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Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Hands On Preview

We go hands on with the brand new Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3.

|  Olympus Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 in Mirrorless Cameras
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The new Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 is a new compact micro four thirds camera from Olympus, with a new high speed shutter for up to 5.5fps shooting, a 12 megapixel sensor, and full HD video recording. The camera also features a large 3 inch swivelling touch screen.

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Features

  • 12 megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • 3inch swivel touch screen, 460k dot
  • 4.1fps, 5.5fps (IS off)
  • New effects / art filters
  • Full HD Video
  • World's fastest Auto Focus
  • In camera anti-shake sensor
  • ISO12800

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Handling

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
Click to enlarge - front 12mm lens Click to enlarge - front 45mm lens
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
Front, lens off Top, Flash, 12mm lens

The lack of front hand grip may cause some concern, however, as with other cameras lacking a front hand grip, it's always easy enough to add on a third party grip, such as the flipbac grips. Alternatively the leather cases from Olympus provide an additional level of grip, and the back of the camera has a very useful rubber grip placed perfectly for your thumb.

The camera's focusing speed is excellent, with an instant shutter response when pre-focused. In addition it's possible to switch on full time AF, so that the camera should always be pre-focused. The camera is also able to shoot at up to 5.5fps with IS (Image Stabilisation) switched off.

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
Bottom Back

The whole PEN range now comes with a flash, with the E-P3 featuring a built in flash, and the E-PL3 and E-PM1 coming with small external flashes. You can also buy the flash shown above that can be tilted forwards or backwards to bounce the flash. There are a number of other acessories available such as the macro lights shown below, this is especially useful if you have purchased the macro convertor.

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Performance

The camera can now be set to ISO12800, compared to a maximum of ISO6400 on previous models, and the new TruePix VI processor should enable lower noise in images, although we have yet to see full size sample photos from the camera. If we get the opportunity to shoot with the camera we will post the sample photos here, however, the camera is not expected to be available till late Summer, early Autumn.

Olympus has announced an underwater case for both the Lite and the Mini Pen cameras, and they look to provide excellent underwater protection, and full control of the camera, as well as lights around the front of the lens.

Video has been greatly improved with full HD video recording and AVCHD format videos. The camera also allows shutter priority for videos so that you can freeze the action, and take single frames from the video at a later date.

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
Click to enlarge, top silver, 45mm lens Click to enlarge - white, lens off

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Verdict

The camera's new stylish design and enhanced features, and impressive performance, particularly the ultra quick focusing is a very welcome addition to the Olympus PEN range, and it appears as though Olympus are now leading the mirrorless market, rather than trying to catch up to some of the others. The addition of the two new lenses boosts not only Olympus' camera line up, but also the Micro Four Thirds system and the whole lens line up makes the Micro Four Thirds system the strongest mirrorless format available.

Read our hands on preview of the new Olympus PEN Lite E-P3!
Read our hands on preview of the new Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1!
View our size comparison: comparing the Olympus PEN E-P3, E-PL3, and Lumix G3
Return to the overview of the Olympus PEN Announcements.

For more information, see the full Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 announcement.

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Specification

Price: £TBC
Resolution: 12.3 megapixels
Sensor size: 4/3 inch
Sensor type: Live MOS sensor
Max. Image size: 4032 x 3042
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Focusing system: Contrast detection AF
Focus points: 35 points / Automatic and manual selection
Focus types: Manual focus, Single AF, Continuous AF, Single AF + MF, AF Tracking
Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
File types: JPEG, RAW
ISO sensitivity: ISO200 - 12800
Metering system: TTL open aperture light metering
Metering types: ESP light metering, Spot metering, Centre weighted metering, Highlight, Shadow
Exposure compensation: +/- 3EV in 1/3, 1/2 and 1 step increments
Shutter speed range: 60sec - 1/4000sec
Frames-per-second: 4.1fps (5.5fps when IS is switched off)
Flash sync speed: 1/160 s / 1/4000 s (Super FP Mode)
Image stabilisation: Sensor shift
Live view: Yes
Monitor: 3in Tiltable LCD, 460,000 dots
Movie mode: Full HD 1920 x 1080 (16:9) 60i, 17Mbps (AVCHD)
Full HD 1920 x 1080 (16:9) 60i, 13Mbps
HD 1280 x 720 (16:9) 60p, 17Mbps
HD 1280 x 720 (16:9) 60p, 13Mbps
HD 1280 x 720 (16:9) / 30fps (AVI Motion JPEG)
640 x 480 / 30fps (AVI Motion JPEG) 14min
Media type: SD, SDHC, SDXC
Interface: USB 2.0. HDMI Mini
Power: Li-Ion battery
Size: 109.5 x 63.7 x 37.3mm
Weight: 265g (body only)
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The half case shown in the pictures is gorgeous.
Please let me know where I can buy it.
Your reply will be most appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Could someone let me where the cases for these camera are from? love them/need one!

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