Updated (September, 2012): Compare the Olympus PEN E-PL5 vs Sony NEX-5N

Sony Alpha NEX-5 vs Olympus PEN E-PL3

Winner
Sony Alpha NEX-5

61

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

42

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
Flip-out screen
Screen flips out
Great for movies
In-camera HDR
HDR
Combines multiple exposures
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL3

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
241 ms shutter lag
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
40 lenses
Light sensitivity (boost)
High ISO (boost)
12,800 ISO

differences

Advantages of the Olympus E-PL3

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Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
241 ms vs 670 ms
Help
2.8x less delay when taking photos
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift vs None
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Lens availability
More lenses available
40 lenses vs 21 lenses
Help
More than 90% more lenses available
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
Longest exposure
Much longer exposures
60s vs 30s
Help
2x longer exposures
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
35 vs 25
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$244.87 vs $398.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $153 cheaper (around 40% less)
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Learn more about
the Olympus E-PL3

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5

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Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.2 EV vs 10.3 EV
Help
1.9 f-stops more dynamic range
Overall image quality
Significantly better image quality
69.0 vs 52.0
Help
More than 30% better image quality
Screen resolution
Significantly higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 460k dots
Help
2x higher resolution screen
Color depth
Better color depth
22.2 bits vs 20.9 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1.3 more bits of color
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
Startup delay
Significantly less startup delay
1000 ms vs 2100 ms
Help
2.1x less delay when turning on
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
796 ISO vs 499 ISO
Help
The NEX-5 has a slight edge (0.7 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
True resolution
Higher true resolution
14 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Battery life
Slightly longer battery life
330 shots vs 300 shots
Help
10% more shots per battery charge
Continuous shooting
Shoots slightly faster
7 fps vs 5.5 fps
Help
Around 30% faster continuous shooting
Weight
Slightly lighter
287 g vs 313 g
Help
Around 10% lighter
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 Lite E-PL3 Olympus PEN E-PL3 42
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        61 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
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              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths
              3D Both can take 3D photos, many cameras like these don't Help
              View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
              Size Fairly small Help
              E-PL3109x63x37 mm
              NEX-5111x59x38 mm
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              Lowest price Inexpensive Help
              E-PL3$244.87
              NEX-5$398.00
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Common Weaknesses
              Built-in flash No built-in flash Help
              Professional
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              1/4000 of a second
              Light sensitivity (boost) One has boost ISO Help
              E-PL312,800 ISO
              NEX-5None
              Supports 24p No support for 24p Help
              Missing that film look
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              E-PL312.2 MP
              NEX-514 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
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              E-PL335
              NEX-525
              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

              $449 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
              Sony Alpha NEX-3N

              Sony Alpha NEX-3N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $300 body only

              $420 with 16-50mm lens

              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Battery life Has a slightly longer battery life
              External flash Doesn't support an external flash
              Startup delay Has significantly more startup delay
              Nikon 1 J1

              Nikon 1 J1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $214 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-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              Startup delay Has slightly more startup delay
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $641 body only

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Olympus PEN E-PL1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $550 with 14-42mm lens

              Built-in flash Has a built-in flash
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Panorama Lacks built-in panoramas
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $231 body only

              $355 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier

              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $483 with 14-42mm lens

              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Lowest price More expensive
              Olympus PEN E-P3

              Olympus PEN E-P3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,345 body only

              Screen type Has an OLED screen
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Lowest price Significantly more expensive
              Continuous shooting Shoots slightly slower
              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $640 with 14-42mm lens

              Startup delay Less startup delay
              Color depth Better color depth
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Shutter lag Significantly more shutter lag
              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $503 with 14-42mm lens

              Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Lowest price More expensive
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $125 body only

              $280 with 14-42mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              Image stabilization No image stabilization
              Panorama Lacks in-camera panoramic stitching

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $850 body only

              $498 - $600 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Heavier
              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $435 - $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 Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $400 body only

              $320 with 16-50mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Thinner
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony NEX-F3

              Sony NEX-F3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $379 body only

              $385 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Continuous shooting Shoots slower
              Sony NEX-5R

              Sony NEX-5R

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $300 body only

              $898 with 16mm lens

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

              appearance

              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Sony Alpha NEX-5

              discussion

              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3
              PEN E-PL3
              Olympus

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              Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Alpha NEX-5
              Sony

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