Olympus PEN E-P3 camera – an exciting new heart in a retro body

The Olympus PEN E-P3 is the company’s latest Micro Four Thirds camera, and is a fine camera, suitable for those looking to upgrade from a point-and-shoot digital camera, or indeed for more advanced photographers.

Rating by Scott Fitzgerald: 4.5 stars
****1/2

Olympus PEN E-P3 digital camera

The Olympus PEN E-P3 is a 12.3 megapixel camera, with a Live MOS sensor that provides data speed of 120 fps, a light-sensitivity of ISO 12800, and in addition to stills the Olympus P3 shoots 1080i Full HD video. The screen is a 3 inch, 610,000-dot OLED capacitive touchscreen, which is used not for navigation around the camera’s functions, rather it can be used to take shots and manipulate focus, or to flick through pictures stored on the camera.

Probably the most notable improvement in the Olympus PEN E-P3 over its predecessors in the speed of the auto-focus system, which is, at the time of writing, the world’s fastest in an interchangeable lens camera. A 35-square grid appears on overlaid on the screen, and by touch you can select the area on which you would like the image to focus. Maths plays a part in this improvement via a spanking new algorithm, as does the Live MOS sensor, and a dedicated focusing processor within the TruePic VI engine.

Olympus PEN E-P3 digital camera - silver model, front angle view

Adding to the creativity offered by the quality of the image processing and the lens, there’s a bit of fun and creativity to be had with the art filters and in-camera editing options. Having originated in point and click cameras, art filters are more and more common on DSLR and Micro Four Thirds camera these days. If you’ve ever had a play with the Instagram or Hipstamatic app on an iPhone, then you’re familiar with art filters. They intensify or dial down colour, add borders, add noise – what the lens see is definitely not what you get. Choose from Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Gentle Sepia, Cross Process, Dramatic Tone. The art filters can be applied to both stills and video.

Olympus PEN E-P3 digital camera - colours and interchangeable grips

Olympus PEN E-P3 digital camera - blackr model, front view

Olympus PEN E-P3 – Australian pricing

The Olympus PEN E-P3 is available in silver and black colours, and Australian RRP is as follows:

  • Olympus PEN E-P3 Body $899.95
  • Olympus PEN E-P3 + 14-42mm Silver $999.95
  • Olympus PEN E-P3 + 14-42mm Black $999.95
  • Olympus Pen E-P3 + 14-42 & 40-150 Black $1,199.95
  • Olympus Pen E-P3 + 14-42 & 40-150mm Silver $1,199.95

Buy the Olympus PEN E-P3

Or you could look to buy the Olympus PEN E-P3 online at Amazon.

Olympus PEN E-P3 – video demo

Take a quick look at the main features of the Olympus PEN E-P3 in this short video:

Olympus PEN E-P3 specifications

  • Effective megapixels: 12.3
  • Image sensor type: LiveMOS
  • Image sensor size: 4/3
  • Sensor-self cleaning system: Supersonic Wave
  • Image processing engine: TruePic VI
  • ISO range: 200-12800
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • Interchangeable lens types: Micro Four Thirds adaptor
  • Screen: 3 inch OLED touch screen
  • Image stabilisation: Built-in
  • IS modes: IS1, IS2, IS3, OFF
  • Autofocus system type: Imager Contrast Detection AF system
  • Focus modes: Single AF (S-AF) / Continuous AF (C-AF) / Manual Focus (MF) / S-AF + MF / AF tracking (C-AF + TR)
  • Shooting modes: (1) i Auto (2) P: Programme AE (Programme shift can be performed) (3) A: Aperture priority AE (4) S: Shutter priority AE (5) M: Manual (6) Scene select AE (7) Art Filter
  • Scene modes: Portrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Macro, Sport, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Document, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Fisheye Conv, Wide Conv, Macro Conv, 3D
  • Photo Art Filter types: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Gentle Sepia, Cross Process, Dramatic Tone
  • Video Art Filter types (Video): Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Gentle Sepia, Cross Process, Dramatic Tone
  • Still picture aspect ratios: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 6:6, 3:4
  • Max. burst shooting speed: 3 frames/sec. in sequential shooting
  • 3D recording: Yes
  • ShutterSpeedRange: 60 – 1/4000 sec. Bulb: up to 30 min. (selectable longest time in the menu. Default: 8 min). 1/3, 1/2, or 1EV steps selectable.
  • Flash sync speed: 1/60-1/180 (Super FP mode: 1/125-1/4000)
  • Self timer: 12 sec., 2 sec. (cancel available)
  • Memory card type: SD Memory Card(SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I compatible), Eye-Fi, Class 6 is recommended for Movie shooting
  • Internal memory: None
  • Photo recording format(s): RAW (12-bit lossless compression), JPEG, RAW+JPEG, MP (3D still)
  • Video recording format: AVCHD / AVI
  • Recording time: AVCHD Format : Max29min (Full HD Normal/HD Fine/HD Normal : 29min, Full HD Fine : 22min), Motion-JPEG Format : HD: 7min, SD: 14min (Some Artfilters are exceptional)
  • Video with sound: Yes
  • In-camera editing options: Shadow adjustment, Red-eye fix, Trimming, Aspect. Monotone, Sepia, Saturation (colour depth), Resize (producing another file, 1280×960, 640×480, 320×240), e-portrait
  • Built in microphone type: Stereo
  • Battery life (CIPA standard): Approx. 330 shots
  • Dimensions: 122.0 x 69.1 x 34.3 mm (W x H x D excluding protrusions)
  • Weight: 321grams (body only)
The Olympus PEN E-P3 Micro Four Thirds camera is smart, powerful and produces excellent images.