Olympus PEN Lite / E-PL3 Review
Olympus was the first manufacturer to offer in-camera processing filters with the E-30 DSLR back in 2008. The idea of these is to offer a range of pre-baked 'artistic' effects which the users can apply directly to images as they shoot without having to mess around later on in Photoshop.
Like it's predecessor, the E-PL2, the PEN Lite offers six basic filters, several of which have multiple variants. These filters can also be combined with a range of 'effects' that have been expanded in the E-PL3 to include 'pin-hole', 'white edge' (similar to pin-hole, but with white rather than black vignetting) and 'starlight' which mimics the effect of a cross-screen filter. The rollover below shows how these look - click here to see the same image processed normally, using the default 'Natural' Picture Mode. In the bottom row we're illustrating the various Effects in combination with the Pop Art I filter. Needless to say, not every filter works well with every image.
Because the PEN Lite has identical image quality as the E-P3 and also shares the same processing algorithms for filters and effects common to both cameras, the rollover image comparison below is comprised of photographs shot with the E-P3.
|Pop Art I||Pop Art II||Soft Focus||Grainy Film I||Grainy Film II|
|Pin Hole I||Pin Hole II||Pin Hole III||Diorama||Dramatic Tone|
|PA I + Soft Focus||PA I + Pin Hole||PA I + White Edge||PA I + Frame||PA I + Star Light|
Variants and Effects
The full range of available variants and effects is detailed in the table below. Overall there's a huge array of options (by our reckoning, 53 in total), so even the most sceptical of owners is likely to find something here that they find appealing.
|Art 1 - Pop Art||I ( Lighter)
II ( Darker)
| • Soft Focus
• White Edge
• Star Light
|Art 2 - Soft Focus||n/a|| • White Edge
• Star Light
|Art 3 - Grainy Film||I (Higher Contrast)
II (Lower Contrast)
| • Pin-Hole
• White Edge
|Art 4 - Pin Hole||I (Greenish)
|Art 5 - Diorama||n/a||n/a|
|Art 6 - Dramatic Tone||n/a|| • Frame
• Star Light
• White Edge
Shooting with Art Filters
The PEN Lite offers two ways of shooting with Art Filters. The simpler is to switch the mode dial to the ART position - you can then select the filter you wish to use by pressing the OK button, with the 'right' key of the 4-way controller providing access to the variants and effects. The filter is previewed live in real time; you can select from two preview modes in the Custom menu, one of which prioritizes preview accuracy over frame rate, and the other vice versa.
In the ART position the E-PL3 essentially works in program exposure mode, allowing both exposure compensation and program shift via the control dials. You get full control over all of the camera's settings, and can record raw files if you choose (handy if you later decide that an image would look better with different processing).
Art Filters are also available in the PASM exposure modes, in this case under the guise of Picture Modes. They can be set very quickly using the Super Control Panel, but you can't tweak the settings from here - to change the effect you have to go through the menu system (Shooting Menu 1), which involves a lot more button pressing.
It's also possible to apply Art Filters to raw files, using either the in-camera raw processing, or the supplied Olympus [ib] software (Windows only). Olympus Viewer 2 is a cross-platform editing application available as a free download. One benefit of using one of Olympus' software options is that you gain access to four additional filters (Pale&Light Color, Light Tone, Gentle Sepia and Cross-Process) that are included in the filter menu of the E-P3, but not in that of the E-PL3. And unlike with the in-camera adjustments, you can combine multiple effects with a single filter.
It's possible to record movies using art filters, but some limitations apply for those which require more extensive processing. Using the Soft Focus, Grainy Film, Pinhole or Dramatic Tone filters, movies are recorded at a reduced frame rate, and then played-back in real time in what can be a visibly jerky fashion. The precise frame rate varies between filters, ranging from 6fps for Soft Focus, Grainy Film, and Dramatic Tone, to just 2fps for Pinhole.
In Diorama mode, the camera records at about 2fps but without sound, and then plays back the movie back sped-up to 15fps. This is surprisingly effective, giving something resembling a stop-motion animation. But it really does demand the use of a tripod for best results, as speeding up the playback really accentuates the inevitable movement you get between frames when shooting hand-held.
Sep 20, 2011
Jan 19, 2012
Aug 29, 2011
Sep 18, 2014
|Bald Eagle by anisah|
from Features - lips/mouth
|heron and fish by APenza|
from A Big Year - birds
|Cows Cowering Under Rare California Super Cell by RBFresno|
from -The Old Cows-
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.