I managed to meet up with the public relations people for Olympus Camera Malaysia and talked them into loaning one of their micro four-third system for my food walkabout.
To test it out, I brought the Olympus Pen EP-3 for a spin.
It was my second century ride to Bagan Lalang and I tested this camera which was equipped with a 14-42mm lens.
Now, unlike Panasonic and Samsung, the Olympus micro four-third system is well-backed.
You don't have to worry about lenses and accessories.
Compared to the Pana-retard's Lumix series cameras, the Pen series cameras are never short of surprises. Which is impressive.
|My loan camera: the Olympus EP-3|
On a scale of 1-10, the picture quality on an Olympus Pen would rate at 5.5.
The lens that came with my loan camera is an entry-level piece.
In short, its a coke-bottle lens.
I don't have high expectations on the 14-42mm lens, which makes a really cool 'walkabout' lens on the compact EP-3.
Truth to be told, there are high-quality lenses made by third-party manufacturers that you can use to snap better images with the EP-3.
But the 14-42mm lens is a good start.
With a price tag of RM3.19K, the EP-3 is not for the beginner.
It complements your D-SLR system on sets that don't require all the extra bells and whistles.
Most of the shots taken on the EP-3 was point-and-shoot. So, I don't really expect a lot.
Its a departure from using an 'enthusiast' compact camera like the Canon Powershot G12 which I've gotten so used to.
One tough mutha!
All good things said and done, I am pretty impressed with the overall built quality of the EP-3. Even though its made entire in China.
The QC on the body was really good.
I am not used to the controls and could not find an exposure lock and many of the self-timed shots were underexposed.
The pop-up flash on this camera is also too weak to fill-in for simple snapshot images.
Compared to the G12, the EP3 is flawed with its built-in flash.
Other than that, I don't have much to complain about the overall image quality as 70% of the captured shots were decent.
With the zoom lens, you can actually shoot with dept-of-field.
There are eight shooting mode including movie, I only used three at the most.
The preset shooting mode was some funky art filter. I had to re-set the camera to its factory settings to get the most out of it.
And when it comes to testing this baby, I took it out for two trips.
First was to Bagan Lalang and the second outing was to Tanjung Piai.
The battery life on the EP-3 exceeded my expectations and I must say that it pretty much held up to the continous shooting and review on the LCD screen. It took some effort to wear down the battery.
The EP-3 is a fun and pretty nippy camera to play with.
It has a range of lens you can acquire to enhance your range of photographic angles. From landscape to portraiture, the possibilities are endless.
My only beef with this camera is the touch-screen snapshots, which is unnecessary (it clicks when it comes to contact with your body).
Otherwise, the Olympus Pen EP-3 is a worthwhile system to consider if you want something small and un-intrusive for your work.
As for shooting food photos for my Food Trail column, the Pen cameras are a good choice.