October 26 2011
In its quiet, eccentric, genius way, Olympus is building a formidable system around its small-body, compact, interchangeable lens PEN system. There are three models: the senior EP3; a new Mini version, the E-PM1, I haven’t yet seen; and this, the E-PL3, known as the Lite.
This delights from the start. It is beautifully designed and made, slick and easy to use and produces superb pictures. It has new and welcome features that its predecessor, the E-PL2, lacked – most particularly, the 3in tilting rear screen, ultra-fast focusing and a dinky add-on flash: mwah, as I would say if this were just a fashion website.
I have only one tiny issue with the range, which is the 14-42mm standard zoom lens Olympus has been using since the line was born a few years ago. It’s clever and compact, with a curious unlock-and-twist action before it can be used, which I tend to forget, rendering the camera briefly inoperative. But, although it’s a great lens, it seems delicate; an accident waiting to happen. I’m surprised Olympus hasn’t updated it more.
But don’t be put off: the 12-megapixel PEN Lite is a serious luxury item, and you will love it.