E-P3

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  • TheRealBadabing 20 Aug 2011 00:21:41 1,310 posts
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    So, I grabbed an absolute bargain on ebay.

    Got a practically brand new E-P3 with the 17mm lens for under 540. I actually feel a bit bad due to the price paid but after the crap I've been through with Simply Electronics it feels like karma.

    Already have the Olympus 14-150mm waiting to go so, as it is an MSC lens, it should give me a good indicator of whether the promised AF speed is as good as they say.

    Haven't been this excited about a bit of hardware for some time. Really hope it delivers.
  • Nth 21 Aug 2011 15:52:12 3,121 posts
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    TheRealBadabing wrote:
    So, I grabbed an absolute bargain on ebay.

    Got a practically brand new E-P3 with the 17mm lens for under 540. I actually feel a bit bad due to the price paid but after the crap I've been through with Simply Electronics it feels like karma.

    Already have the Olympus 14-150mm waiting to go so, as it is an MSC lens, it should give me a good indicator of whether the promised AF speed is as good as they say.

    Haven't been this excited about a bit of hardware for some time. Really hope it delivers.
    That's a great price, what's wrong with it?! I'd love an ep3 but the current price is just absurd :(
  • TheRealBadabing 21 Aug 2011 19:45:31 1,310 posts
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    Arrived yesterday and it's a bit good. I think the guy made a mistake letting the auction end at around 2pm on a weekday, which is how I got such a good price on it.

    I have only owned an E-PL1 before, so while its insides were pretty much the same as E-P1/2, this is the first "flagship" PEN body I have tried.

    First impressions are overwhelmingly positive. The new processor means AF is as fast as they claim, it really is impressive. As it is dual core it also lets the camera process images and write to card at the same time which speeds up the responsiveness no end. Cutting a long story short, the camera feels fast in everything it does and fixes the only real criticism I had of my older PEN. The 14-150mm is much faster to focus than a lens with that sort of range has any right to be.

    Build quality is great but then I never had any issue with even the E-PL1 in that regard. Feels much nicer than a plastic DSLR body. Will be interested to see what grips appear in future, I love the idea of having a customisable grip attached with a big industrial bolt :)

    Nice to have all the buttons and dials but the wheel is a bit crap. Thumb dial is nice in use, as I'm sure the E-P1 users will agree.

    IQ is great as always but I ended up reducing noice filtering a notch to bring out some more detail. Beauty of the Olympus is the depth of customisation that lets you set it up pretty much any way you want. I find 12Mp more than enough but I admit many will want 16Mp+ to satisfy their e-peen ;)

    The touch screen controls are loads of fun. Not much (if any) settings can be changed on screen but touch-to-focus and touch-to-shoot are a revelation on a PEN. Real crowd pleaser - everyone that has had a play has been very impressed. The contrast of a retro body with that sort of tech really wows.

    The 35 AF points now cover practically the whole screen so it is very useable. Will let me have a single AF point for "normal" shooting, to retain control, and still have the rest available if I want to use the screen. Strangely though I am finding I am not using it as much as I thought I would. Keep forgetting it is available to be honest. Face detection is better than the E-PL1 and now allows options to focus on an individual eye.

    So, basically the camera works quickly and efficiently. If that was all I would be happy enough but there is a new bracketing feature that uses the art filters. I know the purists out there will baulk at the idea but it works beautifully. I can assign one of the fn buttons to a custom setup which will save any number of variations with a single shutter activation. This means I can do different colour options and my favourite grainy b/w and dramatic art styles with one button press. Probably easy for an expert to achieve the same in post processing but the out-of-camera results are so good I don't know why anyone would bother. Can always do a RAW file too if you want to play.

    Only problem I have had is the camera becoming unresponsive while playing around with this bracketing. Not particularly common and easily solved by switching off/on but annoying and needs a firmware fix.

    Turned into a bit of an essay but I can honestly say I have never been as impressed with a camera. Have had a Canon 350D, an E-PL1, a NEX-5, a Sony A33 and an XZ-1. The only thing that has come close is the A33 with some Minolta glass attached. I would still be using the A33 but weight and size was becoming an issue. The E-P3 has no such problems and gets a fandabydozy out of seven from me.

  • Nth 21 Aug 2011 20:25:38 3,121 posts
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    Sounds great, the fast AF and touch focussing look great. It shouldn't be a penny over 600 new though, I shall wait a year for sanity to prevail I think.
  • TheRealBadabing 21 Aug 2011 22:32:49 1,310 posts
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    Onestop Digital are doing them with the new kit lens for 650, or you could swap the touchscreen for a tilt-screen and get an E-PL3 for 400-500 from SRS on ebay.

    Either way the difference in speed makes it probably the first real upgrade in the PEN line. I actually thought street photogs like you would benefit most from the extra speed.
  • secombe 24 Aug 2011 08:05:48 1,328 posts
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    Sounds very similar to the Panasonic G3 (I bought one yesterday), I couldn't believe how fast AF was on first using it, and being able to place a focus point anywhere is a genuinely useful tool. The amount of customization is insane ( on my E-PL2 and G3), you really can make it 'your' camera.
  • TheRealBadabing 3 Sep 2011 01:47:30 1,310 posts
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    OK been using it for just over a week now and I'm still loving the camera.

    As all my photography revolves around my daughter, hysterical wife censorship means no strangers allowed, so if anyone is gasping for IQ comparisons, just look at E-PL1 shots. No real difference as far as I can see but I don't think that's the goal of this camera.

    Suffice to say that while the AF probably won't catch a football just before it hits your lens, it is more than fast enough to capture a five year old at full pelt. Makes getting the shot so much easier and my ratio of smiles to frustrated grimaces has rocketed when reviewing after a day out. Can see my D: partition filling up very quickly at this rate.

    Is the sensor as good as my old NEX5? EVF, burst speed or flippy screen as good as the A33? Nope but it's a shit load more fun.

    Incidentally, the freezing on (custom button) bracketing seems fixed after a reset which is a bonus. It could also be that I have just got used to holding the button a bit longer rather than snatching at the shot and confusing the poor little processor ;)
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