By 23 August 2011 | Categories: news


Olympus has launched its new PEN E-P3 camera, which it claims is the fastest auto-focus camera with interchangeable lenses. The E-P3’s most flaunted feature is its Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology (FAST) autofocus, which the company explained is due to the inclusion of a new processor, TruePic VI image engine, designed especially for mirror-less cameras from their Micro Four Thirds stable. The company asserts that TruePic VI, in combination with a faster and more sensitive 12.3 megapixel sensor, further ensures excellent picture quality, especially in low light. This is charged with delivering excellent quality, colour and detail, while boosting light sensitivity up to ISO 12800. 

Show me the lenses

Olympus further stressed that the PEN E-P3 is a system camera, meaning that users will be able to take advantage of more than 500 Micro Four Thirds, Four Thirds and other lenses (via an adapter), including Olympus’ M.ZUIKO DIGITAL range of high-quality optics, such as the wide angle M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0 (24mm), the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm 1:1.8 (90mm) portrait lens and the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm (28-84mm) zoom lens. All three lenses are intended  for near-silent operation, making them suitable for photographing HD movies in stereo.
Stay focused

The PEN E-P3 offers 35 separate focus points, spread over nearly the whole sensor, making it possible to focus on small subjects, no matter where they appear in the picture. In low light conditions, the built-in AF Illuminator compensates for potential loss of accuracy, while new AF tracking technology ensures subjects stay sharp when they move in and out of the frame. An additional autofocus feature is Full Time AF, which enables the focusing mechanism to remain active so the image is always in focus, and to prevent the camera from wasting time obtaining focus when the user depresses the shutter release.

Additional features of the camera includes  two dials on the back for making quick adjustments to exposure and aperture, plus in-body image stabilisation that counteracts camera shake irrespective of the attached lens. The PEN offers ten different filters for adding special effects in camera, including Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale and Light Colour, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pinhole, Diorama, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia and Dramatic Tone Art Filters. All ten filters can be applied to both still shots and movies. The camera records in 1080i Full HD quality at 60fps, and in a choice of formats. For playing back on TV, users can choose AVCHD, which generates a smaller file size. If they want to edit their movies first, the 720p HD Motion JPEG format is also available. The PEN E-P3 14-42 kits are available with the body in classic black, white or silver from this month. A RRP was not available at present.
TechSmart has reviewed a previous PEN model, the E-PL1 here


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