Olympus E-PL3 Pen Camera Details And Pricing

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Olympus E-PL3 Pen Camera Details And PricingA few weeks ago Olympus introduced three new Micro Four Thirds Pen cameras, including the E-PL3. Today, they’ve announced that the E-PL3 will be available in September, with a lens, for $699. Like the E-PL1 and E-PL2, the E-PL3 is a smaller more affordable alternative to the flagship E-P3 Pen camera (Olympus E-P3 Pen camera intro). There’s very little performance compromise, though. The Olympus Pen camera strategy is to provide the same basic performance across the line and differentiate cameras by size, build, controls and a few select features. The E-PL3 has the same 12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor, the same 1920 x 1080 AVCHD video, the same image processing and the same super fast auto focus system as the flagship E-P3 Pen camera. The E-PL3 is smaller, lighter, has only one exposure control dial and features a new tilting 3-inch LCD instead of the E-P3′s OLED touchscreen display. And it costs $200 less.

Olympus E-PL3 Pen Camera - Front And Back

Olympus E-PL3 Pen Camera Key Features and Specs:

  • New, improved 12-megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • New TruePic VI image processing
  • World’s fastest auto focus (single shot)
  • 1920 x 1080 60i AVCHD full HD video
  • New 3-inch tilting LCD display
  • Sensitivity to ISO 12,800

I’m not going to go into a ton of detail about the new Olympus E-PL3. What I will do is tell you a little bit about the E-P3, which I just took on a two-week trip to Italy (my current Olympus E-P3 gallery). Like I said in the last paragraph, the E-PL3 uses the same sensor and processing so basic performance and image quality should be the same. I’ve used both the E-PL1 and E-PL2 extensively (see my Olympus E-PL1 Pro Review and E-PL2 hands-on video intro) and felt they were a great option whenever there are serious size and weight restrictions – they make great travel and backpack cameras. And the new E-PL3 is even smaller – see the photo of the E-PL3 (left) and the E-PL2, below.

New , smaller Olympus E-PL3 (left) next to the E-PL2

With previous Pen cameras I was always aware I was making a compromise. But the image quality, speed and auto focus improvements I’ve experienced over the past few weeks with the E-P3 are wonderful. I think the image quality of the new Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras (E-PL3, E-PM1, E-P3) can stand up to any crop-sensor digital SLR on the market right now. Olympus also claims the new auto focus is the fastest on the planet. That means faster even than pro digital SLRs. After using the E-P3 for a few weeks I have no reason to dispute the claim, although it is important to point out that it applies to single-shot auto focus only. For continuous auto focus, digital SLRs are still far superior. But for the kind of shooting I did on my recent trip to Italy, the auto focus was excellent. And the E-PL3 auto focus should be the same as the E-P3.

Olympus E-PL3 Pen Camera - new tilting LCD display

So if you’re in the market for a really travel-friendly camera with digital SLR performance and you don’t want to spend $800, the Olympus E-PL3 is a great new option. I am noting that the price has gone up $100 since the previous generation. The E-PL1 and E-PL2 both hit the market at $599 with the 14-42mm kit lens. That’s definitely a more interesting price for people comparing to compact cameras. However, the new Pen camera image quality and performance improvements put them closer to digital SLRs than compact cameras. If the E-PL3 performs anything like the E-P3 I’ve been using – and it should – then the $100 price increase is totally justified.

The new Olympus E-PL3 Pen camera will be available at store and online camera dealers in September. The expected retail price for the E-PL3 camera kit with either the new MSC M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm II kit lens or M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/2.8 prime is $699. Olympus also announced a new electronic viewfinder (EVF), which mounts on the accessory port on any Pen camera as well as the XZ-1 premium compact. The Olympus VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder should be available at the same time as the E-PL3 and sell for $179.99.

Olympus E-PL3 Pen Camera Availability Press Release >>


Related Content:
All Olympus Camera User Reviews
Olympus Cameras Forum
EVIL & Micro Four Thirds Cameras Forum
More Olympus Camera News And Articles
Olympus Web site

Olympus E-PL3 Pen Camera with M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/2.8 lens

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of PhotographyREVIEW.com and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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