Updated (June 2011): Compare the Olympus PEN E-PL1 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

Olympus PEN E-PL1 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

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Olympus PEN E-PL1

40

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

39

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Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Sensor shift
CMOS Sensor
Sensor type
Better in low light
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed
 

Reasons to buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

Touch screen
Touch screen
Fewer buttons
3D
Takes 3D photos
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
Sensor type
CMOS Sensor
Better in low light
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed

Items often bought with the Olympus PEN E-PL1 or Panasonic DMC-GF3

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Olympus PEN E-PL1.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3.

differences

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL1

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Image stabilization
Image stabilization
  1. Sensor shift
vs None
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Color depth
Better color depth
21.5 bits vs 20.6 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.9 more bits of color
Overall image quality
Better image quality
54.0 vs 50.0
Help
Around 10% better image quality
External flash
Supports an external flash
Yes vs No
Help
An external flash often produces better looking flash images
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Learn more about
the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Advantages of the Panasonic DMC-GF3

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Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
312 ms vs 820 ms
Help
2.6x less delay when taking photos
Screen size
Much larger screen
3" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Touch screen
Has a touch screen
Yes vs No
Help
Fewer buttons to worry about and direct interaction with camera menus
Movie continuous focus
Continuous video focus
Yes vs No
Help
Record movies without worrying about focus
Screen resolution
Higher resolution screen
460k dots vs 230k dots
Help
2x higher resolution screen
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Startup delay
Less startup delay
1900 ms vs 2200 ms
Help
More than 10% less delay when turning on
Fastest shutter speed
Much faster max shutter speed
1/4000s vs 1/2000s
Help
2x faster max shutter speed
Size
Smaller
108×67×33 mm vs 115×72×42 mm
Help
More than 30% smaller
Battery life
Slightly longer battery life
320 shots vs 290 shots
Help
More than 10% more shots per battery charge
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
23 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Thickness
Thinner
1.3" vs 1.7"
Help
More than 20% thinner
Weight
Lighter
264 g vs 334 g
Help
More than 20% lighter
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$109.28 vs $253.23
Help
The best price we've seen is $144 cheaper (2.3x less)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Learn more about
the Panasonic DMC-GF3
vs

recommendations

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

Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL1 40
Retailer
    Style
      Color
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        vs
        39 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              108 lenses
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              Longest exposure Long exposures Help
              60 seconds
              Lowest price Inexpensive Help
              PEN E-PL1$253.23
              DMC-GF3$109.28
              Built-in flash Each has a built-in flash Help
              External flash not needed
              Common Weaknesses
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              PEN E-PL11/2000s
              DMC-GF31/4000s
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Panorama Neither camera stitches together panoramas Help
              You could stitch photos in post
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              10.1 EV
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Supports 24p No support for 24p Help
              Missing that film look
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              PEN E-PL112.2 MP
              DMC-GF312 MP
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              0
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              PEN E-PL1230k dots
              DMC-GF3460k dots
              External mic jack Neither has an external mic jack Help
              Limited to the in-camera mic
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              PEN E-PL111
              DMC-GF323
              Startup delay Significant startup delay Help
              PEN E-PL12200 ms
              DMC-GF31900 ms
              Viewfinder No viewfinders Help
              Can only preview photos on the screen
              Color depth Poor color depth Help
              PEN E-PL121.5 bits
              DMC-GF320.6 bits
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Overall image quality Low image quality Help
              PEN E-PL154.0
              DMC-GF350.0
              Autofocus Slower contrast detection autofocus Help
              slower focusing
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              PEN E-PL1487 ISO
              DMC-GF3459 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $328 body only

              $381 with 14-42mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a significantly higher resolution screen
              Startup delay Has slightly less startup delay
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $591 body only

              $230 with 14-42mm lens

              Panorama Creates panoramas in-camera
              Shutter lag Has slightly less shutter lag
              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $199 body only

              $270 with 14-42mm lens

              Panorama Creates panoramas in-camera
              Shutter lag Has slightly less shutter lag
              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PL6

              Olympus PEN E-PL6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $299 with 14-42mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Screen flips out Has a screen which flips out
              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $342 body only

              $630 with 14-45mm lens

              Startup delay Has slightly less startup delay
              Shutter lag Has slightly more shutter lag
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $177 body only

              $265 with 14mm lens

              Startup delay Has significantly less startup delay
              Nikon 1 J1

              Nikon 1 J1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $264 with 10-30mm lens

              High-speed framerate Records high-speed movies
              Dynamic range Has slightly wider dynamic range
              Longest exposure Much shorter exposures
              Sensor cleaning Lacks a self cleaning sensor

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $394 with 14-42mm lens

              Screen size Much larger screen
              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Weight Slightly heavier
              Olympus PEN E-PL7

              Olympus PEN E-PL7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $449 - $499 body only

              $549 - $599 with 14-42mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $488 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Screen size Much larger screen
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus OM-D E-M10

              Olympus OM-D E-M10

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $380 - $599 body only

              $460 - $699 with 14-42mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Screen size Much larger screen
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Size Larger

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $350 body only

              $494 with 14-42mm lens

              HDR Has in-camera HDR
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Size Slightly larger
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $373 body only

              $449 with 12-32mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Color depth Better color depth
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Battery life Shorter battery life
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $433 body only

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Screen flips out Has a flip-out screen
              Size Larger
              Battery life Slightly shorter battery life
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $390 body only

              $518 with 14-42mm lens

              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Image stabilization Image stabilization
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor

              appearance

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

              discussion

              Olympus PEN E-PL1
              PEN E-PL1
              Olympus

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              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
              Lumix DMC-GF3
              Panasonic

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