Updated (June 2011): Compare the Nikon D5100 vs Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

Nikon D5100 vs Olympus PEN E-PL2

Winner
Nikon D5100

50

Olympus PEN E-PL2

32

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

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 (115×73×42 mm)
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Sensor shift
Panorama
In-camera panoramas
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
Thickness
Thin
1.7"

Items often bought with the Nikon D5100 or Olympus PEN E-PL2

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
4 f-stops more dynamic range
Screen resolution
Significantly higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 460k dots
Help
2x higher resolution screen
Autofocus
Faster autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Supports 24p
Supports 24p
Yes vs No
Help
Get that real film feel
External mic jack
Has an external mic jack
Yes vs No
Help
Record high quality audio with an external microphone
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
Lens availability
Significantly more lenses available
230 lenses vs 108 lenses
Help
More than 2x more lenses available
Shutter lag
Significantly less shutter lag
273 ms vs 434 ms
Help
Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
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-stops 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
  1. Sensor shift
vs None
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Size
Significantly smaller
115×73×42 mm vs 127×97×79 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 50
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        vs
        32 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
              Fastest shutter speed Fast max shutter speeds Help
              1/4000 of a second
              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 D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $430 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is slightly larger

              Nikon D5100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $289 body only

              $349 - $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

              $405 - $497 body only

              $479 - $500 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 D5500

              Nikon D5500

              Entry-level DSLR

              $561 - $747 body only

              $689 - $847 with 18-55mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Screen size Larger screen
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Canon Kiss X5

              Canon Kiss X5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,299 body only

              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              True resolution Slightly higher true resolution
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Nikon D5300

              Nikon D5300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $480 - $647 body only

              $549 - $747 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen size Larger screen
              GPS Has a GPS
              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

              $253 with 14-42mm lens

              Color depth Better color depth
              Weight Slightly lighter
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Screen size Significantly smaller screen
              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $487 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-PL7

              Olympus PEN E-PL7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $449 body only

              $549 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 Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $591 body only

              $230 with 14-42mm lens

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Olympus PEN E-PL6

              Olympus PEN E-PL6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $299 with 14-42mm lens

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              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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