EP3 vs. EPL3 - customization differences?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Armanius, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    For those who have handled both cameras, can you describe the customization differences? I'll assume that the EP3 has more buttons and dials, therefore, more ways to customize the camera settings. However, with the EPL3, do you wish you could customize the settings more?

    Also, for the buttons (and directional pad presses) that Oly allows you to customize, can you assign any function to the customizable button (or directional pad press)? Or does Oly restrict you on functions that you can assign?

    The restrictions have always been one of my pet peeves about customization settings for a lot of difference cameras. For example, I wish I could assign ISO to one of the upper customizable buttons on my GH2. But I'm stuck with ISO as assigned by Pany to one of the lower non-customizable buttons.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    The EPL3 has one fewer button than the EP3 (the second fn button near the shutter release) and one ring/dial instead of two. Except for that, it is exactly as customizable as the EP3 in terms of programming the buttons and the rings/dials. They do restrict which functions can go where, but I haven't had any problem finding easy access places to put everything I need easy access to. They don't let you put things on the fn buttons that I'd really like (ie, ISO), so you have to abscond with one of the buttons on the four way controller for that, but the same is true on the EP3. Given what you're limited to on the fn buttons, I don't miss the second one at all. And I don't really miss the second dial either, although I marginally preferred the thumb dial to the ring around the four way controller. But one is really enough about 99% of the time. And its equally easy to customize the video button as an AEL/AFL button and its in a perfect place for it.

    One thing that might be an issue for folks who like to shoot with a live histogram is that on the EP3, you can assign one function to the ring/dial and another to the ring around the four way. So if you're in the info view that shows the histogram, you can have the exposure compensation on one of the rings and the primary mode adjustment (ie, aperture in aperture priority) on the other and you can adjust exposure comp without hitting the exposure comp button. And that way you can see the changes in exposure comp reflected in real time on the histogram. But if you have to hit the exposure comp button to get to exposure comp (rather than have it assigned as the default to the second ring/dial), that takes the histogram off of the screen, so you have to make your adjustment and then hit the info button again to bring the histogram back up to see how your exposure change affected the histogram. This isn't an issue for me, but people had raised the question with the EP3 and it could be "solved" there. It can't be, as far as I can tell, on the EPL3.

    Highly customizable, just one fewer button. The EPM1, OTOH, appears to have almost no buttons so I really wonder how that interface works - probably mostly menu driven? I'm not gonna find out.

    -Ray
     
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  3. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Thanks for the detailed descriptions Ray! I was counting on you to respond to this one! :)
     
  4. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    By the way, E-PM1 user manual is now available on Olympus website. E-PM1 appears to have exact same functions as E-P3 except built-in flash, touchscreen and external controls. It's quite a bit smaller and lighter, has faster fps and nearly 2x cheaper.
    Seems like a clever wheel design with left and right arrows both serving dual functions. Video rec button can be reassigned.
     
  5. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    Had a play with a PL3 today; not impressed. Focus speed great; flip screen great (apart from the 16:9), but it looked cheap and felt like a toy! :frown:
     
  6. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Isn't the EPL3 also made of metal?
     
  7. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Feels cheap compared to E-PL2?
     
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    It feels cheap compared to an EP3 (or EP1 / EP2), but I think it might just be because its lighter and doesn't fall as naturally into an average size hand. My first reaction to it was pretty negative. But after I shot with both for a while, I liked it well enough to keep it and sell the EP3. Its a plenty sturdy little camera. And I think the Franiac grip will help somewhat, maybe a lot. But the grip on the EP3 just feels so right, so secure, so second nature. And the EPL3 doesn't - its a flat little box without any useful contours.

    BUT....

    For all of that initial negativity, when I'm actually shooting with it and using it intensively, I never notice any problems or discomfort. I use the flip screen a huge percentage of the time and held near my waist, mostly supported with my left hand while my right hand works the controls, it feels just fine. And, yeah, I had it pretty well customized within the first hour or so. And like any good camera, when I'm using it, it disappears, does its job, and never feels like its getting in my way.

    If they'd put the flip screen on the EP3, I'd rather have that. But they didn't. And for all of my negative first reactions to the EPL3, they pretty much disappeared in use. So don't write it off too quickly if you like it for the flip-screen. If you don't care about the flip-screen though, I'd definitely spend the extra couple hundred on the EP3.

    -Ray
     
  9. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Ray-

    You are using some Pany lenses with your EPL3 and the now gone EP3 right? How is the AF speed when using the Pany lenses? Thanks!
     
  10. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    Well, yeah, it did actually - maybe not so much the build quality, just the look and feel of it. The silver/chrome top plate and dials just don't look very 'quality camera-like', more toy like. The PL2 is actually quite chunky, this just isn't; slim, yes, but slim doesn't make it better in my book.

    I don't doubt the build quality is very very good, but the 'look at me' finish just didn't appeal to me but, as Ray said, it could look and feel different with a custom grip on it.

    I loved the tilt screen, but why 16:9? Why not 4:3 and use the saved real estate for more or larger buttons and dials?

    No pop up flash is a killer for me anyway, so I wouldn't be buying one, but spent ten minutes with it out of curiosity.

    I'm still very bemused by the way Olympus have specced their lineup now; it seems very unbalanced - PL3; no popup flash, but with tilt screen and good burst rate. P3; popup flash, no tilt screen and slower burst rate than PL3.... no camera has everything, and I always think the top dog should....

    All in my own humble opinion, of course....
     
  11. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    I totally agree with you on this!
     
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    They're all very fast, but roughly in proportion to how fast they were with other bodies. The 14 is extremely fast, the 100-300 is quite fast, the Oly 9-18 and 14-150 are very fast. The slowest lens I have with these cameras is the Panasonic 20, but that's been true of that lens with any of the cameras I've used it with. And its a lot less slow with this camera than it was with older bodies (both Pany and Oly - the new GH2 is also very fast and I believe the G3 is too, but no experience with that one). In terms of primes, the 12 and 14 are both just impossibly fast and silent. Hopefully the 45 f1.8 will be also. The Oly 17 is not quite as fast or quiet as either the 12 or 14, but its not far behind. No plans to try the 25 f1.4 unless someone wants to send me one... :cool:

    -Ray
     
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  13. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Thanks again Ray! I'm still debating about dropping the GH2 for one of the new Pens. Prettier styling! But that built-in EVF comes in handy sometimes.

    Photographyblog released an EPL3 review. See what you think ...

    Olympus E-PL3 Review | PhotographyBLOG
     
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    A quick piece of directly related shameless self-promotion. A couple of guys with a photo blog (Rey and Ed Spadoni) did a profile of me several months ago. We've stayed in touch and when I told them I was planning to check out both the EP3 and EPL3, they asked me to write about my experiences with both and provide a few photos. Which I've done. So, for anyone interested, here's a link to the second and last entry in the series (which includes a link to the first). The first is my reaction to the EP3. The second is my evolving reaction to the EPL3, which they culled from an email discussion over a couple of weeks. I don't think there's much new here for those of you on the forum - I've shared pretty much the same reactions and thoughts here as I did with them. But here's the link for anyone who wants to check it out:

    Which PEN for your pocket? EP3 vs. EPL3 vs. EPM1… | 2 Guys Photo

    -Ray
     
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  15. Minniesmum

    Minniesmum Mu-43 Veteran

    371
    Mar 2, 2012
    UK
    Yes thanks so much for this info ! My E-PL3 has just arrived and working things out ;)
     
  16. Redridge

    Redridge Mu-43 Regular

    151
    Apr 17, 2012
    ^^^ congrats! the epl3 is a fun camera, enjoy!