The 11.8-megapixel Olympus E-3 replaces the E-1 as Olympus's range-topping 'professional standard' digital SLR.
Images are generally well exposed. This time of year is always challenging, thanks to the low sun (when it appears) and high contrast. But the E-3 performs well. We often had to use exposure compensation to bring detail out of shadow or reduce highlights blowing, but we expect that in high-contrast conditions. In flatter lighting, the camera manages to produce spot-on exposures.
Low ISO is noise free and very smooth, while raising the ISO produces some noise from ISO 400 which continues to increase as the gain is raised. While noise is visible it’s an improvement over earlier models, but fails to compete with some similarly priced models.
Tone And Contrast
The tonality is equally smooth, with excellent gradation across the tones.
Colour And White Balance
Throughout the test we never once had recourse to correct the white balance, except for creative purposes and of course, to try it out. However, overall the Auto WB and the presets do a first-rate job and produce accurate colour.
Sharpness And Detail
The AF is accurate when using standard Zuiko lenses, but we didn’t have a new SWD lens in time for this review, so the new AF could not be tested adequately. While the sensor is only 10MP, lower than some of this camera’s similarly priced rivals, it does capture detail very well, to produce perfectly acceptable 9x12in 300dpi prints packed with punch and detail. Larger prints can still be had without sacrificing quality at 200dpi.