Olympus E-P3

Olympus PEN E-P3 front

Olympus E-P3 summary

Olympus E-P3 is Olympus's Entry-Level Mirrorless camera first announced on August of 2011. The camera comes with a 12MP, CMOS Four Thirds sized sensor and has a max resolution of 4032 x 3024.

Olympus released this camera in order to update the earlier Olympus E-P2 (Read Full Comparison) and afterwards brought out the more recent Olympus E-P5 (Read Full Comparison) in an effort to replace this camera.

The E-P3 places at #92 out of 117 in Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras and over-all #405 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our list. You should try out our Smart camera search to find camera rankings based on your personal requirements.

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The following is a chart of various factors used in the rating system.

Olympus E-P3 family

The Olympus E-P3 is part of a family of digital cameras. You can read the complete range below.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Olympus-PEN-E-P7 front thumbnailOlympus E-P7
E-P3 vs E-P7
20MPFour Thirds8.7 fps2021
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10-IV front thumbnailOlympus E-M10 IV
E-P3 vs E-M10 IV
20MPFour Thirds8.7 fps2020
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Olympus-PEN-E-PL9 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL9
E-P3 vs E-PL9
16MPFour Thirds8.6 fps2018
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10-Mark-III front thumbnailOlympus E-M10 III
E-P3 vs E-M10 III
16MPFour Thirds8.6 fps2017
Olympus-PEN-E-PL8 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL8
E-P3 vs E-PL8
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2016
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10-II front thumbnailOlympus E-M10 II
E-P3 vs E-M10 II
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2015
Samsung Releases Faster Versions of EVO MicroSD Cards
Olympus-PEN-E-PL7 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL7
E-P3 vs E-PL7
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2014
Olympus-PEN-E-PL6 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL6
E-P3 vs E-PL6
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2014
Olympus-OM-D-E-M10 front thumbnailOlympus E-M10
E-P3 vs E-M10
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2014
Olympus-PEN-E-P5 front thumbnailOlympus E-P5
E-P3 vs E-P5
16MPFour Thirds9.0 fps2013
Olympus-PEN-E-PM2 front thumbnailOlympus E-PM2
E-P3 vs E-PM2
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2013
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Olympus-PEN-E-PL5 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL5
E-P3 vs E-PL5
16MPFour Thirds8.0 fps2012
Olympus-PEN-E-PM1 front thumbnailOlympus E-PM1
E-P3 vs E-PM1
12MPFour Thirds6.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-PL3 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL3
E-P3 vs E-PL3
12MPFour Thirds6.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-P3 front thumbnailOlympus E-P312MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-PL2 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL2
E-P3 vs E-PL2
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2011
Olympus-PEN-E-PL1s front thumbnailOlympus E-PL1s
E-P3 vs E-PL1s
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2010
Olympus-PEN-E-PL1 front thumbnailOlympus E-PL1
E-P3 vs E-PL1
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2010
Olympus-PEN-E-P2 front thumbnailOlympus E-P2
E-P3 vs E-P2
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2010
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Olympus-PEN-E-P1 front thumbnailOlympus E-P1
E-P3 vs E-P1
12MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2009

Olympus E-P3 Pros and Cons

Below is a list of good and bad points of the Olympus E-P3 based on criterias that are normally considered necessary in a camera.

above average minimum ISO (100)
focusing manually
has built in flash
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
high video quality (1920 x 1080 resolution)
includes face detection focus
includes HDMI socket
includes tracking autofocus
interchangeable lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
nice sensor size (Four Thirds)
offers touch focus
OLED technology
screen size is good (3 inch)
supports RAW formats
continuous shooting slow (3.0 fps)
display is not selfie friendly
lacks phase detect auto focus
low resolution screen (614 thousand dots)
MP count low (12 megapixels)
no external mic socket
no headphone socket
no moving screen
no Time Lapse function
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Olympus E-P3 Sensor details

The Olympus E-P3 features the TruePic VI processor chip. The specification of the sensor in the Olympus E-P3 is 17.3mm x 13mm (Four Thirds). The 225 mm² sensor can capture 4032 x 3024 pixels and aspect ratios of 4:3. The camera includes Image Stabilization (Sensor based). In body stabilization is more effective than digital stabilization as the latter may cause cropping.

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The CMOS sensor boasts 12 megapixels and gives a native ISO range of 100 - 12800. RAW photos are supported so you have wider room to maneuver in post.

The picture below displays the E-P3's sensor dimensions in comparison to other common sizes. The E-P3 sensor comes with a crop factor of 2.1 and is showcased in green.

Olympus PEN E-P3 sensor size Photography Glossary

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

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Olympus E-P3 dimensions

Olympus E-P3 weighs around 0.81 lb (369g / 13.02 oz) and features exterior proportions of 122mm x 69mm x 34mm (4.8" x 2.7" x 1.3"). The weight of typical Entry-Level Mirrorless camera is 329g so the Olympus E-P3 is more heavy when compared to other rivals.

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The following is a visual of the Olympus E-P3 alongside a softdrink to help you to have a feel for its scale.

Olympus PEN E-P3 dimensions scale

The top view below will show you the button layout on the E-P3.

Olympus PEN E-P3 topview buttons dials

Olympus E-P3 Lens specs

The E-P3 works with the Micro Four Thirds mount and has 162 lenses available on the market. Below is a few of the lenses we have in our database which will work with the E-P3.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Panasonic-Lumix-G-20mm-F1.7-ASPH lensPanasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH20mmf/1.7 100g
Olympus-Zuiko-Digital-ED-150mm-f2.0 lensOlympus Zuiko Digital ED 150mm f2.0150mmf/2.0 1610g
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Samyang-MF-85mm-F1.4-Mk2--Rokinon-MF-85mm-F1.4-II-Micro-Four-Thirds lensSamyang MF 85mm F1.4 Mk285mmf/1.4548g
Samyang-10mm-f2.8-ED-AS-NCS-CS-Micro-Four-Thirds lensSamyang 10mm f2.8 ED AS NCS CS10mmf/2.8 580g
Olympus-Zuiko-Digital-ED-14-42mm-f3.5-5.6 lensOlympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.614-42mmf/3.5-5.6 190g
Panasonic-Lumix-G-X-Vario-35-100mm-F2.8-OIS lensPanasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS35-100mmf/2.8 360g
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Sigma-30mm-F2.8-EX-DN-Micro-Four-Thirds lensSigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN30mmf/2.8 135g
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Olympus E-P3 Connectivity

The E-P3 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Digital cameras that contain NFC and / or Bluetooth support can be controlled wirelessly via smartphones. You can transfer pictures and usually change settings with no need to connect straight to the camera.

Some applications even stream a Liveview and hit the shutter whenever you are not close to the camera. If the camera contains a HDMI out, it can be hooked up to an external screen. The majority of cameras will allow you to charge the battery pack through the USB socket.

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Olympus E-P3 Video specs

The max video quality in the Olympus E-P3 is 1920 x 1080 and it can shoot in AVCHD and Motion JPEG format. 1080p quality can provide a good balance for quality versus file sizes but 1080p will not leave you with much room to crop. The camera does not have a mic and / or headphone port so you have little control over your sound. It is probably best to shop for a different camera should you want better sound in your video clips.

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Olympus E-P3 Weather Sealing

Olympus E-P3 does not include environment proofing so damp conditions could affect the camera.

Olympus E-P3 Display and Viewfinder

The Olympus E-P3 comes with a 3 inch fixed screen supporting a resolution of 614 thousand dots.

Moreover the screen is touch friendly so you will be able to switch focus point as well as adjust settings using your fingertips.

Olympus PEN E-P3 screen and viewfinder Apple Innovates by Creating Next-Level Optical Stabilization for iPhone

The ViewFinder specs regarding Olympus E-P3 are as follows:

  • ViewFinder Electronic (optional)

Viewfinders are pretty handy for bright outdoor conditions which can easily make the camera display washed out and hard to view.

Olympus E-P3 Shutter specs

Olympus E-P3 can shoot continuously at 3.0 fps. The max shutter speed is 1/4000 sec.

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Olympus E-P3 Flash and Hot shoe specs

Olympus E-P3 includes both built-in flash plus external flash support. The maximum flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.

Olympus E-P3 Autofocusing specs

Olympus E-P3 includes just Contrast Based Autofocus and doesn't have Phase Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot snappier & exact when compared to Contrast Based autofocusing. The camera comes with Face detect which makes it handy for portrait photography.

The Sensor comes with 35 focus points to select from. Olympus E-P3 has touch to focus. You can use your fingers in order to adjust focus. It also comes with Tracking Autofocus for objects on the move. Olympus E-P3 features manual focusing in case it is required for low light scenarios or you want to have more precise focusing control.

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Olympus E-P3 Battery life

The battery pack (BLS-5) in the Olympus E-P3 is designed to last for 330 clicks based on the CIPA specifications making it on par with its competitors. The usual Entry-Level Mirrorless camera battery life is 343. Fujifilm X-S20 has got the maximum (750) battery life for this class of cameras.

Below is a listing of Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras that have the strongest battery life:

ModelVisualizeBattery LifeRAWNFCBluetooth
Photography Glossary

Olympus E-P3 for various kinds of photography

The following diagram provides a outline of the Olympus E-P3 for various kinds of photography. To learn more, go to the specific paragraph below.

Olympus E-P3 Portrait photography features

The Olympus E-P3 receives a points total of 60 which is moderate, and means the camera is somewhat appropriate for portraits. Photographing portrait images favors greatly towards sensor resolution, RAW support and option to utilize external lighting.

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has manual focus
sensor size is good (Four Thirds)
comes with face detection focusing
delivers RAW files
low megapixels (12 megapixels)

Olympus E-P3 Street photography advice

With a great rating of 76, the Olympus E-P3 is a outstanding choice to use in street photography. A good street photography camera features a good balance of picture quality and portability.

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image stabilization (Sensor based)
nice sensor size (Four Thirds)
delivers RAW formats
supports focus by touch
no moving screen

Olympus E-P3 Sports photography details

A reasonable sports photography score of 49 indicates the Olympus E-P3 is relatively suited for shooting sports. A camera should have excellent autofocus plus fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is good (Four Thirds)
supports tracking autofocus
painfully slow continuous shooting (3.0 frames per second)
megapixel count low (12 megapixels)
no phase detect autofocus

Travel photography with Olympus E-P3

Portability is super important in choosing a travel camera. In general, the Olympus E-P3 gets a modest 60 for a travel camera which makes it fairly acceptable to purchase for your holidays.

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features focus by touch
has built in flash
no Time Lapse recording
low megapixels (12MP)
does not contain selfie friendly display

Olympus E-P3 Landscape photography highlights

For anyone planning to purchase a camera for landscape photographs, the biggest aspect is going to be image quality. The Olympus E-P3 and it's nice grade of 65 as a landscape camera is a very decent fit within the current market.

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you can focus manually
switch lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
nice screen size (3 inches)
built in image stabilization (Sensor based)
decent sensor size (Four Thirds)
saves RAW files
low resolution (12 megapixels)
doesn't have Timelapse mode

Vlogging with Olympus E-P3

A camera for vlogging should come with a articulating screen, mic port and ideally image stabilization. Taking everything into account, the Olympus E-P3 is not good for vlogging as it comes to a low score of 35.

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has touchscreen
image stabilization (Sensor based)
provides face detection focusing
video resolution high (1920 x 1080 pxls)
display isn't selfie friendly
does not have external mic jack

Olympus E-P3 Alternatives

If you are searching for alternatives to the E-P3, here is a list of the highest scored cameras which fall under the class of Entry-Level Mirrorless.

The line graph down below gives you a bird's eye view of the E-P3 vs it's highest scoring rivals suggested above.

Here are a few more cameras you might take into account as alternate options. To see a detailed comparison, simply click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Olympus PEN E-P3
Entry-Level Mirrorless
Physical type
Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor Information
Sensor type
TruePic VI
Sensor size
Four Thirds
Sensor dimensions
17.3 x 13mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
Max resolution
4032 x 3024
RAW photos
Max native ISO
Min native ISO
Manual focusing
Touch focus
Autofocus continuous
Single autofocus
Tracking autofocus
Autofocus selectice
Autofocus center weighted
Multi area autofocus
Live view autofocus
Face detect focus
Contract detect focus
Phase detect focus
Total focus points
Lens mount type
Micro Four Thirds
Amount of lenses
Crop factor
Type of display
Fixed Type
Display diagonal
3 inch
Display resolution
614 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch friendly
Display technology
3:2 OLED with Anti-Fingerprint Coating
Viewfinder Information
Electronic (optional)
DXO scores
DXO Overall rating
DXO Color Depth rating
DXO Dynamic range rating
DXO Low light rating
Min shutter speed
Max shutter speed
Continuous shutter rate
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Exposure compensation
Custom white balance
Image stabilization
Built-in flash
Flash distance
10.00 m (@ ISO 200)
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Sync, Wireless, Manual (3 levels)
Hot shoe
White balance bracketing
Max flash synchronize
Multisegment metering
Average metering
Spot metering
Partial metering
AF area metering
Center weighted metering
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Max video resolution
Video format
Mic port
Headphone port
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment sealing
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
369g (0.81 lbs)
Physical dimensions
122 x 69 x 34mm (4.8" x 2.7" x 1.3")
Battery life
330 images
Battery type
Battery Pack
Battery ID
Self timer
Yes (2 or 12 sec)
Time lapse feature
Storage type
Card slots
Pricing at release