Expert Review of Olympus PEN E-P3 DSLR Kit 14-42mm Silver
Olympus, the electronic giant had launched its Pen range of Micro Four Thirds mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras also known with the E-P1 in 2008. It's new predecessor Olympus PEN E P3 SLR is the third generation of the range which rules really awesome mixed with the awesome features that it offers. Visible to the eyes the biggest addition is a built-in flash - deliberately styled so that the pop-up element doesn't interfere with the front plate of the camera. The accessory port is also more neatly integrated into the body design than before. The other big physical change is a removable hand grip, a big screw now holds the rectangular grip in place, giving users the choice of removing or swapping it for a more substantial design. But it's inside the camera that the biggest changes have been made: the sensor is still the familiar 12MP unit but the camera's processing is greatly improved. The latest TruePic VI processor is much faster than previous designs, allowing the camera to check focus 120 times per second. This, of course, means that it can adjust focus more often and therefore confirm focus more quickly. The dual core processor also means image processing and live view can be run in parallel, decreasing the blackout time after each shot. In addition, Olympus E P3 also features a 614,000 dot OLED screen that is touch-sensitive. This panel can use the Samsung's Pentile dot layout to give VGA-equivalent resolution, coupled with capacitance-type touch technology similar to the Apple iPhone. The touch screen can be used to set the focus point and optionally fire the shutter, and can operate some of the camera's other functions too. Crucially though this is always in addition to the rest of the camera's controls, rather than attempting to replace them. If you decide such features don't have a place on such a traditional-looking camera, they can be disabled with no overall loss of functionality.
Design and Build Quality
This device may well be the greatest looking camera from the Pen SLR series, the design being much closer to the cheaper and trendy PEN PL seires. Olympus has added the built in flash which looks decent and is of great utility, this doesn’t break down the clean, elegant lines of the front plate, and has even bettered the design of the EVT port and also the hot shoe. Recessed plastic mode always managed to get a cheap feeling out of the device, well the good news is that it has been replaced by metal version which looks neater an undeniably better besides the shutter release, the metal body of this device just signifies class and gives a overall brilliant touch to it.
Focus and Face Detection
What leads the new and better features of Olympus Pen Lite E-P3 is the auto focus, which is remarkably speedy, Olympus PEN Lite E-P3 trends the same system which Olympus says may be the fastest in the world. The newly-developed 35 point system is incredibly responsive, finding an instant lock in most cases, with a newly-added AF-assist lamp lending a helping hand when the light levels start to drop. Accuracy is impressive, with the camera's autofocus system proving to be unfazed by off-centre subjects. The focal length that is works on is 14 mm to 42 mm. Efficient face detection of a maximum of 10 faces in a single frame accompanies Olympus PEN Lite E-P3.
Lens and Image Stabilization
Olympus Pen Lite E-P3 comes with the M. Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R MSC kit zoom lens. The R stands for 'Renewed', but aside from some cosmetic differences this is essentially the same kit lens as boxed with the E-P2. It has a retracting design which makes it reasonably compact, especially compared with the stabilised kit zooms for the Sony NEX-C3 and Lumix GF3. Micro Four Thirds lenses have a crop factor of two, making the 35mm equivalent range 28-84mm. Like all Pen models, the E-P3 body is fitted with sensor-shift image stabilisation. There are three modes, 1 works on both axes, 2 is vertical only, for panning shots and 3 is horizontal only, for portrait mode panning.
Screen and Menus
Most of the rear of the camera is sported by a 3 inch OLED screen with anti reflection coatings with image display resolution of 610,000 dot pixels. The camera has made a move from the popular 3:2 aspect ratio to 16:9, and being able to flip the screen either up or down, NEX-style is a marked improvement. While it doesn't help with portrait shooting I found being able to flip the screen up improved visibility in bright conditions as well as being more comfortable when shooting from low angles. But it also needs to be said that, though it's ideal for movie shooting, for 4:3 aspect ratio stills shooting a significant portion of the screen is unused resulting in large black bars down either side of the screen.Though Olympus PEN Lite E-P3 doesn't have an optical viewfinder both optical and electronic viewfinders are available as hotshoe mounted accessories that plug into the AP2 accessory port just below the hotshoe in the rear panel.
What really powers Olympus PEN Lite E-P3 is BLS-1 Li-Ion battery, though the camera is also compatible with the older BLS-5 models. The quoted battery life is 330 shots using CIPA’s standard testing methods. The E-PL3 is compatible with SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards and cards with a speed class of at least 6 are recommended for movie recording.
Olympus PEN Lite E-P3's best excellence movie mode is 1080i60 which is programmed as an AVCHD file at an average bitrate of 17Mbps. There's also a 13Mbps option at the same resolution and two 720p settings at 17Mbps and 13Mbps. Finally, there's a 720p option that records editing-friendly Mjpeg files at 30fps and a standard resolution 640x480 mode.
Sensor is probably the reason why camera works. Sensor converts and optical image into an electrical signal and hence, the imaging is processed. The 12.3 Optical Resolution of Olympus PEN Lite E-P3 is worked upon by Live MOS image sensor.
Very fast Auto Focus
Simple control layout
1080p HD movies
A little inefficient ISO performance
Mic is little sensitive