Retro. The Olympus PEN E-P3 distinguishes itself from other compact mirrorless DSLRs with its distinctive and beautiful retro look. Even though it follows in the footsteps of the E-P1 and E-P2, the E-P3 includes features from the E-PLx models and adds much welcomed improvements: the world’s fastest single-AF for a 3x optical zoom lens, a built-in flash, a touchscreen OLED, AF-assist light, FUll HD movie and an interchangeable handgrip.
The Olympus E-P3 is one of three PEN mirrorless DSLRs that Olympus announced together in June 2011. All three have the same image sensor and basically the same features: 12.3MP resolution (on a 17.3x13mm Live MOS Image Sensor), Sensor-shift image stabilization, TruePic™ VI Image Processor, high ISO of 12,800, fast AF, Full 1080i HD video with Dolby Digital sound recording, newly designed user interfaces and a variety of Art Filters and built-in creative features. The PEN E-P3 stands at the top of the PEN models, above the PEN Lite (E-PL3) and the PEN Mini (E-PM1).
The E-P3 has the Micro Four Thirds (mFT) mount and therefore accepts all mFT lenses, as well as Four Thirds (FT) lenses, OM lenses, some Leica lenses and lenses from other brands with the appropriate adapter. A Dust Reduction System ensures any dust that may have entered the camera when changing lenses are removed from the sensor.
A direct HD Movie button gives instant access to Full HD movie 1920×1080 pixels with Dolby stereo sound. The popular in-camera Art Filters apply to both still shots and video.
Exposure flexibility is available to more advanced photographers: Program AE (P), Aperture-Priority (A), Shutter-Priority (S) and full Manual (M) mode are all accessible directly on the Mode Dial. Advanced photographers will also appreciate available manual control over aperture and shutter speed while filming. Of the three PEN models, only the E-P3 has a built-in pop-up flash. Like the others, it also has a hotshoe for attachment of an optional external flash. Available external speedlites include the FL-36R and FL-50R with wireless flash control. The use of off-camera flashes [as fill-in light] and synchronization in Super FP mode at a fast 1/125-1/4000 shutter speed allow the use of a large aperture in daylight [e.g., to obtain beautifully blurred backgrounds while using fill-in flash when taking portraits].
The E-P3 includes a port for the detachable high resolution (1440k-dot) VF-2 live-finder which rotates up 90 degrees — useful when shooting subjects from challenging angles. The external accessory port also allows for connection with the SEMA-1 external microphone adapter for enhanced audio capture. The handgrip is removable and Olympus includes a small one as standard and provides a larger one as an optional purchase for those with bigger hands. This also opens up the opportunity for independent designers to provide differently shaped and sized handgrips.
The compact mirrorless DSLR cameras have been welcomed with open arms by enthusiasts and the Olympus E-P3 is sure to figure among the very best, providing DSLR image quality and flexibility without the complexity or size. It comes in Black, Silver or White (colors are country-dependent), and is priced at about US $900 (CAD $900) with the 14-42mm kit lens.
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