Updated (May, 2013): Compare the Olympus Pen E-P5 vs Olympus PEN E-PL2

Olympus PEN E-P3

Winner
Olympus PEN E-P3

46

vs

Olympus PEN E-PL1

38

Olympus PEN E-PL1

Runner-up
     

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-P3

Touch screen
Touch screen
Less buttons
Almost no delay when powering up
Startup delay
900 ms startup delay
OLED Screen
Screen type
Bright and vivid
In-camera panoramas
Panorama
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Sensor type
CMOS Sensor
Better in low light
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed
 

differences

Advantages of the Olympus E-P3

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Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
222 ms vs 820 ms
Help
3.7x less delay when taking photos
Screen type
Has an OLED screen
OLED vs LCD
Help
OLED screens are often brighter and more vibrant than typical LCD screens
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Screen resolution
Significantly higher resolution screen
614k dots vs 230k dots
Help
More than 2.5x higher resolution screen
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Touch screen
Has a touch screen
Yes vs No
Help
Fewer buttons to worry about and direct interaction with camera menus
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Startup delay
Significantly less startup delay
900 ms vs 2200 ms
Help
2.4x less delay when turning on
Movie continuous focus
Continuous video focus
Yes vs No
Help
Record movies without worrying about focus
Screen size
Larger screen
3.0" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
Battery life
Longer battery life
330 shots vs 290 shots
Help
More than 10% more shots per battery charge
Focus points
More focus points
35 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Fastest shutter speed
Much faster max shutter speed
1/4000s vs 1/2000s
Help
2x faster max shutter speed
Size
Slightly smaller
122x69x34 mm vs 115x72x42 mm
Help
Around 20% smaller
Thickness
Thinner
1.3" vs 1.7"
Help
Around 20% thinner
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
$399.00 vs $549.95
Help
The best price we've seen is $151 cheaper (around 30% less)
Olympus PEN E-P3 Learn more about
the Olympus E-P3

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL1

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Color depth
Better color depth
21.5 bits vs 20.8 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.7 more bits of color
Overall image quality
Slightly better image quality
54.0 vs 51.0
Help
Around 10% better image quality
Weight
Slightly lighter
334 g vs 369 g
Help
Around 10% lighter
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Learn more about
the Olympus PEN E-PL1
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Olympus PEN E-P3 Olympus PEN E-P3 46
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        38 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL1
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              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths
              Image stabilization Good image stabilization Help
              Sensor shift
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              40 lenses
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              Longest exposure Very long exposure times Help
              60 seconds
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Built-in flash Each has a built-in flash Help
              External flash not needed
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              E-P3:1/4000s
              PEN E-PL1:1/2000s
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              10.1 EV
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              12.2 MP
              Supports 24p No support for 24p Help
              Missing that film look
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              E-P3:35
              PEN E-PL1:11
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Viewfinder No viewfinders Help
              Can only preview photos on the screen
              Color depth Poor color depth Help
              E-P3:20.8 bits
              PEN E-PL1:21.5 bits
              Overall image quality Low image quality Help
              E-P3:51.0
              PEN E-PL1:54.0
              Sensor size Very small sensors Help
              Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              E-P3:614k dots
              PEN E-PL1:230k dots
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              3 fps
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              E-P3:536 ISO
              PEN E-PL1:487 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $407 with 14-42mm lens

              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Color depth Has significantly more color depth
              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $424 body only

              $286 with 14-42mm lens

              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Startup delay Has significantly more startup delay
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              Weight Is slightly lighter
              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Startup delay Has significantly more startup delay
              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $243 body only

              $250 with 14-42mm lens

              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag
              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $493 with 14-42mm lens

              Thickness Is thicker
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag
              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $485 with 14-42mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Olympus OM-D E-M5

              Olympus OM-D E-M5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $650 - $800 body only

              $899 with 14-42mm lens

              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Thickness Is thicker

              Olympus PEN E-P3 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $299 - $689 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Overall image quality Much better image quality
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Screen type Doesn't have an OLED screen
              Image stabilization No image stabilization
              Olympus Pen E-P5

              Olympus Pen E-P5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $799 - $800 body only

              $880 - $1,300 with 17mm lens

              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Screen type Doesn't have an OLED screen
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus XZ-1

              Olympus XZ-1

              Pro digicam

              $500

              Screen type Has an OLED screen
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Overall image quality Significantly worse image quality
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $584 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

              Olympus PEN E-P3 Olympus PEN E-PL1
              Olympus PEN E-P3 Olympus PEN E-PL1
              Olympus PEN E-P3 Olympus PEN E-PL1

              discussion

              Olympus PEN E-P3
              PEN E-P3
              Olympus

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              Olympus PEN E-PL1
              PEN E-PL1
              Olympus

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