Updated (August, 2011): Compare the Olympus PEN E-P3 vs Sony NEX-5N

Sony Alpha NEX-5

Winner
Sony Alpha NEX-5

61

vs

Olympus PEN E-P2

41

Olympus PEN E-P2

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-P2

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
40 lenses
Longest exposure
Long exposures
60 seconds
 

differences

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-P2

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Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift vs None
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Lens availability
Significantly 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
Thickness
Slightly thinner
1.4" vs 1.5"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$289.00 vs $398.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $109 cheaper (around 30% less)
Olympus PEN E-P2 Learn more about
the Olympus PEN E-P2

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5

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Screen resolution
Much higher resolution screen
920k dots vs 230k dots
Help
4x higher resolution screen
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.2 EV vs 10.4 EV
Help
1.8 f-stops more dynamic range
Overall image quality
Better image quality
69.0 vs 56.0
Help
More than 20% better image quality
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
670 ms vs 956 ms
Help
Around 30% less delay when taking photos
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
Startup delay
Significantly less startup delay
1000 ms vs 2300 ms
Help
2.3x less delay when turning on
Color depth
Better color depth
22.2 bits vs 21.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.7 more bits of color
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
796 ISO vs 505 ISO
Help
The NEX-5 has a slight edge (0.7 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Sensor size
Larger sensor
APS-C 23.4x15.6mm vs Four thirds 18.0x13.5mm
Help
More than 50% larger sensor
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
Help
Around 2.5x faster continuous shooting
Battery life
Longer battery life
330 shots vs 300 shots
Help
10% more shots per battery charge
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
12,800 ISO vs 3,200 ISO
Help
The NEX-5's maximum light sensitivity is 2 f-stops better
Size
Slightly smaller
111x59x38 mm vs 121x70x36 mm
Help
Around 20% smaller
Weight
Lighter
287 g vs 355 g
Help
Around 20% 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 E-P2 Olympus PEN E-P2 41
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
              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
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              PEN E-P2:956 ms
              NEX-5:670 ms
              Light sensitivity (boost) No boost ISO Help
              Lacks boost light sensitivity
              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
              PEN E-P2:12.2 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

              $299 - $689 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 NEX C3

              Sony NEX C3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $316 body only

              $571 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Has much less shutter lag
              Battery life Has a slightly longer battery life
              Nikon 1 J1

              Nikon 1 J1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $225 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

              $238 body only

              $295 - $799 with 14mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Shutter lag Has much less shutter lag

              Olympus PEN E-P2 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $448 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Battery life Slightly shorter battery life
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $485 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $424 body only

              $286 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Worse image quality
              Olympus PEN E-P3

              Olympus PEN E-P3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $399 body only

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Screen type Has an OLED screen
              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 - $600 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

              $641 body only

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

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $400 body only

              $320 - $430 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-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,199 body only

              $815 with 18-200mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Heavier
              Sony Alpha A6000

              Sony Alpha A6000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $448 body only

              $598 - $600 with 16-50mm lens

              Image stabilization Image stabilization
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Size Larger

              appearance

              Olympus PEN E-P2 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Olympus PEN E-P2 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Olympus PEN E-P2 Sony Alpha NEX-5

              discussion

              Olympus PEN E-P2
              PEN E-P2
              Olympus

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

              Report a correction

              Showing 6 comments

              Nick Mazur (3:12 PM, August 04, 2011)
              Lower noise at high iso means exactly that. Higher maximum iso means exactly what it says too. However, just because a camera has higher maximum iso doesn't mean that it's usable. Lower noise at high iso and higher maximum iso do not mean the same thing.
              A larger sensor also gives the benefit of shorter depth of field, so if you were looking to do portraiture with either camera the nex-5 would give a more out if focused background easier (though a faster lens with a long focal length would be needed. The 16mm lens won't give you much bokeh).
               
              Trixuo (5:44 AM, July 02, 2011)
              Many reviews say that the user interface for the NEX-5 is really annoying. Is it really annoying? I would like to upgrade from my point-and-shoot camera to the NEX-5. How is the user interface of NEX-5 compared with the regular point-and-shoot camera? 

              P.S: I never use any DSLR camera.
               
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (2:07 AM, May 26, 2011)
              Hi Der Auerhahn, yes, a few of the differences shown are a bit redundant, however, we don't use the redundant differences in our scoring, so they are there to help people understand the differences between the cameras.

              Thanks for pointing out those aspects of the PEN that we missed!
               
              Der Auerhahn (2:12 PM, May 23, 2011)
              This "test" is pretty stupid as several aspects are accounted for several times:
              - Lower noise at high ISO + Higher maximum ISO
              - Larger sensor, which is actually no advantage in itself, but simply enables higher ISO (already accounted for twice) and higher dynamic range (accounted for separately) again.

              Several important aspects in favour of PEN are also missing:
              1. Lenses and body are reasonably balanced, whereas NEX uses a tiny body with huge lenses.
              2. NEX misses controlls and can only be used via menu. 
               
              Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (2:35 PM, March 13, 2011)
              The NEX doesn't have built in image stabilization (as far as I'm aware). Some of the lenses available for the Sony do have image stabilization, but many do not. The advantage of the Olympus is that you get image stabilization with every lens.
               
              Nil (6:25 AM, March 13, 2011)
              This is silly. Sony uses optical stabilisation. It is unfair to say NEX doesn't have any image stabilisation.