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
Autofocuses shooting video
Badge
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

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Autofocus
Faster autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Overall image quality
Better image quality
67.0 vs 55.0
Help
More than 20% better image quality
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 24fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video but at a lower frame rate
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
Help
1.1 f-stops more dynamic range
Shutter lag
Significantly less shutter lag
279 ms vs 434 ms
Help
Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Battery life
Longer battery life
550 shots vs 280 shots
Help
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
Cheaper
$272.29 vs $648.15
Help
The best price we've seen is $376 cheaper (2.4x 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
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Size
Significantly smaller
115x72x42 mm vs 124x96x73 mm
Help
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
vs

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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      Color
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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
              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
              Common Weaknesses
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              D3100:11.3 EV
              PEN E-PL2:10.2 EV
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              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

              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $389 - $418 body only

              $399 - $400 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Has a slightly longer battery life
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $360 - $385 body only

              $429 - $499 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

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $309 - $527 body only

              $389 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $430 - $450 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 T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 - $550 body only

              $549 - $630 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 - $497 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $750 body only

              $900 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Built-in focus motor Has a built-in focus motor
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
              Movie format Lower resolution movies

              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 Significantly smaller screen
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $424 body only

              $286 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-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-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $407 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
              Olympus PEN E-P2

              Olympus PEN E-P2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $289 body only

              $429 with 17mm lens

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

              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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