sliders requiring only a light touch. The quality of the screen is even more important here as there is no viewfinder included. The viewing angle falls off slightly from above, but from all other views it remains detailed. Touchscreens have an added hindrance of fingermarks on the screen, but overall this screen copes well with reflections and bright light.

The screen offers a choice of views, either a clean view or with an amount of shooting information shown, including a live histogram view, which is handy for metering use in difficult lighting. It provides 100% coverage, although neither the 35-point selection nor touch focus allows focusing right to the edge of the frame, instead leaving a small border.

The Pen E-P3 makes the move over from motion JPEG to AVCHD format for video capture, allowing it to record in full 1080HD with 60 interlaced frames per second. In this format a 29min clip can be recorded and the built-in microphone offers stereo recording in Dolby digital. Aperture or shutter priority, art filters and manual exposure can all be used in video for creative effects.

  • 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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