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June 30, 2011

New PEN Lite packs PEN's spirit of innovation, high functionality and high performance into a small body

New Generation System Camera "OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3"

OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3 (Red / Silver / White / Black) with M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm F3.5-5.6II R

OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3 (Red / Silver / White / Black)
with M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm F3.5-5.6II R

Olympus Imaging Corporation (President: Shuichi Takayama) is pleased to announce the introduction of the "OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3", a new generation system camera that conforms to the Micro Four Thirds System standard. It is designed as the centerpiece of Olympus's popular PEN series of versatile, high-performance interchangeable-lens digital cameras.

Main Features

  1. First PEN series camera with a swivel type 3.0-inch display. Tilts 80° up and 45° down for improved functionality and compatibility with size reduction
  2. The same high image quality as the flagship "E-P3", all in a solid little package
  3. Six popular Art Filters with more advanced artistic expression capabilities using Variations and Art Effects

Pricing & Launch Date

Category Product Name MSRP Launch Date
Micro Four Thirds System Interchangeable Lens Camera OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3 Body (Red /Silver/White/Black/) Not yet determined Autumn 2011
OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3 Lens Kit Body + M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R
OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3 Double Zoom Kit Body + M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II-R + M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R
* The following body/lens color combinations are available.
  ·When the body color is Silver, White or Red, the lens color is Silver.
·When the body color is Black, the lens color is Black.

Launched in March 2010 with the introduction of the OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL1, Olympus's "PEN Lite" models were originally designed to expand the digital SLR market by focusing on entry-level users. Now, however, that role has been taken over by the new line of "PEN mini" models, allowing Olympus to reboot the "PEN Lite" product concept, emphasizing the spirit of innovation and concentrating on putting big-size functionality and performance into a small-size body.

The first of the reborn "PEN Lite" models, the OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3 is an interchangeable lens type digital camera that conforms to the Micro Four Thirds System standard. Combining the attributes of high performance and compact ease of use, the PEN Lite is designed to serve as the centerpiece of the PEN series of new generation system cameras. Its target is the young families who have special tastes for what they possess.

With previous PEN series models, the body size was reduced by eliminating the quick-return mirror while maintaining key SLR advantages such as high performance and high image quality. Olympus has made the E-PL3 even smaller by redesigning all of the internal structures.

One example of the complete redesign is the swivel type 3.0-inch HyperCrystal LCD - the first used in the PEN series. Incorporation of an up-down tilting mechanism give the E-PL3 real high- and low-angle shooting flexibility without compromising the compact size.

This camera also boasts sequential shooting performance of 5 fps and image quality built on the same advanced technology that powers the E-P3, the just announced new flagship of the PEN series, continuing with Olympus's policy of "providing the maximum image quality performance to all PEN models". Better-than-ever image quality is made possible by the new 12.3-megapixel High Speed Live MOS Sensor with 1080i HD movie compatibility and the new TruePic VI image processing engine. High-sensitivity shooting at ISO12800 is also possible. And all of this incredible performance is packed into a compact, lightweight body with a stand-alone weight of 262 grams.

The Art Filters so popular on previous Olympus cameras have been refined and improved for the new generation with the addition of "variations" that can be used to slightly change the atmosphere of the filter. The Art Effect function, which can add various composition effects to Art Filters, has also been enhanced with new "Starlight" and "White Edge" effects. These composition effects allow the user to utilize individual expressions and obtain more benefits from the Art Filters. Naturally, the expressive power of the provided six Art Filters can be enjoyed with both still images and movies.

Another example of Olympus's commitment to relentlessly enhancing and advancing its line of new generation system cameras, this new camera is certain to expand today's fast growing market for lens interchangeable type digital cameras.

Other Features

  • Ultrafast AF using new AF system inherited from the E-P3
  • 35-area multiple AF and group area selection
  • High-performance 5.5 fps* sequential shooting
  • Advanced Live Guide
    - Instant recall of Live Guide with Fn button in P/A/S/M modes
  • Advanced movie recording
    - Incorporates full HD movie shooting (AVCHD)
    - Built-in stereo microphones
  • Built-in sensor-shift type image stabilization plus electronic movie image stabilization using the multimotion-compatible movie IS system
  • High capability removable flash
  • Tone control for individual variations of the tones of bright and dark sections
  • One-push digital teleconverter function
  • Menu Guide to clarify menu itemsv
  • New scene mode: 3D Photo Shooting
  • Proven, reliable dust reduction system
* 5.5 fps in case of " I.S. OFF " and S-AF(or MF), 4.1 fps in case of " I.S. ON "

Main Feature Details

1. First PEN series camera with a swivel type 3.0-inch display. Tilts 80° up and 45° down for improved functionality and compatibility with size reduction

  • 3.0-inch HyperCrystal LCD with up-down tilting mechanism
    This is the first swivel-type LCD mounted on a PEN series model. Compromising neither size nor mobility, this monitor can be freely tilted up or down by up to 80º or 45º respectively, offering real flexibility in high- and low-angle shooting. When the display aspect ratio is set to 3:4, tilting of longitudinal (portrait) pictures is supported.
    The LCD is a large, easy-to-view high-definition HyperCrystal LCD with a diagonal size of 3.0 inches and 460,000 dots. The viewing angle is as wide as 176° from all directions and the field of view is 100%. The high-definition HVGA LCD has excellent color production and reproduction characteristics and makes even outdoor shooting easy and comfortable.

2. The same high image quality as the flagship "E-P3", all in a solid little package

  • Solid, elegant body weighing 265 grams
    The E-PL3 achieves a volume reduction of about 25% and weight reduction of about 17% compared to the E-PL2, without changing popular E-PL2-style controls such as the mode dial and buttons. The high-grade metallic finish exudes a feeling of quality and solidity.
  • High image quality inherited from the "E-P3"
    • New 12.3-megapixel High Speed Live MOS Sensor with full HD movie compatibility
    • New TruePic VI image processing engine
    Committed to "providing the maximum image quality performance to all PEN models", Olympus has generously endowed the E-PL3 with the same new 12.3-megapixel High-Speed Live MOS sensor and new TruePic VI image processing engine incorporated in the new flagship of the PEN series, the E-P3, due for release at the same time as the E-PL3. This has made possible full HD 1080i movie recording and improved the maximum sensitivity to ISO12800. The newly developed TruePic VI image processing engine achieves both improvement of image processing quality and reduction of processing time.

3. Six popular Art Filters with more advanced artistic expression capabilities using Variations and Art Effects

Olympus has been supporting the creativity of photographers by incorporating easy-to-use Art Filters in its interchangeable-lens digital cameras. The new E-PL3 incorporates six of the most popular Art Filters, identical to those incorporated in the E-PL2.

  • Pop Art
    Enhances colors, making them stronger and more vivid to create high-impact images with a pop-art feel.
  • Soft Focus
    Gives images a dream-like quality that creates a romantic and mystical atmosphere.
  • Grainy Film
    Recreates the classic grainy look and tonality of black & white photography, imparting a dramatic feel to images.
  • Pin Hole
    Adjusts color and reduces brightness at the periphery, recreating the distinctive look of photos taken with a pinhole camera.
  • Diorama
    Creates the look of a miniature diorama by enhancing color and contrast, and blurring the periphery to distort distance perception.
  • Dramatic Tone
    Represents real space in a more imaginary way by applying unrealistic tones of light and darkness based on local changes in contrast.
  • Addition of new Art Effects (Starlight and White Edge)
    The Art Effect function that can add various composition effects to Art Filters has been expanded with the E-PL3. In addition to the existing Art Frame effect, which puts a frame around the image, the Pin Hole effect, which decreases the brightness around the periphery of the image, and the Soft Focus effect, which provides focusing with both sharpness in the center and softness around it, Olympus has added the Starlight effect, which produces an effective trace of light in a night scene and the White Edge effect, which defocuses the four corners of the image in white*1. These effects allow the photographer to more effectively produce exactly the image they desire and provide everyone with the opportunity to utilize exciting new creative expressions in both still images and movies*2.
  • Starlight effect White edge effect
    Starlight effect White edge effect
    *1 The number and types of variations and the applicable effect functions are variable between Art Filters.
    *2 When a movie is recorded using an Art Filter, the number of frames and presence/absence of audio and Art Effect are variable depending on the type of the Art Filter.
  • Art Filter bracketing for recording multiple Art Filtered pictures with a single shot
    The Art Filter bracketing function can generate multiple pictures with different Art Filters with a single shot, making it possible to experiment with several different photographic effects at the same time. In addition to the Art Filters, this function can also be used to select multiple picture modes including Vivid, Natural, Flat and Portrait.
  • Art Filter 3D*3 compatible with 3D Photo Shooting scene mode
    When the scene mode is set to 3D, the Art Filter can be applied to 3D photos*3.
  • *3 Not available with the Starlight effect.

Other Feature Details

  • Ultrafast AF using new AF system inherited from the E-P3
    Like its bigger cousin, the E-P3, the E-PL3 incorporates an all-new FAST AF (autofocusing) system that has been completely re-designed to perform at unprecedented speeds. During AF, the Live MOS Sensor is driven at double the speed (120 fps) of the previous system, facilitating faster acquisition of the image signals required for AF. The speed of AF computation that generates the contrast signal from the image signal to determine the degree of focusing has also been doubled. The advantages made possible by these improvements are further enhanced by the increase in the speed of communication for controlling the lens motion and the synergy of the MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) mechanism, which facilitates fast, quiet movement of the AF system in the lens, as well as faster response time from shutter release to the start-up of AF system. Together, all of these improvements have resulted in a much faster autofocusing than previously.
  • 35-area multiple AF with group area selection
    The number of focus selection areas has been increased from 11 to 35, enabling detailed, pinpoint AF across a wider area than before. To capture a moving subject accurately, the group area selection can apply AF to a limited region compose of 3 vertical and 3 horizontal areas.
  • High-performance 5.5 fps sequential shooting
    A more compact high-speed shutter mechanism has been developed newly to be accommodated in the smaller body. The new shutter succeeded in improving the sequential shooting performance from the previous 3 fps to 5.5 fps*.
  • * 5.5 fps in case of " I.S. OFF " and S-AF(or MF), 4.1 fps in case of " I.S. ON "
  • Advanced Live Guide
    - Instant recall of Live Guide with Fn button in P/A/S/M modes
    Since the E-PL1 (launched on March 2010), Olympus has been incorporating a new user interface called the Live Guide. Designed for users who do not have expert knowledge of photography but want to have creative control over their pictures, Live Guide lets users shoot the pictures they want by selecting an icon and operating a slide bar to control the major factors for the SLR photography including "color vividness", "color balance", "image brightness", "depth of field (blur background)" and "subject in motion". The names of these factors are expressed in daily, easy-to-understand languages without any jargon.
    With the new E-PL3, the Live Guide function, which previously was only available in iAUTO mode, can now be accessed with the Fn button in any of the P/S/A/M exposure modes.
  • Advanced movie recording
    - Incorporates full HD movie shooting (AVCHD)
    In addition to the popular Motion JPEG (AVI: approx. 30 fps) format*1, which can be easily played back and edited on a PC, the new E-P3 can record movies in both full HD (AVCHD: 1920 x 1080/59.94i) and HD (AVCHD: 1280 x 720/59.94p) movie formats*2 for extended recording and playback on a large-screen high-definition TV set.
    *1 Recording capacity per one file is limited up to approx. 2 GB; max. recording time is approx. 7 minutes.
    *2 Recording capacity per one file is limited up to approx. 4 GB; max. recording time is approx. 22 min. in full HD mode, approx. 29 min. in HD mode. Image sensor output is approx. 30 fps.
    - Built-in stereo microphones
    Olympus's extensive experience in the field of IC recorders has made it possible to develop high-quality recording systems that offer extreme fidelity to the original sound and full presence. The camera body incorporates stereo microphones compatible with the linear PCM format (Motion JPEG mode) for high audio quality without compression, and Dolby Digital format (AVCHD mode). When high-quality external stereo microphones such as the SEMA-1 Microphone Set 1 (optional) is attached to the accessory port, audio input is switched automatically to the external stereo microphones facilitating higher quality stereo sound recording and effectively reducing wind noise.
  • Built-in sensor-shift type image stabilization plus electronic movie image stabilization using the multimotion-compatible movie IS system
    The E-PL3 incorporates an image stabilization mechanism based on image sensor shifting so handheld shooting with reduced image blurs is possible even in low-light scenes or telephoto shooting. This mechanism shifts the image sensor unit instantaneously and precisely, and is built into the camera body so image stabilization is possible with any lens, including an M.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens as well as an old lens mounted using an adapter if the focal length is input manually.
    Furthermore, an electronic movie image stabilization function with multi-motion compatibility is incorporated to compensate for image blurs due to ordinary camera shakes to those caused by respiration and walking.
  • High capability Removable flash
    A removable flash (GN10 (ISO200)) that can be attached only when needed is provided in the product package.
    The E-PL3 is equipped with the wireless flash control capability so external flashes compatible with the Olympus Wireless RC Flash System such as the FL-300R can be controlled from the camera body on which the removable flash is mounted. In addition to the wireless control of three groups of flashes, the mounted flash can be fired as an independent group.
    The setting of manual firing can be set between 1/1 and 1/64 in 1-step increments to improve the convenience in macro flash shooting, for example.
  • Tone control for individual variations of the tones of bright and dark sections
    As an extension of the brightness adjustment of the Live Guide, functions for individual adjustment of the brightness of only in the "bright section" or "dark section" is added to the exposure compensation function to enable adjustments equivalent to those available with the Live Guide even when this is not activated. These functions make easy the pictures with tight black with a taste of reversal film or advanced expressions for enhancing or eliminating the gradations of white of snow.
  • One-push digital teleconverter function
    The One-Push Digital Teleconverter function magnifies the captured image by 2× with digital processing for easy telephoto shooting. Assigning this function to the Fn button allows you to take 2× close-up photos at the touch of a button. And when you use it in combination with an optional M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6R lens, you'll be able to capture amazing super telephoto pictures with a focal length of 600mm (35mm camera equivalent). The captured image is output as a high-quality signal with all the original pixels ensuring the superior image quality thanks to superior image complement performance of the new TruePic VI image processing engine.
  • Menu Guide to clarify menu items
    If two seconds pass without any operations during menu display, the camera enters the explanation display mode, popping up an explanation of each menu item whenever it is changed. As the user can find out what each function is used for and how it is used without the instruction manual, the explanation display is a big help for users who are not familiar with the camera or who have forgotten how to do some operations. Once the user is accustomed to the camera, pressing the INFO button turns the pop-up display off. Whenever an explanation becomes necessary, press the INFO button to start up the display again.
  • New scene mode: 3D Photo Shooting
    The 3D Photo function has been newly added to the scene modes. After the first shot, simply sliding the camera following the guide takes the second shot and records a 3D file (MPO format). The recorded image can be played with powerful 3D playback on a 3D function-compatible PC or TV.
  • Proven, reliable dust reduction system
    If dirt or dust penetrating the camera body during lens replacement attaches to the low-pass filter or image sensor, it will show up in the image. This problem is particularly important with the E-P3 because its mirrorless structure does not cover the image sensor with the shutter screen. Olympus has been aware of the critical nature of this problem since the beginning of development of lens interchangeable type digital SLR cameras and solved it properly. When the camera is turned on, the SSWF (Super-Sonic Wave Filter) installed in front of the image sensor is activated to blast dust away from the image sensor with supersonic vibrations. The tremendous power of the supersonic waves manifests reliable dust reduction performance by even removing dust that cannot be removed merely by shaking the image sensor or dust that is attached by intermolecular force and cannot be removed by merely discharging static electricity.

New Optional Accessories

Product Name MSRP Launch Date
Interchangeable Lens M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R (Silver/Black) 35,000 yen
(36,750 yen incl. tax) each
22nd July, 2011
Interchangeable Lens M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R (Silver/Black) 47,500 yen
(49,875 yen incl. tax) each
Autumn 2011
Leather Body Jacket CS-31B (White/Black/Brown) Not determined yet
Shoulder Strap CSS-S109LLII (White/Black/Brown/Light Brown) 4,800 yen
(5,040 yen incl. tax) each
22nd July, 2011
Shoulder Strap CSS-S114 22nd July, 2011
Underwater Case for OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3
PT-EP05L
Not determined yet Autumn 2011

Interchangeable Lens M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R (Silver/Black)
Interchangeable Lens M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R (Silver/Black)

The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R are high-performance zoom lenses featuring new designs matching the designs of the new line of PEN models and launched at the same timing as the E-PL3 camera body. Retaining the high performances of the previous M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II standard zoom lens and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 telephoto zoom lenses, both of the new lenses incorporate the MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) mechanism and achieve fast, quiet AF using the inner focus method. The combination of these two zoom lenses cover a range of focal lengths equivalent to 28mm to 300mm of 35mm cameras, which means almost all of the usually encountered scenes whether it is a still image or movie that is being shot.

M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R (Silver/Black) M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R (Silver/Black)
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R
(Silver/Black)
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R
(Silver/Black)
  • CS-31B Leather Body Jacket
    The CS-31B is a genuine leather body jacket designed exclusively for the OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3/mini E-PM1. It protects the sensitive parts of the camera body without detracting from its design. In addition to the practical aspect of camera body protection, the body jacket's genuine leather and rugged construction exude a sense of both traditional craftsmanship and contemporary styling. The mounting screw is recessed to make the jacket bottom flat, thereby improving stability when the camera is set down and enhancing the sleek look of the camera. The grip is made of leather of the same quality as the body jacket, providing an excellent hold, while complementing the design. Naturally, shooting and playback is possible while viewing the rear-panel LCD without taking the camera out of the body jacket.
  • CS-31B Leather Body Jacket (White / Black / Brown / Light Brown)
    CS-31B Leather Body Jacket
    (White / Black / Brown / Light Brown)
  • CSS-S109LLII Leather Shoulder Strap
    The CSS-S109LLII is a genuine leather shoulder strap with an increased length adjustment range that makes it even more convenient than the CSS-S109LL shoulder strap. The strap length can now be made short enough to use as a neck strap and long enough to sling over the shoulder and across the chest (approx. 125 cm to 150 cm).
    The color can be coordinated with the body jacket.
  • CSS-S109LLII Leather Shoulder Strap (White / Black) (Brown / Light Brown)
    CSS-S109LLII Leather Shoulder Strap
    (White / Black)
    (Brown / Light Brown)
  • CSS-S114 Shoulder Strap
    The CSS-S114 (launched on January 2011) is a beige-colored shoulder strap that's both fashionable and practical. Now available in brown and green as well, it features a warm, natural design that complements any of the new OLYMPUS PEN models, including the E-P3, E-PL3 and E-PM1. Made of luxuriously textured fabric, this strap can also be customized by attaching pin badges* or other items. The length is about 138 cm, the optimum length to sling the camera over a woman's shoulder and across her chest.
  • CSS-S114 Shoulder Strap (Brown / Green)
    CSS-S114 Shoulder Strap
    (Brown / Green)
  • PT-EP05L Underwater Cases
    The PT-EP05L is genuine underwater case designed exclusively for the OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3 respectively. This underwater case can create a powerful underwater photography system capable of withstanding water pressure at depths up to 45 meters.
    To support the compact, lightweight advantages of the Micro Four Thirds System standard, the thickness of the underwater case has been reduced by about 10 mm compared to the PT-EP03 Underwater Case (released in January 2011) for the OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL2, which itself was significantly more compact than previous underwater SLR camera cases.
    The PT-EP05L is equipped with a new LED light* on the front end of the lens port that is great for helping illuminate small creatures hiding in dark locations - behind a rock, for example - for macro shooting. The underwater case is provided with a diffuser that makes it possible to attach the removable flash on the camera. This flash incorporates a wireless flash control function, enabling operation of the UFL-2 Underwater Flash.
    The PTWC-01 Underwater Wide Conversion Lens or PTMC-01 Underwater Macro Conversion Lens can be mounted on the front end of the lens port to facilitate underwater wide-angle or macro shooting.
    The OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3 incorporates the same underwater white balance function as the OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL2. As this function detects the underwater color balance, which varies due to various factors such as the depth, weather and seawater condition, and compensates for the image automatically, it is easy to shoot bright underwater pictures with vivid colors. Whether still images or movies, the resulting pictures are free of the bluish color cast common in underwater shooting.
    In addition, the cases can be used on land as well as underwater so troublesome white balance setting adjustment is not necessary before and after diving.
  • * Usable only when the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R or M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II lens is used.
    PT-EP05L Underwater Case View with LED light ON
    PT-EP05L Underwater Case View with LED light ON

Other main optional accessories

Product Name MSRP Launch Date
Diffuser PTDP-EP05 Not determined yet Not determined yet
Anti-Reflection Ring POSR-EP05
Flash Window Cover PFC-EP05
LCD Hood PFUD-EP05
O-Ring POL-EP03 2,000 yen (2,100 yen incl. tax) Already on sale
Zoom Gear PPZR-EP02 3,500 yen (3,675 yen incl. tax)
Underwater Wide Conversion Lens PTWC-01 52,000 yen (54,600 yen incl. tax)
Underwater Macro Conversion Lens PTMC-01 20,000 yen (21,000 yen incl. tax)

Main Specifications of PT-EP05L Underwater Cases

Product Name PT-EP05L
Applicable model OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL3
Withstanding pressure Max. underwater depth 45 meters
Waterproofing mechanism O-ring lateral clamping
Main materials Body: Polycarbonate resin
Lens port: Polycarbonate resin + Multi-coated optical glass
Size Width 175mm
Height 149mm
Depth 156mm
Weight 1110g
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