Olympus E-3 Review
The storage compartment is located on the right side of the camera (from the back) and makes up part of the hand grip. The door hinge is fully spring loaded so you just have to push the release lever (on the back of the body) for it for it to open fully. Inside you will find an xD-Picture card slot and a Compact Flash Type II card slot.
The E-3 has three connectors on the right side (viewed from the front); USB 2.0 (Mass Storage, MTP, Control and Direct Print modes), Video out and a socket for the (optional) mains adaptor. On the top right hand shoulder are the flash synch (x) socket for studio flash and the connector for the optional remote control cable.
|USB 2.0 and Video output ports. The E-3 does not support HDTV output.||AC port.|
|X-synch (top) and remote cable connector.|
Base / Tripod Mount
On the bottom of the camera you'll find the metal tripod socket which is aligned exactly with the center line of the lens. The mount also appears to be in line with the focal plane (position of the sensor).
Battery Grip HLD-4
The E-3 - like the E-1 - has a new optional battery / vertical shooting grip, the HLD-4. The grip accepts one or two BLM-1 batteries and ships with an adapter that holds six AA's. Using the grip necessitates removal of the battery door, but there is a compartment on the grip to store it. The HLD-4 provides a vertical shooting shutter release, main and sub command dials and an extra customizable Fn and AF Target button.
There was a time when no self-respecting 'pro' would be seen dead with a camera that sported a built-in flash, and professional cameras simply didn't have them, full stop. This was claimed to be mainly down to concerns about durability, but there's no doubt there was more than a little bit of snobbery thrown in for good measure.
The E-3 might be Olympus's 'professional' model but in truth it's got a lot more in common with semi-pro models such as the Nikon D300 and Canon 40D, and in this sector of the market a built-in flash is now deemed perfectly acceptable (and even grudgingly accepted as something that can at times be quite useful too). The E-3's weatherproofing and solid construction helps overcome the worries about the inclusion of a pop-up flash presenting any kind of compromise in the durability stakes too.
The E-3's pop-up flash has a manual, mechanical release mechanism, meaning you have to 'pop' it manually to use the auto flash mode. Once up the flash sits approximately 115 mm (4.5 in) above the center of the lens, which is about as far as you could reasonably expect from a built-in unit. Like other E-Series models the E-3 doesn't have a dedicated AF assist lamp and instead strobes the flash unit to illuminate the subject, obviously this requires you to have the flash raised in the first place (and is hardly subtle). The flash has a guide number of 13 (ISO 100, meters) and a top X-sync speed of 1/250 sec. A new wireless multi flash system has been introduced with the E-3, including two new flashguns (FL36R, FL50R).
The E-3 has an 'E System' flash hot-shoe designed specifically for Olympus dedicated flash units, however it can also accept third party units (but sync contact only). Olympus 'E System' flash units communicate directly with the camera and support various features including zoom control, red-eye reduction, slow sync flash and the use of higher shutter speeds ('Super FP flash').
The E-3 is a Four Thirds digital SLR which means that its lens mount / communication system complies to the Four Thirds System standard. As well as accepting Olympus 4/3 lenses it can also accept third party 4/3 lenses.
"Supersonic Wave Filter"
The "Supersonic Wave Filter" is a method of keeping the image sensor clean by making a very thin filter glass in front of the sensor vibrate at very high frequency. This causes dust or dirt to drop off and be trapped on a stick tape material. The SSWF is triggered each time you power up the camera (it's a pity you can't disable or modify when it occurs as it does introduce a slight delay). On the positive side this is still the only dust reduction system that has proven effectiveness.
|SSWF filter is mounted in front of the sensor||Click for a video explanation (15 MB)|
- Olympus E-3 digital SLR body
- PS-BLM1 Lithium-Ion battery
- BCS-1 battery charger
- Body cap
- Shoulder strap
- Video and USB cables
- Software CD-ROMs (Olympus Master 2)
- Manual, System chart, Warranty
- 19 Photographic tests
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- 22 Photographic tests
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- 36 Samples
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