Olympus PEN E-PL3 Review

Overall 48
Imaging 17
Features 37
Size 84
Price 0

Main Features

  • 12.0 MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • ISO 200 - 12800
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 6.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 110 x 64 x 37 mm
  • Weight: 313 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Olympus E-PL2.
  • Replaced by Olympus E-PL5.

Olympus PEN E-PL3 Summary

This review is devoted to PEN E-PL3 that Olympus has first introduced to the public in Sep 20, 2011. This model is a Entry-Level Mirrorless camera with a resolution of 12.0 MP and a Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sized CMOS sensor.

Initially, Olympus developed this model to replace their older product E-PL2 and, after some time, Olympus has replaced this upgraded model with their most recent one E-PL2.

In Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras (Top 10 MirrorLess Cameras) this model has taken rank #80 out of 180. Its Overall Score has reached 48/100 and it takes a rank of #145 out of 1174 in all Cameras.

Olympus PEN E-PL3 Compared to other MirrorLess Cameras

Now let's delve into more details of our Olympus PEN E-PL3 review by assessing its features and specs, as well as checking what pros and cons it has compared to other average products in this category.

PROs

  • Screen Type: Tilting
  • Max Native Iso: 12800
  • AutoFocus Face Detection: Yes
  • Number Of Focus Points: 35
  • Viewfinder: Electronic (optional)
  • Continuous Shooting: 6.0 fps
  • Image Stabilization: Yes

CONs

  • Touch Screen: No
  • Viewfinder Coverage: No
  • Viewfinder Magnification: No
  • Built-In Flash: No
  • Dxo Low Light Iso: 499
  • Sensor Resolution: 12.0 MP
  • Af Phase Detection: No
  • Microphone Port: No

Complete Comparison of Olympus PEN E-PL3 With Other Cameras in Entry-Level Mirrorless Category

In this part of our review, we are going to take a closer look at the technical specs and features presented in Olympus PEN E-PL3. In addition, we are going to define the main pros and cons of this model and, based on this info, compare it to other average Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras.

Physical Characteristics Of Olympus PEN E-PL3

Olympus PEN E-PL3 has the following external dimensions 110 x 110 x 37 mm (43.31 x 25.2 x 14.57″) with the weight of 313 g.

The typical weight for average Entry-Level Mirrorless type cameras is 319g. If we compare the average indicator of the weight of Olympus PEN E-PL3, we can conclude that this model is lighter than many other similar products.

Talking about the camera’s thickness, it is worth saying that Olympus PEN E-PL3 is thinner than other average cameras from this class. Its thickness is 37mm.

Look at the pictures below to see the front and top view of Olympus PEN E-PL3 with the indication of this model’s dimensions:

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If you want to have a better idea of how big the Olympus PEN E-PL3 is, look at the pictures below to see how big it is compared to a credit card and a AA type battery.

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Finally, let's check how different are the weight and thickness of the Olympus PEN E-PL3 compared to other models from this class of cameras presented by the brand’s competitors:

Battery

Olympus PEN E-PL3 — 300 shots
Min: 210 shots
Average: 338 shots
Max: 650 shots

Thickness

Olympus PEN E-PL3 — 37 mm
Min: 23 mm
Average: 40 mm
Max: 85 mm

Weight

Olympus PEN E-PL3 — 313 g
Min: 180 g
Average: 319 g
Max: 561 g

Unfortunately, Olympus PEN E-PL3 comes without a waterproof feature, so if you want it to serve well and last longer, you will have to use it very carefully and avoid water.

Unfortunately, Olympus PEN E-PL3 comes without a dustproof feature, so if you want it to serve well and last longer, you will have to use it very carefully and protect your camera from external threats such as dust.

Olympus PEN E-PL3 Photo and Sensor Features

Olympus PEN E-PL3 comes with Truepic VI processor. This model also boasts of a resolution of 12.0 MP and is equipped with a Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sized CMOS sensor.

The base of Olympus PEN E-PL3 has the following ISO range 200 - 12800 .

Also, this model comes with the support of the RAW file. This gives you more opportunities in terms of further processing of your files as you can pick to save them in a RAW format.

Olympus PEN E-PL3 features a 12.0 MP Four Thirds sensor, which is not a good pick for high-quality and detailed pictures. However, we have an alternative option for you if you were looking for higher resolution.

DxOMark Sensor Scores

DxOMark gives us a possibility to make a clear and scientific assessment of the quality of camera sensors’ image. Olympus PEN E-PL3, in its turn, features a sensor that was already studied and assessed by DxO Mark. After a complete evaluation, this type of sensor has received a score of 52 for the image quality. If you are looking to see how DxO Mark has tested and evaluated the Olympus PEN E-PL3’s sensor.

Anti-Aliasing Filter

Olympus PEN E-PL3 is known for the lack of anti-alias (Low-pass) filter. It is one of its essential features of the sensor built in this model. The absence of this filter contributes to a higher level of details and sharpness in the pictures you take. Yet, the lack of an anti-alias filter also enhances the possibility of more occurring in certain conditions.

Now let’s check how we can compare the size of Four Thirds sensor featured in Olympus PEN E-PL3 with other standard sensor sizes.

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Other Characteristics And Features of Olympus PEN E-PL3

LCD and ViewFinder

Olympus PEN E-PL3 is equipped with a Tilting 3" LCD screen. The resolution of this model’s screen reaches 460k dots.

In addition, this model comes with a built-in Electronic (optional) ViewFinder.

Max Shutter speed

Some of the other highlights of Olympus PEN E-PL3 are its 6.0 fps max speed and 1/4000 sec max shutter speed, which allow you to shoot continuously.

Flash

Unlike some other cameras from this category, PEN E-PL3 unfortunately, is not equipped with a built-in flash. Luckily, it has a special slot for external flashes instead.

Focusing

In addition, PEN E-PL3 has a Face detection AF feature that quickly finds the faces that appear within the frame range and locks the focus on them automatically.

Video Features

As for the video quality characteristics of Olympus PEN E-PL3, it gives you a possibility to shoot videos at the highest resolution of 1920 x 1080 You also have enough flexibility in terms of how you can save your files. Namely, Olympus PEN E-PL3 allows you to save files in AVCHD and Motion JPEG formats.

Olympus PEN E-PL3 provides full HD resolution, which means that this model shows decent performance in most situations.

Olympus PEN E-PL3 is not equipped with any ports that would allow you to connect external headphones and microphones to it.

Connectivity and Storage

You can connect PEN E-PL3 to compatible devices via its USB 2.0 or HDMI ports.

Battery Life

In concordance with generally accepted CIPA standards, the battery featured in Olympus PEN E-PL3 provides a shooting life of 300, while the average battery life of cameras in this class is 338 shots.

With the commonly accepted standards in mind, we can conclude that Olympus PEN E-PL3 is above the average indicator of battery life. However, we believe it is still a great idea to grab a few extra batteries if you are planning long photo trips.

How Good is Olympus PEN E-PL3 for Different Types of Photography?

In this part of our review, we are going to focus on Olympus PEN E-PL3’s performance in various fields of photography. Each sub-section stands for a specific photography area. In every part, we will review Olympus PEN E-PL3’s name performance and give it an overall score. This first spider web graph indicates how we can compare the PEN E-PL3 to the average MirrorLess camera.

Hover your mouse over the points to see the score details for each photography type.

Olympus PEN E-PL3 for Portrait Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Olympus PEN E-PL3 performs Portrait Photography, we gave it a score of 57. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Olympus PEN E-PL3 can be called a Strong model for this type of photography.

If the score of this model doesn’t impress you and you are still looking for a model that is better suited for Portrait Photography, we recommend you to check out our Top 10 Cameras for Portrait Photography.

Advantages:

  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor

Olympus PEN E-PL3 for Street Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Olympus PEN E-PL3 performs Street Photography, we gave it a score of 97. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Olympus PEN E-PL3 can be called a Great model for this type of photography.

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large Four Thirds(17.3 x 13 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (110 x 64 x 37 mm)

Olympus PEN E-PL3 for Sports Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Olympus PEN E-PL3 performs Sports Photography, we gave it a score of 64. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Olympus PEN E-PL3 can be called a 64 model for this type of photography.

Advantages:

No Significant Advantages

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (6.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (35)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (499)
  • Small battery life (300 shots)

Olympus PEN E-PL3 for Daily Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Olympus PEN E-PL3 performs Daily Photography, we gave it a score of 72. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Olympus PEN E-PL3 can be called a Strong model for this type of photography.

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • No Built-in Flash

Olympus PEN E-PL3 for Landscape Photography

After carefully reviewing how well Olympus PEN E-PL3 performs Landscape Photography, we gave it a score of 48. Compared to scores of other cameras from the same class, Olympus PEN E-PL3 can be called a 48 model for this type of photography.

If the score of this model doesn’t impress you and you are still looking for a model that is better suited for Landscape Photography, we recommend you to check out our Top 10 Cameras for Landscape Photography.

Advantages:

  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Low resolution sensor (12 MP)
  • Bad Dynamic Range (10.3)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (499)

Olympus PEN E-PL3 Detailed Specs

General
Brand Olympus
Model PEN E-PL3
Announced Sep 20, 2011
Body Type Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Lens
Manual Focus Yes
Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds
Number of Lenses 94
Focal Length Multiplier 2x
Macro Focus Range
Screen
Screen Type Tilting
Screen Size 3″
Screen Resolution 460k dots
Live View Yes
Touch Screen No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Electronic (optional)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage %
ViewFinder Magnification
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 60 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s
Continuous Shooting 6.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes
Custom White Balance Yes
Image Stabilization Yes
Built-in Flash No
Flash Range 0
Flash Modes Auto, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Sync, Manual (3 levels)
External Flash Yes
AE Bracketing Yes
WB Bracketing Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes
Average No
Spot Yes
Partial No
AF-Area No
Center Weighted Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Scores 52
DxO Color Depth 20.9
DxO Dynamic Range 10.3
DxO Low Light ISO 499
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS
Sensor Size Four Thirds
Sensor Dimensions 17.3 x 13 mm
Sensor Area 224.90 mm2
Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 4032 x 3024
Max Native ISO 12,800
Max Boosted ISO n/a
Min Native ISO 200
RAW Support Yes
AutoFocus
AF Touch No
AF Continuous Yes
AF Single Yes
AF Tracking Yes
AF Selective Yes
AF Center No
AF Multi Area Yes
AF Live View Yes
AF Face Detection Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes
AF Phase Detection No
Number of Focus Points 35
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080
Video Formats AVCHD, Motion JPEG
Microphone Port No
Headphone Port No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity No
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing No
Water Proof No
Dust Proof No
Shock Proof No
Crush Proof No
Freeze Proof No
Weight 313 g
Physical Dimensions 110 x 64 x 37 mm
Battery Life 300 shots
Battery Type 300 shots
Battery Model BLS-5
Other Features
Self Timer Yes
Timelapse Recording No
GPS
Storage Type SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage Slots 1

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