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What was Olympus thinking? (E-PL2 vs. E-PL3)

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by carpandean, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    I know that I've mentioned my displeasure with Olympus for dropping the E-PL2 form in the third generation. I've always thought that the E-PL2 looked great and figured it would be a nice compromise between size and controllability.

    Well, today, I stopped into a local camera shop for some pieces-parts (lens caps, etc.) and saw that they had both an E-PL2 and an E-PL3 in the glass case. The latter was so new that they hadn't even put a price tag on it. I asked to see them both and the guy, who was really nice in general, pulled them both out and let me check them out for a long while (he helped a few other people in that time.) I definitely liked the improved focus speed, the flip screen (though, not as much as fully articulated screens), and even the IIR lens of the E-PL3, but otherwise I was not particularly impressed. It's nice, not really bad in any way, but compared to the E-PL2, it's very bland and compact-camera like. When I picked up the "El Deuce", it just felt great in the hand, as I expected, and it looked so much better.

    What was Olympus thinking? Why no just make the E-PM1, as they did, to cover the super-compact form factor, but update the previous E-PL2 with the faster focus and flip screen?

    Sorry for the rant, but it was a surprise to be able to handle them side-by-side.
  2. Yotsuba

    Yotsuba Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2010
    I agree with you to a certain extent.

    I wouldn't want to buy the EPL3 for it looks like "point & shoot" camera now.
  3. I saw one in the flesh for the first time today. It's very clean, very modern, but it's identity as a Pen is hard to spot.

    Also saw an E-P3 and a GF3 as well. The E-P3 looks somehow bulkier than the E-P1, but is still a gorgeous camera. The GF3 looks really cool! It was funny to see it side-by-side with the GF2 and GF1.
  4. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I like how the new E-PM1 and E-PL3 looks. Retro is played out! Clean and simple is back in. :biggrin:
  5. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    GF3 is definately one beautifully designed camera (except for the lack of hot shoe) still retaining the grip.
    E-PL3 is good but they should have retained the grip.
    Overall, it's actually a good thing that the camera looks like P&S because the whole idea of m43 is stealth, non-intimidating form factor.
  6. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Personally I'm a little baffled about the decision to produce an E-PL3 that is bigger than the P3 but has a smaller screen...
  7. klrman

    klrman Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 11, 2011
    I agree with you. I had the option of purchasing either the pl3 or pl2 and went with the pl2. It just looks right and feels right. Everyone has individual tastes of course, but part of the enjoyment of photography is having a camera that appeals to you and I just couldn't push myself to get an pl3 as it didn't ignite the spark in me.
  8. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    I was in our local camera shop the other day and have to agree 100% - PL3 is not nice to look at or to hold, and I'd never be replacing my PL2 with any of the current Olympus range as it stands.

    The GF3 and 14mm was brilliant though! I eat my words upon seeing the first pictures of it before release that it was only for the ladies - if it had the option to take a decent EVF I think XZ-1 sales might plummet....
    • Like Like x 1
  9. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    I suspect it was partially an attempt to differentiate their flagship models. I don't know about ya'll, but I bought an e-pl2 rather than an ep-2 because I liked it better, not necessarily because it was cheaper. I probably wouldn't make that same decision with the 3 series...
  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    You can't possibly see and hold an epl3 next to an ep3 and conclude it's bigger. I haven't looked at the specs - maybe it's bigger in some dimension, but I owned both for a couple of weeks and the ep3 definitely looks and feels like a larger camera.

  11. anidel

    anidel Mu-43 Regular

    May 13, 2011
    Twickenham, Uk
    I guess that many people are scared from the E-PL2 retro look and think is too much of a serious camera for them to use.
    The E-PL3 can stay next to the E-PL2 to give these customers a camera that is as easy to use as the E-PL2 (in auto mode), whilst giving them the power of a SLR camera in a non frightening and more modern look.

    And in-fact they didn't create an E-P3 with the same look of an E-PL3.

    So: E-PM1 for a low end powerful camera, E-PL2/3 you get a choice, modern/retro look, E-P3 flagship, powerful, intended for pro/amateurs.
    If I am correct, the E-P2 might have a shorter life than the E-PL2 as it may just be a cheaper alternative to the E-P3.

    My 2c.
  12. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    The only dimension that is larger on the E-PL3 than the E-P3 is the depth, but that's only if you include the protruding lens mount. The difference is still only 1mm and the E-P3 will feel bigger since the main body is actually thicker and in each other dimension, the E-P3 is larger.
  13. tigertiger

    tigertiger Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 30, 2011
    I've had the same rant.

    I waited a long time for Olympus to release a camera with an articulating screen, but I'm not willing to lose the handgrip, flash, the 4:3 viewscreen, and PEN styling in the process. It's less camera for more money, purchasing it makes no sense to me!

    So I bought a used E-PL2, which will hold me over until Olympus releases the E-P4 with an articulating touchscreen...
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    That sounds about right to me. I never measured them, but I'd had the EP3 for a few weeks when the EPL3 showed up and my first reaction when I took it out of the box was, "damn, that's SMALL". Tiny really, for a camera with so much horsepower. As I guess the GF3 is as well. The EP3 is an altogether larger and beefier camera. Its still not big, to me its just about perfect. I really wish Oly had put the flip screen on that one and I'd have had no conflict at all about which to keep. As it was, I like the flip screen so much that I kept the EPL3, but in terms of general feel in my hand, I'd have preferred the EP3. I knew I'd grab the EPL3 about 90% of the time for that feature alone, so it was a fairly easy, if mildly painful, choice to make.

    • Like Like x 1
  15. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Although I have the same opinion, I can understand their move.

    I would have really liked to see three lines; E-PM1, E-PL3, and E-P3. The issue here is do they have the resources to support three lines AND can the market buy into it. I'm not so sure.

    If you look at it, the E-PM1 (E-PL3) was aimed towards attracting the buyer who would normally gravitate towards the P&S while the E-P3 is aimed at attracting the buyer who was more interested in the lower tiered DSLRs. Where does this leave the E-PL3 (successor to E-PL2)? Also, look at the price point. The currently sold E-PL3 is 699 USD and the E-P3 is 899 USD. Not much room there. The differences between specs and features are also not all that evident to the typical consumer. I can foresee being a retail salesman being frustrated with a not so well "designed" model line up. Especially with the micro 43 still playing an small emerging market.

    One thing they could have done (and probably intended originally), is come to market with the model names E-PM1 and E-P3 thus differentiating the E-PL2 (selling the remaining stock). This retains the "identity" of the E-PL line as set forth by the E-PL1 and E-PL2 as well as establish a mini-camera line designated by E-PM. It keeps the door open for a future E-PL (4 or 3) later down the road depending on how well the two cameras sell.
  16. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2010
    Maybe we are assuming what the Olympus wants from each of their three lines or previous generation of lines.

    The way i see it is:

    E-PM1 is aimed towards entry level crowd by offering excellent quality at good price. This will easily attract newcomer buyers. They know they are not buy P&S but advanced DSLR like P&S there they will pay the $500 instead of the $350-$400 for advanced P&S.

    E-PL3 is aimed towards more advanced buyers looking excellent quality, excellent size (only 1mm difference) and more advanced controls. Advanced buyers are willing to pay extra because they realize the importance of extra controls.

    E-P3 is flagship line and all the buyers know exactly why they are buying the camera and for what purpose because no one is shelling out $900 unless they understand the value of the advanced controls, handling, and overall ease of use compared to dslrs.

    It seems Olympus has used value system to attract buyers and to make money rather than offer the best to their customers at decent price. (look at the G3). The reason I believe Olympus is trying hard to make money with new line is the price jumps between each line of cameras, where the added or subtracted features do not cost the amount they are charging. Obviously on some cameras they are making more money (E-PL3/E-P3) that others (E-PM1). Another reason they are using this kind of value structure is to be more profitable than their last generation of camera lines. As people value the features in each line they will reason to pay more as they look up the line. Unfortunately I do not like their strategy as a customer because there is no, one camera, where I can have all of the features.

    I am still on the fence about what to get myself. I wish they had touchscreen in all of their cameras. My choices would have been alot easier. But i guess if i value touch screen enough then i'll have to shell out more money.
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    They were never gonna satisfy everyone anyway. I enjoyed the touchscreen, am enormously impressed with its implementation, yet almost never found myself using it. I use the flip screen on the EPL3 (which I previously used on a Nex) nearly all the time. In a perfect world, they'd have incorporated a flipable OLED touch screen but my guess is either it wasn't possible yet or it would have been cost prohibitive for hitting any sort of reasonable price-point, so they opted to offer both. Given how incredibly close the EP3 and EPL3 are in actual features and capability, I'd have preferred if they'd just offered two different versions of the EP3, one with a touch screen and one with a flip screen. But I can understand how confusing THAT would have been. I can't argue with their logic even though I didn't get quite everything I'd wanted in either camera.

  18. tigertiger

    tigertiger Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 30, 2011
    That doesn't make sense to me, because the types of photography that benefit most from a flip screen would also benefit most from the touch to focus feature... Macro and street photography! If anything, the EP3 should have both features and the EPL3 should have neither, but then how would Olympus justify the price hike, when the EPL3 lost so many features compared to it's predecessor?

    Olympus doesn't live in a vacuum, and they are starting to look over priced compared to the competition. Most people are willing to pay a little more for "style", but now the EPL3 has none.

    I don't see any logic behind removing the hand grip nor the flash. No reason to have two NEX like models!
  19. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I think you guys are most likely all in the minority. I'm sure most people will prefer the E-PL3. It's just like the touch screen with the GF2. Everyone complained, but it probably helped sell more GF2 bodies than the GF1 ever did!
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I haven't the chance to own either yet, so I did go and look at the specs. ;)  All 3 new cameras (E-P3, E-PL3, and E-PM1) are essentially the same depth from front to back of camera (they are all just as "slim"). However, since the E-PL3 has a tilt screen, that makes it thicker than the other two models.

    The E-P3 is the largest though in length and height, even longer than the previous models (E-P1, E-P2, E-PL1, E-PL2). The width though is still the same as all the other models (give or take).
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