Updated (March, 2012): Compare the Nikon D3200 vs Olympus PEN E-PL2

Nikon D3100 vs Olympus PEN E-PL1

Winner
Nikon D3100

54

Olympus PEN E-PL1

31

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
Has live view
Live view
Preview your photos
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Size
Really small
Mid size 115x72x42 mm
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Thickness
Thin
1.7"
Weight
Light-weight
334 g

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
279 ms vs 820 ms
Help
2.9x less delay when taking photos
Overall image quality
Better image quality
67.0 vs 54.0
Help
More than 20% better image quality
Autofocus
Faster autofocus
Phase detection vs Contrast detection
Help
Catch candid moments easily
Startup delay
Much less startup delay
400 ms vs 2200 ms
Help
5.5x less delay when turning on
Lens availability
Much more lenses available
205 lenses vs 40 lenses
Help
More than 5x more lenses available
Supports 24p
Supports 24p
Yes vs No
Help
Get that real film feel
Screen size
Larger screen
3.0" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 24fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video but at a lower frame rate
Movie continuous focus
Continuous video focus
Yes vs No
Help
Record movies without worrying about focus
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
11.3 EV vs 10.1 EV
Help
1.2 f-stops more dynamic range
Color depth
Better color depth
22.5 bits vs 21.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1 more bits of color
Battery life
Longer battery life
550 shots vs 290 shots
Help
Around 90% more shots per battery charge
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
919 ISO vs 487 ISO
Help
The D3100 has a slight edge (0.9 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Viewfinder
Has a viewfinder
Pentamirror vs None
Help
A viewfinder can help save battery life by keeping the screen turned off
True resolution
Slightly higher true resolution
14.2 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
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
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$234.52 vs $429.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $194 cheaper (around 50% less)
Nikon D3100 Learn more about
the Nikon D3100

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL1

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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
Thickness
Thinner
1.7" vs 2.9"
Help
More than 40% thinner
Weight
Lighter
334 g vs 505 g
Help
More than 30% lighter
Longest exposure
Longer exposures
60s vs 30s
Help
2x longer exposures
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Learn more about
the Olympus PEN E-PL1
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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        31 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL1
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              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths
              Interchangeable lenses Interchangeable lenses Help
              Many lenses to choose from
              Supports RAW Supports RAW Help
              Better editing
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Common Weaknesses
              Panorama Neither camera stitches together panoramas Help
              You could stitch photos in post
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              D3100:11.3 EV
              PEN E-PL1:10.1 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-PL1:0
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              230k dots
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              11
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              3 fps
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $700 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a much higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker

              Nikon D3100 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $302 - $557 body only

              $379 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

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

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $449 - $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 T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $349 body only

              $499 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Longer battery life
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
              Supports 24p No 24p support
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $334 body only

              $847 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 - $536 body only

              $579 - $599 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

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              3D Takes 3D photos
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $462 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $243 body only

              $389 with 14-42mm lens

              Screen size Larger screen
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $424 body only

              $254 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              3D Takes 3D photos
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $350 body only

              $614 with 14-45mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Screen size Larger screen
              Image stabilization No image stabilization
              Color depth Worse color depth

              appearance

              Nikon D3100 Olympus PEN E-PL1
              Nikon D3100 Olympus PEN E-PL1
              Nikon D3100 Olympus PEN E-PL1

              discussion

              Nikon D3100
              D3100
              Nikon

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              Olympus PEN E-PL1
              PEN E-PL1
              Olympus

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