DSLR Power in a Compact!

Posted by Justin Case — 9 Sep 2011

Olympus has put together another run at the mirrorless interchangeable camera and in this, the third iteration, seems to have found a groove that makes this effort a distinct beast from its brethren.

e-pl3 family.jpg

Key Features


  • Updated 12MP Live MOS sensor

  • 120 Hz 'Fast AF' focus system

  • Clip-on flash (included)

  • Built-in autofocus illuminator light

  • 460,000 dot tilting LCD screen (16:9 aspect ratio)

  • Dual-core TruePic VI processor

  • 1080i60 movies in AVCHD format

  • Shadow tone adjustment control

  • Revised and expanded Art Filter mode (with quick preview option)

John Biggs, over at TechCrunch has put together a solid capsule review. His bottom line?

The Pros (according to Biggs):


  • Small

  • Amazingly Small

  • Light

  • Fast Shutter

The Cons (again, Biggs' list, not mine):


  • Pricey

  • Lenses are pricier

  • No flash

e-pl3 lenses.jpg

Biggs found the E-PL3 a dream to carry on vacation and a solid second camera for the home (light and easy to use), but found it slightly lacking and, at $700, hard to justify versus a Canon rebel. Perhaps, he mused, that this would be the ideal carry-camera for the street photographer.

Richard Bulter at DPReview did a great overview of the camera that is definitely worth the read. Butler points out that this update offers faster shooting (5.5 fps vs 3 fps) and a tilting LCD but sacrifices built-in flash and other, more granular controls for the slimmed-down body.

Photography Blog also turned in a great, and very detailed, review of this new Olympus. Their overall call: 4 out of 5 stars.
4 stars
Although their detailed ratings ding the camera for being pricey and for limited features (giving both categories only 3.5 out of 5 stars).

In the end, it would seem that the entry(ish) DSLR offerings from Nikon and Canon are the better bet for the trade-up lenser stepping up from the point-and-shoot. While the E-PL3 makes sense on paper (as a trade-up), it seems like a better trade-down for experienced shooters than the intended upgrade for former point-and-shoot hobbyists.

What do you think?

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