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

61

Olympus PEN E-PL2

44

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

High resolution screen
Screen resolution
920k dots
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
  1. Sensor shift
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
108 lenses
Longest exposure
Long exposures
60 seconds
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Olympus PEN E-PL2.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Sony Alpha NEX-5.

differences

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL2

Report a correction
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. 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
108 lenses vs 62 lenses
Help
More than 70% 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

Report a correction
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.2 EV vs 10.2 EV
Help
3.7 f-stops more dynamic range
Screen resolution
Significantly higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 460k dots
Help
2x higher resolution screen
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Overall image quality
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
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
True resolution
Slightly higher true resolution
14 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Continuous shooting
Shoots slightly faster
7 fps vs 3 fps
Help
Around 2.5x faster continuous shooting
Battery life
Slightly longer battery life
330 shots vs 280 shots
Help
Around 20% more shots per battery charge
Size
Smaller
111×59×38 mm vs 115×73×42 mm
Help
Around 30% smaller
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
25 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Weight
Lighter
287 g vs 362 g
Help
More than 20% lighter
Thickness
Slightly thinner
1.5" vs 1.7"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$349.99 vs $647.78
Help
The best price we've seen is $298 cheaper (around 50% less)
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 44
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save
        vs
        61 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              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-PL2434 ms
              NEX-5670 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
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              PEN E-PL211
              NEX-525
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              PEN E-PL212.2 MP
              NEX-514 MP
              Viewfinder No viewfinders Help
              Can only preview photos on the screen
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Autofocus Slower contrast detection autofocus Help
              slower focusing

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $605 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Color depth Has slightly more color depth
              Startup delay Has significantly more startup delay
              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $260 with 14-42mm lens

              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Panorama Lacks built-in panoramas
              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $699 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $160 body only

              $280 with 14-42mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Shutter lag Has slightly less shutter lag
              External flash Doesn't support an external flash
              Panorama Lacks built-in panoramas

              Olympus PEN E-PL2 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $576 body only

              $219 with 14-42mm lens

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Olympus PEN E-P2

              Olympus PEN E-P2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $700 with 17mm lens

              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Color depth Better color depth
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Panorama Lacks in-camera panoramic stitching
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $199 body only

              $440 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

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Screen type Has an OLED screen
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $495 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

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $400 body only

              $345 with 16mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Thinner
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $274 body only

              $440 - $448 with 16-50mm lens

              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $595 body only

              $669 with 18-55mm lens

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

              Sony NEX-5R

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $347 body only

              $898 with 16mm lens

              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $549 body only

              $879 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay

              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.