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Olympus E-PL3 Ken McMahon, November 2011
 
 

Olympus Pen E-PL3 vs Panasonic Lumix GF3 vs Sony Alpha NEX-C3 Resolution

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To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, we shot this scene with the Olympus Pen E-PL3, the Panasonic Lumix GF3, and the Sony Alpha NEX-C3 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on each camera were set to approximately the same field of view and all three cameras were set to f5.6 in Aperture Priority.

The ISO sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available setting, 200 ISO on the Pen E-PL3 and NEX-C3 and 160 ISO on the Lumix GF3.

  Olympus Pen E-PL3
1 Pen E-PL3 Resolution
2 Pen E-PL3 Noise
3 Pen E-PL3 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Olympus Pen E-PL3 with the 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens lens. The lens was set to it's 14mm maximum wide angle focal length. In Aperture Priority with f5.6 selected the camera metered a shutter speed of 1/1600th of a second at 200 ISO. The original image size was 5.5MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%.

Overall, this is a very pleasing result form the Olympus Pen E-PL3. The exposure is spot-on and there's good detail throughout the tonal range. The image is sharp and contrasty and the colours are natural and not over-saturated. The E-PL3 shares the slightly warm auto white balance of other models in the Pen range which gives its images a slightly retro feel. I quite like this, but if you don't it's easy enough to change.

At first glance the crops from the E-PL3 look very impressive with crisp edges and good detail resolution. In the first crop, the detail on the chapel buiding and foreground rocky hilock is clearly picked out. There's a slight textured look to the flat colour in the sky but it's clearly not affecting the image detial in any way.

The lighthouse crop shows good clear detail everywhere from the foreground houses to the very clean lines of the lighthouse itself in the distance, again there's that slight texture in the sky though. The third crop from the very edge of the frame isn't quite as crisp as the others and there's the merest hint of colour fringing, but it's not what you'd call soft. The final crop from the centre of the frame is hard to fault with every rooftile and other small detail clearly and distincly defined.

In terms of resolution of fine detail the Olympus E-PL3 really shines in this comparison. Right from the off the Pen E-PL3 crops are punchier with sharper edge detail and none of the softness evident to a degree in both the Lumix GF3 and NEX-C3 crops. If you look closely you can see a small amount of purple fringing in the third Pen E-PL3 crop. It could also be argued that the high contrast and sharpness has come at the cost of a slight graininess to the look of the E-PL3 crops, but you'd have to be really looking for something to criticise. Whichever way you look at it the Pen E-PL3 crops are very impressive indeed.

Now let's see how they compare at higher sensitivities in our High ISO Noise results.

 


Olympus Pen E-PL3
 
Panasonic Lumix GF3
 
Sony NEX-C3
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO


Olympus Pen E-PL3 results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise




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