Conclusion: If you have had previous DSLR experience or you are enthusiastic and patient enough to take the time to learn, then the Olympus E-3 is a camera you should consider before making any final purchases. Dare not to conform and you may be well rewarded for that decision.
Summary: The Olympus E-3 looks good, feels good and is capable of taking some nicely crisp images into the bargain. We'll bring you a more detailed report in due course. Stay tuned to Best4Reviews for more.
Pros: Solid feel to the rugged magnesium alloy body, image stabilisation appears to deliver an unprecedented number of sharply in focus shots when shooting at extreme telephoto
Cons: AF hunts around a bit when presented with busy scenes, rotational angle of LCD could be a bit more flexible and the screen itself could be enlargd to 3-inches if we're being picky, white balance occasionally delivers colours a little on the cool side
Summary: Accessible controls and multi-talented live view make the Olympus E-3 friendlier than other higher-end models, with unstinting burst mode and admirable picture quality making it worth considering for professionals. It's a little heavy and the screen isn't huge, but the camcorder-style flip-out display and previewing options bring live view into its own on this first-class camera
Pros: Excellent pictures; easily mastered control system; strong implementation of live view; powerful burst mode.
Cons: Resolution isn't as high as rivals; quirky flash controls; screen feels small.
Excerpt: The people at Olympus have been known to joke about the Olympus E-2, the digital SLR that should have succeeded the pioneering but long-in-the-tooth Olympus E-1. I'm not clear how close to reality that camera ever came, but no matter. The Olympus E-3, the E-1's long-awaited, much-anticipated top-of-the-line successor, skips generations not just in name but in technology, and was worth the wait.
Excerpt: Among many a photographer the sensor factor is considered a bad thing. Usually these complaints focus on the wide end of things, where the smaller sensors make wide angle lenses less wide (see related story). But at the telephoto end, it's a different story. A smaller sensor means more effective reach. And among DSLRs, nowhere is this gain more realized than on the 2x factor Four Thirds system.
Excerpt: First impressions matter, especially for photographers seeking a picture-taking partner. But sometimes it takes a real effort to figure out if a DSLR is the perfect match for you. For instance, when Olympus introduced us to its new 10.1MP E-3 ($1,700, street, body only), it seemed like love at first sight (see Hands On, December 2007). Yet we needed time (and Lab tests of a production model...how romantic!) to confirm our first impressions.
Excerpt: It doesn't take much of a camera to capture a simple snapshot. But what if you spot a little girl in the park standing amid a flock of startled pigeons? Or you're photographing the unpredictable twirls of dancers on a stage? Or you're shooting travel scenes in bright, contrasty mid-day sun? For that you need a special camera.
Excerpt: We weren't content to get our hands on the Olympus Zuiko 300mm f/2.8 and EC-20 2x tele converter along with the new Olympus E-3 (see related story). We also wanted to go to the opposite extreme and check out one of the widest rectilinear Four Thirds lenses, the Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm f/4.0. Remember, there's a 2x factor with Four Thirds cameras, so this is equivalent to a 14-28mm f/4 on a full-frame SLR.
Excerpt: If the Olympus E-1, the company's first high-end DSLR, never caught on among pros, you can blame its painfully slow, insensitive autofocus system. But one look at the new Olympus E-3 ($1,700, estimated street, body only) was enough to convince us that, this time around, Olympus has come up with not just a much better AF system, but a much better camera all around.
Conclusion: If you've taken the trouble to read every page of this review you'll already have a good idea where this conclusion is likely to go. To start with there's no doubt that the E-3 is, without a shadow of a doubt the best Four-Thirds camera ever made and a more than worthy (if a little tardy) successor to the original E-1.
Pros: Excellent build quality, weatherproofing, 150,000 shot shutter life, Big, bright viewfinder with 100% view, Articulated screen, Effective sensor-shift image stabilization, Very fast focus with new SWD lenses (less impressive with other lenses, however), Info screen offers quick and easy access to most commonly used controls, Excellent color, good daylight white balance, Excellent JPEG output, plenty of detail, well balanced processing, Low noise at ISO 100-400, more u...
Cons: Resolution not as good as best in class (stronger AA filter?), though you won't see it in JPEGs, Highlight dynamic range not quite as good as competitors (better than other E-Series cameras): Some highlight clipping on bright days unless you reduce exposure, Poor auto white balance in artificial light, Very little resolution and not a lot of dynamic range headroom in raw files, Some ergonomic issues (control layout, small buttons, user interface), Long, unstructured m...