This is part 1 of a series I am doing in which I attempt to customize my Olympus PEN E-PL3. The reason for this is that as much as I like the modern look of the E-PL3, I much prefer the vintage of look of classic rangefinders such as the Olympus 35 DC. You can see from the above image that the E-PL3 is quite plain and a departure from their previous PEN cameras. Some people may like this, but I found it to be a tad boring and too anonymous looking. This is why I decided on giving it a little character by mimicking an older camera.


First up on my customizing list was to hit up Aki-Asahi in Japan and pick out a custom camera cover. If you are new to camera customizing, Aki-Asahi is well known for their laser cut leatherette camera coverings that mimic the leather coverings found on much older cameras such as the above mentioned Olympus 35 DC. Aki-Asahi sent me three different designed kits. You can see them here on their site. I chose the #4034, #4040, and the Black Lizard emboss cowhide. These were the 3 that I thought would mimic what I was looking for, but wouldn’t really know until I took a closer look at them.

The package from Aki-Asahi only took about a week and a half to get to me. It came in a plain envelope but stamped with the company seal as well as company information. It was actualyl a pretty neat envelope as it had a ton of stamps on the other side, but I’m not going to show that as it has my address on it. When you feel the envelope for the first time, it feels a bit thick and real stiff. You’ll see why.

Inside are 2 rather thick sheets of cardboard inside a clear plastic sleeve. Great attention to detail here as this helps protect the contents from water damage in case of rain. When you pull the cardboard out, the two piece are taped together which also helps keep the contents from shifting around.


Sandwiched between the cardboard you’ll find your laser cut camera coverings. They are cut to exact specs and as you can see, they have different textures depending on which design you get. The above two are the Black Lizard Emboss on top and the #4034 on the bottom. You’ll see the #4040 in a bit which is the one I used on the Olympus E-PL3.


Here is the finished product after installation. It’s very simple to install and the adhesive used on the backing is quite strong. I’ll say that the accuracy of the kit is dead on. There are no gaps anywhere and it sits very flush with the lens ring. I even like the fact that there is a little cutout made for the Micro Four Thirds logo.

There is another benefit to the Aki-Asaki camera cover besides cosmetics and that is that it makes the Olympus PEN E-PL3 more grippy and a bit easier to handle. Overall, I’ll have to say that the camera cover is very well made and looks like it will really hold up over time.

You can check out the rest of Aki-Asahi covers on their website here as they also make them for a lot of other cameras. Again, all of these are made in Japan and ship anywhere in the world. Check them out and stay tuned for part 2 later.

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