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Thread: Bought a Olympus Pen E-P3 for travel and lightweight DSLR alternative

  1. #1
    Member kmcgreg's Avatar
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    Bought a Olympus Pen E-P3 for travel and lightweight DSLR alternative

    Hi all, As I havve posted previously, I am off to Nepal tomorrow for 5 weeks of treking, rafting etc. Given that I will be up around 5000m I decided to invest in a new camera kit for trips like this where weight is a real issue.

    I bought the following:
    Olympus PEN E-P3 Body Colour Black
    Olympus 12mm f2.0 EW Ultra Wide Lens
    Olypmus Zuiko Digital Micro 4/3 ED 9-18mm f/4.0 - f/5.6 lens)
    Olympus M.Zuko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4.0 - f/5.6
    Olympus 45mm f1.8 Lens PEN Zuiko
    Panasonic 20mm f 1.7 pancake.
    Hoya 52mm Circular Polarizer Pro 1D Filter (H52P1DTW)
    Hoya 58mm Circular Polarizer Pro 1D Filter (H58P1DTW)
    Olympus VF-2 Electronic Viewfinder Colour Black
    Lots of generic batteries.


    I have had about a month to to play with the E-P3. I have found that is that it is a great small package. Image quality is excellent up iso 1600.
    Autofocus is amazingly fast. Its all a bit different and takes time to get used to after being a long time Canon SLR then Canon DSLR user.
    The weight and size of the all the lenses is so small the whole kit can fit in a tiny bag. I am still going to use my lowepro back pack but there is room now for my Down jacket and other gear including a Joby Gorrilapod.

    The super panel provides fast access to all the settings. The settings and custom options seem huge at first but can soon be tamed.
    The prime lenses are excellent .. I love the 12 mm to walk around with.
    The 45 is also excellent in low light and for portraits. No problems getting great Bokeh with this despite the m43 sensor.

    The 9-18 zoom is good but not quite as wide as my 10-22 on a canon 50d. The 14-150 is also very good as a general travel zoom. Not quite as flexible as my Tamron 18-270 on my DSLR but still very good.
    Battery life seems is much worse than a DSLR but I have bought heaps of cheap generic batteries.
    The whole weight of my new kit is next to nothing. My feeling is that the primes will spend most their time on the camera.
    Jpeg quality is excellent. It give an image that I am very happy with. Only thing I have changed is dropping the noise filter back to light. The jpegs are much better than what comes out of my 50D. So much so that I am going to shoot mainly jpeg except in crazy lighting. Even in those situations the camera does pretty well with the jpeg images. Olympus has done a great job with their jpeg algorithms.
    There is a a lot to like about this camera. Even the touch screen works well and is more than a gimmick. It really allows amazing fast changes to focal point.
    Glad I got the vf2. I found that I actually don't mind taking photos off the screen despite being a diehard optical viewfinder user. However I think the vf2 is essential in really bright light.
    Things I don't like...tracking focus is crap-- I will keep my DSLR for sports and animals.
    High iso performance could be better but when you actually make prints and leave on screen pixel peeping behind there is bugger all between all the mirrorless cameras.
    The vf2 increases camera bulk. It would be nice to have a built in evf.
    Ideally the camera should be weathersealed and the lenses - again a wish for me.
    So despite being a long time DSLR user I am pleasantly surprised how good the e-p3.
    I think it nearly makes an ideal travel camera. I will write a comprehensive review of my travels with the camera with plenty of pics when I return.
    Hobart Camera semi newbie


    Canon 50D
    Canon EF-S 17-55 2.8
    Tamron 18-270 mm
    Canon 10-22mm lens
    Canon 50 mm 1.4
    Benro Carbon Fibre Tripod C-258 + B-1 Head
    Canon 10D EF 100mm 1:2.8 Macro Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX
    imac 24" 2.8 Aperature II

  2. #2
    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    Great write up. Seems like a very well though out kit. Must be great to get the whole kit in one go.
    Can't wait for the photos.
    Enjoy your trip!!
    Nikon FX

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    Good to her a real life opinion / appraisal from another brand user instead of the usual negative comments from people who have never used them.
    I've considered a similar kit for travel. Will look at it harder now.
    Thanks

    David

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    Agree with everything you have said there. I have the E-P3 and E-P1 with 12 & 45mm lenses et al and great lightweight kit.

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
    Cheers

    PeterB666


    My photo-mojo has gone

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Metabones Speed Booster and Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 - almost as insanely wicked as sin itself... but then again, the Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 is kinda fun.

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    Ausphotography Veteran MattNQ's Avatar
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    Enjoy the trip. You can really get some great images out of the PEN cameras.
    All my New Zealand shots posted here were with the EPL1 on jpeg. Only a couple I wish I had shot RAW to recover the detail
    My 9-18mm almost permanenly lives on the camera now- it's all I use for landscapes & buildings, but you have a nice selection of alternative lenses there to choose from.
    The small size also balances nicely on a Gorillapod
    I think once you get to know their particular foibles and how to manage them, they make for great travel cameras.
    Matt
    CC always appreciated

    My Main Gallery and Even More Pics
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    I've debated with myself over these type of cameras since they came out, and to me the two drawbacks that matter are are limiting your dynamic range so heavily - the smaller the sensor, the lower the dynamic range; and sacrificng wide angle 'end'. I shoot mainly landscapes and these things are important to me. But I do see the advantages for the type of tourism you are doing.

    I do have a Lumix FZ35, and I have taken some terrific shots with it, but more and more I am using it only as backup. Personally I would never go overseas without the very best camera I could manage to take, such trips would be a once in a lifetime and I would hate to miss that wonderful shot due to having the 'wrong' camera.

    And I would never restrict myself to jpeg, if it has RAW capability then why not use it? At the very least, if it is capable of it, I'd shoot RAW+JPEG.

    But as I said, this is my opinion only, have a wonderful trip and look forward to seeing your shots of Nepal when you return.
    Odille

    “Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky”

    My Blog | Canon 1DsMkII | 60D | Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AF AT-X PRO | EF50mm f/1.8| Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM | Fujifilm X-T1 & X-M1 | Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XC 50-230mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS | tripods, flashes, filters etc ||

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    kmcgreg's Avatar
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    Hi ...in Nargarkot in Nepal now ....Ep-3 has been great so far. Having an amazing time. I have a ton of photos already. My shots are improving fast as I start to work within the cameras limitations. Took lots of pics of people in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. Lovely people but so much poverty. Glad to be out of the city now and have started hiking. Doing some short warm up walks first. 5 hour one tomorrow. Weather is fantastic ...it's warmer than Hobart during the day (well at least here at 2000m). I am sure it will be much colder at 4500m. Power just failed and sitting in the pitch black.
    Will give a review on my whole kit with photos on return.

    Merry Xmas and happy new year to all on here!

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