Olympus E-PM1 and E-PL3 Announced

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Amin Sabet, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)

    Screenshots of the new camera pages from OlympusAmerica.com


    Not One, Not Two, But Three New Olympus PEN Cameras Bring Your Creative Vision To Life

    Compact Portable Bodies Deliver Incredible Image Quality, Speed and In-Camera Creativity

    CENTER VALLEY, Pa., June 30, 2011 -- Today Olympus launches three new PEN compact system cameras designed to help inspiration-seekers capture their unique visions and share their stories in brilliant still images and high-definition (HD) video. The Olympus PEN family combines the portability of a point-and-shoot with features found on bulkier cameras or camcorders to deliver amazing image quality and lightning fast speed. With a new 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, TruePic™ VI Image Processor, high ISO of 12,800, a reengineered autofocus system, full 1080i HD video with Dolby Digital sound recording, newly designed user interfaces and a variety of Art Filters and built-in creative features, these powerfully simple cameras offer advanced capabilities without the complexity of a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera.
    In addition to these great shared capabilities, each new model offers unique features:

    • PEN E-P3: Also announced today, the flagship Olympus PEN with a classic, all-metal design and the world’s fastest autofocus**. A body portable enough to travel the world without sacrificing DSLR image quality and control that experienced photographers expect. It features a bright, 614,000 pixel, high-resolution, OLED touchscreen to easily navigate and control the camera at the touch of a finger.

    • PEN E-PL3: This powerful camera is perfect for photographers who want their memories to reflect incredible, professional image quality. Easy-to-use creative technologies are packed in its versatile body -- the size of a small, portable point-and-shoot camera, but with the versatility of interchangeable lenses. A clever, tilting three-inch LCD empowers photographers to go head-and-shoulders above the crowd to capture graduations, easily stoop to eye-level as babies take their first steps or even lower to the ground to get an adorable shot of the family pet.

    • PEN E-PM1: The smallest and lightest Olympus PEN is available in six stylish colors (purple, pink, brown, white, silver and black) and features a new and simplified user interface as well as a streamlined button structure for superior ease of use. Its small size and portability make it the ideal camera to document life’s fun and spontaneous moments.
    Superior Image Quality

    A large 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor delivers the highest quality images. Take great photos in low-light environments thanks to the Olympus PEN E-P3 camera’s built-in flash and the E-PL3 and E-PM1 cameras’ bundled accessory flash. Each camera comes equipped with an AF illuminator and ISO up to 12,800. To improve color and speed, the new Olympus PEN cameras feature the new TruePic VI Image Processing Engine. Photos and HD videos will be crisp and clear thanks to three modes of in-body image stabilization and the award-winning Olympus Dust Reduction System.

    Blazing FAST AF Speed

    The new Olympus PEN cameras use a variety of features to achieve speed rivaling that of the professional Olympus E-5 DSLR. Focus and shoot faster with the new 12.3-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, TruePic VI Image Processor and new frequency acceleration sensor technology (FAST) autofocus system. The FAST AF Tracking System features 35 separate focus points spread over nearly the entire sensor, enabling pin-point focusing accuracy on small subjects wherever they appear in the frame. Selectable 3x3 groups within the 35-point area are especially effective when shooting active subjects. The cameras’ fast shutter response times ensure you will never miss a shot, even in the toughest shooting environments.
    Creative Freedom

    Olympus PEN series cameras bring a new level of creative freedom to the shooting experience and enable instant experimentation and gratification. The new PEN Series features full 1080 60i high-definition video. Push the direct HD video button to instantly start filming in either AVCHD or AVI formats with uncompressed CD-quality.

    In-camera creative features such as Art Filters, Multiple Exposure, Aspect Ratios and In-Camera Editing allow photographers to capture the world as they see it. Art Filters set Olympus PEN images and videos apart from the pack. Since they’re built into the camera, Art Filters can achieve dramatic results on the go without the need for a computer or editing software. All filters can be applied to both still shots and HD movies.
    The Olympus PEN family offers several ways to capture artistic visions. Apply up to 10 Art Filters (Depending upon model: Diorama, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia and Dramatic Tone) in the camera while shooting. Vary images by mixing and matching Art Filters to achieve your creative vision or by applying effects, including the new Star Light and White Edge to frame photos the way you want after capture.

    These Olympus PEN cameras add a new dimension to photographs by shooting dynamic 3D photos in any situation from macro to landscape. Simply select the 3D Photo Mode, release the shutter and slowly pan until the camera automatically takes a second image from a slightly different perspective. The 3D data is processed in-camera, resulting in an .MPO file, the universal industry 3D format for easy display on 3D televisions or laptops.

    Easy to Use with New User Interfaces, Menu Structures and Button Layouts

    All three Olympus PEN cameras have a 3-inch, high-resolution display. Controlling the E-P3 is simple to use with its three-inch, touch-sensitive 614,000 pixel OLED, consuming much less energy than the traditional LCD. The display has a wide 176-degree angle of view and is bright enough to compose images even in harsh midday light. The intuitive and practical touchscreen makes it easy to navigate the camera’s new menus and graphic user interface. Going through a day’s photos is easy by scrolling through and enlarging photos with the tap of a finger. The E-PL3 features a tilting 3-inch 460,000 pixel LCD screen that offers the flexibility to capture moments from a variety of angles. The E-PM1 features a 3-inch 460,000 pixel display. All three cameras feature a newly designed Graphical User Interface. The font and graphics used in the menus offer improved visibility and quality to render elegant graphical menus that are attractive and easy-to-use. The E-P3 incorporates a rotational dial and sub-dial on the back of the camera. With just their thumb, users can fine-tune aperture and exposure time in an instant -- without the need to switch between menus. Fans of hands-on shooting will love the three customizable buttons that can be assigned to the user’s favorite functions.

    All of the Olympus PEN cameras are compatible with SDHC, SDXC and UHS-1 memory cards for greater speed and capacity and can work with Eye-Fi cards for instant uploads.

    New Lenses and Accessories for Every Shooting Challenge

    Today Olympus is proud to announce several new Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) lenses with high-speed lens drive mechanisms delivering near-silent autofocus during still shooting and high-definition (HD) video capture. New accessories include optional body grips and the FL-300R external flash to complement the PEN series perfectly and broaden the creative horizons for any photographer. The growing Olympus PEN MICRO Four Thirds family now features eight fully-compatible MICRO Four Thirds lenses. The legendary Olympus Zuiko® Digital Four Thirds range of 27 high-quality lenses, OM-series and other manufacturers’ lenses can be attached to Olympus PEN cameras with optional adapters. Each new PEN comes packaged with the re-sculpted M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 II R zoom lens (28mm-84mm equivalent) or the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f2.8 prime lens. Designed with Movie & Still Compatibility (MSC), experience near-silent operation, enabling you to shoot HD movies in stereo with amazing clarity.

    • M.Zuiko Digital ED 12m f2.0 lens: This high-speed, single-focal-length, wide-angle lens is ideal for shooting everything from high-quality, dramatic landscapes in low-light conditions to hard-to-get, spontaneous street shots. It has a beautiful full-metal body and a snap focus ring that allows photographers to pan focus with a distance indicator.

    • M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens: This single focal length portrait lens has a beautiful shallow depth of field, which allows for background blurring effects that are not possible with previous kit lenses. The MSC mechanism is great for tracking a moving child or pet, and provides a quick and silent focus mechanism for movies and still photography.

    • FL-300R Compact Flash: This flash functions on all three PEN cameras as a bounce flash as well as a wireless remote flash with enough power for most every shooting situation. It is designed in silver to match the new PEN lineup.
    U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
    Olympus PEN E-P3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
    Estimated Street Price: $899.99

    Olympus PEN E-P3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m17mm f2.8 Prime Lens
    Estimated Street Price: $899.99

    Olympus PEN E-PM1 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
    Estimated Street Price to be announced

    Olympus PEN E-PL3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
    Estimated Street Price to be announced

    Olympus PEN E-PL3 Body with MSC M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED m17mm f2.8 Prime Lens
    Estimated Street Price to be announced


    Olympus Imaging America Inc. is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering award-winning products for consumer and professional markets.
    Olympus Imaging America Inc. works collaboratively with its customers and its ultimate parent company, Olympus Corporation, to develop breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality that enhances people’s lives every day. These include:

    • Digital Cameras
    • Professional and Interchangeable Lens System Cameras
    • Related Underwater Products and Accessories
    • Digital and Microcassette Recorders
    • Digital Media
    • Binoculars
    Olympus Imaging America Inc. is responsible for sales in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For more information, visit: www.olympusamerica.com.

    *Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. All trademarks and registered trademarks listed herein are the property of their respective holders, in the US and/or other countries.

    © 2011 Olympus Imaging America Inc.

    ** As of June 30, 2011.
  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Additional views:






  3. Jordan

    Jordan Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    Houston, TX
    After seeing these now I'm glad I bought my E-PL2 a few weeks ago.
    The new sensor is nice, and the flip screen is cool, but I like the style of my E-PL2.
    And I also don't like how the lens mounts stick out from the body on these.
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    This is exactly what I thought would happen... The E-PM1 and E-PL3 are the same body form, but the E-PM1 is simplified. I would definitely go with the E-PL3. The E-PM1 dial looks really cramped with button functions, exactly where I don't want them. I bet the camera would jump into all kinds of functions the moment I try to turn the dial. The E-PL3 has the seperate, dedicated buttons still.

    Now we see why the E-P3 has the flash, having taken over the old E-PLx body style (at least the top-plate, as under the top plate it's more E-Px), because the E-PL3/E-PM1 don't have space for it, lol. That's fine with me... I never once used the pop-up flash, even as a Remote Flash Commander. I might actually go for the smaller E-PL3, though I don't feel a need to upgrade yet.

    *EDIT: I just saw on the Imaging-Resource review that the E-PL3 comes with an included flash ala Sony NEX style... except unlike the NEX, this one is mounting on a real hotshoe so you can throw it away and get a real flash. ;)


    I also notice that the LCD is a 16:9 ratio. I wonder why that is?

    The biggest question for me though, is how much is the E-PL3 going to sell for?
    Also, Canada has been bad about not having the 17mm f/2.8 pancake in any kits, and selling all kits with only the 14-42mm. If I end up buying an E-PL3, I wonder if Canada might start shipping in the pancake lens kits because of the extra-small size of the new camera? I hope so... it would be one less lens I would want to sell off (who needs 3 iterations of mostly the same 14-42mm zooms? *sigh*).
  5. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Real Name:
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    New Pen M4/3s

    Do not sport EVFs? If not, not for me...
  6. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    I agree with Ned. The E-PL3 looks a lot better than I thought. It is nearly as small as the E-PM1 but with a better control layout. Further, the articulated screen may be well worth that small size difference. Price, of course, will decide much.:smile:

    BTW, I haven't found any mention of the AF system depending on new lenses. Does it?
  7. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    My 2 cents on these two cameras:

    I see both of these as direct competitors to GF3 and the new smaller NEX cameras. The biggest problem I have with the new E-PL3 is that it has no grip whatsoever. So, it will be pretty functional with kit and prime lenses, but good luck putting on a larger, say 14-140 or 40-150 type lens. I think the form factor for the E-PM1 is fine for casual shooters who don't need the larger zoom. I was possibly interested in the new E-PL3, but no grip means no thanks. Of course, after market grips might be available(but still not as substantial as the E-PL2, which was perfect IMHO.) I do like the flash accessory. Its kinda cool I think, and solves the flash issue. Personally, I would have rather had a flash like this for the E-P3 and have a tiltable screen for the E-P3. Yes yes yes, that would have meant that flash + EVF would not have been possible on the hotshoe.

    Olympus is trying to compete in the smaller camera sector, but I don't think the tweener camera should have been the one to do it. Put a grip on it, at least like NEX-5.

    Ergonomics are more important IMHO than how a camera looks.
  8. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    E-PL3 looks like a marketing-brewed equivalent to the NEX, with the usual bonuses expected from me-too products:
    - zoom bigger than camera, but not as grossly so
    - tilt screen, but provision for an ad-on EVF
    - separate kit flash, but standard hot-shoe

    Put them side by side on display, or the sellers' counter, and it's quite able to hurt Sony in its fresh NEX market...

    For this crowd here, I guess Oly has readied other cameras and lenses, yet the E-PL3 doesn't appear as less of a camera than the GF-1 with all its true believers.
  9. duke

    duke Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    Tulsa, moving to Houston
    Real Name:
    I'm actually pretty thrilled with all three cameras and think that out of all of them I will probably pick up an E-pl3, so long as the price is right. I really enjoy shooting waistlevel with my NEX and since I can with the Oly and it has IBIS and the VF-2, all that's missing for me to get rid of the NEX is focus peaking ;) (come on Oly, you know you want it!)
  10. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    Uh oh. My significant other saw the magenta/hot pink E-PL3. She says she wants one. :eek:
  11. jbart

    jbart Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 1, 2010
    Thanks Amin. I am very happy still with my EPL1. I am hoping to find a 17mm lens but was worried that olympus was going to fall behind again as I had heard nothing new about lenses in a while. Glad to see they are porting some of the 4/3 lense to m43.
    The quality of my images rivals those from my friends Nikon D5000 in every possible way, even at higher ISO.
    My only complaint has been no AF-assist lamp that every point and shoot camera has. It makes indoor focusing, even with flash near impossible.
    I use the pop-up flash as a fill flash quite often and have very good results (fill flash setting in P mode). Its really improved some of my outdoor shots as I dont carry much with me in my tiny camera bag.
    Even compared to the canon s90 images, which can be quite good, the Olympus images are so much sharper and clearer in every way. Even when I dont get the framing quite right I can easily crop in to get the best image.

    Just thought I would add my praise for Olympus PENs here...
    Thanks again to Mu-43 community.
  12. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    I pre-ordered the EP3 and 45/1.8. Too bad I can't get body only. I would have tried the 14-42 kit if it was new and optimized, but it's only cosmetic changes.

    I think this will be a nice upgrade from my EP1:
    MUCH better LCD
    MUCH faster AF
    It sounds like shutter lag is reduced.
    Lighter AA filter
    Reduced AF box size
    I'll play with the pop up flash for fill flash, but I do worry that the lenses will block the flash

    The first five are from my long-time wish list of EP1 improvements. The only thing missing as far as I'm concerned is the cancellation of MF assist with legacy lenses on half-press.

    The timing is what's got me down. No body until August and no lens until September :( Missing most of the summer.

    In the meantime, I must resist the 12mm...
  13. anidel

    anidel Mu-43 Regular

    May 13, 2011
    Twickenham, Uk
    I'm also happy with my E-PL2, the style is much more retro and nicer.
  14. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Real Name:
    I think E-PL3 is the most interesting camera announced today. It has exactly the same number of control points as E-PL2 which is very good; tilt-screen is a godsend for street shooters. Full HD video in AVCHD with full manual controls? Now we're talking business!

    However, judging from the samples provided by some photography sites, we can safely assume that the 'new' Olympus sensor is in fact 2 years old - it's the same one used in all their cameras since 2009. Which is a shame, because it's a very nice camera otherwise, but I really don't want to buy the same sensor for the third time (I have already paid for it twice). Maybe GH2 is the best camera for me after all.
  15. jpmccormac

    jpmccormac Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 18, 2010
    Central Florida
    Continuous Shooting at 5 fps. Nice!

    The E-PL3 is a fast shooter - faster than the E-P3:
    5.5 fps (IS Off)
    4.1 fps (IS On)
  16. ccunningham

    ccunningham Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    Just as I was about to give up

    Olympus goes and introduces 80% of what I wanted as an upgrade to my system(weatherproofing would have added 10% and a built-in EVF would be the other 10%).

    For me, Panasonic sort of lost the thread after the GF1, and Olympus didn't seem to be going anywhere I wanted to go after they put out the E-P2 which I thought (correctly as it turned out) was getting close to what I wanted, most of the time at least.

    And now Olumpus intros the E-P3 and two great looking prime lenses.

    And now I have to figure out some way to afford this stuff.

    Olympus is not being very considerate of my bank account or gear closet.
  17. kahren

    kahren Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 21, 2010

    ive heard someone say that they liked the new g3 output more then their gh2. just somethign to think about.
  18. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Of the three new cameras I think the E-PL3 is the most interesting. It's got a nice industrial design , the flip down LCD and the small form factor will appeal to lots of folks. In the long run I hope they do well as it means m43 remains viable and all of us get more options. What I am reading about the "new" sensor is that it is a bit of a disappointment. I have seen some samples online and while I thought they seemed good I am not seeing a huge improvement over what is already out there in terms of IQ. I think if you are going to introduce a new sensor (and talk it up) it should be significantly better. These cameras seem pretty much aimed at folks that would look at the NEX systems. These look like they were tailor made to compete with them. Of course the NEX systems have much better IQ so I think it's a curious move. Perhaps the lure of Olympus lenses and a better UI (the UI on the NEX is is a weak point) is enough to make that work. These are some nice looking cameras to be sure. In the end I don't find them particularly appealing for myself but not because I think they are fundamentally flawed I just don't think I'm the person they are marketing to with these.