Updated (August, 2011): Compare the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 vs Sony NEX-5N

Sony Alpha NEX-5 vs Olympus PEN E-PL2

Winner
Sony Alpha NEX-5

62

Olympus PEN E-PL2

42

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Almost no delay when powering up
Startup delay
1000 ms startup delay
Takes 3D photos
3D
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL2

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
40 lenses
Longest exposure
Long exposures
60 seconds
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed

differences

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
Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
434 ms vs 670 ms
Help
Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Lens availability
More lenses available
40 lenses vs 21 lenses
Help
More than 90% more lenses available
Longest exposure
Much longer exposures
60s vs 30s
Help
2x longer exposures
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 Sony NEX-5

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Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.2 EV vs 10.2 EV
Help
2 f-stops more dynamic range
Screen resolution
Significantly higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 460k dots
Help
2x higher resolution screen
Overall image quality
Significantly better image quality
69.0 vs 55.0
Help
Around 30% better image quality
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Screen flips out
Has a flip-out screen
Yes vs No
Help
Flip-out screens can be helpful when composing tricky shots or taking movies
Color depth
Better color depth
22.2 bits vs 21.4 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.8 more bits of color
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Low light performance
Slightly lower noise at high ISO
796 ISO vs 573 ISO
Help
The NEX-5 has a slight edge (0.5 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Startup delay
Less startup delay
1000 ms vs 1300 ms
Help
More than 20% less delay when turning on
Continuous shooting
Shoots faster
7 fps vs 3 fps
Help
Around 2.5x faster continuous shooting
True resolution
Higher true resolution
14 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Battery life
Longer battery life
330 shots vs 280 shots
Help
Around 20% more shots per battery charge
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
25 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Size
Smaller
111x59x38 mm vs 115x72x42 mm
Help
Around 30% smaller
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
12,800 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The NEX-5's maximum light sensitivity is 1 f-stop better
Weight
Lighter
287 g vs 362 g
Help
More than 20% lighter
Lowest price
Cheaper
$398.00 vs $645.52
Help
The best price we've seen is $248 cheaper (around 40% less)
Thickness
Slightly thinner
1.5" vs 1.7"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Learn more about
the Sony NEX-5
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus PEN E-PL2 42
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      Color
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        vs
        62 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
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          Style
            Color
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              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Light sensitivity (boost) No boost ISO Help
              Lacks boost light sensitivity
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              PEN E-PL2:434 ms
              NEX-5:670 ms
              Supports 24p No support for 24p Help
              Missing that film look
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              0
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              PEN E-PL2:12.2 MP
              NEX-5:14 MP
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              PEN E-PL2:11
              NEX-5:25
              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
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $429 with 14-42mm lens

              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Panorama Lacks a built in panoramas
              Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100

              Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100

              Pro digicam

              $498 - $798

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              External flash Doesn't support an external flash
              Nikon 1 J1

              Nikon 1 J1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $229 with 10-30mm lens

              High-speed framerate Records high-speed movies
              Continuous shooting Shoots faster continuously
              External flash Doesn't support an external flash
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $197 body only

              $300 with 14mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Shutter lag Has slightly less shutter lag
              Panorama Lacks a built in panoramas
              Canon EOS M

              Canon EOS M

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $235 body only

              $300 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Panorama Lacks a built in panoramas
              Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag

              Olympus PEN E-PL2 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $462 with 14-42mm lens

              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              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

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Olympus PEN E-P3

              Olympus PEN E-P3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,345 body only

              Screen type Has an OLED screen
              3D Takes 3D photos
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $485 with 14-42mm lens

              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Color depth Worse color depth

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $449 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $398 - $730 with 16-50mm lens

              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $536 body only

              $368 with 18-55mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Thinner
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $850 body only

              $598 - $699 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Heavier
              Sony NEX-5R

              Sony NEX-5R

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $300 body only

              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Touch screen Has a touch screen

              appearance

              Olympus PEN E-PL2 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Olympus PEN E-PL2 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Olympus PEN E-PL2 Sony Alpha NEX-5

              discussion

              Olympus PEN E-PL2
              PEN E-PL2
              Olympus

              Report a correction
              Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Alpha NEX-5
              Sony

              Report a correction

              Showing 4 comments

              Avatar for xsokev xsokev (3:28 PM, August 15, 2011)
              I thought the comparison was good but the overall score  doesn't seem fair. The NEX-5 is a great camera as far as image quality but the E-PL2 is great as well. One thing I dislike about the NEX-5 is the accessibility of shooting modes and adjusting certain settings. As a photographer, I like to have quick access to certain settings and with the NEX-5 there are too many buttons to press. Ease of use and accessibility should somehow be factored in to the score.
               
              Douglas (11:39 AM, March 01, 2011)
              I thought this was quite a useful comparison, although I'd like to see personal choice or what we spotted section of anything that you noted that isn't always mentioned in the specs.
               
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (3:34 PM, February 28, 2011)
              Do you have any suggestions as to how we could improve them Will?
               
              Will (8:59 AM, February 28, 2011)
              These comparisons are worthless.