Updated (September, 2012): Compare the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 vs Olympus PEN E-PL5

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Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL3

Panorama
In-camera panoramas
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
3D
Takes 3D photos
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
241 ms shutter lag
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL2

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
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed
 
Differences | Recommendations | Cast your vote | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL2

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Startup delay Less startup delay 1300 ms vs 2100 ms
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Around 40% less delay when turning on
Color depth Better color depth 21.4 bits vs 20.9 bits
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Distinguishes 0.5 more bits of color
Overall image quality Slightly better image quality 55.0 vs 52.0
Help
Around 10% better image quality
Built-in flash Built-in flash Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Olympus PEN E-PL2 Learn more about
the Olympus PEN E-PL2

Advantages of the Olympus E-PL3

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3D Takes 3D photos Yes vs No
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Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Movie format Higher resolution movies 1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
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Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag 241 ms vs 434 ms
Help
More than 40% less delay when taking photos
Focus points More focus points 35 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Battery life Slightly longer battery life 300 shots vs 280 shots
Help
Around 10% more shots per battery charge
Continuous shooting Shoots slightly faster 5.5 fps vs 3 fps
Help
More than 80% faster continuous shooting
Size Smaller 109x63x37 mm vs 115x72x42 mm
Help
Around 30% smaller
Light sensitivity Better maximum light sensitivity 12,800 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The E-PL3's maximum light sensitivity is 1 f-stop better
Weight Lighter 313 g vs 362 g
Help
More than 10% lighter
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
Thickness Thinner 1.5" vs 1.7"
Help
More than 10% thinner
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Learn more about
the Olympus E-PL3
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recommendations

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

Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus PEN E-PL2 45

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45 Olympus PEN E-PL3 Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
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    Style
      Color
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        similarities

        Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

        Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
        Image stabilization Good image stabilization Help
        Sensor shift
        Lens availability Many lenses available Help
        40 lenses
        Movie continuous focus Focus continuously recording movies Help
        Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
        Panorama In-camera panoramas Help
        Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
        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
        Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
        1/4000 of a second
        HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
        You could do HDR manually
        Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
        PEN E-PL2:10.2 EV
        E-PL3:10.3 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
        Touch screen No touchscreens Help
        More buttons
        Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
        460k dots
        Battery life Few shots per battery charge Help
        PEN E-PL2:280 shots
        E-PL3:300 shots
        External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
        Limited to the in-camera mic
        Focus points Few focus points Help
        PEN E-PL2:11
        E-PL3:35
        Viewfinder No viewfinders Help
        Can only preview photos on the screen
        Color depth Poor color depth Help
        PEN E-PL2:21.4 bits
        E-PL3:20.9 bits
        Sensor size Very small sensors Help
        Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
        Overall image quality Low image quality Help
        PEN E-PL2:55.0
        E-PL3:52.0
        Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
        PEN E-PL2:573 ISO
        E-PL3:499 ISO

        dxomark

        DXOMark

        competitors

        Shared Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Olympus PEN E-PL5

        Olympus PEN E-PL5

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $484 with 14-42mm lens

        Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
        Color depth Has significantly more color depth
        Movie continuous focus Doesn't focus continuously while recording movies
        Olympus PEN E-P3

        Olympus PEN E-P3

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $575 - $856 with 14-42mm lens

        Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
        Touch screen Has a touch screen
        Olympus PEN E-PL1

        Olympus PEN E-PL1

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $550 with 14-42mm lens

        Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
        Panorama Lacks a built in panoramas
        Olympus PEN E-PM2

        Olympus PEN E-PM2

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
        Color depth Has significantly more color depth
        Olympus PEN E-PM1

        Olympus PEN E-PM1

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $975 with 14-150mm lens

        Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
        Startup delay Has slightly more startup delay
        Olympus PEN E-P2

        Olympus PEN E-P2

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $1,099 with 14-42mm lens

        Lowest price Is significantly more expensive
        Panorama Lacks a built in panoramas
        Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

        Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $249 with 14-42mm lens

        Touch screen Has a touch screen
        Panorama Lacks a built in panoramas
        Shutter lag Has slightly more shutter lag

        Olympus PEN E-PL2 Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        No significant competitors found that are specific to the Olympus PEN E-PL2.

        Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Competitors

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Canon EOS M

        Canon EOS M

        Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

        $322 body only

        $315 with 18-55mm lens

        Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
        Overall image quality Better image quality
        Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
        Image stabilization No image stabilization

        appearance

        Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
        Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
        Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

        discussion

        Olympus PEN E-PL2
        PEN E-PL2
        Olympus

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        Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
        PEN E-PL3
        Olympus

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        Showing 3 comments

        Avatar for Nas Nas (1:34 PM, January 07, 2012)
        E-pl3 has 16:9 3'' screen. For actual still shots you need to crop down to 4:3 which effectively gives you a 2.4'' screen with black bars on either side.
         
        Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (2:37 PM, November 18, 2011)
        Thanks for pointing that out, we've fixed up the E-PL2 specs!
         
        Imyourmom (7:48 AM, November 18, 2011)
        the e-pl2 does not have an external mic jack. Both e-pl2 and e-pl3 require the sema hot shoe adapter.