Updated (October, 2012): Compare the Nikon D5200 vs Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

Nikon D5100 vs Olympus PEN E-PL2

Winner
Nikon D5100

64

Olympus PEN E-PL2

34

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Great image quality
Overall image quality
80.0
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
13 EV
Flip-out screen
Screen flips out
Great for movies
In-camera HDR
HDR
Combines multiple exposures
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL2

Size
Really small
Mid size 115x72x42 mm
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Panorama
In-camera panoramas
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
Thickness
Thin
1.7"

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D5100. Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Olympus PEN E-PL2.

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D5100

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Overall image quality
Significantly better image quality
80.0 vs 55.0
Help
Around 50% better image quality
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
13 EV vs 10.2 EV
Help
2.8 f-stops more dynamic range
Autofocus
Faster autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Screen resolution
Significantly higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 460k dots
Help
2x higher resolution screen
Lens availability
Much more lenses available
205 lenses vs 40 lenses
Help
More than 5x more lenses available
External mic jack
Has an external mic jack
Yes vs No
Help
Record high quality audio with an external microphone
Supports 24p
Supports 24p
Yes vs No
Help
Get that real film feel
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Screen flips out
Has a flip-out screen
Yes vs No
Help
Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Color depth
Better color depth
23.5 bits vs 21.4 bits
Help
Distinguishes 2.1 more bits of color
Shutter lag
Significantly less shutter lag
273 ms vs 434 ms
Help
Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Battery life
Significantly longer battery life
660 shots vs 280 shots
Help
Around 2.5x more shots per battery charge
Startup delay
Less startup delay
500 ms vs 1300 ms
Help
2.6x less delay when turning on
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
1,183 ISO vs 573 ISO
Help
The D5100 has excellent image quality 1 f-stop higher ISO than the PEN E-PL2
True resolution
Higher true resolution
16.1 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture more than 30% more detail in your photos
Viewfinder
Has a viewfinder
Pentamirror vs None
Help
A viewfinder can help save battery life by keeping the screen turned off
Light sensitivity (boost)
Has boost ISO
25,600 ISO vs None
Help
Allows taking photos in darker situations, often at the cost of additional noise in the image
Continuous shooting
Shoots slightly faster
4 fps vs 3 fps
Help
More than 30% faster continuous shooting
Nikon D5100 Learn more about
the Nikon D5100

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL2

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Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift vs None
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Size
Significantly smaller
115x72x42 mm vs 127x96x78 mm
Help
2.7x smaller
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Thickness
Significantly thinner
1.7" vs 3.1"
Help
Around 50% thinner
Weight
Lighter
362 g vs 560 g
Help
Around 40% lighter
Longest exposure
Longer exposures
60s vs 30s
Help
2x longer exposures
Olympus PEN E-PL2 Learn more about
the Olympus PEN E-PL2
vs

recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent digital cameras, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100 64
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        vs
        34 Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus PEN E-PL2
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              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths
              Movie continuous focus Focus continuously recording movies Help
              Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
              Interchangeable lenses Both support interchangeable lenses, which is uncommon in cameras similar to these Help
              Many lenses to choose from
              Supports RAW Supports RAW Help
              Better editing
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              Common Weaknesses
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              D51001
              PEN E-PL20
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              11
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $262 body only

              $484 with 18-55mm, 55-200mm lenses

              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier

              Nikon D5100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $279 - $547 body only

              $447 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Size Slightly smaller
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $497 - $547 body only

              $499 - $550 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Overall image quality Slightly better image quality
              Battery life Shorter battery life
              Shutter lag More shutter lag
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $627 body only

              $480 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $629 body only

              $549 - $615 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              True resolution Slightly higher true resolution
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              Nikon D5300

              Nikon D5300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $647 body only

              $570 - $747 with 18-55mm lens

              GPS Has a GPS
              Screen size Larger screen
              Battery life Slightly shorter battery life
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive

              Olympus PEN E-PL2 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $260 with 14-42mm lens

              Color depth Better color depth
              Weight Slightly lighter
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Screen size Smaller screen
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $219 with 14-42mm lens

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Movie format Higher resolution movies
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $468 with 14-42mm lens

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $199 body only

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Movie format Higher resolution movies
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality
              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $493 with 14-42mm lens

              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Built-in flash No built-in flash

              appearance

              Nikon D5100 Olympus PEN E-PL2
              Nikon D5100 Olympus PEN E-PL2
              Nikon D5100 Olympus PEN E-PL2

              discussion

              Nikon D5100
              D5100
              Nikon

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              Olympus PEN E-PL2
              PEN E-PL2
              Olympus

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