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Olympus PEN E-PL3

alaTest has collected and analyzed 328 reviews from magazines and websites. Reviewers are impressed by the performance and lens. The design and portability also get good feedback, but some have doubts about the image stabilizer and features.

usability, portability, design, lens, performance

features, stabilizer

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Digital Compact Cameras the Olympus PEN E-PL3 is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 93/100 = Excellent quality.

See all Olympus Digital Compact Cameras

Review analysis

(Based on 328 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 55 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 55 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (110)


Expert review by:

Olympus Pen E-PL3


Olympus has continued to expand its Micro Four Thirds (MFT) repertoire with new models for its PEN series. While the manufacturer might be finding itself in the news for, ahem, less than exemplary corporate behavior, its cameras measure up. The E-PL3...

Convenient tilt-out screen ; Super fast, quiet AF system ; High image quality ; Impressively slim body

Sits awkwardly—body is weighed down by the lens ; No automatic playback ; No pop-up flash

If the decision is not if but which MFT camera you should get, there are a variety of reasons the E-PL3 should make the cut.

Expert review by:

Olympus PEN E-PL3 (with 14-42mm lens, Silver)


In many ways--pretty much everything on the inside--the Olympus PEN E-PL3 is the same camera as its more expensive sibling, the E-P3. As a result, a lot of the trade-offs I dislike in the E-P3, I'm more willing to forgive in its less expensive little...

With a broad feature set aimed at enthusiasts, tilting LCD, nicely implemented filters, good performance, and excellent raw photo quality, plus a price that's less burdensome than the E-P3's, there's a lot to appreciate about the Olympus PEN E-PL3

The PEN E-PL3's video disappoints, and the camera's lack of a grip may prove annoying for some shooters

While it's not the best in any particular aspect, and you probably don't want to use it for video, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 offers an excellent balance of size, features, performance, and photo quality for the money.


Expert review by:

Olympus PEN E-PL3


The Olympus PEN Lite/E-PL3 is identical in terms of output to the recently reviewed Olympus E-P3. We have tested to verify image quality (and of course include these tests in the review). Where appropriate, you will find our comments and judgements...

Very good low ISO image quality and resolution ; Fast and responsive operation ; Fast, accurate autofocus ; Full HD AVCHD video ; Attractive styling and solid, metal construction ; A high number of external controls for its body size ; Tilt-screen LCD...

High ISO noise performance lagging behind competitors' newer sensors ; Overly aggressive default noise filter setting for JPEG output ; Digital IS for video capture can introduce unnatural-looking footage ; Size and positioning of control dial makes...

The Olympus E-PL3 offers ample external control points, a tilting LCD screen and fast AF performance along with high image quality in a small, stylish package. Although the complexity of the menu system may require an initial learning curve for new...


Expert review by:



Look, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 is cute. Adorable, even. In fact, those swayed by looks alone may be sold after whisking through our hands-on gallery below. But for those interested in more than a highly-capable fashion accessory, it's worth taking a...

Gorgeous ; Compact, yet solid ; Fast autofocus

Still on the pricey side ; Jelly vision video ; Difficult to tweak manual settings

Quality-wise, you're getting (largely) the same results as the more expensive E-P3, but in a lighter / cheaper package. The only problem? Sony's NEX-C3.

Expert review by:

Olympus PEN E-PL3 (PEN Lite) Preview


Olympus announced three new additions to its PEN line of compact digital cameras, which is now in its 5th generation. Replacing last gen's E-PL2, we have the Olympus PEN E-PL3, the PEN compact system middle sibling camera. The idea for this model is...

Expert review by:

Olympus E-PL3 (“PEN Lite”): Lab Test Results & Comments


HANDLING The compact Olympus E-PL3 has a retro body design and is available in different colors. The camera has a large swivel LCD on the back which allows the user to flip the monitor up and down. This is handy but is not as flexible as a swivel...

The camera showed very good results up to ISO 1600. In images taken with ISO 3200 there is clearly visible color noise, which is filtered and causes some color clouds in homogenous areas. This effect is clearly noticeable in images taken with ISO 6400....

Expert review by:

Camera Test: Olympus Pen E-PL3 ILC


Olympus' latest ILC achieves midlevel greatness

Expert review by:

Preview: Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3


Olympus has succeeded in creating a mini-marvel with the PEN Lite E-PL3 compact system camera. It's beautifully engineered, stylish and puts in a blisteringly quick performance

Expert review by:

Olympus PEN E-PL3 - The LITE Sibling


The Olympus PEN E-PL3 is a good alternative for those who prefer a smaller and more handy version of the E-P3. Under the hood, it shares the same 12-megapixel sensor and dual-core TruePic VI processing engine as its more expensive sibling. We show you...

Sleek and slim designFast and accurate AF systemVivid color productionTiltable LCD screen

Image noise starts to show above ISO800No built-in flash (but add-on is provided)No hand grip

Expert review by:

Olympus E-PL3


With the E-PL3, the company has taken a step away from the classic Pen style of the earlier models. It's significantly smaller, though not much lighter than its predecessor and sports a new 16:9 flip-up screen and a redesigned 12.3 Megapixel sensor....

Built-in stabilisation works with any lens ; Excellent all-round image quality ; Highly customisable ; Good range of movie exposure modes ; Fast startup and AF response

16:9 screen not ideal for still photos ; Poorly positioned control wheel ; Lacks composite HDR and low light mode

The Olympus Pen E-PL3 sits in the middle of the Olympus Pen range between the flagship E-P3 and the Pen Mini E-PM1. This makes it a good choice both for compact upgraders looking for more control than the entry-level Pen Mini can offer and enthusiasts...

Product Specifications


Autofocus: Yes
Built-in Flash: Yes
Changeable Lens: Yes
Image Stabiliser:Optical Image Stabiliser
Integrated GPS Module: No
Touchscreen:No / Yes
View Finder Type:LCD Monitor


Bluetooth: Yes
HDMI Interface: Yes
PictBridge: No
WiFi Connectivity:WiFi Ready / WITH EYE-FI

General Features

3D:3D enabled
Bridge Camera: No
Chip Type:Live MOS
Product Type:Compact Camera
Sensor Size:17.3 x 13.0 mm
SLR / Compact:Compact Camera


Longest Shutter Speed in s:60
Shortest Shutter Speed in s:1/4000


Compact Flash Card: No
Memory Stick / Memory Stick Pro: No
Memory Stick Duo / Duo Pro: No
Memory Type:External
Micro Drive: No
Multimedia Card: No
SDXC Card: Yes
Secure Digital Card: Yes
Secure Digital High Capacity Card: Yes
XD Card: No


Aperture Priority: Yes
Face Detection Mode:Face Detection
Movie / Voice Recording:Movie + Voice
RAW Format: Yes
Serial Shot Mode: Yes
Shutter Priority: Yes