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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can connect PEN E-PL3 to compatible devices via its USB 2.0 or HDMI ports.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No Significant Advantages
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.
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.
|Announced||Sep 20, 2011|
|Body Type||Rangefinder-style mirrorless|
|Lens Mount||Micro Four Thirds|
|Number of Lenses||94|
|Focal Length Multiplier||2x|
|Macro Focus Range|
|Screen Resolution||460k dots|
|ViewFinder Resolution||0k dots|
|Min Shutter Speed||60 s|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/4000 s|
|Continuous Shooting||6.0 fps|
|Manual Exposure Mode|
|Custom White Balance|
|Flash Modes||Auto, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Sync, Manual (3 levels)|
|DxO Sensor Scores|
|DxO Sensor Scores||52|
|DxO Color Depth||20.9|
|DxO Dynamic Range||10.3|
|DxO Low Light ISO||499|
|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|
|AF Multi Area|
|AF Live View|
|AF Face Detection|
|AF Contrast Detection|
|AF Phase Detection|
|Number of Focus Points||35|
|Number of Cross Focus Points||n/a|
|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|
|Physical Dimensions||110 x 64 x 37 mm|
|Battery Life||300 shots|
|Battery Type||300 shots|