Olympus E-P3 Digital Camera Review$899.99
In general, we liked the way the E-P3 captured motion. Like most DSLRs that record video, however, the camera did have some trouble spots. Its rolling shutter stood out as being rather bad. For those who aren't in the know, a rolling shutter produces a wobble effect when a camera is panned back and forth rather quickly. The issue wasn't as bad as what we saw from the Panasonic G3, but it seemed a tiny bit worse than what we saw from last year's Olympus E-PL2. Basically, you'll probably have to avoid using the camera to make quick pans.
We also saw a surprising amount of fuzzy pixelation around the rotating pinwheels and other straight edges in our motion test. Perhaps this is a result of the new 1080p recording? Other than this slight problem, though, the E-P3 recorded excellent video in our motion test. The footage was smooth, trailing wasn't a major problem, and artifacting was very low. We did most of our analysis with the Full HD AVCHD record mode using the highest quality setting, but we looked at other modes as well. The 1080p mode resulted in the cleanest footage, but some of the other modes—like the 720p options—produced motion that had a bit less trailing (but more artifacting). More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.
The Olympus E-P3 showed us sharp video in much of our testing, but the camera took a step backwards when we conducted our sharpness test that looks at video in motion (with the camera panning back and forth). In this test, the E-P3 measured a horizontal sharpness of 625 lw/ph and a vertical sharpness of 600 lw/ph. These numbers aren't bad, but they represent little improvement over last year's E-PL2 (which records 720p HD video). We thought the improvement to Full HD recording on the E-P3 would boost sharpness levels a bit more. Still, we were impressed by the clean, crisp image produced by the E-P3 in most of our video tests, so we shouldn't complain too loudly here. More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.
Low Light Sensitivity
We tested the Olympus E-P3 to see how much light the camera needed to record an image that would pass the illumination standards for broadcast (50 IRE). The camera needed 19 lux of light to produce an image that was bright enough to pass, which is a fairly disappointing score. Most high-end camcorders these days are capable of producing an image of the same brightness with just 10 lux of light or less.