Olympus E-3 Digital SLRs

Available At:
E-3

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.

User Reviews (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9  
OscarPhoto   Intermediate [Apr 03, 2011]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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

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..

Customer Service

They did a good job cleaning the camera..and it wasn't expensive

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
Available At:
Greg McCary   Expert [Jul 10, 2008]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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

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.


Customer Service

Not yet

Similar Products Used: E500, E510
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
FritzSolms   Expert [May 23, 2008]
Strength:

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


Weakness:

3200 ISO shooting

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.

Customer Service

Had no need to test it yet.

Similar Products Used: Olympus E-510
Olympus E-500
Film cameras
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
Richard B   Expert [Feb 05, 2008]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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!)


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.

Customer Service

Not used or needed

Similar Products Used: Olympus E-1
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Dana Vigilante   Expert [Jan 10, 2008]
Strength:

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

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 .

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.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
gilliamhome   Professional [Jan 03, 2008]
Strength:

Feel, 2 card (xd and CF) slots, excellent IMAGE STABILIZATION, super fast auto-focus that work very efficiently in all light levels. Though I rarely ever use it - an on board flash that is bright and efficient. Use the BLM1 Battery, and makes efficient use of the power by auto off "Lighting" of the LIVE VIEW PANEL and the top menu displays. Olympus accessory and lens lines are extensive and should provide anyone a full gamut of product to execute their imaging tasks. Faster uploads of stored images, as compared to the Evolt 500. Olympus has listened to the professionals and have gone the distance for producing a quality digital camera.

Weakness:

None found yet - (I may be partial to Olympus - I have owned Olympus equipment since the 1960's - starting with the Pen F/T).

Moving up from the Olympus Evolt 500 to the Olympus E3 is like walking off the piedmont into the Himalayas. The Evolt 500 is a GREAT camera, and it has served me well in many situations - the E3 is loaded with GREAT capability and features designed to AID the professional in every desired task. Super auto-focus, full information in the larger viewfinder, LIVE VIEW (a welcome feature after the small eyepiece viewfinder of the Evolt 500. Though I believe I will probably use the eye piece as much as LIVE VIEW, with full information there - I have little reason to leave my subject to eye attention. Reduced digital noise in darker exposure environments.
I am looking forward to using this new platform. I would recommend this to any photographer that is considering an upgrade to their former digital or film-based equipment. Significantly larger than the Evolt 500, the E3 feels GREAT in my hands. B&H offers a $100 rebate on Adobe LIGHTROOM and that is a sweet discount. The camera doesn't make the picture - the photographer does... However, this camera makes any imaging task so much better!

Customer Service

In as many years of use - I have NEVER had to use Olympus Customer Service. I do use the Olympus Store for after-purchase needs. B&H Photo is TOPS! Quick turn around and drop shipped overnight. Packaged neat and secure, my E-3 arrived in excellent NEW condition.

Similar Products Used: Nothing I have used in digital equipment compares to the E3. The Olympus Evolt 500 was my former digital platform. My choice to go for the E3 was based upon the pleasure of using the Evolt 500. Olympus ROCKS!
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
stfrancis   Expert [Dec 31, 2007]
Strength:

Excellent magnesium body strong lightweight.
Weather seals.
Tough and rugged construction.
Excellent ergonomics
Excellent fit and finish.
IS.
Dust reduction.
Digital Olympus Zuiko line of lenses.
Live View flip out screen.
100% big bright viewfinder.
Accurate and predictable exposure meter.
Fast autofocus.
Clean and neutral picture files - beautiful skies and skintones, excellent dynamic range.
Excellent pixels coupled with excellent image processing engine = beautiful photos JPEGS or RAW.

Weakness:

Some people who complain on the internet because:
1) They are unfamiliar with the camera and did not read the instruction thoroughly.
2) Ham-fisted novice who broke it by forcing it and then blaming it on the country where it is made in.
3) Buying a high end professional DSLR does not automatically equal professional looking photos everytime - you still need to learn and practice your skills and techniques.
There will always be people who complain about the smaller sensors used in 4/3 systems, all I can say is don't get too hung up on sensor sizes and megapixels alone, there is more to a great photo than how big your sensors are and how many megapixels your cameras have. Bigger and more will not automatically guarantee better because all things compared are not equal, sometimes striking a perfect balance is the key.

Many manufacturers will advertise and sell their products based on specs such as largest number of megapixels, highest frames per second, most number of burst rate, largest LCD screen, most number of custom functions, most number of focus points, and etc...and many buyers will buy based on these numbers alone. However there is more to a great camera or a great system than just comparing numbers on a spec sheet. There are always the intangibles, the many qualties that cannot be said or described accurately based on numbers and specs alone. Olympus professional digital SLR cameras such as the E-1 that came before and now this E-3 possess many of these intangible qualities. Their picture files are always clean with attractive colors that remind me of many positive qualities of Fujifilm and I don't mean just from looking at the back of the LCD screen or at the computer screen either, but from printing them and making color or b/w proof sheets or enlargements. Afterall, that's the only way I can find to accurately judge a digital photo's many qualities.
If you enjoy the E-1, then the E-3 is everything more and better. While no single camera or system is perfect, the Olympus E-3 4/3 system coupled with digital only Zuiko lenses possess everything you need to create your best images. If your images don't look good, don't blame the camera or the lens, blame yourself. Practice makes perfect.
When taken as a whole the sum of its many parts somehow become a most satisfying and excellent digital photographic machine than the numbers suggest.
The moral of this story is don't buy a camera based on specs alone, you must look beyond the numbers.

Similar Products Used: Olympus E-1, Fujifilm S3 Pro.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
mfahrur   Expert [Dec 10, 2007]
Strength:

AF blazing fast, even with the 14-54mm. The 12-60mm SWD only shines when C-AF is used.
Viewfinder is HUGE! with 100% coverage
Beautiful tone curves from ISO100 to ISO400
Very sharp definition when Noise Filter set to OFF
IS works up to 5 stops, it really does
Zuiko Digital Lens selection from Pro to Top Pro grade is excellent.

Weakness:

Live View implementation could have been better
No Multi-spot metering
It should have been released 2 years ago

The E-3 just feels good to hold, the ergonomics and solid build makes it a easy to handle although it is large and weighs up to 800g.
The in-body IS and articulating LCD live-view is a feature that I really need for my type of photography, that covers from Macro to People to Nature. And the weather-sealing body coupled with my 4 high-grade lenses makes it a perfect all-purpose system.
The AF system is blazing fast, with 11 cross-points that can detect -2EV. AF assist lamp is the thing of the past with the E-3. Fast, accurate and fairly consistent is how I rate the overall AF performance for both S-AF and C-AF shooting modes.
The VIewFinder is amazing. 100% coverage means I don't have to unecessarily crop the shot if some unwanted objects creep into the frame.
The RC system is good, and the FL-50R is responsive in both RC and Slave modes.
The most I am amazed with the E-3 is the Image Quality. Color tones are amazingly rich for ISO100-400. Noise is negligible up to ISO800, and ISO1600 is very usable. Dynamic Range is very high, and contrast control with Shadow Adjustment Technology is excellent to get nice hilite/shadow gradations curves.
In all, the E-3 defines what the E-system and FourThirds should be.

Customer Service

None required

Similar Products Used: Olympus E-510
Olympus OM-4
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
PhaulRevere   Casual [Nov 30, 2007]
Strength:

nice solid feel to camera with the 18-180 lens...my wimpy wrists can get sore after a while but i have not used a tripod yet to help out...too much fuss for me at this point. the bracketing feature is neat but can eat up file space quickly. iso800 photos seem usable. image stabilization helps my hand held shots. Thru the lens info is good, other displays have more info. auto focusing works plenty fast for me, low contrast can confuse it.

Weakness:

direct buttons could be bigger, but work ok...could put buttons in more reachable locations perhaps?
playback zoom to check focus does not seem to be worthwhile beyond 7x zoom (can go to 14x).
wish wireless remote control was usable from more than just the front of the camera and from a longer distance...not sure if i will buy that.
not sure if low light sensitivity is as great as i expected

1st real SLR for me, so buying on faith of what i have read in reviews so far, the camera feels and works great for me w/ a 18-180 lens. I am getting used to the direct buttons that are pushed and then the settings are selected with the front or rear dials. I wanted a twist & flip out screen because I like taking shots at various angles and i am learning the tricks to find the focus when in live view...i thot for a while that option was missing, but reading thru the small type of the 156pg booklet, i found the answer (can download manual in pdf at Australian Olympus site and print 8.5x11) is pushing the OK button then zooming to 5x,7x,10x. auto focus in live view is done by pressing the afl/ael button.

Customer Service

Olympus sites vary with global region...would be nice to download detailed web page info (great Britain site) in a pdf brochure beyond the one found.

samy's camera can vary with the salesperson...got camera for 1500 (200 rebates) plus 18-180 lens for 470 w/ $100 gift card. cheap extra non oly battery, cheap 4gb compact flash card, free cheap bag & tripod, 300 free 4x6 prints. probably will go for complete care 5yr warranty offered for 200 to cover dropping or sitting on unit or motorcycle accident?

Similar Products Used: only the little canon a620 7mp w/ twist out display...was considering the a650, but decided low light performance and other better qualities were needed.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
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