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Shooting Street Photography with the Olympus EP3

by Chris Gampat on 07/15/2011

Since our full review of the Olympus EP3 (or E-P3, EP-3, and EP 3) we’ve had inquiries about how the camera fares for use in full street photography. Make no mistake, the camera will not make you a better photographer, but the camera will indeed make many shooting situations a heck of a lot easier to deal with. This posting will chronicle my street photography outings that I had while the camera was on loan to me.

Stealth Factor

For this photo, I took advantage of the fact that the man was playing a game on his phone to capture a photo of his amazing hair. The fact that we don't see his face adds a sense of mystery to the photo. We want to see who he is and know his story.

The Olympus EP3 is a small camera; and as we’ve stated before, small cameras seem to be best for street photography. Though I used the white version of the camera (which is the sexiest and stands out the most) people would often just look out of curiosity but not be intimidated by it. Instead, they’d actually just be a bit mesmerized by how gorgeous and simple it was. Not intimidating your subjects is a big part of being able to capture a candid moment. If you combine this with reading one’s body language you’ll have a winning combination for getting the photo that you want.

As an extra tip, try to go into the situation with an intended vision or end result.

Autofocus

The Olympus EP3 has a newly revamped autofocusing system called the FAST AF system. It works by having the lens, sensor and processor act in unison to quickly nail focus on the subject. To take the most advantage of this, the user will need to use the new MSC line of lenses. Here’s a video demo of how the focusing system works.

Note that once again, this system works best with the newer line of lenses.

Autofocus in Low Light

Together and Apart

One of the biggest needs of a street photographer is fast focusing in low light situations (such as walking around at night.) For the most part, the EP3 can handle it. To get it to focus correctly, it is advised that you place your subjects not near the corners. Around the corners, the autofocusing can become slow or inaccurate. To be more clear, don’t put them around the areas where lenses typically vignette.

To show you how fast it focuses in low light, take a look at this video.

Build

The build quality of the Olympus EP3 is fairly good. The camera has an aluminum body, though for some odd reason doesn’t feel as tough as its predecessor. When holding it in your hand, you’ll know that you’re holding a companion camera—one that will be with you all the way through and has been tested to perform well. This is how they used to make cameras and it’s very nice that the craftsmanship is being appreciated again.

For the best results though, you’ll probably want to keep the camera set to Av mode. Your thumb could easily turn one of the dials depending on how you’re holding the camera and therefore throw off the settings.

Image Quality

Full performance of the image quality has already been talked about in our full review. So in this area, I’m going to let the images speak for themselves.

Just like the old days

One day, we're going to catch Moby Dick...

Hide and Seek

Their Own Worlds

My attempt to be Bruce Gilden

Performance with Non-Olympus Lenses

Many current Micro Four Thirds users have an investment in Panasonic lenses. Here’s how they perform on the EP3.

14-42mm

20mm F/1.7

Gear Talked About

All of the new lenses

All EP3 kits

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