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New Olympus PEN E-P3 in June?

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Amin Sabet, May 21, 2011.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
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    The current Olympus PEN E-P2

    As you may have read, 43Rumors has learned that there is definitely a new Olympus PEN camera to be announced in June. No one yet has any hard specifications on the camera, but the rumors are starting to pick up.

    Here's how the new PEN announcement will be timed in relation to past PEN announcements:
    • June 2009: Olympus PEN E-P1
    • November 2009: Olympus PEN E-P2
    • February 2010: Olympus PEN E-PL1
    • January 2011: Olympus PEN E-PL2
    • June 2011: Olympus PEN E-???

    Looking at that timeline, it seems most likely that the next release will be the E-P3. It will have been 18 months since the E-P2 introduction and only 4 since the E-PL2.

    We may see more than one PEN camera introduced next month, for example a completely redesigned E-P3 and and E-PL3 which is just an E-PL2 with a sensor refresh. Whatever cameras Olympus announces, it's a good bet that they will have the following improvements:
    • New 16MP Panasonic sensor (like the recently announced G3)
    • Faster autofocus system
    • Weaker AA filter than E-P1/2 (similar to E-PL1/2)
    • Improved software (Art Filters, etc)
    • 14-42 II kit lens (same as the E-PL2)

    I've received two anonymous tips stating that the camera will be a completely redesigned E-P3 and will have an integrated EVF. These are totally unknown sources, so I'm taking them with a grain of salt for now. I would love to see that happen, but I don't expect that it will. Faced with the prospect of making the E-P3 smaller or putting in an EVF, I think Olympus would choose to make it smaller.

    Until more information is available, I'm predicting that next month we'll see a slightly smaller, redesigned E-P3 with the new 16MP Panasonic sensor and an articulated, higher resolution rear LCD. Possibly at the same time or a few months later, an E-PL3 with the sensor refresh will follow.

    What do you want to see, and what do you expect?
    • Like Like x 2
  2. franklyspeaking

    franklyspeaking Mu-43 Regular

    I'd love to see an integrated EVF or even better an OVF/EVF hybrid taking the X100 implementation a step further where the OVF would include a focusing section where the EVF would overlay and converge with the OVF image. That would make a logical step forward for incorporating the rangefinder function with digital tech.

    Personally I think I am perfectly happy with IQ (12 mp is plenty IMO) so sensor upgrades don't do much for me. It is all about camera function from here on out and I am just waiting for someone to release a 'poor mans' digital rangefinder...

    I think :43: is the perfect platform for such an implementation of the OVF/EVF hybrid. I just hope someone does it, does it right and does it soon!!!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. sparkin

    sparkin Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 18, 2010
    Lexington, KY
    A flip screen would be nice, as would an integrated VF of some sort. I'd also prefer even a weedy on-board flash. It wouldn't have to be very strong - just something to give a little fill-in and to help out close-quarter shots indoors.
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I'd personally prefer even a small squinty EVF or OVF to no viewfinder. The Canon G-series Powershots have small squinty OVFs with inaccurate framing, yet I appreciate having them.
  5. franklyspeaking

    franklyspeaking Mu-43 Regular

    I agree, it is better than nothing... but if I'm dreaming I might as well dream big.
  6. hendrik78m

    hendrik78m Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 11, 2011
    What i need is PIP (picture in picture) function for manual focus (larger view for precision focus while the small box on upper right is for framing) and better sensor for live view (no more red noise in low light condition).
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    I am happy to wait for what it will be. I wonder if it will be a high-end model. m4/3 may not have been a great bet. In Japan, Panasonic just announced large layoffs in their home appliance and camera divisions--14,000 in total.
  8. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Give me an E-PL2 with magnesium top/bottom plates, a little weather sealing, the newer sensor, no touch screen, and maybe the squinty thing. No bigger, no smaller, just refined and better construction/feel. And no one else will like this, but if there was a smallish PEN-size battery grip, I'd buy it to have two batteries in the camera for a day out shooting.
  9. MaxElmar

    MaxElmar Mu-43 Regular

    May 18, 2011
    New Jersey, USA
    If they go the full-on "Pen Pro" route, we should get something like an m43 version Fuji X100 - but with a zooming finder and interchangeable lenses. Folks won't like the price. More likely is an E-P3 - very similar to the E-P2, but with the new sensor and perhaps modest extensions to improvements introduced with the E-PL2 (better screen, kit lens, AF speed, and battery life). Maybe we'll get both a Pen Pro at the top, the E-p3 in the middle, and the E-PL2 will live on for a little while longer - long enough to run out the supply of the old sensor.

    Really looking forward to new lenses, the 12/2 will be great but expensive, and hopefully an m43 version of the 50/2 macro. Not as expensive, but not cheap. (Wouldn't a true portrait lens, say a 45/1.4, be even cooler?) I will get the longer lens as soon as I can swing it. The 12/2 will have to wait. Unless it's unbelievably good.... :>)
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Personally, I think the VF-2 accessory EVF is very nice and the 90° vari-finder design makes it much more useful. An integrated EVF would likely not be a vari-finder.
    My big problem with the accessory EVF is that it covers the hotshoe and makes it impossible to use flash except to trigger slaves using the pop-up flash (E-PL1 or E-PL2) or Remote Commander on the E-PL2. That actually makes the VF-2 a redundant, unusable accessory for me.

    So personally, I would rather see a PC socket added to the body, rather than a change to integrated EVF. However, not everybody likes using manual flash like I do, so that wouldn't be a solution for the masses... ;) 
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    That sounds good to me. A weather-sealed PEN with a weather-sealed Four-Thirds Mount Adapter would be a dream to me!! :2thumbs:
  12. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I would love all the functionality of my E600 shrunken down to m43 including an EVF, articulating screen, IBIS and a small on-board flash to control off camera units. Something like my G2 with IBIS and off camera flash control.. It probably wouldn't be small enough to fit in the EP/EPL family, but I don't really care about that.
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Hmmmm? The E-PL2 has almost all of that, except the EVF is an accessory and the screen doesn't articulate (but it's twice the resolution of previous PENs!).

    I wouldn't hold out for an articulating screen on a PEN, as it doesn't serve as much purpose as the extra size warrants (the Olympus LCDs are already 180°). An integrated EVF might be on the way, but the current EVF works great as long as you don't mind it taking up hotshoe space.
  14. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I really want a built-in EVF in a PEN. The current size is just fine... I don't need it any smaller - but it must have the manual controls of the EP- series. And, yes, while I'd love an EVF with the quality of the VF-2, I would grudgingly settle for the tiny, squinty thing a la Canon G- series. Magnesium construction, articulating screen and weather resistance would put it cover the top. Are you listening Oly? I have yet to upgrade from my Panasonic G1 and GF1. A PEN like this will cause me to come back to Olympus this year.
  15. MP Burke

    MP Burke Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 3, 2010
    "I've received two anonymous tips stating that the camera will be a completely redesigned E-P3 and will have an integrated EVF. These are totally unknown sources, so I'm taking them with a grain of salt for now. I would love to see that happen, but I don't expect that it will. Faced with the prospect of making the E-P3 smaller or putting in an EVF, I think Olympus would choose to make it smaller."

    I think that's right. I would like Olympus to make a camera with the 16MP sensor that's in the Panasonic G3, integrated EVF and IBIS: that would make a nice alternative to the G3. However, I think all those people who think you will get that in an E-P1 sized camera are suffering from wishful thinking. Because of the popularity of the small, viewfinder-less cameras in Japan, it is most likely the new model will be a bit smaller than the current Olympus ones, without EVF.
    I am sceptical about the feasibility of using the the Fuji X100 type viewfinder system for the wide range of :43: lenses. Such viewfinders will have problems dealing with long lenses, macro and ultra wide lenses. The X100 viewfinder type could be a real benefit to a future Leica M mount system, but I think it would be too expensive to bother with in :43:.
    I have no problems with OVF's per se, I have one in my Bronica RF645, but that is a big, high quality finder on what was, when new, quite an expensive camera. It also makes sense on a MF rangefinder, where the reduced size and lack of mirror vibration compensate for the lack of TTL viewing. I just think that putting an OVF on a camera that already has TTL viewing is superfluous.
  16. David Tait

    David Tait Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 29, 2011
    Pop up flash.

    A pop up flash would be my main want for an EP-3. And you can lose the video which I don't want and resent paying for. ( I'm sure it's not free ) My EP-2 EVF is fine, but whilst an articulating screen might be nice, theres no need for EVF plus that articulated screen. That said, since I have the EVF. The EP-3 must have the same connectors. If any built in viewfinder matches or betters my current EVF, then that's great. But, if it's inferior..... thats a negative for me.

    I'm surprised that the EP-2 will be discontinued, it's a very good camera albeit minus flash. Theres no way I would buy an EP-L2 to gain the flash. Similarly, I doubt if I would buy an EP-3 without flash, and would certainly not wait for an EP-L3 that might have flash.

    The flash omission for me in the EP-2 beggars belief. I guess the camera was designed on a Friday. I hope the EP-3 has a pop up included, there instead of video. A larger sensor will be fine so long as it better with noise control. If it's no better, as far as I am concerned it would be a deal breaker. PP sorts out Oly noise. But at a cost of image sharpness.

    So I'm left wondering which direction to go if Oly EP-3 does not match my needs. The Panasonic G3 is intriguing, but there are a few features there I don't really need. Of course theres the Fuji X100. But, the fixed lens there is a negative. Rather like the flash omission on my EP-2, unreal! A costly camera for limited single lens use.

    If all else fails, I guess it will be back to Canon Gs. It was only the Oly that semi retired my G10 and saw the G9 move on.
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I'm sure the E-P2 will have a flash, as consumers do demand it. Even the Olympus pro-grade DSLRs have pop-up flashes, but that's no doubt because of their Remote Commander integration (the first pro Olympus DSLR to have a pop-up was the E-3, which was also the first Olympus DSLR to have a Remote Flash Commander). However, I wouldn't consider it necessary and would not be entirely surprised if the E-P3 doesn't have one - if it's aimed at the higher-end market of pros who need compact bodies. The more features the better, but a pro photographer has much more need of a PC socket and hotshoe than a pop-up flash, even if that pop-up operates as a Remote Flash Commander.

    The greater detail capture through a weak AA filter on the E-5 and E-PL2 easily provides better noise control than any higher megapixel sensor could (that's what I assume you mean by "larger sensor", not physically larger since all PENs follow the sensor size designation of the Micro Four-Thirds standard). If you post-process noise out, you will not lose sharpness because of the greater detail retention obtained by not filtering the light that comes out of the lens before capture. This is evidenced by comparing the Olympus E-PL2 (12MP sensor with weaker AA filter) with the Panasonic GH2 (16MP sensor) at high ISO. You get more detail at high-ISO out of the E-PL2. I'm sure a combination of the two technologies (the 16MP Panasonic sensor along with the Trupic V+ Olympus Image Processing Engine, coupled with the weak AA filter that goes along with the Trupic V+) would yield even better results, so it would be nice to see that on the E-P3. ;) 

    I'm surprised that you would be worried about "Oly noise" after upgrading from a Canon G-series, anyways... talk about noise...
  18. linkedit

    linkedit Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2010
    New Jersey, USA
    I'll bet that we'll see an E-P3 which will be nothing more than the E-P2 with slight changes. I'd be very surprised if they do a complete make over.
  19. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    The G3 is not much larger than the EP2 / GF1, and if you an external EVF to either of the latter there is no difference in size. For this reason, I think it's perfectly possible, and probable, that Olympus can deliver an integrated EVF.

    They would have a nice set then: EPL series with optional VF and EP with integrated VF and more manual controls.

    Even though the G3 does offer manual controls through the Fn buttons, it will be interesting to see if Olympus keep their existing control set. it will also be interesting to see if they introduce a touch screen.

    I owned an EP2, and I will not purchase another Olympus until they improve the UI for my purposes, to match or improve that of the Panasonics:
    1. The way the re-sizing of the focus point works is frustrating
    2. The ability to configure the display contents to suit my needs
    3. Manual focus
    4. Fiddly scroll wheel: to easily moved by accident.

    My EP2 was slower than my GF1 in every sense, but I could live with that. The IBIS seems nice, but for my shooting is not needed.
  20. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    How is turning the control dial when magnified frustrating?
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