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Olympus E-3 Digital SLRs

4.78/5 (9 Reviews)


  • Image Sensor TypeLive MOS
    Resolution11.8 Megapixel
    Camera TypeSLR/Professional
    Interchangeable LensInterchangeable Lenses
    Camera Resolution11.8 Megapixel
    Image Resolutions640 x 480 • 3200 x 2400 • 2560 x 1920 • 1600 x 1200 • 1280 x 960 • 1024 x 768 • 3648 x 2736
    Shutter Speed60 - 1/8000 sec
    White BalanceAuto • Manual • Daylight / Sunny (Preset) • Cloudy (Preset) • Fluorescent (Preset) • Shade (Preset) • Flash (Preset)
    Frames Per Second5 Frames
    Memory TypeCompactFlash Card Type I • CompactFlash Card Type II • IBM Microdrive • xD Picture Card
    Compression ModesFine • SuperFine • Normal • Uncompressed • Basic
    Compression TypeJPEG • Raw Image • EXIF • DCF • DPOF
    File Size (High Res.)11 MB (12 images on 128MB card)
    File Size (Low Res.)0.1 MB (about 1,280 images on 128MB card)
    ISO SpeedsAuto • 100 • 3200
    Flash TypeBuilt-In & External
    Flash FunctionsFlash Off • Auto Flash • Fill-in Flash • Red-eye Reduction Flash • Slow Sync • Manual
    ViewfinderOptical
    LCD PanelWith LCD Panel
    LCD Panel Size2.5 in.
    LCD Screen Resolution230,000 pixels
    LCD Protected PositionWithout LCD Protected Position
    Interface TypeUSB 2.0
    Video InterfaceVideo Out
    Battery TypeRechargeable Li-Ion Battery
    Battery Life610 Images
    Self Timer2 Sec. • 12 Sec.
    Width5.6 in.
    Depth2.9 in.
    Height4.58 in.
    Weight1.79 lb.
    Warranty1 Year
    Exterior ColorBlack
    Included AccessoriesSoftware • USB Cable • Video Cable • Shoulder Strap • Lithium Battery • Battery Charger
    Release DateNovember, 2007
    Product ID46012471

Product Description

The powerful E-3 is built for people who are passionate about photography. This groundbreaking camera offers unique technological advances in four key areas; Speed, Image Quality, Live View and Reliability.

Read The Complete Olympus E-3 Pro Review >>

The 10.1-megapixel Olympus E-3 is a high-end professional digital SLR with an exceptionally fast auto-focus system, built-in image stabilization, Live View and excellent image quality. It’s a part of the Four Thirds digital SLR system, which has a smaller sensor and a different lens format from most other cameras.

Olympus E-3 Review Contents:

Olympus E-3 - front and back

Read The Complete Olympus E-3 Pro Review >>

Other Resources:
Olympus E-3 DSLR Press Release
Olympus E-3 DSLR Preview

Professional Reviews:
Olympus E-3 Review at Imaging Resource


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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by OscarPhoto a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: April 3, 2011

Strengths:    Affordable, the camera makes you feel you are using a professional product but when it comes to picture quality after iso 500 the pictures are extremely noisy. I have no more complains.. I am just disappointed.

Weaknesses:    Heavy, noisy pictures, expensive. Pictures out of focus.

Bottom Line:   
I don't think is a bad product but I won't go crazy saying is a very good one either. I hate the fact that after 500 ISO the pictures look so noisy that it is ridiculous it is advertized as a professional product. I don't really understand the people from the Olympus company. There are 1000's of people buying their products and asking for better products and they don't want to hear. Is there any thing wrong with that ? I would give 3 stars out of 5 if there was a case. I would't buy this product never again and I am switching to Nikon. I am buying a D3S as soon as I can. I am very sorry the money I invested in lenses and flashes. Big mistake !! I am becoming a professional photographer and I would never use any Olympus product..

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

Price Paid:    $1200.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Greg McCary a Expert

Date Reviewed: July 10, 2008

Strengths:    Price, Durability, Faster focus, Better Dynamic Range, Lower noise at high ISO's, Live View, Image Stabilization, Moveable rear LCD screen, Live histogram, Easy menu navigation, Bright and clear viewfinder with easier to read settings. Added screen on top of camera.

Weaknesses:    Size and weight if you don't want a heavy camera, Viewfinder cup keeps coming off, Hot shoe protector keeps coming off.

Bottom Line:   
I have previously owned both the E-500 and the E-510. I studied hard a long before choosing the E3. I knew the next E series camera, the 520, was due out and I wanted to see how good it was before going for the E3. After reading and e-mailing friends I finally decided on the E3 and I know now I made the right choice.
After getting the E3 in the mail the first thing I noticed was the size and wieght. It is a big, heavy camera. 1.79 pounds. When the 14-54mm lens is mounted on it you are looking at three pounds. Next thing was the dials for the shutter speed and aperature. Factory default has the aperature dial on the front of the camera and shutter speed on the back. I quickly reversed this in programming. I much prefer to adjust shutter speed with my index finger. Then I did a quick fimeware update to 1.2. That went flawlessly. Then it was time for a test drive. Here are some thoughts on that.
Focus, All I can say is Wow. Lightning fast focus with the 14-54mm lens. Much faster than the 510 and I thought it was fast. I can only imagine how fast an SWD lens would be. The 11 point focus is a true pleasure.
Viewfinder, Bigger, brighter and much easier to see through. With the 510 I struggled at times to see camera settings on the far right side. On the E3 they have been moved down to the bottom. Much like my old Canon Rebel 2000. Which I loved. The camera setting screen on top of the camera is also something very similar to the Canon Rebel. I can change settings using this screen instead of the back LCD screen and keep the back screen consealed in bad weather or rough climates.
Some of the controls on the E3 have been moved from the 510. I could shoot with the 510 in the dark. I am getting better with the E3 but it is going to take time before I am as fast with the E3 as I was with the 510.
The movable LCD screen comes in handy when leaning to do flower shots or shooting something at a difficult angle. After two back surgeries it's tough to bend down and get the right angle on flower shots. Also the live histogram really helps in this area too. I much prefer it to the meter. It seems more acurate when shooting bright colored, white flowers.
For day to day shooting I rarely ever use live view but when you need it it sure comes in handy. The more I use Olympus products the more I seem to appreciate it on the camera.
The image stabilization also seems smoother. I could feel it and hear it working on the 510, but maybe it's the size and weight of the E3 but you would never know it was on just by shooting. Is it better? No, it's about the same as the 510 as far as shutter speed.
Dynamic range. Yes this is certainly better. I have noticed that you are less likely to blow out a sky with the E3 than with the 510. I had a Cokin ND grad almost permenatly attached to my 510 to get the shots I wanted. But I have shot several times mid day with the E3 and get nice detail from the sky without the filter.
Image quality, Yes this is much better as well. I can tell in post processing an image, when enlarged there is finer detail to the image than with the 510. Not to say the 510 wasn't good. I never had image qualiy issues with the 510. It's just better with the E3. I have a 16x20 sunrise picture printed and the detail is stunning to say the least.
Noise. A huge improvment over the 510. I have shot at night at 800ISO with great results. One of the drawbacks to me with the 510 was noise levels at higher ISO's. I never could shoot at night over 200ISO and be happy with the results. Olympus has really improved this. They still have a ways to go in this area to catch to competiion but I would not trade the ability to shoot without a tripod with the image stabilization for another brand camera. It is a great trade off if you ask me. And like I said. I have shot at 800ISO with very good results that would make some nice prints.
The menu is almost the same as the 510. Easy and quick to use. Card formatting is at the top of the menu so formatting a card is simple and quick. Also the back info on the LCD screen is basically the same as well. Very easy to use.
All in all I really think Olympus hit a home run with this camera. If you compare quality, features and price to the competiion the E3 is really a bargain. All camera systems has it's drawbacks but I think with the E3 it is easy to say you get more bang for your buck than with anything else out there. It is also a camera that will be around after the next few 4/3rds upgrade in the E series.


Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Amazon

Similar Products Used:   E500, E510

Type of photography:   Other


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by FritzSolms a Expert

Date Reviewed: May 23, 2008

Strengths:    Build quality
weather sealing
excellent viewfinder
dust removal system which works
excellent quality & good selection of lenses (particularly the 7-14mm f4, 50mmf2, 50-200)
fast
very good image quality up to ISO-800
ergonomics and general design
articulated live view




Weaknesses:    3200 ISO shooting

Bottom Line:   
The Olympus E-3 is a very solid, fast camera which is a joy to use. The bright view finder together with an excellent selection of lenses which are, on average, significantly smaller than the equivalent lenses of other manufacturers, the weather sealing and its general ergonomics (designed for photographers) all add up to a very positive experience.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $1699.00

Purchased At:   Adorama

Similar Products Used:   Olympus E-510
Olympus E-500
Film cameras


Type of photography:   Other


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Richard B a Expert

Date Reviewed: February 5, 2008

Strengths:    Robust build quality. Olympus Zuiko lenses. Picture quality-I have great 13x19 prints. And, let's not forget the very effective dust reduction system. I have rarely, if ever, used the spot healing brush or any other Photoshop tools to eliminate dust spots - I haven't needed to.

Weaknesses:    None to date. (Of course I would like a full frame 25 MP DSLR with a 20-200mm, f2.0 lens that is that is the same size and price as the E-3. Dream On!)

Bottom Line:   

This is really nice upgrade to the E-1 – a camera that I have enjoyed and used heavily for the last 3 1/2 years. The E-3 has all the features that that led me to buy the E-1 (rugged construction, an effective dust reduction system and excellent picture quality) but has been upgraded with an improved viewfinder, higher resolution, fast auto-focus and much better picture quality at the higher ISO settings.

The 4/3’s format has some disadvantages – primarily having to do with the picture quality at higher ISO settings due to the reduced size of the individual photosites on the smaller sensor (compared to cameras with “full frame” or APS size sensors). However, I rarely shoot at ISO 1600 or 3200 so this isn’t a major concern. At those settings, the pictures are OK but not exhibition quality.

Now to the advantages of the 4/3’s system and reason I like it. It has to do with size and weight. The camera isn’t really small but the lenses are another matter. I purchased my E-3 with the 12-60 mm, f2.8 zoom. While this lens is fairly large and heavy, it is still something that can be carried around and used all day. An equivalent lens for a full frame DSLR would be 24-120mm, f2.8. That would be huge and be like carrying around a concrete block. Maybe that is why nobody except Olympus is offering such a lens! The smaller frame size allows for relatively compact lenses with very wide zoom ranges. Camera and lens design is all about compromise and coming up with a system that works best for the widest variety of circumstances. The designers and engineers at Olympus have done a great job.

The new Live View monitor, image stabilization and onboard flash are welcome additions to the E-3. They are not necessary features for me all the time, but it is nice to have them readily available when they are needed.

Please note that the price of $2,499.95 is for the camera body and the 12-60mm f2.8 lens.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $2499.00

Purchased At:   B & H

Similar Products Used:   Olympus E-1

Type of photography:   Outdoor


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dana Vigilante a Expert

Date Reviewed: January 10, 2008

Strengths:    This was incredibly worthy upgrade from my E-Volt 500. I love the Zuiko lenses.
the 1/8000-second high speed rocks!!!


Bottom Line:   
Dana Vigilante writes: I was looking for a relatively versatile SLR. Versatility being the key word, as my shooting interests range from nature, to people to food. This camera hit the mark on all three. Nature shots, no matter how far away I shot, came out perfect. The food pix were incredible. I shot over 150 pictures at the The Ferry Building Farmers Market in San Francisco and not one needd to be deleted. I'm looking forward to shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival this summer.

I love the clean sensor that keeps the dust settling and ruining my pictures (Dust Reduction System). The choice of lenses for this particular model is awesome. I recently purchased the 14-35mm F2.0 SWD .

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Price Paid:    $1750.00

Purchased At:   Abroad

Similar Products Used:   I've been a fan of the E-Volt's for quiet some time. However, I haven't touched either the 500 or 410 since purchasing this.

Type of photography:   People



Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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