Here I go again! I got a new camera! This time it is the Olympus Pen E-P3. The E-P3 is one of the Micro 4/3’s line of ILC’s (Interchangeable Lens, Compact) from Olympus. It’s got a retro design that I just love, and it feels like a million bucks in your hand!
I’m not going to get geeky and try to explain the Micro 4/3’s (MFT) system to you, but rather point you to where there’s a very detailed explaination – Wikipedia. The short version is that the MFT’s sensor is 9 times larger that those in typical Point & Shoot camera’s but 40% smaller that the APS-C you’d find in most DSLR’s.
If you’ve followed my previous posts, you know that I’m more and more interested in portability and shrinking my camera equipment footprint. Call it lazy, or getting old, there are just days when I want to get out and take some pictures, but don’t want to lug around my DSLR. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Canon 60D, but compared to my new E-P3, it’s a pig!
I do carry another ILC, the Sony NEX3. There’s nothing wrong with my NEX3, in fact it’s another favorite. It has the small footprint, and very good image quality with its APS-C sensor. Sometimes the menu system can be clunky because there’s not much in the way of external controls. You have to fiddle around with the various levels of the menu to change settings. Not too big a deal, mostly because I’ve used it so much, but it can still be a pain. My only other nit-pik is the noisy shutter. Not exactly stealth. But the image quality is very, very good!
So, what’s the big deal about the Olympus E-P3? It’s hard to put my finger on it, but I was intrigued after reading a review on Steve Huff’s website – Steve Huff Photo. Steve has an excellent website with a section devoted to ILC that he calls “Mirrorless Roundup”. If you’re interested in this type of camera, I encourage you to check out Steve’s site, mainly because of his real world reviews (no lab testing).
One last plug before I get into my short and sweet report. Adorama is where I got my
E-P3. This deal was a little different. Instead of buying the E-P3 outright, I did a little horse (camera) trading. Adorama has an offer to buy used equipment, so I sent them an email with the gear I wanted to sell/trade, and they promptly got back to me with a preliminary offer. The offer sounded good, and Adorama sent me a prepaid shipping label and my items were sent out via UPS the next day. One of the things I traded was my Canon 40D. The 40D is a good camera, I just haven’t been using it since I got the 60D. Bottom line – I was treated fairly, and got the deal I wanted. My new E-P3 arrived in 4 days. Thanks Adorama!!
I’ve had a couple of days that I could try out the E-P3. The opportunities were short, but enjoyable. After reading about the Art Filters I could hardly wait to try a couple of them out. Here are a couple of photos from my visit to Oak Glen (in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California). Click on the link and read about Oak Glen. It’s a hidden gem in Southern California and worth the short drive in the mountains if you’re in the area.
Above – HDR Image from 3 bracketed photos, processed in Photomatix and CS6
Above – Out of the Camera (except for resizing), black and white filter
Above – Out of the Camera (except for resizing), Grainy Film Filter
My next outing wasn’t as much fun. I spent a little time in Seal Beach on and around the pier, and there was an ugly, overcast sky. There was also a leftover haze from the morning fog, so beautiful sweeping seascapes were out of the question. Not to big a problem, as I would work with what I had. It was just a little disappointing.
Above – HDR Image from 3 bracketed exposures, processed in Photomatix and CS6
The next image is something different for me. I’ve read a lot about “Street Photography”, and was always bashful about trying it out. What Street Photography means is to be able to grab shots of people while you’re out walking the streets. It also means being stealthy, something I was not comfortable doing with my Sony NEX3, due to its noisy shutter. The E-P3 on the other hand is very quiet. While the NEX3 feels slightly smaller, the E-P3 focuses quickly, and is very stealthy. Here’s one of my 1st “Street” shots:
Above, Out of the Camera (except for resizing), Grainy Film Filter, F9, 1/500, ISO200
I had a lot of fun with the E-P3 over the weekend. It looks great, feels great, and so far, I’m pleased with it’s performance. I’ll need to test it more to see what it’s strong and weak points are, but so far I really like it. The external controls make changing settings quick and easy. My opinion is that this little camera is a winner!
That’s it for now. If you have an opinion on ILC’s or Sony or Olympus, share it! Until next time – Happy Shooting!