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

Nikon D3100

Winner
Nikon D3100

57

vs

Olympus PEN E-PL1

33

Olympus PEN E-PL1

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3100

Startup delay
Almost no delay when powering up
400 ms startup delay
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-PL1

Size
Really small
Mid size 115x72x42 mm
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Badge
Autofocuses shooting video
Contrast detection
Thickness
Thin
1.7"
 
Differences | Recommendations | Cast your vote | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D3100

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Shutter lag Much less shutter lag 279 ms vs 820 ms
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2.9x less delay when taking photos
Autofocus Faster autofocus Phase detection vs Contrast detection
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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
Startup delay Much less startup delay 400 ms vs 2200 ms
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5.5x less delay when turning on
Overall image quality Better image quality 67.0 vs 54.0
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More than 20% better image quality
Supports 24p Supports 24p Yes vs No
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Get that real film feel
Screen size Larger screen 3.0" vs 2.7"
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More than 10% larger screen
Lens availability Much more lenses available 205 lenses vs 40 lenses
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More than 5x more lenses available
Movie continuous focus Continuous video focus Yes vs No
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Record movies without worrying about focus
Dynamic range More dynamic range 11.3 EV vs 10.1 EV
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1.2 f-stops more dynamic range
Color depth Better color depth 22.5 bits vs 21.5 bits
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Distinguishes 1 more bits of color
Battery life Longer battery life 550 shots vs 290 shots
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Around 90% more shots per battery charge
Sensor size Larger sensor APS-C 23.1x15.4mm vs Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
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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 487 ISO
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The D3100 has a slight edge (0.9 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
True resolution Higher true resolution 14.2 MP vs 12.2 MP
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Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Light sensitivity (boost) Has boost ISO 12,800 ISO vs None
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Allows taking photos in darker situations, often at the cost of additional noise in the image
Lowest price Cheaper $284.99 vs $549.95
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The best price we've seen is $265 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
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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
Thickness Thinner 1.7" vs 2.9"
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More than 40% thinner
Weight Lighter 334 g vs 505 g
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More than 30% lighter
Longest exposure Longer exposures 60s vs 30s
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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 57
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        33 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL1
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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
              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
              Better in low light
              Panorama Neither camera stitches together panoramas Help
              You could stitch photos in post
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              D3100:11.3 EV
              PEN E-PL1:10.1 EV
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              11
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              D3100:1
              PEN E-PL1:0
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              230k dots
              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

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 body only

              $389 - $506 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 D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $378 - $415 body only

              $495 - $564 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 Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $225 - $389 body only

              $399 - $550 with 18-55mm lens

              Battery life Longer battery life
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              Autofocus Lacks video autofocus
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Canon EOS Rebel T5

              Entry-level DSLR

              $681 - $700 body only

              $499 - $822 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
              True resolution Higher true resolution
              Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 - $648 body only

              $200 - $579 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

              $547 with 18-55mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Startup delay Much more startup delay
              Lowest price More expensive
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $929 body only

              $848 - $940 with 18-105mm 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-PL1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $975 with 14-150mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Movie format Higher resolution movies
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $499 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $285 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Movie format Higher resolution movies
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Screen size Larger screen
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Weight Slightly heavier
              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $255 body only

              $294 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

              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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