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Olympus PEN E-P3 12.3 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 14-42mm Zoom Lens (White) (Old Model) by Review Summary ,  Aug 3, 2015

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Olympus PEN E-P3 12.3 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 14-42mm Zoom Lens (White) (Old Model)
Report Date: 09/20/2015
Based on 61 customer reviews
Overall satisfaction: 4.4
Returned or considering to return: 6.6%

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Frequently Mentioned by Customers:


Individual Feature Rating
Lens4.2   exceptional
Light4.2   average
Image4.1   average
Quality4.0   average
Price3.8   below average
Focus3.6   above average
Speed3.5   above average
Video2.7   mediocre


Quotes from the Reviews - What People Say about:

DSLR

DSLR:
"It's not as good as a DSLR, but much more convenient for every day carry."
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"Overall, I think that by saying that I grab for my PENS 95% of the time when I head out the door, even though I have higher MP DSLR's with ridiculous frame rates and blazing AF speed kinda sums it up."
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"Although images from the DSLR were very good, a major problem was that the DSLR gear was way too heavy."
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"It would make a great first serious camera and is a great side kick for a larger DSLR system."
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"Overall, this camera and system is great for someone looking for a lightweight alternative to a DSLR system."
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"Although images from the DSLR were very good, a major problem was that the DSLR gear was way too heavy."
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"My feeling and experience with the E-P3 (and m43).Good:(1) Image quality comparable to DSLR and much better than prosumer DC or point-and-shoot."
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Flash

Flash:
"Pros:small and lightweighti bought this at a reasonable pricegood image quality in good lighting situationscan use the pop-up flash as a remote triggerCons:not so good image quality in low lightHighly suggested to people who wants a small walk around camera whenever they don't wanna bring with them their big dslrs."
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"It was bigger than I had thought, and the pseudo manual flash is a bit irritating but it was the same with my first Olympus."
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"The popup flash itself is a typical weak, non-bouncing affair, best used only as fill or in emergencies, but it can fire RC Olympus flashes (like the Olympus FL-36R) remotely without consuming the hot shoe."
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"One good thing is I can even use the pop-up flash to trigger a remote flash."
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"On-board flash works well for a basic flash."
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"It's also nice to note that it has a built in flash for those emergencies when you need one."
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"The popup is great for fill and slow sync mode does a great job of blending flash and background light for a natural look."
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Focus

Focus:
"The EP3 is miles ahead of the previous PENs and PEN Lites in terms of Auto Focus speed, one of the common complaints of the earlier models."
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"The image quality and auto focus on the E-P3 may not be as good as my 7D but it was the best camera for my trip."
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")CONS* focusing in low light takes some time* if set to continuous autofocus, shutter lag is unacceptable* menu system is disorganized confusing, not as intuitive as the panasonic and canon systems* occasionally exposure is off (sometimes way over exposed or under exposed)* i'd rather have the panasonic 20mm f1.8 instead of the oly 17mm f2.8."
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"Thus if I want to use a quality zoom, I have to utilize the standard 4 3 lens, but still have to use manual focus mode, which isn't bad, but it would be nice if the autofocus was useable."
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"Coupled with a nice EVF, it is a wonderful platform for manual focus lenses."
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"The auto focus works really well too."
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"If you want to render beautifully smooth out of focus backgrounds in your portraits, the excellent Olympus 45mm f1.8 is the perfect lens to pair with."
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"The autofocus is generally fast, with decent face recognition too."
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"There's lots of manual everything: you can set it up for manual focus easily, and the manual focus is effective as long as you have the VF-3 viewfinder."
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Image

Image:
"Only problem is that after 6 months it'll take a pic and shut off."
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"Pros:small and lightweighti bought this at a reasonable pricegood image quality in good lighting situationscan use the pop-up flash as a remote triggerCons:not so good image quality in low lightHighly suggested to people who wants a small walk around camera whenever they don't wanna bring with them their big dslrs."
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"But the built-in image stabilization of the E-P3 is unacceptable for video use."
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"It doesn't have the best image quality and it's not the fastest camera."
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"(5) Need to twist the camera settings to get the most out of it; the default settings are not tuned for the best image quality."
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"Although images from the DSLR were very good, a major problem was that the DSLR gear was way too heavy."
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"--------------Bottom-line--------------50% killer photographic machine, 50% severe drawbacks -it all comes down to the price--------------Details--------------The E-P3 both kept and improved over the limitations of the E-P1 and E-P2.I find that the combination of- focus speed- touch screen-- in-body image stabilization- Excellent black and white jpegs- Good level of customization- and live histogram...... makes for a terrific photographic machine."
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"For example, IS3 is ideal for hand held video with lots of panning (avoids IBIS artifacts).LAST BLURB: I like this camera: confident and fast AF, near-DSLR image quality, great LCD, stylish design, excellent fit and finish and advanced features make it a great camera for coat pocket or messenger bag."
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"Image quality is fine for an excellent 11x14 print."
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"You should generally shoot ISO 800 or below to get the best quality images."
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"Olympus has the camera default to fairly contrasty and saturated, but the camera just handles light beautifully: it often makes my Nikon images look flat, and I wonder why I am spending so much time post-processing them instead of just using the Olympus."
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Lens

Lens:
"While IBIS isn't as effective as OIS, I'm glad it's available for lenses lacking stabilization."
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"However, be clear with yourself: you probably won't be satisfied to just own and shoot with the kit lens."
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"Out of the box, with the standard 14-42 kit lens, it's not going to be a great camera for indoor photography (a Panasonic LX-7 beats the pants off this camera for that, with its nearly identical zoom range and F1.4 lens)."
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"Unfortunately, there are very few Panasonic OIS lenses with an external on off switch, and those without the external switch default to OIS off mode when used on an Olympus camera."
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"(A) Sony NEXThe main problem with NEX is the lenses, not the camera bodies."
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"- A little pricey IMO.- Kit lens sharpness is not stellar (but good for a kit lens).- Low light auto focus is not what I would call stellar, but is on par for CDAF cameras."
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"Wonderful camera, point and shoot ease with interchangeable lenses! "
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"Love, can't wait to buy additional lens!"
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"Very nice camera and lenses."
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"The zoom lens works great for both far and close up shots."
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"The EP3 is light, highly portable, very well built and a very sexy retro rangefinder- the lens selection is very broad as well."
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Light

Light:
"With an Olympus body and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7, the combination of IBIS and f1.7 is more than enough to offset any sensor disadvantage against a NEX in low light situations (such as in a museum, restaurant, or church), since much lower ISO values can be used."
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"](3) The OLED LCD is a bit difficult to see under bright sun light (E-P3 is not alone, actually problem exists with most camera's LCD) and cannot be tilted or turned; and the optional electronic viewfinder costs extra money (so I do not have one)."
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"- A little pricey IMO.- Kit lens sharpness is not stellar (but good for a kit lens).- Low light auto focus is not what I would call stellar, but is on par for CDAF cameras."
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"For forty odd years I have lugged around big (& they used to be Big) SLR camera's film and digital, now I have seen the light these Micro 4 thirds camera's are fantastic the Olympus PEN series most."
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"The EP3 is light, highly portable, very well built and a very sexy retro rangefinder- the lens selection is very broad as well."
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"Finally it is so compact and light in weight that it is easy to have with you, you can get that rare shot that would have gone by the time you got the big DSLR out of the bag."
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"Exposures are accurate in most light but night scenes lean towards overexposure."
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"Viewfinders are great when the LCD is difficult to see, e. g., bright light, or for stealth in dark venues."
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Manual

Manual:
"If you don't like reading manuals or learning them, it will frustrate you!"
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"I can set it on auto and the camera will do all the work, but it's a challenge to learn the manual settings."
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"It was bigger than I had thought, and the pseudo manual flash is a bit irritating but it was the same with my first Olympus."
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"Thus if I want to use a quality zoom, I have to utilize the standard 4 3 lens, but still have to use manual focus mode, which isn't bad, but it would be nice if the autofocus was useable."
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"Coupled with a nice EVF, it is a wonderful platform for manual focus lenses."
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"It has so many thinks it can do and I and the manual is so good at telling me what they are and helping me to try to use them."
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"There's lots of manual everything: you can set it up for manual focus easily, and the manual focus is effective as long as you have the VF-3 viewfinder."
_

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Photo

Photo:
"I have a several different lenses which have all been fantastic, and many people have commented on the quality of my photos."
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"I was a novice photographer and I've learned so much by using the PEN's accessible yet advanced system and have collected an amazing gallery of pro-looking photos."
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"I've taken 17,000 photos with it and still love using it."
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"Takes great photos! "
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"I have no complaints about the image quality of my photos and I was able to keep a lot more camera and lens with me all of the time - something I would have been uncomfortable doing with the big, heavy 7D."
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Price

Price:
"--------------Bottom-line--------------50% killer photographic machine, 50% severe drawbacks -it all comes down to the price--------------Details--------------The E-P3 both kept and improved over the limitations of the E-P1 and E-P2.I find that the combination of- focus speed- touch screen-- in-body image stabilization- Excellent black and white jpegs- Good level of customization- and live histogram...... makes for a terrific photographic machine."
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"I was going to give this 5 stars, but was disappointed to see the price as dropped over $150 since I made my purchase just a few months ago."
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"When E-P3's price drops, it will become less of a disadvantage."
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"Fore the money, it is great."
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"It was a great price."
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"with the price 360$, it is a good choice."
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"It offers fast AF, a nice touch screen, availability of a nice range of lenses, a much larger sensor than point and shoot cameras, great JPG engine, in-body IS, hot shoe and accessory port, good dual dial control interface, decent add on grip, and great IQ up to ISO1600 for the kind of money that doesn't make the wallet or wife husband shreak in horror."
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"Not because the E-P5 isn't a better camera, but because the price for what was the premium Pen in the line is amazingly low for what it offers."
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Quality

Quality:
"Pros:small and lightweighti bought this at a reasonable pricegood image quality in good lighting situationscan use the pop-up flash as a remote triggerCons:not so good image quality in low lightHighly suggested to people who wants a small walk around camera whenever they don't wanna bring with them their big dslrs."
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"Build quality (minus one caveat, see the CONS section) is exceptional."
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"It doesn't have the best image quality and it's not the fastest camera."
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"(5) Need to twist the camera settings to get the most out of it; the default settings are not tuned for the best image quality."
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"The existing NEX lenses are either optically slow and big, or smaller but having mediocre optical quality."
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"The combination of the fast AF, well implemented touchscreen, high quality JPG processing, ability to jump between 'point and shoot' and full control, and especially the physical build quality make it a camera that is hard to put down."
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"It takes great quality pictures."
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"In terms of handling, the camera has a wonderful build, not heavy but definitely says quality."
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"For example, IS3 is ideal for hand held video with lots of panning (avoids IBIS artifacts).LAST BLURB: I like this camera: confident and fast AF, near-DSLR image quality, great LCD, stylish design, excellent fit and finish and advanced features make it a great camera for coat pocket or messenger bag."
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"Image quality is fine for an excellent 11x14 print."
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"JPEG quality is among the best I have seen, but I prefer RAW and tweaking development in Apple Aperture."
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Screen

Screen:
"By comparison, the Panasonic GX1 that I tried had a sluggish, unresponsive feel to its touch screen (reminding me very much of my frustrating older TomTom GPS)."
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"The screen has a wonderful resolution and touch screen to boot."
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"--------------Bottom-line--------------50% killer photographic machine, 50% severe drawbacks -it all comes down to the price--------------Details--------------The E-P3 both kept and improved over the limitations of the E-P1 and E-P2.I find that the combination of- focus speed- touch screen-- in-body image stabilization- Excellent black and white jpegs- Good level of customization- and live histogram...... makes for a terrific photographic machine."
_
"The touch screen to capture is a really fun feature."
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"It offers fast AF, a nice touch screen, availability of a nice range of lenses, a much larger sensor than point and shoot cameras, great JPG engine, in-body IS, hot shoe and accessory port, good dual dial control interface, decent add on grip, and great IQ up to ISO1600 for the kind of money that doesn't make the wallet or wife husband shreak in horror."
_

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Size

Size:
"To avoid this problem, use a fitted or small Arca quick release plate with offset screw."
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"It's very lightweight, small and good for travel, which is why we bought it."
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"Size: While it's not pocketable I find the size to be perfect."
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"The 14-42m II is a mixed bag; its size and weight is amazingly small and light."
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Speed

Speed:
"Overall, I think that by saying that I grab for my PENS 95% of the time when I head out the door, even though I have higher MP DSLR's with ridiculous frame rates and blazing AF speed kinda sums it up."
_
"The EP3 is miles ahead of the previous PENs and PEN Lites in terms of Auto Focus speed, one of the common complaints of the earlier models."
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"It doesn't have the best image quality and it's not the fastest camera."
_
"The existing NEX lenses are either optically slow and big, or smaller but having mediocre optical quality."
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"There is not any good fast prime."
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"However those who have the standard 4 3 lens (ex: 12-60mm), no matter what people are saying out there, the autofocus for those lens still substandard; it's better but still slow slow slow."
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"Adjusting Aperture, Shutter speed is so much easier and faster with it."
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"For example, IS3 is ideal for hand held video with lots of panning (avoids IBIS artifacts).LAST BLURB: I like this camera: confident and fast AF, near-DSLR image quality, great LCD, stylish design, excellent fit and finish and advanced features make it a great camera for coat pocket or messenger bag."
_
"The popup is great for fill and slow sync mode does a great job of blending flash and background light for a natural look."
_
"The autofocus is generally fast, with decent face recognition too."
_
"It offers fast AF, a nice touch screen, availability of a nice range of lenses, a much larger sensor than point and shoot cameras, great JPG engine, in-body IS, hot shoe and accessory port, good dual dial control interface, decent add on grip, and great IQ up to ISO1600 for the kind of money that doesn't make the wallet or wife husband shreak in horror."
_

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Video

Video:
"To put it bluntly, if you move the camera, even slightly, the video becomes a jello-like exercise in frustration."
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"But any camera you buy these days should be expected to take acceptable video, and here the E-P3 disappoints."
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"But the built-in image stabilization of the E-P3 is unacceptable for video use."
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"I have fairly steady hands, but not perfect, so every time I am unsteady with the camera with IS on, the video distorts horribly with this jiggle effect."
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"The E-PM1 is identical in function to the E-P3, with fewer external controls in a smaller form factor, and has the same problems with video as the E-P3."
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"Turning the built-in IS off, and turning the lens's OIS on, I was able to take excellent video with none of the problems that the camera's built-in IS causes."
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"But for what it is, this camera takes great pictures and video and offers step up features for a diminutive price."
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"My Panasonic FZ150 is one example of a still photography camera that takes wonderful video."
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"So except for tripod use, the video this camera takes is unacceptable because of the built-in image stabilization - you either use it and ruin your video, or you don't use it and have unacceptable video as the result of inevitable hand-held instability."
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"The video quality has the potential to be awesome, with great detail and vivid colors, but with the camera's built-in image stabilization turned on, the captured video dances around and shimmies like Jello when you move the camera."
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