Updated (March, 2012): Compare the Nikon D3200 vs Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

Nikon D3100

Winner
Nikon D3100

54

vs

Olympus PEN E-PL2

36

Olympus PEN E-PL2

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Badge
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection
 

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
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
 
Differences | Recommendations | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Autofocus Faster autofocus Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Movie format Higher resolution movies 1080p @ 24fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video but at a lower frame rate
Overall image quality Better image quality 67.0 vs 55.0
Help
More than 20% better image quality
Supports 24p Supports 24p Yes vs No
Help
Get that real film feel
Lens availability Much more lenses available 205 lenses vs 40 lenses
Help
More than 5x more lenses available
Startup delay Significantly less startup delay 400 ms vs 1300 ms
Help
3.2x less delay when turning on
Color depth Better color depth 22.5 bits vs 21.4 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1.1 more bits of color
Dynamic range More dynamic range 11.3 EV vs 10.2 EV
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1.1 f-stops more dynamic range
Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag 279 ms vs 434 ms
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Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Battery life Longer battery life 550 shots vs 280 shots
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Around 2x more shots per battery charge
Sensor size Larger sensor APS-C 23.1x15.4mm vs Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
Help
Around 60% larger sensor
Viewfinder Has a viewfinder Pentamirror vs None
Help
A viewfinder can help save battery life by keeping the screen turned off
Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO 919 ISO vs 573 ISO
Help
The D3100 has a slight edge (0.7 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
True resolution Higher true resolution 14.2 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Lowest price Significantly cheaper $269.99 vs $1,259.90
Help
The best price we've seen is $990 cheaper (4.7x less)
Light sensitivity (boost) Has boost ISO 12,800 ISO vs None
Help
Allows taking photos in darker situations, often at the cost of additional noise in the image
Nikon D3100 Learn more about
the Nikon D3100

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL2

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Image stabilization Image stabilization Sensor shift vs None
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Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Size Significantly smaller 115x72x42 mm vs 124x96x73 mm
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2.5x smaller
Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Screen resolution Higher resolution screen 460k dots vs 230k dots
Help
2x higher resolution screen
Thickness Thinner 1.7" vs 2.9"
Help
More than 40% thinner
Weight Lighter 362 g vs 505 g
Help
Around 30% lighter
Light sensitivity Better maximum light sensitivity 6,400 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The PEN E-PL2's maximum light sensitivity is 1 f-stop better
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 D3100 Nikon D3100 54
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        vs

        36 Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus PEN E-PL2
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              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 cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              External flash Support external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Sensor type Better sensor types Help
              D3100:CMOS
              PEN E-PL2:NMOS
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              D3100:11.3 EV
              PEN E-PL2:10.2 EV
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              D3100:1
              PEN E-PL2:0
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              11
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              3 fps
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              3D Neither camera can take 3D photos Help
              No 3d support
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              D3100:230k dots
              PEN E-PL2:460k dots

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 - $657 body only

              $477 with 18-55mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Screen resolution Has a significantly higher resolution screen
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier

              Nikon D3100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $680 - $700 body only

              $489 - $820 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $389 - $418 body only

              $399 - $539 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Longer battery life
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $378 - $469 body only

              $458 - $669 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Size Slightly larger
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 - $550 body only

              $549 - $575 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Nikon D3300

              Nikon D3300

              Entry-level DSLR

              $439 - $547 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive

              Olympus PEN E-PL2 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $419 body only

              $278 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-PL1

              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $550 with 14-42mm lens

              Lowest price Cheaper
              Color depth Better color depth
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Screen size Significantly smaller screen
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-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-PM2

              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $437 with 14-42mm lens

              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $438 with 14-42mm lens

              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor

              appearance

              Nikon D3100 Olympus PEN E-PL2
              Nikon D3100 Olympus PEN E-PL2
              Nikon D3100 Olympus PEN E-PL2

              discussion

              Nikon D3100
              D3100
              Nikon

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              Olympus PEN E-PL2
              PEN E-PL2
              Olympus

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