Olympus PEN E-P3 Review

Having tested the PEN Lite E-PL3 and PEN Mini E-PM1, what's left for review to complete the latest PEN trio launch is the PEN. The E-P3 is the top-line Olympus mirrorless camera and offers a lot more manual controls than the other 2 models, catering to the advanced users.

After testing the E-PL3, followed by the identical E-PM1, I was not prepared with what I was about to experience on the E-P3. The combination of a fast AF, lag-free shutter release, plenty of customisation options, and lots of hardware buttons make the E-P3 an astounding camera.

Included with the review unit is the Olympus M. Zuiko 12mm F2.0 full-metal lens, which further add to the retro look and feel.

The pop-up flash mechanism is well-secured and seems to be able to take some abuse.

Here's a glance of all the buttons on the camera. The function list is generally similar to E-PL3 and E-PM1, just that with dedicated buttons, you can invoke the functions directly.

The E-P3 is not small and certainly not light. Here's a comparison with some cameras I have on-hand.
Olympus E-P3 and E-PM1

The E-P3 is identical in size to the Samsung NX100. The NX100 is much lighter as it's a plastic body.
Olympus E-P3 and Samsung NX100
Like the E-PM1 and E-PL3, the E-P3 has a long list of custom settings that you can configure. Let me list down a few here to share with you the extent of customisation:

What I like about the E-P3
What's not so desirable:
Olympus E-P3 on 12mm F2.0, next to 40-150mm F4-5.6

Summarising the PEN Experience
The Olympus E-P3 is the camera of choice for photographers who desire a great deal of customisation on their shooting parameters. The E-P3 user is one who understands the technicalities of camera settings and takes control of their final image output.

Olympus has implemented most of the advanced features across all their 3 latest PEN cameras. But for the LITE E-PL3 and MINI E-PM1, fewer buttons means more difficult to use the sets of features. Needless to say, among the 3 new PEN models, the E-P3 offers the best usage experience, and should be the one to get to fully appreciate the interface and functionality of an Olympus PEN camera.

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