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E-PL3 - any nasty surprises I should know about?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by timallenphoto, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. timallenphoto

    timallenphoto Mu-43 Veteran

    266
    May 20, 2011
    Kent, England
    I'm about to move on from my E-P1 (yes it looks and feels amazing but AF speed is awful, as is the screen) and it ticks all the right boxes for me, is there anything I should know about that might annoy me? The wide screen is fine with me, I love that it tilts and the AF is very fast; all good stuff. How much faster will AF be when using the 20mm 1.7 instead of the new kit lens for example, anyone have experience? Only real downside is that it uses the same old sensor which I believe Olympus designed in the 1950s :D

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I've been interested in the tilting screen, too. I've seen others comment that the scroll wheel and other buttons are too easy to accidentally activate, particularly since the real estate available for buttons is small.

    (that ends my contribution to the question as presented, but my thoughts are provided below, too)
    The E-PM1 uses the same sensor as the E-PL3 and E-P3 (from what I read). And the E-PM1 is a great little camera, though it doesn't have a tilting screen. On the other hand, it costs much less here in the states. The E-PM1 here is approximately $300 (after selling kit lens), where the E-PL3 is approximately $500 (after selling kit lens). And you don't get much for that extra $200, other than a tilting screen and accidental button presses. That makes the conclusion somewhat easier here in the states.
     
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If you're referring to the sensor used in the original Pen series back in the 50's and 60's, no it's not that old. ;)

    Compared with your E-P1, the E-PL3 is a very large step ahead in Image Quality. Large of course being defined in how closely you pixel peep. To my standards, the E-P1 is too soft. The E-PL3 shares the weak AA filter introduced with the E-5 and the E-PL2, and delivers very sharp images. This also delivers improved high ISO capabilities, with no chroma or luma noise and great detail retention at high sensitivities.

    Don't let paper specs and internet rumors fool you. The hardware behind the image capture in the E-PL3 and the E-P1 are nothing near the same, and Olympus has not been standing idly by all these years.
     
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  4. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    The EPL3 will AF much quicker than the EP1, and more importantly, it will AF in low light (something the EP1 struggles with, as it has no AF assist lamp). Even with the 20/1.7, AF is quicker and far more surer. Additionally, you can greatly decrease the size of the AF box, meaning you are better narrowing in on your subject, to insure you focus on the right thing.

    I had the EP3 and then moved to the EPM1 for size and cost. There was completely no downside to the move. I thought I'd miss the buttons more, but I don't really, though it's a slightly different kind of shooting.

    One thing I'd REALLY like to see is an EPL3 with tilty screen AND capacitive touch screen (ala EP3). If it had that, I'd spend up to the EPL3 in a second. For me, the EPM1 was fine, but if you gotta have the tilty screen, then you gotta have it!

    I don't think you are losing anything in the move, and are gaining a lot of things, in speed of operation, AF and WB, and better LCD resolution for checking focus.

    Happy shooting!
     
  5. timallenphoto

    timallenphoto Mu-43 Veteran

    266
    May 20, 2011
    Kent, England
    Thanks all for good advice. I'm not expecting any improvement in image quality so I'm surprised to read the comments above, is there really a noticeable difference in noise performance? If so then that's excellent as the E-P1 has always been a big disappointment at 800 and above. Here in the UK I can get the PL3 with kit lens (which I want) for £379 after cash back which I think is a great price, and a friend wants my old Pen and kit lens for £200 so it won't cost me much for a big upgrade. I may add a Franiec grip later if I feel I need it. Will order next week :)
     
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I don't believe there's much improvement in RAW. The jpg engines have changed (some say for better, some say there's more NR). I am fine either way, and I shoot in RAW, so it doesn't matter to me. The WB is greatly improved, so if you are a jpg shooter, you might like that quite a bit.
     
  7. whatisinthebag

    whatisinthebag Mu-43 Regular

    192
    Dec 23, 2011
    Central California
    Chris
    I have an E-PL3

    I'm thrilled with it. It took a few attempts to get the menu and buttons set the way I wanted, turned off the keep WB warm setting everyone mentions to turn off in these forums.

    There aren't any nasty surprises, I was a bit surprised by the shutter activating every time the unit powers up like so: Olympus E-PL3 start up sound - YouTube

    The tilting screen works well in indirect light, but the harsh desert sun I live in makes bright light shooting a bit difficult. But this happens with all backlit LCDs and the all powerful sun.

    The extra buttons the E-PL3 has over the E-PM1 don't offer a whole lot.

    I would likely reccommend people who didn't care about a tilting screen to opt for the E-PM1.

    Other than that I'm pleased as punch with the E-PL3. Havent had too many daylight hours to shoot yet, but I've made a collection of sets I've taken with the camera so far, separated by lens:

    Collection: E-PL3

    I've just had to continue to remind myself no matter what people are posting on the internetz, I need to stop buying m4/3 lenses and started making more photos.

    :smile:
     
  8. punkman

    punkman Mu-43 Regular

    151
    Dec 30, 2011
    Europe
    I'm waiting for my E-PL3 upgrade too, can't wait.

    The AF assist light will be the most wanted feature for me. I won't mind losing the built-in flash. I rarely use it anyway and I have fast enough lenses now. There is still the clip-on flash, which I doubt will spend much time out of the bag. The tilting screen is also higher resolution, so that will be nice too.

    Why doesn't it have a touchscreen though? I think Olympus is making really stupid choices, to make all their models only slightly different. Another great one is not giving the E-PL1 the ability to use an external shutter button. What can I say...

    It uses new BLS-5 battery, but it's still compatible with the BLS-1. The chargers are not compatible though, so you will need to purchase a 3rd party charger that can do both. The BLS-5 seems to be more expensive on eBay and at much lower capacities. I have some 1900mah BLS-1 spares that work great.
     
  9. AdamThirtle

    AdamThirtle Mu-43 Veteran

    227
    Jun 10, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    I have just upgraded to an E-PM1 from the E-P1 and there has been no nasty suprises at all.

    I mainly use the 20mm, and have noticed it is much quicker now than on the E-P1, yes, not as lightning fast as the kit lens or 45mm, but the improvement is sufficient enough to make a difference.

    I couldn't be happier with the upgrade really, such a small, but impressive package (that's what she said.) The customization of the dial too makes up for the missing buttons.
     
  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    The EPL3 has been my main rig since about when it became available. I love it, but I love that tilt screen to a possibly unhealthy degree, so that's a lot of it. Other than that, I'd slightly prefer the EP3, but only slightly. I'll probably have both at some point. I don't know that the IQ is really any better than the earlier Pens - they're all quite good at up to 1600 but a real stretch at 3200.

    One comment on your initial question though. You asked how much faster AF would be with the Pany 20 than with the kit lens and the answer is it will generally be slower, not faster. A lot of the improvement in AF speed comes from the processors in the new camera bodies, but some of it is in the lens and the 20 is as slow or slower to focus than any other m43 native lens. Its a bit faster than on the previous generation of cameras, but not much. Its NOT a fast AF lens. The Oly 17mm is faster than the 20, but not by a whole lot - it also didn't gain a lot with the new cameras (although I found it relatively snappy on the old cameras). But other lenses like the new kits lens, the 9-18, the 14-150, the Pany 14, etc, are MUCH faster on the EPL3 than on the earlier generation cameras.

    I just thought I should warn you because if you stick the 20mm on there looking for fast AF, you're gonna be disappointed. But its not the camera's fault.

    -Ray
     
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  11. ocellaris

    ocellaris Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    Dec 12, 2011
    NY
    I went back and forth trying to decide between the e-pm1 and e-pl3. I was able to handle the e-pm1 at bestbuy. I ended up going with the e-pl3 from uniquephoto. They had a good deal with the 14-42 lens. The tilting screen was nice. However, I've found that I do like having more of the controls on the e-pl3. I actually find the wheel on the e-pm1 and e-pl3 to be their weak points. I like not having to rely on that as much as I'd have to with the e-pm1. Is it worth the price difference? Only you can say. It was for me, especially since uniquephoto was offering a good deal on the e-pl3. Right now I'm in the process of selling my dSLR equipment so I can by the e-p3, more lenses, and the underwater housing for the e-pl3.

    Curt
     
  12. timallenphoto

    timallenphoto Mu-43 Veteran

    266
    May 20, 2011
    Kent, England
    Ray, not sure I understand you on the 20mm. I realise AF is super quick with the kit lens, but AF speed using the 20 on the E-PL3 compared to E-P1 can't be worse surely? I know it's a slow lens to AF anyway but are you saying it would be even slower on the E-PL3?
     
  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Oh no, sorry not to be clear. Just indicating that the 20mm will be slower than the kit lens on the EPL3 (in any sort of decent light). The 20mm will be faster on the EPL3 than the EP1, but not all THAT much faster. Where some of the other lenses are MUCH faster on the EPL3. The 20 is probably the slowest focussing lens I've tried on the new Pens, but its still faster than on the older cameras for sure!

    Sorry for the confusion.

    -Ray
     
  14. timallenphoto

    timallenphoto Mu-43 Veteran

    266
    May 20, 2011
    Kent, England
    Thanks Ray, I assumed that's what you meant but just wanted to clarify. Have you ordered from SRS Microsystems at all? Been recommended to me and their prices are very good.
     
  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    No, I'm in the US, so haven't ordered from SRS Microsystems. I used to buy bicycle parts from the UK fairly regularly, but haven't had any reason to buy camera gear from overseas...

    -Ray
     
  16. timallenphoto

    timallenphoto Mu-43 Veteran

    266
    May 20, 2011
    Kent, England
    Apologies Ray, I was sure you were over here!
     
  17. James Pilcher

    James Pilcher Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Nov 6, 2011
    Colorful Colorado
    awful jpegs when underexposed

    I got my E-PL3 when it first arrived in Colorado last August. It's a great camera, BUT...

    Lightroom did not support raw files from the E-PL3 when I received it. I was shooting jpeg for a few weeks. The jpeg engine in the E-PL3 will destroy all detail in underexposed shadows. I shot some photos at a local park at sunset. Some of the trees were in shadow, especially since I was exposing for the clouds at sunset. The resulting jpeg images showed the trees had been turned into indistinguishable mush. I showed my results to a few photo friends and they too were surprised at the awful rendering.

    So, with the E-PL3...expose to the right (ETTR) with the histogram, and shoot raw whenever possible. The images I get from raw using Lr are very very good.
     
  18. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I shoot RAW too, but there are a LOT Of jpg parameters you can adjust.
     
  19. timallenphoto

    timallenphoto Mu-43 Veteran

    266
    May 20, 2011
    Kent, England
    I only ever shoot RAW which I think is crucial with the Pen's as the noise and shadow performance is so lacking. Thanks for the heads-up though and sorry to hear of your problems. Downside of buying brand new is lack of RAW support, it's like a creative tax on early adopters!
     
  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Yes, but its sort of like a cold - it passes pretty quickly!

    One of the really fun things with the new Pens is the ability to bracket the art filters. You can shoot a raw image and one (or more) with the filters. You always have the raw to do with as you please but it can be fun to see what the filters will do. I'd never want to shoot with JUST the art filters because they wreck as many shots as they work for, but as a bracket option, NOT BAD!

    -Ray
     
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