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

Sony Alpha NEX-5

Winner
Sony Alpha NEX-5

61

vs

Olympus PEN E-PL2

42

Olympus PEN E-PL2

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Screen resolution
High resolution screen
920k dots
HDR
In-camera HDR
Combines multiple exposures
3D
Takes 3D photos
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL2

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Longest exposure
Long exposures
60 seconds
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed
 
Differences | Recommendations | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL2

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Image stabilization Image stabilization Sensor shift vs None
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Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Shutter lag Much less shutter lag 434 ms vs 670 ms
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Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Lens availability Significantly more lenses available 40 lenses vs 21 lenses
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More than 90% more lenses available
Built-in flash Built-in flash Yes vs No
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A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Longest exposure Much longer exposures 60s vs 30s
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2x longer exposures
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
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2 f-stops more dynamic range
Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen 920k dots vs 460k dots
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2x higher resolution screen
Overall image quality Better image quality 69.0 vs 55.0
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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
Movie format Higher resolution movies 1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Color depth Better color depth 22.2 bits vs 21.4 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.8 more bits of color
Low light performance Slightly lower noise at high ISO 796 ISO vs 573 ISO
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The NEX-5 has a slight edge (0.5 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Battery life Longer battery life 330 shots vs 280 shots
Help
Around 20% more shots per battery charge
Sensor size Larger sensor APS-C 23.4x15.6mm vs Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
Help
More than 60% larger sensor
Startup delay Less startup delay 1000 ms vs 1300 ms
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More than 20% less delay when turning on
True resolution Higher true resolution 14 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Continuous shooting Shoots faster 7 fps vs 3 fps
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Around 2.5x faster continuous shooting
Size Smaller 111x59x38 mm vs 115x72x42 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
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More than 20% lighter
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
Thickness Thinner 1.5" vs 1.7"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Lowest price Slightly cheaper $431.17 vs $500.02
Help
The best price we've seen is $69 cheaper (more than 10% 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 42
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        vs

        61 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
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              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              PEN E-PL2:434 ms
              NEX-5:670 ms
              Light sensitivity (boost) No boost ISO Help
              Lacks boost light sensitivity
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              0
              Supports 24p No support for 24p Help
              Missing that film look
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              PEN E-PL2:11
              NEX-5:25
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              PEN E-PL2:12.2 MP
              NEX-5:14 MP
              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

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $395 - $689 body only

              $635 with 18-55mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Startup delay Has significantly more startup delay
              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $490 body only

              $320 - $420 with 16-50mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Shutter lag Has much more shutter lag
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $272 - $387 body only

              $401 - $427 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $438 with 14-42mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Startup delay Has slightly less startup delay
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $418 body only

              $276 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Has significantly less shutter lag
              Startup delay Has significantly more startup delay
              Color depth Has slightly less color depth
              Nikon 1 J1

              Nikon 1 J1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $189 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

              Olympus PEN E-PL2 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $550 with 14-42mm lens

              Color depth Better color depth
              Battery life Slightly longer battery life
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Panorama Lacks in-camera panoramic stitching
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Movie format Higher resolution movies
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Olympus PEN E-P2

              Olympus PEN E-P2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $289 body only

              $700 with 17mm lens

              Battery life Slightly longer battery life
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Panorama Lacks in-camera panoramic stitching
              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $472 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-P3

              Olympus PEN E-P3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $649 body only

              Screen type Has an OLED screen
              3D Takes 3D photos
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Worse image quality

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $298 - $410 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 Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $574 body only

              $749 - $759 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
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,199 body only

              $787 with 18-200mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Lowest price More expensive
              Sony Alpha NEX-3N

              Sony Alpha NEX-3N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $320 body only

              $420 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony NEX-5R

              Sony NEX-5R

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $348 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

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              Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Alpha NEX-5
              Sony

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              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.