Olympus E-3

Olympus E-3 front
  • 10MP - Four Thirds Sensor
  • 2.5" Fully Articulated Display
  • ISO 100 - 3200
  • Sensor based Image Stabilization
  • 1/8000s Max Shutter
  • No Video
  • Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • 890g - 142 x 116 x 75mm
  • Launched February 2008
  • Succeeded the Olympus E-1
  • Replacement is Olympus E-5
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Lenses
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Olympus E-3 overview

Olympus E-3 is Olympus's Advanced DSLR camera first released on February of 2008. The camera has a 10MP, CMOS Four Thirds sized sensor and has a peak resolution of 3648 x 2736.

Olympus launched this camera to upgrade the older Olympus E-1 (Read Full Comparison) and afterwards introduced the more recent Olympus E-5 (Read Full Comparison) in order to upgrade this camera.

The E-3 places at #60 out of 92 in Advanced DSLR cameras and all around #450 out of 1465 for cameras in our list. You can test our Smart camera finder to find camera listings based on your personalized factors.

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The following is a diagram of various criteria used in the scoring system.

Olympus E-3 family

The Olympus E-3 comes with a history of related cameras. Down below, you can discover all previous and more recent models alongside key specs.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Olympus-E-5 front thumbnailOlympus E-5
E-3 vs E-5
12MPFour Thirds5.0 fps2011
Olympus-E-30 front thumbnailOlympus E-30
E-3 vs E-30
12MPFour Thirds5.0 fps2009
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Olympus-E-3 front thumbnailOlympus E-310MPFour Thirds5.0 fps2008
Olympus-E-510 front thumbnailOlympus E-510
E-3 vs E-510
10MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2007
Olympus-E-330 front thumbnailOlympus E-330
E-3 vs E-330
7MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2006
Olympus-E-500 front thumbnailOlympus E-500
E-3 vs E-500
8MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2005
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Olympus-E-300 front thumbnailOlympus E-300
E-3 vs E-300
8MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2005
Olympus-E-1 front thumbnailOlympus E-1
E-3 vs E-1
5MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2003

Olympus E-3 Pros and Cons

Below is a collection of advantages and disadvantages of the Olympus E-3 based on aspects that are usually seen as necessary in a camera.

above average min ISO (100)
builtin Top display
exports RAW formats
focusing manually
has built in flash
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
interchangeable lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
maximum shutter speed is high (1/8,000s)
screen articulates
selfie friendly screen
sensor has phase detect autofocus
sensor size is good (Four Thirds)
weather proofing
doesn't have external mic socket
doesn't have HDMI socket
doesn't have headphone socket
doesn't have Time Lapse function
low MP (10 megapixels)
max frames per second low (5.0 fps)
no video shooting
pixelated screen (230 k dots)
screen is small (2.5 inches)
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Olympus E-3 Sensor specifications

The Olympus E-3 is powered by the TruePic III processor. The spec of the sensor on the Olympus E-3 is 17.3mm x 13mm (Four Thirds). The 225 mm² sensor has the capability to resolve 3648 x 2736 pixels and aspect ratios of 4:3. The camera includes Image Stabilization (Sensor based). Sensor stabilization is more effective than digital stabilization since the latter may lead to cropping.

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The CMOS sensor boasts 10 megapixels and has a native ISO range of 100 to 3200. RAW files are supported which means that you have wider margin for error.

The picture below shows the E-3's sensor dimensions compared to other common sizes. The E-3 sensor comes with a crop factor of 2.1 and is presented in green.

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To get a sense of different aspect ratios, you should refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Olympus E-3 dimensions

Olympus E-3 weighs about 1.96 pounds (890g or 31.39 oz) and features external dimensions of 142mm x 116mm x 75mm (5.6" x 4.6" x 3.0"). The weight of general Advanced DSLR camera is 776g and the Olympus E-3 is weightier when compared to various rivals.

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The following is a visual of the Olympus E-3 next to a soft drink so you're able to have a feel for its scale.

Olympus E-3 dimensions scale

The top view here will show the button layout on the E-3.

Olympus E-3 topview buttons dials

Olympus E-3 Lens specifications

The E-3 fits the Micro Four Thirds mount and has 162 lenses on sale. Below is a small number of the lenses we have in our database which will work with the E-3.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Voigtlander-Nokton-42.5mm-F0.95-Micro-Four-Thirds lensVoigtlander Nokton 42.5mm F0.9543mmf/0.95 571g
Panasonic-Leica-D-Vario-Elmar-14-50mm-F3.8-5.6-Mega-OIS lensPanasonic Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm F3.8-5.6 Mega OIS14-50mmf/3.8-5.6 434g
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Olympus-M.Zuiko-Digital-ED-14-150mm-F4-5.6-II lensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm F4-5.6 II14-150mmf/4.0-5.6 284g
Lensbaby-Sol-22-Micro-Four-Thirds lensLensbaby Sol 2222mmf/3.5144g
Olympus-M.Zuiko-Digital-ED-75mm-f1.8 lensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f1.875mmf/1.8 305g
Samyang-MF-14mm-F2.8-Mk2--Rokinon-MF-14mm-F2.8-II-Micro-Four-Thirds lensSamyang MF 14mm F2.8 Mk214mmf/2.8649g
Photography Glossary
Olympus-M.Zuiko-Digital-ED-8mm-F1.8-Fisheye-PRO lensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 Fisheye PRO8mmf/1.8 314g
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Olympus E-3 Connectivity

The E-3 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes

Cameras that contain NFC and Bluetooth connectivity can be controlled wirelessly by smartphones. You will be able to send pictures and sometimes alter settings without the hassle of connecting straight to the camera.

Many applications even enable a Liveview and press the shutter if you aren't close to the camera. If the camera contains a HDMI out, it can be connected to an external display. The majority of cameras will allow you to charge the battery through the USB socket.

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Olympus E-3 Video specifications

Olympus E-3 doesn't capture video. If you are searching for a camera to take only photos, this is not an issue.

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Olympus E-3 Weather Sealing

Olympus E-3 features weather sealing making it a good pick to use for tough environments. This can be especially helpful if you are unsure about the conditions you may encounter for outdoor photography.

Olympus E-3 Display and Viewfinder

The Olympus E-3 has a 2.5" fully articulated screen supporting a resolution of 230k dots.

It features a selfie friendly display to get self portraits as well as group photos if needed. Please note that the screen offers no touch support. The E-3 also has a Top display so you can quickly checkout your settings.

Olympus E-3 screen and viewfinder Body cameras now worn by bakery staff to deter stealing

The ViewFinder specs regarding Olympus E-3 are as follows:

  • ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism)
  • ViewFinder Coverage 100 percent
  • ViewFinder Magnification 0.58x

Viewfinders are very handy for bright outdoor conditions which will make the camera display washed out and very difficult to view.

Olympus E-3 Shutter specifications

Olympus E-3 has the capability to shoot continuously at 5.0 fps. The maximum shutter speed is 1/8000 seconds.

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Olympus E-3 Flash and Hot shoe specifications

Olympus E-3 includes both in-built flash and also external flash ability. The highest flash sync speed is 1/250 seconds.

Olympus E-3 Autofocusing specifications

Olympus E-3 includes both Phase Detect AF and Contrast Based AF. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot more faster and accurate when compared to Contrast Based autofocusing.

The AF system has 11 focus points to choose from. Olympus E-3 has got manual focusing in case it is required for low light or you want to have more exact focusing control.

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Olympus E-3 Battery life

The typical Advanced DSLR camera battery life is 909. Nikon D780 comes with the highest (2260) battery life for this kind of cameras.

Following is a listing of Advanced DSLR cameras having the strongest battery life:

ModelVisualizeBattery LifeRAWNFCBluetooth
Nikon-D780 front thumbnailNikon D780
E-3 vs D780
2260 yesnoyes
Nikon-D850 front thumbnailNikon D850
E-3 vs D850
1840 yesyesyes
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Nikon-Df front thumbnailNikon Df
E-3 vs Df
1400 yesnono
Canon-EOS-90D front thumbnailCanon 90D
E-3 vs 90D
1300 yesnoyes
Nikon-D500 front thumbnailNikon D500
E-3 vs D500
1240 yesyesyes

Olympus E-3 for various categories of photography

The following bar chart shows a summation of the Olympus E-3 for various categories of photography. To learn more, scroll to the specific paragraph below.

Portrait photography with Olympus E-3

The Olympus E-3 receives a score of 57 which is modest, meaning that it is fairly adequate for portraits. Taking portrait images favors heavily to sensor resolution, support for RAW files & flexibility to utilize external flash.

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you can focus manually
good sensor size (Four Thirds)
exports RAW files
low MP (10MP)

Olympus E-3 as a Street photography camera

Getting a above average rating of 70, the Olympus E-3 is a fine choice for street photography. A decent street photography camera provides a perfect balance of picture quality and portability.

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screen articulates fully
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is nice (Four Thirds)
supports RAW formats
environment proofing

Olympus E-3 as a Sports photography camera

A modest sports photography score of 58 indicates the Olympus E-3 is reasonably adequate for taking pictures of sports. A camera needs good autofocus and fast continuous shooting for sports photography.

Photography Glossary
maximum shutter speed is high (1/8,000s)
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is decent (Four Thirds)
weather proofing
sensor has phase detect AF
very slow continuous shooting (5.0 frames per second)
sensor resolution low (10 megapixels)

Olympus E-3 Travel photography highlights

Portability is super critical when getting a travel camera. In general, the Olympus E-3 gets a decent 55 as a travel camera which is fairly acceptable to buy for your vacations.

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environment proof
flash built-in
selfie friendly display
does not have Time Lapse function
low megapixels (10MP)

Olympus E-3 as a Landscape photography camera

If you are planning to purchase a digital camera for landscape photos, the most significant factor is going to be image quality. The Olympus E-3 and it's average score of 56 as a landscape camera is reasonably suitable among it's rivals.

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you can focus manually
swap lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
good sensor size (Four Thirds)
saves RAW formats
environment proofing
small screen (2.5")
low resolution sensor (10MP)
missing Timelapse function

Olympus E-3 Vlogging highlights

A vlogging camera really should posses a articulating display, mic input and if possible image stabilization. Considering every thing, the Olympus E-3 is not very good as a vlog camera as it delivers a really bad score of 18.

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no video shooting

Olympus E-3 Alternatives

If you are in the market for replacements to the E-3, below is a range of the top placed cameras that fall within the category of Advanced DSLR.

The graph here gives you an overview of the E-3 versus it's highest ranking rivals suggested previously.

Following are additional cameras you may see as alternatives. To read through a complete comparison, visit the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Olympus E-3
Advanced DSLR
Physical type
Mid-size SLR
Sensor Information
Sensor type
TruePic III
Sensor size
Four Thirds
Sensor dimensions
17.3 x 13mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
Highest resolution
3648 x 2736
RAW files
Highest native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Focus manually
Touch focus
Continuous AF
AF single
Tracking AF
Selective AF
AF center weighted
AF multi area
AF live view
Face detect focusing
Contract detect focusing
Phase detect focusing
Total focus points
Lens mount type
Micro Four Thirds
Amount of lenses
Crop factor
Display type
Fully Articulated
Display sizing
2.5 inches
Resolution of display
230k dots
Selfie friendly
Touch capability
Viewfinder Information
Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage
100 percent
Viewfinder magnification
DXO scores
DXO All around rating
DXO Color Depth rating
DXO Dynamic range rating
DXO Low light rating
Lowest shutter speed
Highest shutter speed
Continuous shooting rate
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Exposure compensation
Custom WB
Image stabilization
Inbuilt flash
Flash distance
13.00 m
Flash settings
Auto, Auto FP, Manual, Red-Eye
External flash
AE bracketing
White balance bracketing
Highest flash synchronize
Multisegment metering
Average metering
Spot metering
Partial metering
AF area metering
Center weighted metering
Video features
Highest video resolution
Mic port
Headphone port
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment sealing
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
890g (1.96 lbs)
Physical dimensions
142 x 116 x 75mm (5.6" x 4.6" x 3.0")
Self timer
Yes (2 or 12 sec)
Time lapse feature
Type of storage
Compact Flash (Type I or II), xD Picture Card
Card slots
Retail price