Olympus PEN Lite / E-PL3 Review
Operations and controls
Top of camera controls
In terms of control layout, the top of the E-PL3 is somewhat different to the E-PL2 but virtually identical to the original E-PL1. The magnification buttons have returned to the upper right of the camera, with the on/off button, shutter button and exposure mode dial on top as usual. A direct video shooting button sits alongside the magnification buttons just to its aft, but if movies aren't your thing, this button can be reassigned to several other functions.
In playback mode the magnification buttons serve to zoom in and out of captured images, but in record mode the right-hand button can also be used to zoom into the live view display to check fine focus. It's really useful if you shoot with manual focus lenses at all, but its operation is a little perverse; you can't simply press it once to magnify the display (as you would on most other cameras), but instead have to press it once to change display mode and select your point of interest, then again to zoom in.
Image review and delete buttons have found a place on the top left of the E-PL3's rear, moved from their previous position on the back of the E-PL2. These buttons take the place of the mechanical flash release catch on the E-PL1 and E-PL2. The E-PL3 doesn't have a built-in flash of course, so when the light gets low you'll need to attach one of Olympus's dedicated units via the AP2 accessory port and hot shoe, pictured here on the right.
Rear of camera controls
The rear of the E-PL3 is refreshingly free from buttons. Compared to the E-PL1 and the E-PL2 the rear of the E-PL3 looks positively spartan, in fact, and plays host only to the 16:9 format LCD, menu and info buttons, plus a standard 4-way controller, with exactly the same functions at its cardinal points as the same control on the rear of the E-PL2. The 'right' and 'down' keys are customizable, and can be reassigned to shooting functions such as ISO and white balance if you prefer. But - frustratingly - you can only ever get direct access to two of flash mode, drive mode, white balance and ISO at any given time.
The outer edge of the 4-way controller is a control dial, used for setting options in the E-PL3's menu system, as well as changing shooting parameters and scrolling through images in review mode.
On the whole we like the changes to the E-PL3's control layout compared to the E-PL2. The camera's ergonomics are more streamlined, the design is neater, and the overall impression is of a less fussy camera. We do regret the lack of a built-in flash, but overall the E-PL3 presents a cleaner, more logical interface than its predecessors. Compared to the E-PL1, especially, the E-PL3 looks better, and its external controls are easier to get to grips with.
Sep 20, 2011
Jan 19, 2012
Aug 29, 2011
Sep 18, 2014
|It's good to be at home by Nightcrawler12|
from Best photo of the week...
|Tiny tree by Kaappo|
The Olympus 17mm F1.2 promises to open up new possibilities for Micro Four Thirds shooters seeking razor-thin depth-of-field and smooth, 'feathered' bokeh. Take a peek at our extensive sample gallery.
Are you a speed freak? Hungry to photograph anything that goes 'zoom'? Or perhaps you just want to get Sports Illustrated-level shots of your child's soccer game. Keep reading to find out which cameras we think are best for sports and action shooting.
Still yearning for an Aperture replacement? Here's a quick overview of RAW Power, a Raw image editor for iOS that pairs with the Mac application introduced in 2016. Take a look at some of its capabilities.
Video features have become an important factor to many photographers when choosing a new camera. Read on to find out which cameras we think are best for the videophile.
Tech lover Albert Lee was one of the first to pre-order the intriguing 16-camera module Light L16. Two months in, here's what he has to say about using this not-so-little computational camera.
The public art installation featured blurred portraits, ostensibly captured by the artist under that same underpass... except they weren't. They were actually portraits of comedians, pulled from the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival program.
Edelkrone has upgraded its SliderOne with a SliderOne Pro and introduced a new generation of Wing and Wing Pro models, all while simultaneously improving the app that controls its entirely lineup.
People have waiting a long time for the Canon 85mm F1.4L IS lens, but how does it compare to Canon's 85mm F1.2L and Sigma's 85mm F1.4 Art? Phillip Pettit of Lensrentals took all three lenses for a spin to find out.
Affinity Photo for iPad, one of the first full-featured Raw editors designed specifically for tablet use, has been named Apple's Best iPad App of 2017. And what's more, it's currently 50% off!
VSCO Messages allows VSCO X subscribers and free users alike to share text, images, photo editing 'recipes', VSCO journal entries and more.
Flickr has revealed their top 25 photos of 2017, and there are some truly stunning shots in the mix.
Testing of the Canon G1 X Mark III is well underway, inside of the studio and out. We've just added it to our test scene comparison tool, where you can take a look at its performance side-by-side against peers like the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V.
Whether it's a trip to the beach for some snorkeling or scrambling up a 10,000 ft volcano, the Olympus Tough TG-5 proved to be a great travel companion for Jeff. That's why it's his 2017 Gear of the Year.
Last year, the DJI Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4 Professional took top honors in our end of year buying guide. Read on to find out who it this year for beginners, consumers, prosumers, and professionals at a price tag less than $2,000.
Meyer Optik Goerlitz is resurrecting yet another classic lens. This time, the company has set its crowdfunding sights on the Primoplan 75mm F1.9, a lens originally manufactured in a run of just 2,000 back in the 1930s.
The folks at Kolari Vision—an infrared camera conversion company based in New Jersey—recently tore down a brand new Sony a7RIII, giving everybody a peek at the camera's much-improved weather sealing.
Resource Travel's Brandon Cunningham recently joined The Giving Lens for a 10-day adventure in India. A trip he won't soon forget, to a country that left him in "sensory and soul overload."
Meet the new Freefly Movi, a handheld gimbal stabilizer designed by cinema stabilization pros for use with the iPhone. Freefly is calling this little beast "the world's most portable, adaptable, and intuitive cinema robot."
Photography portfolio site PhotoShelter is adding their voice to the growing group of online companies that are speaking out in favor of net neutrality, and against the FCC's upcoming vote to kill it.
The Direct app would replace the current Inbox on the Instagram app, doing for Instagram what the Facebook Messenger app did for Facebook on mobile.
Qualcomm's latest high-end mobile chipset offers higher frame rates and a wider color gamut, among other important camera improvements you can expect to see in next year's flagship smartphones.
Photographer Josselin Cornou recently got trapped in a blizzard in the Snowy Mountains of Australia with his Fujifilm GFX 50S and new Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 lens. Find out how they held up to 110km/h winds and -15°C temperatures.
While film nostalgia reaches an all-time high, Seattle-based pro photographer Sofi Lee is turning back to 'digicams' made between 2008 and 2011.
The fixed prime lens camera market may be a bit niche, but it's here that you'll find some of the best cameras you can buy. Sensors ranging from APS-C to full-frame are designed to match their lenses, which cover ranges from 28-75mm equivalent, so image quality is top-notch.
With a capacity of 512GB, Samsung's new UFS chips take built-in storage on smartphones to desktop-PC levels. Will this eliminate the need for microSD slots?
Photographer Josh Rossi decided to go big for this year's Christmas card, so he recreated the Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster using himself, his wife, and their two kids.
In response to a NY Times article about how some traffickers were using Instagram as part of the illicit animal trade, Instagram has added a content advisory screen that pops up to warn users any time they search for hashtags "associated with harmful behavior to animals."
Kodak is expanding its instant photography lineup today with the release of the Kodak Mini Shot Instant 10MP camera. A tiny little digital camera that spits out either 2.1 x 3.4-inch or 2.1 x 2.1-inch prints.
Huawei'e next high-end smartphone could be the first to take computational imaging to the next level with a triple-camera that spits out 40MP files.
Landscape photographer Spencer Cox recalls the single most rewarding—and frightening—landscape photography experience of his life: photographing a sandstorm.