Which One: Olympus EP-3, EPL-3 or Pen Mini?

EP-3 in white, silver and black


With today’s announcement of the Olympus EP-3, EPL-3 and Pen Mini, many of you may be trying to figure out which one is right for you. Also, you may not even totally understand what’s new about these cameras and what the differences are from the predecessors. Here’s your guide to getting through all the data.

What’s New?

Pen Mini

– New Olympus developed 12MP sensor for better dynamic range, color depth and high ISO noise control.

– New FAST AF system, which works with the lenses, new TruPICVI processor (dual core) and the sensor to create a super fast autofocusing system.

touchscreen on the EP-3

– Touchscreens on all the cameras (correction, it is only on the EP3)

– Pop-up flashes (was on the EPL-2 and EPL-1 before, but is now in the flagship series as well.)

– You can add different effects to the art filters like a white border, pinhole effect, starlight effect and more.

– Smaller size with the EPL-3 and Pen Mini

– New touchscreen interface and info layout

– New ways to take the photos besides pressing the shutter button.

– The EP-3 has more buttons, the EPL-3 has slightly less and the Pen Mini has almost none. Olympus is targeting the Pen Mini at the Sony NEX system; or at least that’s what it seems like.

The new menu system

– New menu system. It’s a bit more complicated and jam packed but I like it. If you’re wondering what each function does, all you need to do is press the info button for a description.

– The EPL-3 and Pen mini have tilting LCD screens.

– The EPL-3 and Pen mini are made of plastic, while the EP-3 has an aluminum body.

– Newly updated kit lenses that are now MSC: and will work with the new FAST AF system. The new lenses have some cool cosmetic additions like the front area that can unscrew to accept a lens hood or filter.

– The EP-3 has interchangeable grips.

– To get the units so tiny, the EPL-3 and Pen mini have new shutter units.

– The new pop-up flash comes out a bit further for better image quality. On the left of the above image is the EPL-2. On the right is the EP-3.

So Which One is Right for Me?

– The EP-3 is targeted more towards high end enthusiasts and professionals that want a smaller camera. Those that appreciate some extra heft will like the EP-3. Street photographers, professionals that need a smaller camera for certain projects, students, and those looking for a sexy retro-styled body will digg the EP-3.

– The EPL-3 is more targeted towards the class of people that want to learn more about photography but don’t want an SLR style body.

– The Pen Mini is for those like the soccer mom that want interchangeable lens cameras with more power but are afraid of lots of buttons and a complicated interface. Everything is made very simple with this camera.


Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.