Olympus PEN micro four thirds system cameras have always been very popular because they offer high-end features inside a beautifully-designed and relatively-compact body. Now, the award-winning Olympus PEN series has a new flagship, namely the Olympus PEN E-P3. The E-P3 is the fifth generation camera in the Olympus PEN family, but if we only count the flagships of the family, then it is the third camera, replacing the Olympus PEN E-P2. Just like its predecessors, the E-P3 also looks like a classic rangefinder camera from 1960s. Together with the Fujifilm FinePix X100, the E-P3 is probably one of the most gorgeous-looking digital cameras on the market today.
Olympus may have a very good reason in retaining the design of previous PEN cameras, since it has been proven to be very successful; however, the Olympus PEN E-P3’s identical look to the Olympus PEN E-P2 could suggest that there are also not a lot of changes inside the E-P3, although this is not true. The E-P3 actually brings with it a bunch of new features. The most significant improvement is the E-P3’s extremely fast autofocus system, which the company claims to be the world’s fastest autofocus system of any interchangeable lens camera. This is a very remarkable achievement, considering that autofocus speed has always been the main weakness of previous PEN cameras.
The Olympus PEN E-P3’s blazing fast autofocus speed is achieved thanks to the use of a new TruePic VI processor which works much faster than the previous processor. The new processor is able to check the focus 120 times per second, allowing the camera to adjust the focus more often and in this way confirm the focus much faster. Other improvements offered by the E-P3 include a new touch-sensitive OLED screen with 614,000 dot resolution, which is coupled with capacitance-type touch technology similar to that of the Apple iPhone 4S; 60i full High Definition video recording capability in AVCHD format; a removable and upgradable camera grip; and a handful of new art filters.