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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent camera for low light photography without the flash., 7 Feb 2012
By 
Dr. S. Arif "shahi_1971" (Doncaster, United Kingdom.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have had many cameras in my day. However, I got into micro four thirds by accident. Thanks to a very helpful Olympus agent at John Lewis and a similarly helpful Panasonic agent at Panasonic, I was able to experiment with cameras and lenses.

If you shoot in daylight, believe me - any camera is good. The distinction in performance comes with low light conditions and sports etc. If it's daylight you shoot in, you can even use your mobile for great results. However we live in a country that is darker more than it is lighter, or overcast and raining. True, you can use a flash in any situation and in portrait photography lighting is of the essence. But wanting a good camera that shoots in low light without the need for a flash, with little noise.. (all cameras can shoot in low light but the noise levels are extreme to make the photos grainy etc.) .. you should go for the E-PL3.

Compared to its sister micro four thirds camera, the Panasonic G3, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 is the better camera, personally. True, if you went online and read the reviews, the G3 trumps. It has a touch screen, a built in flash and an electronic viewfinder. You get a free flash attachment, no touch screen and no electronic viewfinder for the Olympus. What you get, however, is a very good camera if using it WITHOUT a flash and in low light conditions especially.

The electronic viewfinder for the Olympus, the VF-2, costs £176 at least.

I have shot pictures with both Olympus and Panasonic lenses on both the EPL-3 and the G3 Lumix.

The EPL-3 works well with the Panasonic LEICA 25mm F1.4 lens and the OLYMPUS M.14-42 F3.5-5.6 II R lens.

The ZOOM OLYMPUS 40-150mm lens needs a tripod, despite the image stabilisation built into the body of the EPL-3.

The Panasonic 14-42 F3.5-5.6 lens is reasonable but a better alternative is the Olympus 14-42 lens.

The Panasonic does not have lens image stabilisation, whereas the Olympus has image stabilisation built into the body of the camera.

The Panasonic has lens image stabilisation in the 14-140mm zoom (Panasonic) and NOT the 14-42 kit lens or the 25mm prime.

So, yes there are advantages and disadvantages depending on what you see as relevant features to yourself.

I wanted a camera that would perform well indoors without a flash to capture beautiful shots, not spoiled by the glare and intensity of a white flash.

The M.ZUIKO lens are actually affordable. Go for the normal lenses, and the minimum you would pay for is at least a £1000.

The beauty of the Olympus is the built in image stabilisation to the body, and NOT the lens. This is a feature of high end DSLRs. Even Nikon entry level DSLRs have image stabilisation built into the lens rather than the body - so called VR or vibration reduction.

The olympus kit lens 14-42 is thinner, smaller and lighter than its panasonic counterpart. Even the 40-150mm zoom lens is the same. Have you seen the Panasonic equivalent. It is usually sold with the Panasonic GH2 as a kit lens, and by golly is it heavy.

Unfortunately don't expect a lens hood with Olympus, you have to pay extra for that. Panasonic gives you the lens hood with its lenses.

The reason I went for the Leica 25mm F1.4 lens (prime, from Panasonic) is because the F1.4 (very low) is perfect for low light. If F1=the human eye, than F1.4 is closer to a dilated eye letting you see on camera what you'd see in person. The lowest focal length of 0.67 goes to the Phase One cameras which costs £18000 pounds with perhaps £3000 for the lens!! Yes, you'll spend £700 on the Panasonic F1.4 lens but it is a bargain.

Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses are expensive. You could easily buy a good DSLR, but you pay this money for smaller, compact cameras with lightweight lenses that you can use just like a compact for point and shoot photography. If you have a six year old like I do, lugging a DSLR and running after a kid are inconceivable. Owning the EPL-3 with its lightweight lens means you can run after your kid without worrying about the camera. It fits into your hand.

Do be mindful that you do not get the 'grip' you would with DSLRs and even single lens zoom cameras. Otherwise go for the Panasonic FZ35 for e.g. In fact you could easily buy an EOS or Nikon DSLR for what you will spend on a micro four thirds!!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid performer, 17 April 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Have owned this camera bundle for 5 months now and shot about 2000 frames in varying conditions. The attraction was a light product, little more in size and load than a small compact, but with the facilities of through-the-lens. It wasn't long before I purchased the add-on viewfinder as well, because using the screen in bright light was impractical, especially if you wanted to do any more than point and shoot. As a result, this forces a choice between flash and viewfinder which is inconvenient.

Like most cameras it takes a while to master the control of shutter speed and aperture, and I have tended to default to the 'Auto' setting, which rather defeats the point of the TTL. The manual control of shutter and aperture is not stunningly intuitive and can be quite fiddly, although the manual focus is clear and straight forward.

The lens bundle is great. The versatile combination is just right for most requirements and whilst I thought about the extension tube option, there hasn't been a need yet. The telephoto 40-150mm is a pretty solid performer, but with a small lightweight camera body, and little grip, you have to watch for camera shake. I am using a unipod (or a handy wall) more frequently than expected.

I also took the advice of a previous reviewer and purchased a spare battery!

The picture quality of the four thirds solution compares admirably with the Canon 7D we also use, but in Photoshop you can still tell the difference of course!

Overall, much better than a top of the range compact, but not a replacement for a decent TTL, which I suppose it what one would expect really!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How did I manage before?, 16 Feb 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Delivered in excellent time, and worked straight out of the box - but you do need your own media card!
Do not know how I managed with my big, clunky DSLR before buying this. so compact it fits in my pocket and I have taken several shots that my old camera would struggle getting out of the bag in time for.
Love the adjustable screen on the back - have only used viewfinders in the past and was not too enamoured about the thought of using a screen. It even works in bright sunlight!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great camera, 25 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Olympus Pen E-PL3 Compact System Camera - Black (M.ZUIKO Digital 14 -42mm II R Lens Kit) (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
easy to use, small, light and takes great photos. Auto settings replicate a point and shoot, but there is one button access to a range of colour saturation/brightness/focus options which make a huge difference to your photos. You can also get all David Bailey and have everything manual, but I have not progressed to this yet. Great camera.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely little camera, 9 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Olympus Pen E-PL3 Compact System Camera - Black (M.ZUIKO Digital 14 -42mm II R Lens Kit) (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
I am really pleased I purchased this camera because it has rekindled my interest in creative photography again after using compact point and shoot cameras for many years. I also have a good selection of old OM lenses which can be used on this body with an adapter. Do handle this camera first, because if you have large hands it is smaller than you may think. It is also a bit difficult to use with one hand because the front is very smooth. I purchased a Richard Franic grip to solve this but it should have been included in the design.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent: better than a small not as big as an SLR, 24 Dec 2011
By 
J. Spence (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
After alot of research I went for the Olympus rather than the Nikon and Sony - indeed Olympus were the brains behind this type of camera and are already on the third interation. The picture quality is excellent and they have an option, which the others don't of a 150-300 lens which is equivalent to the 600 in bigger cameras - excellent for wildlife photography and a real bonus. For me this was the final deciding factor and I am pleased so far that I went for Olympus. I am looking forward to practicising with the video and taking stills while it is running -the flexibility is just amazing.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really like this camera, 6 Nov 2011
This camera is one I now carry with me most days when my DSLR would be too heavy/ bulky. The picture quality is great and I love the art effects built into the camera. It is easy to work with and gives flexibility to the due to the programmes, manuel and artistic settings. I like the tilt screen and may purchase a view finder only because I am used to one. I have not yet tried the flash. The lenses, though light weight are easy to change and with both 14mm - 42mm and 40mm - 150mm gives a good range of photos which should please most people. I will still use my beloved DSLR with various lenses but I will also keep this little gem. A great all rounder.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, 20 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this camera a month ago for my wife. I was surprised when I first hold it in my hand, the camera surprisingly comfortable to hold. That was my first impression. After I and my wife dug deeper in to the camera itself, I surprised even more. The autofocus is very fast, the tilting LCD help you to get picture from various perspective, the menu is quite easy to navigate, and we're able to take full control of the camera. Don't forget about the art filter, if you're a beginner in photography, then you'll feel amaze with the results.
Beside all above, I recommend you one thing, buy a spare battery. The battery is not powerful enough even for a day shooting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Olympus Pen E-PL3, 23 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this as I needed an upgrade on my very old Fujifilm 1.5Mega pixels! This camera is almost too sophisticated for my needs. However, I find this has an excellent lens and produces very sharp pictures. The online instructions could be a little clearer in some sections and I would recommend buying the 'Pen EPL-1 For dummies' book. Did not give 5 stars as the view screen in bright sunlight is no better than other makes, despite the tilting facility. I will probably buy the view finder in due course but it appears to be a very expensive accessory at around £140.00!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but very good!, 6 May 2013
By 
This review is from: Olympus Pen E-PL3 Compact System Camera - Black (M.ZUIKO Digital 14 -42mm II R Lens Kit) (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Recently upgraded from an E-PL1 (Because I got good prices for both cameras).
I must say I miss the looks and feel of the E-PL1, but the E-PL3 IS better!
I got a leather half-case with a built in grip to overcome the the fact that there is no grip on the E-PL3.

The new display is great (I always shoot in widescreen mode, as I view the pics on my TV), the camera is faster, the menus easier to read, and it has a 3D mode which I am having great fun with. (With which I am having great fun? Nah!)

I have a Panasonic 25 mm f1,4 lens and the combo takes amazing pictures.

One gripe: I really wish the screen would articulate fully, and not just tilt.
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