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  • Olympus PEN E-P3 12.3 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 14-42mm Zoom Lens (Black) (Old Model)
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Olympus PEN E-P3 12.3 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 14-42mm Zoom Lens (Black) (Old Model)

by Olympus
| 8 answered questions

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DPReview silver Award
From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 74%
See Review Summary and Sample Images
What is DPReview and its awards?

Digital Photography Review is the most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site on the Internet. Our authoritative reviews have earned us the trust of photographers and camera buyers all over the world, for more than 15 years.

Gold and Silver Awards are given to products that deserve special recognition based on how well they perform relative to their competitors at the time of review.

  • 12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • 3-inch OLED touchscreen
  • New TruePic VI image processor with Fine Detail Processing; fast AF tracking system
  • Capture full 1080 60i HD video
  • Low-light performance; AF Illuminator; built-in flash; ISO to 12,800
5 new from $448.00 4 used from $299.00

There is a newer model of this item:

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Color: Black
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Review summary from DPReview

DPReview Silver AwardAugust 2011
The E-P3 is, in many ways, the camera we always hoped the PEN would be. It addresses the major weaknesses and criticisms of the E-P1 and E-P2, most notably with substantially faster focusing, a much better screen, and the addition of a built-in flash.
Andy WestlakeAndy WestlakeRichard ButlerRichard Butler


The Olympus PEN E-P3 is, in many ways, the camera we always hoped Olympus would produce at this level. Fast, pleasant to shoot with, and undeniably stylish, it produces excellent images with the minimum of fuss. However its aging sensor is unable to quite keep up with the best in class at high ISOs.

Reasons to buy

  • Excellent JPEG output
  • Reliable metering and white balance
  • Extremely fast, accurate and near-silent autofocus with MSC lenses
  • Hugely customizable and flexible controls
  • Dual-axis electronic level

Things to consider

  • Resolution and high ISO noise performance can't match the competition
  • No dedicated ISO or WB buttons
  • Touch focus mode could be better-implemented

Suggested for

Enthusiast photographers looking for a fast, versatile compact interchangeable lens camera

Not suggested for

Applications requiring high speed or burst shooting.
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (RAW)
Image quality (JPEG)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
DPReview is the world's most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography website. Since 1998 its mission has remained unchanged: to deliver the best reviews of cameras and lenses anywhere on the Internet, and help you find the right gear for your needs.

Olympus PEN E-P3: Preview by

Read the full Olympus PEN E-P3 preview at
Olympus has launched the E-P3, its fifth generation Micro Four Thirds camera. The P3 features a familiar-looking PEN body and revised 12MP sensor but almost every other aspect of the camera has changed. The latest flagship PEN features what the company claims to be the world's fastest AF-S performance, as well as a 614,000 dot VGA-equivalent OLED touch-sensitive screen and built-in flash. In addition it can shoot 1080i60 HD movies in the AVCHD format. We've been using the E-P3 for a while now and have prepared a full preview with studio and real-world sample images.

Read the full Olympus PEN E-P3 preview at

Product Details

Color: Black
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 1.3 x 2.7 inches ; 13 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B0058PL9SO
  • Item model number: V204031BU000
  • Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,397 in Camera & Photo (See Top 100 in Camera & Photo)
  • Date first available at June 29, 2011

Product Description

Color: Black

Product Description

  • 12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • 3-inch OLED touchscreen
  • New TruePic VI image processor with Fine Detail Processing; fast AF tracking system
  • Capture full 1080 60i HD video
  • Low-light performance; AF Illuminator; built-in flash; ISO to 12,800

From the Manufacturer


E-P3 Image

Designed for photographers who want total control over their creative vision, the powerful PEN E-P3 delivers professional image quality, blazing FAST AF speed and an array of built-in creative features in a classic, ultra-portable design. Its large, 12.3-megapixal Live MOS sensor delivers superb images. A new TruePic VI Image Processing Engine improves color and speed. Three modes of image stabilization ensure that every image is crisp and clear. And the press of a button is all it takes to shoot full 1080 60i HD video in either ACVHD or AVI formats. Plus, the E-P3 is complemented by a system of lenses, strobes and accessories usually found only with traditional DSLRs.

12.3 Megapixels
12.3 MP Live MOS Sensor

Utilizing new Fine Detail Processing Technology for greater detail in the photograph, the sensor is optimized to maximize the performance of all M. Zuiko digital lenses in all shooting conditions.

E-P3 Sample Image 1

Fast AF
World’s Fastest AF System*

To meet the demand for focusing speed, Olympus has introduced the new FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) AF system. The FAST AF system features 35 focus points as well as new Tracking AF to ensure fast & accurate focus each and every time!

E-P3 Sample Image 2

3-Inch Touchscreen OLED
3-Inch Touch Screen OLED 614K Dots

Featuring a newly-designed touch interface that gives you the ability to choose AF points, release the shutter, and navigate menus. The VGA equivalent display lets you see richer detail and smoother images with higher contrast and richer blacks.

E-P3 Touchscreen Display

TruePic VI
New TruePic VI with Fine Detail Processing
The TruePic VI Image processor delivers excellent dynamic range, newly expanded color accuracy and fidelity plus reduced noise, all the way up to 12800 ISO. “Fine Detail Processing” technology captures more details in every nuance.
Full 1080 60i HD Video
Full 1080 60i HD Movie

A simple, one-touch button allows you to record movies with ease and simplicity. Choose between AVCHD or AVI for amazing clarity right from your camera.

Art Filter
Ten In-Camera Art Filters and New Art Filter Effects and Variations

Ten in-camera Art Filters (Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Gentle Sepia, Cross Process and Dramatic Tone) are enhanced by new filter variations and art effects such as color variations and image effects. You can explore your artistic side while taking both still shots and HD video right from your camera.

Fully Expandable System

A range of interchangeable lenses, accessories and strobes that are compatible with the E-P3 and are available to support all different types of photography needs.

Fully Expandable System

Customer Reviews

Build quality seems very good to me.
I am a novice photographer and this camera has been very user friendly.
Laura Nemeth
Well-built, good finishing, metal body shell and sturdy feel.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

229 of 231 people found the following review helpful By newzild on September 4, 2011
Color Name: Black
I bought this camera after backpacking around the world with an "expendable" Nikon D40 digital SLR which I bought for just $420 - less than half the price of my new Olympus E-P3. Prior to that I shot film on SLRs. The Nikon took photos that were probably just as good as those from the E-P3. Why, then, did I buy the E-P3? Because of the weight. Anybody who has spent all day, every day, lugging an SLR around with them will know what I mean.

Size and weight are the two advantages that mirrorless cameras offer over SLRs. But once you make the decision to go mirrorless, it is critically important to choose the right format - otherwise you will box yourself into a corner with lenses. I opted for the micro four-thirds (M43) format (supported by Olympus and Panasonic) for the sole reason that there is a much greater selection of lenses for M43 cameras than for the competing Sony and Samsung mirrorless formats.

The three newest M43 cameras are the Olympus E-P3, Olympus E-PL3 and Panasonic G3, all of which have strengths and weaknesses.

After handling the E-P3 and its smaller and cheaper cousin, the E-PL3, in-store, I found that I much prefered the handling of the more expensive model. It is more solid in the hand, and it has an extra scroll-wheel that enhances the speed of choosing aperture settings (I usually shoot in aperture-priority mode). I also liked the touch screen. The negatives were the price and the lack of an articulating screen (which the E-PL3 and G3 have).

Choosing between the E-P3 and the $200 cheaper Panasonic G3 was more difficult. The G3 has an inbuilt electronic viewfinder, an articulating screen and a much better sensor (better photos in low light, without grainy "noise").
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Admiral2525 on November 18, 2011
Color Name: Silver
I used film cameras starting from the 1990s, switched to prosumer DC in 2003, and used DSLR for several years. In Jan 2011, I sold the DSLR and its two lenses, and decided to go mirrorless, finally settling on m43 and the Olympus PEN E-PL2. I was so satisfied with it that before my 19-day Switzerland family trip in August 2011, I purchased the E-P3 and relegated the E-PL2 to a backup camera. After my trip, I sold the E-PL2 since the E-P3 was much better in some critical areas and I did not need a backup when I would not be on any long trip in the near future.

Although images from the DSLR were very good, a major problem was that the DSLR gear was way too heavy. I took a lot of photos while travelling, much more than when staying in my home city. As a small man, it was a pain to carry the DSLR around, especially hiking with a backpack full of other essentials. A smaller and lighter camera with good image quality, suitable for long trips, was thus my prime concern. Before deciding on m43, I considered several mirrorless systems and different camera bodies.

(A) Sony NEX
The main problem with NEX is the lenses, not the camera bodies. Auto focusing is a must for me and there are too few native NEX lens choices at present, which is important when committing to a system. The existing NEX lenses are either optically slow and big, or smaller but having mediocre optical quality. There is not any good fast prime. The NEX may become more attractive in future, but not now. The small and thin NEX cameras with the big lens mounted are a bit unbalanced in my hand and look extremely ugly. The major advantage of NEX is its best-of-class image sensor.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Jackson Jr. on November 6, 2011
Color Name: Black Verified Purchase
I've owned several Olympus digital cameras over the years (E-1, E-330, E-3, E-PL1, and now the E-P3) and the E-P3 is by far be best Olympus digital camera to date. Not only is this camera extremely compact while still using the same DSLR-size image sensor found in Olympus DSLRs, but the new auto focus system inside this camera makes it one of the fastest focusing cameras on the market (depending on the lens you're using).

The 14-42mm R II kit zoom lens focuses extremely fast and is good enough for casual/vacation use but the real advantage of a camera like the E-P3 is the ability to use interchangeable lenses. My favorite lenses to use with this camera are the Olympus 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens, the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4, and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lenses. I also have the 9-18mm zoom lens when I need to have a wide angle lens. I owned the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens for a while but it focuses slowly compared to the 17mm and 25mm lenses.

One feature that I didn't expect to use was the touchscreen display. I thought I'd just use the screen to compose my images like any other camera, but I discovered that it's really nice to be able to touch the screen EXACTLY where you want to focus and have the camera instantly take the picture.

In any case, the durable metal construction, built-in image stabilization, built-in wireless flash control, and decent 3fps burst shooting mode make the E-P3 a solid DSLR replacement if you're looking for DSLR quality without the bulk. I also have several Sony NEX cameras and lenses and I can tell you that as of November 2011 the Olympus system has a MUCH better selection of lenses ... and that has more impact on image quality than the differences between the Olympus image sensors and the Sony image sensors.
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