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

Nikon D5100

Winner
Nikon D5100

65

vs

Olympus PEN E-PL2

33

Olympus PEN E-PL2

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D5100

Overall image quality
Great image quality
80.0
Dynamic range
Wide dynamic range
13 EV
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
HDR
In-camera 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
Badge
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection
 
Differences | Recommendations | Cast your vote | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

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
Movie format Higher resolution movies 1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen 920k dots vs 460k dots
Help
2x higher resolution screen
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
Lens availability Much more lenses available 205 lenses vs 40 lenses
Help
More than 5x more lenses available
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
Battery life Significantly longer battery life 660 shots vs 280 shots
Help
Around 2.5x more shots per battery charge
Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag 273 ms vs 434 ms
Help
Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Startup delay Less startup delay 500 ms vs 1300 ms
Help
2.6x less delay when turning on
True resolution Higher true resolution 16.1 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture more than 30% more detail in your photos
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
Sensor size Larger sensor APS-C 23.6x15.6mm vs Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
Help
More than 60% larger sensor
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
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recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D5100 Nikon D5100 65
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        33 Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus PEN E-PL2

        similarities

        Compared to recent digital cameras

        Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
        Interchangeable lenses Both support interchangeable lenses, which is uncommon in cameras similar to these Help
        Many lenses to choose from
        Movie continuous focus Focus continuously recording movies Help
        Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
        Supports RAW Supports RAW Help
        Better editing
        Sensor size Large sensors Help
        D5100:APS-C 23.6x15.6mm
        PEN E-PL2:Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
        Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
        Avoids dust in your photos
        External flash Support external flash Help
        Better lighting
        Sensor type Better sensor types Help
        D5100:CMOS
        PEN E-PL2:NMOS
        Focus points Few focus points Help
        11
        Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
        D5100:1
        PEN E-PL2:0
        3D Neither camera can take 3D photos Help
        No 3d support
        Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
        D5100:4 fps
        PEN E-PL2:3 fps

        dxomark

        DXOMark

        competitors

        Shared Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Canon Rebel T3

        Canon Rebel T3

        Entry-level DSLR

        $225 - $389 body only

        $399 - $550 with 18-55mm lens

        Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
        Thickness Is thicker

        Nikon D5100 Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Nikon D3200

        Nikon D3200

        Entry-level DSLR

        $319 body only

        $389 - $477 with 18-55mm lens

        True resolution Significantly 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

        $547 body only

        $646 - $647 with 18-55mm lens

        True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
        Overall image quality Slightly better image quality
        Battery life Shorter battery life
        Shutter lag Slightly more shutter lag
        Canon Rebel T3i

        Canon Rebel T3i

        Entry-level DSLR

        $499 - $648 body only

        $200 - $570 with 18-55mm lens

        Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
        True resolution Higher true resolution
        Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
        Overall image quality Worse image quality
        Nikon D3300

        Nikon D3300

        Entry-level DSLR

        $547 with 18-55mm lens

        Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
        True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
        Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
        Startup delay Much more startup delay
        Nikon D5300

        Nikon D5300

        Entry-level DSLR

        $747 body only

        $650 - $847 with 18-55mm lens

        True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
        GPS Has a GPS
        Battery life Slightly shorter battery life
        Lowest price More expensive

        Olympus PEN E-PL2 Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Olympus PEN E-PL1

        Olympus PEN E-PL1

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $550 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

        $285 with 14-42mm lens

        Movie format Higher resolution movies
        3D Takes 3D photos
        Startup delay More startup delay
        Built-in flash No built-in flash
        Olympus PEN E-P2

        Olympus PEN E-P2

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $1,099 with 14-42mm lens

        Size Slightly smaller
        Dynamic range More dynamic range
        Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
        Panorama Lacks in-camera panoramic stitching
        Olympus PEN E-PM1

        Olympus PEN E-PM1

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $975 with 14-150mm lens

        Movie format Higher resolution movies
        3D Takes 3D photos
        Startup delay More startup delay
        Built-in flash No built-in flash
        Olympus PEN E-P3

        Olympus PEN E-P3

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $390 - $856 with 14-42mm lens

        Screen type Has an OLED screen
        Movie format Higher resolution movies
        Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality
        Color depth Worse color depth

        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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