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Olympus Pen E-P3 Review: This Pen is mightier than your compact camera

As an interchangeable lens camera, the Olympus E-P3 is significantly smaller than the digital SLR cameras, but slightly heavier compared to most of the prosumer digital cameras on the market to date. The Olympus E-P3 offers a good grip for the right hand with good placement of the various buttons and dials for easy access, and you can use your left hand to control the lens or simple to support the camera. The number of buttons and options could be intimidating to amateurs, although the onscreen options do provide some explanations on what they do.

Even though the camera has an OLED touchscreen, you can only use your finger to control the intensity of the digital zoom or tap to focus and shoot at the subject. Selecting other camera settings such as ISO sensitivity, white balance, image size etc, you still need to rely on the good old buttons and dials. Besides the onscreen screen menu, the OLED display also acts as a viewfinder that lets you view what you want to capture, since the E-P3 does not have the electronic viewfinder which is usually found on the top of some digital cameras. The E-P3 is a fast performer when it comes to capturing images, whether you are pressing the shutter button or point-and-shoot on the touchscreen. Well, it can do sequential shooting of 3 frames/sec for those who do not want to miss a single moment and just shoot continuously until the memory card is full. For video recording, the Olympus can capture at 640×480 or 1280×720 in Motion JPEG; 1280×720 or 1920×1080 full high definition in AVCHD file format.

The Olympus E-P3 can support ISO sensitivity of up to 12,800, but we doubt anyone would want to shoot at such high rating as the resulting images would be hugely pixelated and blurry. Here are some photos taken in the evening with varying degree of ISO – 400, 1600 and 12800. Pictures are cropped and resized to 1600 width.

ISO 400

ISO 1600

ISO 12800


Here are some sample shots taken with the Olympus Pen E-P3,

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