Although you might have a hard time telling the new Olympus E-P3 apart from older Olympus PEN cameras, the E-P3 is unquestionably the preeminent Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera. On paper this might seem like just another modest upgrade in a string of modest upgrades to the digital PEN line, but the E-P3 resolves virtually every complaint leveraged against the old Olympus cameras. The E-P3 is a solid camera with great image quality, fantastic speed (including art filters that don’t make the camera painfully slow) and it offers 1080 HD video on par with the competition.
Still, the E-P3 has a few flaws under all that metal armor. As mentioned, our review unit had the nasty problem of giving AF confirmation beeps when nothing was in focus. This usually only happened with macro shots in single-area AF, and even then it only happened sometimes, but many people rely on the camera’s AF confirmation beep to tell them when the subject is in focus. It’s too early to tell if this was a problem with our camera or something that will require a firmware fix from Olympus. We will update this review if we learn more.
The other, potential problem for the E-P3 is price. Although $899.99 might sound reasonable for a metal-bodied camera, almost every camera manufacturer now offers cameras with better technical specs than the E-P3 at a lower cost.
At the end of the day the Olympus E-P3 is the greatest Olympus PEN camera to date. It just remains to be seen whether that is enough to make it a great seller in stores.
- Faster Autofocus – roughly as fast as a DSLR
- Compact, stylish and durable
- Easy to use
- Art Filters encourage creativity
- Occasional AF confirmation beep when focus isn’t locked
- Still some LCD lag when using Art Filters
- Difficult menus for advanced functions