It is smaller, lighter and has undergone a dramatic makeover since its predecessor. We get to grips with the new-look Olympus Pen E-PL3 (Lite)
LCD, viewfinder and video
The E-PL3 features the first flip-out screen of any digital Pen-series camera, although the resolution remains at 460,000 dots. Without delving into a fully articulated screen versus tiltable screen argument, the benefits of the latter include a sturdy build, quick single-motion positioning and increased subtlety.
The screen is in 16:9 format, which will appeal to video users, but photographers shooting in the highest 4:3 format will experience a black border along the left and right edges. This space is used to contain the shooting options. It is worth checking whether the screen will flip out fully in both directions when the camera is mounted on a tripod. I found the screen particularly useful for discreetly shooting from the hip when photographing street scenes, as well as when holding the camera up over crowds. It is a great improvement over a standard fixed screen.
As with all digital Pen models, there is no viewfinder; instead, an optical or electronic viewfinder can be purchased separately. During my testing I used the VF-1 optical viewfinder, which slots onto the hotshoe easily and suits the body of the camera perfectly. This is a good option when bright light renders the LCD screen too dark to view. A viewfinder is, however, a fairly expensive accessory to buy.
The E-PL3 now offers full HD, 1080i video shooting at 60fps, complemented by stereo sound recording and an option for an external microphone via the microphone adapter set.