The micro four-thirds format pioneered by Panasonic and Olympus is just trucking along with incremental advancements and enhancements. The latest to join the bunch is the Olympus PEN E-P3, which has now received official pricing and release date information.
I use the Olympus E-PL1 myself, which is a little more consumer-oriented, but they both use the same 12.3 MP sensor and the same basic form factor. One feature that the new E-P3 is borrowing from the E-PL1 (and E-PL2) is the pop-up flash, a feature that was missing on the E-P1 and E-P2.
The autofocus time on the PEN series hasn’t always been fantastic, but Olympus says that the E-P3 fixes that with the “world’s fastest AF” in its class. They’re also bumping ISO to 12,800, tacking on full HD video recording, and adding a 3-inch OLED touchscreen. The good news is that the manual buttons are still there if you don’t like the touchscreen.
In any case, you can expect the Olympus PEN E-P3 to sell for $900 when it ships this August. At that price, you can choose from the Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 optical zoom lens or the Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f2.8 prime lens. That’s not particularly cheap, considering I got my E-PL1 last year for $450 (including the 14-42mm kit lens) and that was before the E-PL2 showed up.
Compact, All-Metal, Premium, Classic-Style Camera Delivers Incredible Power, Amazing Image Quality with Record-Breaking Autofocus and Touch Display
CENTER VALLEY, Pa., June 30, 2011 – Today Olympus announces a new flagship PEN camera designed for the hobbyist or advanced photographer who desires superior image quality, FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) Autofocus Tracking System and total creative control in a body portable enough to travel the world: the PEN E-P3.
The powerful Olympus PEN® E-P3 is the ultimate PEN camera for visual expression, delivering professional image quality, the World’s Fastest AF** speed, a huge selection of built-in creative features and an easy-to-use interface, all elegantly packaged in a classic, all-metal body with full-advanced controls. Two new M. Zuiko prime lenses also join the family of six MICRO Four Thirds® lenses, to expand the broad options offered to imaging enthusiasts.
Look what you can do with the new Olympus PEN E-P3. It blends high-quality still images expected of a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera with high-definition (HD) video, AC3 Dolby Digital audio (comparable to studio recordings) and In-Camera Creativity in an ultra-portable body. The PEN E-P3 has it all.
Outstanding New Features:
12.3 MP Live MOS Sensor – Utilizing new Fine Detail Processing Technology for greater detail in the photograph, the sensor is optimized to maximize the performance of all M. Zuiko digital lenses in all shooting conditions;
TruePic VI Image Processor – This new image engine, designed specifically for the Olympus PEN, features Real Color Technology for improved color reproduction and faster speeds;
FAST AF – To meet the demand for focusing speed, Olympus has introduced the new FAST AF Tracking System. The FAST AF Tracking System features 35 focus points as well as new Tracking AF to ensure fast & accurate focus each and every time;
Low Light Performance – AF Illuminator / Built In Flash / ISO to 12,800;
Fast Shutter Response – Never miss a shot again with fast shutter response time of less than 60 milliseconds;
Full HD Movie – Shoot up to 29 minutes of full 1080i HD video in either AVCHD or AVI formats; and
3-inch 614,000 pixel OLED Touch screen – Bright high-resolution screen features a newly-designed touch interface that provides an innovative touch display solution.
“With a classic, compact, all-metal body reminiscent of the Olympus PEN E-P1, the PEN E-P3 offers an unprecedented level of portability to help you capture great images and videos on the go,” said Katie Roseman, senior product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “This camera has the creative flexibility to give you a true professional experience.”
Superior Image Quality
A large 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor delivers the highest quality images. Take great photos in low-light environments thanks to the camera’s built-in flash, AF illuminator and ISO up to 12,800. To improve color and speed, the Olympus PEN E-P3 features the new TruePic VI Image Processing Engine. Photos and HD videos taken with the PEN E-P3 will be crisp and clear thanks to three modes of in-body image stabilization. Image stabilization built into the camera’s body enables photographers to take advantage of this feature with every lens. The camera’s award-winning Supersonic Wave Filter™ patented Dust Reduction System vibrates to remove dust and other particles from the front of the image sensor, capturing it on an adhesive membrane every time the camera is turned on.
The Olympus PEN E-P3 uses a variety of features to achieve speed rivaling that of the professional Olympus E-5 DSLR. Focus and shoot faster with the camera’s new 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, TruePic VI Image Processor and new FAST AF Tracking System. The Olympus PEN E-P3 offers 35 separate focus points spread over nearly the entire sensor, enabling the camera to pin-point focus accuracy on small subjects wherever they appear in the frame. Selectable 3×3 groups within the 35-point area are especially effective when shooting active subjects. The camera’s fast shutter response time ensures that you will never miss the shot, even in the toughest shooting environments.
Olympus PEN series cameras put you in the director’s chair, offering a new level of freedom to the creative shooting experience and enabling instant experimentation, feedback and gratification. For the first time, the Olympus PEN E-P3 features full 1080 60i HD Video. Push the direct HD video button to instantly start filming your HD video with a choice between ACVHD and AVI formats with uncompressed CD-quality 16 bit/44.1kHz Linear PCM stereo recording or AC3 Dolby Digital Audio.
In-camera features such as Art Filters, Multiple Exposure and In-Camera Editing enable photographers to capture the world as they see it. The Olympus PEN E-P3 features 10 Art Filters: Diorama, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia and Dramatic Tone. The camera also features nine Art Filter variations and enhancements, including new Pale & Light Color II, and five Art Filter Effects, including new Star Light and White Edge. The new Art Filter Bracketing function helps you develop multiple pictures utilizing different Art Filters with a single shot, making it possible to experiment with several different photographic effects at the same time. Photographers can use Art Filters in all shooting modes: shutter priority, aperture priority, manual and program auto modes for expanded control. All Art Filters can be applied to both still shots and Standard Definition or HD movies. Art Filters set the Olympus PEN E-P3‘s images and videos apart from the pack. Since they’re built into the camera, Art Filters can help you achieve dramatic results on the go without the need for a computer or editing software.
The Olympus PEN E-P3 adds a new dimension to photographs by shooting dynamic 3D photos in any situation from macro to landscape. Recreate a sense of depth like that of the original scene. Simply select the 3D Photo Mode, release the shutter, and slowly pan until the camera automatically takes a second image from a slightly different perspective. The 3D data is processed in-camera resulting in an .MPO file, the universal industry 3D format for easy display on 3D televisions or laptops.
Expanded Control Combined with Ease of Use
Controlling the Olympus PEN E-P3 is simple with its next-generation, three-inch, touch-sensitive 614,000 pixel OLED display. Consuming much less energy than the traditional LCD, this display has a wide 176-degree angle of view and is bright enough to compose images even in harsh midday light. With the camera’s new intuitive graphic user interface and touchscreen, it is easy to capture a picture, change camera settings or navigate the Live Guide controls by simply touching the screen. Going through a day’s photos is easy by scrolling through and enlarging photos with the tap of a finger.
The Olympus PEN E-P3’s built-in, pop-up flash makes it easy to illuminate low-light subjects, reduce red-eye and fill in dark areas. The camera is compatible with SDHC, SDXC and UHS-1 memory cards for greater speed and capacity and can be utilized with the Olympus PENPAL® or various Eye-Fi™ cards for instant wireless uploads to your favorite social or photo sharing websites.
Olympus has added a rotational dial, sub-dial and two new function buttons to the back of the PEN E-P3 so photographers can make rapid changes to menu settings and maximize the camera’s performance. With a thumb, photographers can adjust aperture and exposure time in an instant without switching between menu selections. Hands-on shooters will appreciate the two customizable buttons they can assign to favorite functions. Photographers will appreciate how the camera’s mode dial enables access to basic settings.
The Level Gauge in the Olympus PEN E-P3 is a tremendous benefit for architectural photographers who must ensure that images of buildings are as centered and true as the walls of the buildings themselves. This feature detects the camera’s pitch and roll during Live View operation so photographers can make sure subjects appear where they should in the frame.
New Lenses and Accessories for Every Shooting Challenge
The Olympus PEN MICRO Four Thirds family features eight fully-compatible MICRO Four Thirds lenses. The legendary Olympus Zuiko® Digital Four Thirds range of 27 high-quality lenses, OM-series and other manufacturers’ lenses can be attached to Olympus PEN cameras with optional adapters. The Olympus PEN E-P3 comes packaged with the Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 zoom lens (28mm-84mm equivalent) or the m17mm f2.8 (34mm equivalent). Today, Olympus is proud to announce several new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) lenses with high-speed, near-silent autofocus during still shooting and high-definition (HD) video capture. Also, several new accessories will complement the PEN E-P3 perfectly and broaden the creative horizons for all PEN photographers.
M. Zuiko Digital ED 12m f2.0 lens (24mm equivalent): This high-speed, single-focal–length, wide-angle lens is ideal for shooting everything from dramatic landscapes in low-light conditions to hard-to-get, spontaneous street shots. It has a beautiful full-metal body and a snap ring that enables photographers to pan focus with a distance indicator.
M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens (90mm equivalent): This single focal length portrait lens has a beautiful shallow depth of field, which enables the background blurring effects not possible with the 14-42mm kit zoom lens. The MSC mechanism is great for tracking a moving child or pet, and provides a quick and silent focus mechanism for movies and still photography.
FL-300R Compact Flash: This flash functions as a bounce flash and wireless remote flash with enough power for nearly any shooting situation. Photographers can use it in tandem with the camera’s built in pop-up flash, or as an alternative to it. It is designed in silver to match the new PEN lineup.
MCG-2 Exchangeable Camera Grip: Available exclusively for the PEN E-P3, this comfortable grip enhances the grip area of the camera to fit any photographer’s hands perfectly. It is available in black and beige.
The Olympus PEN E-P3 kit will be available in stylish black, white and silver, starting in August 2011. It includes the PEN E-P3 body, lens, USB cable, video cable, BLS-1 Li-Ion battery pack, Li-Ion battery charger, shoulder strap, OLYMPUS [ib] software CD-ROM, manuals and registration card.
U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
Olympus PEN E-P3 Body with MSC M. Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
Estimated Street Price: $899.99
Olympus PEN E-P3 Body with MSC M. Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f2.8 Prime Lens
Estimated Street Price: $899.99
Journalists interested in more information, review units and high-resolution images of the Olympus PEN E-P3 camera, lenses and accessories should contact Keith Gordon, Mullen Public Relations, 212-885-3218, [email protected], or Jennifer Colucci, Olympus Imaging America Inc., 484-896-5719, [email protected], or visit the Olympus website: http://www.getolympus.com.
ABOUT OLYMPUS IMAGING AMERICA INC.
Olympus Imaging America Inc. is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering award-winning products for consumer and professional markets.
Olympus Imaging America Inc. works collaboratively with its customers and its ultimate parent company, Olympus Corporation, to develop breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality that enhances people’s lives every day. These include:
Professional and Interchangeable Lens System Cameras
Related Underwater Products and Accessories
Digital and Microcassette Recorders
Olympus Imaging America Inc. is responsible for sales in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For more information, visit: www.olympusamerica.com.
*Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. All trademarks and registered trademarks listed herein are the property of their respective holders, in the US and/or other countries.