|Photo answers rating
The Olympus E-P3 is the flagship model in the Olympus Pen series, sitting above the lower-spec E-PM1 and E-PL3 models.
Photo answers review
Photo answers rating
Just like its E-P2 predecessor, the Olympus E-P3 has the same 12.3Mp Micro FourThirds chip, measuring 6.2mm smaller on the longest edge of the sensor and 2.6mm smaller on the shortest in comparison to the APS-C sized sensors found in Samsung’s NX200 and Sony’s NEX-5N. Inheriting many features from the E-P2 such as a pop-up flash, mode dial and all-black metal body, it looks identical at first glance, but its dimensions show it’s fractionally wider and leaner.
The ISO range of 200-12,800 is a 1-stop improvement at the high end but unlike the EP-2 it doesn’t enable you to shoot at ISO 100. Available in a variety of kit options, the 17mm pancake lens bundle costs the same (£699) as the 14-42mm lens kit we were supplied with and taking the 2x Micro FourThirds crop factor into consideration it offers a 28-84mm film equivalent. One advantage of the FourThirds mount is that it can also be used with Panasonic’s range of lenses, enabling you to expand the system beyond the 11-optics Olympus currently has to offer.
The 3in, 610k-dot screen at the rear is a touchscreen, making it the first Pen model to offer this functionality and it’s only one of a few models that allows you to reposition the AF point by tapping the screen.
As well as shooting in its native 4:3 aspect, 16:9, 3:2, 6:6 and 3:4 aspect ratios are offered and Olympus also produces the VF-3, 610k-dot electronic viewfinder (£179) that mounts via the hotshoe and plugs directly into the accessory port, displaying 100% coverage.
On the handling side, the EP-3 feels well made (weighing 321g, body only). M,A,S,P shooting modes are all available directly from the mode dial and the silver thumb dial is used to control Aperture, whereas the scroll dial around the perimeter of the D-Pad controls Shutter Speed in Manual mode.
In terms of AF, the EP-3’s contrast-detect system gives you the choice of Single AF, Continuous AF, AF Tracking or Manual Focus, with the 35 AF points controlled using the touchscreen or the left-hand button from the D-Pad. Though AF points don’t reach the far corners of the frame, AF accuracy was impressive and it sits just behind the V1 and GX1 in terms of its lock-on speed. Our only slight gripe with the EP-3 are the buttons; they’re closely grouped and small in size, making them a little fiddly to use.
AS FEATURED IN THE FEBRUARY ISSUE OF DIGITAL PHOTO
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