Summary: For those looking at digital interchangeable lens cameras, one of the longest-running options is the Olympus PEN family of cameras. Olympus has sold for a few years now, and the company has put together a great collection of style and performance with the PEN family.
Excerpt: Olympus launches the new generation of the compact PEN cameras that offer SLR creativity, simple, no-nonsense controls. The new Olympus PEN E-PL3 (Lite) offers state-of-the-art technology in an easy-to-use package.
Conclusion: The Olympus PEN E-PL3 delivers impressive performance when it comes to speed, but is held back by noisy images at higher ISO settings and a kit lens that delivers so-so sharpness at longer focal lengths.
Pros: Tilting 3-inch LCD. Fast autofocus system. In-camera artistic filters. Accessory port for optional EVF.
Cons: High noise at ISO 1600 and above. No built-in flash. Menu system is unintuitive and can be slow.
Summary: The Olympus E-PL3 offers ample external control points, a tilting LCD screen, and fast AF performance along with high image quality in a small, stylish package. Although the complexity of the menu system may require an initial learning curve for new users, the E-PL3 is a pleasant-handling and very...
Pros: Very good low ISO image quality and resolution, Fast and responsive operation, Fast, accurate autofocus, Full HD AVCHD video, Attractive styling and solid, metal construction, A high number of external controls for its body size, Tilt-screen LCD, AF assist lamp, In-camera Raw edit capability, Hig...
Cons: High ISO noise performance lagging behind competitors' newer sensors, Overly aggressive default noise filter setting for JPEG output, Digital IS for video capture can introduce unnatural-looking footage, Size and positioning of control dial makes its use somewhat awkward, Lack of a hand grip make...
Excerpt: Olympus has continued to expand its Micro Four Thirds (MFT) repertoire with new models for its PEN series. While the manufacturer might be finding itself in the news for, ahem, less than exemplary corporate behavior , its cameras measure up.
Pros: Convenient tilt-out screen, Super fast, quiet AF system, High image quality, Impressively slim body
Cons: Sits awkwardly—body is weighed down by the lens, No automatic playback, No pop-up flash
Summary: The Olympus Pen E-PL3 is a 12.3 megapixel mirrorless ILC based on the Micro Four Thirds standard. The middle of the range Pen, it combines a high degree of control and customisation with ease of use features in a compact and sylish body that features built-in sensor-shift image stabilisation.
Pros: Built-in stabilisation works with any lens., Excellent all-round image quality., Highly customisable., Good range of movie exposure modes., Fast startup and AF response.
Cons: 16:9 screen not ideal for still photos., Poorly positioned control wheel., Lacks composite HDR and low light mode.
Conclusion: There’s plenty to like and very little to gripe. The gripe being the exclusion of a HDMI cable in the kit – considering the Full HD video option and the number of large screen TVs rolling out the doors of retailers.
Excerpt: The Olympus E-PL3 ($699 with lens) is the midrange model in the "Pen" lineup. This camera, also known as the Pen Lite, sits between the entry-level E-PM1 ($499) and the higher-end E-P3 ($899).
Summary: For those of our readers who don’t already know, the joint development of the Micro Four Thirds system by Olympus and Panasonic in 2009 allowed for the creation of a whole new category of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that have since flooded the enthusiast photography market.
Pros: Faster burst shooting mode, Improved AF speed, Tilting LCD
Cons: Uncomfortable design, No built-in flash, Unused LCD real estate
Summary: Available for £550 upon launch the E-PL3 is slightly pricier than its closest Compact System Camera competitors. By comparison the Panasonic Lumix G3 (which has both a built-in flash and electronic viewfinder) can be bought online for £490 with a 14-42mm lens.
Pros: Metal body, fast autofocus, wireless flash ability, good lower ISO image quality
Cons: Continuous and Tracking focusing speeds, no built-in flash (included hotshoe mount version instead), 16:9 ratio screen makes for small 4:3 image preview, high ISO image quality