Olympus PEN E-P3 in-depth review
Olympus pioneered the now-widely-copied concept of 'Art Filters', and has expanded them further than ever before on the E-P3. Not only does it sport some new filters (including 'Pale and Light Color' and 'Light Tone'), many of them now offer several variations on their basic theme, which can be combined with an array of 'Effects' - including 'Frame', 'White Edge' and 'Starburst' options, and sometimes with other filters. If you're so-inclined you can play with them for hours.
|The E-P3 has ten basic Art Filters:
• Pop Art
• Soft Focus
• Pale&Light Color
• Light Tone
• Grainy Film
• Pin Hole
• Cross Process
• Gentle Sepia
• Dramatic Tone
|Some of the art filters have a number of variants, or can be combined with a range of effects or other filters. In this case (Art 10, Dramatic Tone) you can apply a frame, starburst filter-effect, or white edges.
These effects aren't illustrated in the selection screen, but are previewed live on the LCD while you're shooting.
Playback mode displays
The E-P3's playback displays will be instantly familiar to existing Olympus owners - the fonts and icons have been spruced-up for display on the high-res OLED screen, but otherwise this is all much like previous PENs. The only slight stylistic letdown is that the histogram displays now look very much as though they were designed for a rather lower-resolution screen.
|The simplest view shows the image only.||Pressing 'INFO' brings up this screen with basic file information.|
|Another press shows this detailed view with full exposure details and a (rather blocky) YRGB histogram.||There's also the option of showing a large overlaid luminance histogram...|
|...and a shadow/highlight exposure warning screen. Blown highlights are displayed in red, blocked shadows in blue (as visible here), which gives a useful visual check for correct exposure.||You can use the rear thumb dial to zoom-in to the image, successively to 2x, 3x, 7x, 10x, and 14x magnifications. In magnified view you can scroll seamlessly around the image, and flick between images using the other dial to compare focus.|
|There' a choice of thumbnail views - 2x2, 3x3, 5x5 (shown here) and 10x10, all of which can be turned on or off in the custom menu.||There's also a useful calendar view that lets you look at pictures by the date they were taken.|
Playback touch controls
The E-P3 offers some basic touch controls in playback mode. You can swipe left or right to browse though images, tap the screen to bring up controls for magnification, and when in magnified view drag the image around to check fine detail. But despite this being a capacitative screen, forget multi-touch gestures; you can't pinch to zoom, for example.
|In play mode, tapping on the screen brings up a slider on the right that allows you to zoom into the image, and a button at the lower right to enter thumbnail mode.||Once in thumbnail mode you can simply touch a thumbnail to view the image. Tapping the screen also brings up the buttons at the lower right to access calender view or image magnification view.|
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