Updated (June, 2011): Compare the Olympus PEN E-PL2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

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Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
External flash
External flash
Better lighting
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed
 

Reasons to buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

Touch screen
Touch screen
Less buttons
3D
Takes 3D photos
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
Movie continuous focus
Movie continuous focus
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
312 ms shutter lag
 
Differences | Recommendations | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL1

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Image stabilization Image stabilization Sensor shift vs None
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Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Color depth Better color depth 21.5 bits vs 20.6 bits
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Distinguishes 0.9 more bits of color
Overall image quality Better image quality 54.0 vs 50.0
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Around 10% better image quality
External flash Supports an external flash Yes vs No
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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
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2.6x less delay when taking photos
3D Takes 3D photos Yes vs No
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Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Touch screen Has a touch screen Yes vs No
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Fewer buttons to worry about and direct interaction with camera menus
Movie format Higher resolution movies 1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
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Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Movie continuous focus Continuous video focus Yes vs No
Help
Record movies without worrying about focus
Screen size Larger screen 3.0" vs 2.7"
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More than 10% larger screen
Screen resolution Higher resolution screen 460k dots vs 230k dots
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2x higher resolution screen
Startup delay Less startup delay 1900 ms vs 2200 ms
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More than 10% less delay when turning on
Battery life Longer battery life 320 shots vs 290 shots
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More than 10% more shots per battery charge
Fastest shutter speed Much faster max shutter speed 1/4000s vs 1/2000s
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2x faster max shutter speed
Size Smaller 107x67x32 mm vs 115x72x42 mm
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More than 30% smaller
Focus points Slightly more focus points 23 vs 11
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Set focus accurately within the frame
Thickness Thinner 1.3" vs 1.7"
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More than 20% thinner
Lowest price Cheaper $149.99 vs $549.95
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The best price we've seen is $400 cheaper (3.7x less)
Weight Lighter 264 g vs 334 g
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More than 20% lighter
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Learn more about
the Panasonic DMC-GF3
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recommendations

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

Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL1 38
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        38 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
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              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
              Lens availability Many lenses available Help
              40 lenses
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              Longest exposure Very long exposure times Help
              60 seconds
              Built-in flash Each has a built-in flash Help
              External flash not needed
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              PEN E-PL1:1/2000s
              DMC-GF3:1/4000s
              Panorama Neither camera stitches together panoramas Help
              You could stitch photos in post
              HDR Neither has in-camera HDR Help
              You could do HDR manually
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              10.1 EV
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              0
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              PEN E-PL1:12.2 MP
              DMC-GF3:12 MP
              Supports 24p No support for 24p Help
              Missing that film look
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              PEN E-PL1:11
              DMC-GF3:23
              Startup delay Significant startup delay Help
              PEN E-PL1:2200 ms
              DMC-GF3:1900 ms
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              PEN E-PL1:230k dots
              DMC-GF3:460k dots
              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
              Sensor size Very small sensors Help
              Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
              Overall image quality Low image quality Help
              PEN E-PL1:54.0
              DMC-GF3:50.0
              Color depth Poor color depth Help
              PEN E-PL1:21.5 bits
              DMC-GF3:20.6 bits
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              PEN E-PL1:487 ISO
              DMC-GF3:459 ISO

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $250 body only

              $299 - $799 with 14mm lens

              Startup delay Has significantly less startup delay
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-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 Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $419 body only

              $276 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
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $584 body only

              $614 with 14-45mm lens

              Startup delay Has slightly less startup delay
              Battery life Has a slightly longer battery life
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Nikon 1 J1

              Nikon 1 J1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $189 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
              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 - $415 body only

              $389 - $477 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has much better image quality
              Longest exposure Much shorter exposures
              Thickness Is thicker
              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Olympus PEN E-PM2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $472 with 14-42mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Built-in flash Doesn't have a built-in flash
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $438 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $500 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Battery life Slightly shorter battery life
              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $256 body only

              $279 with 14-42mm lens

              Screen size Larger screen
              Fastest shutter speed Much faster max shutter speed
              Shutter lag Much more shutter lag
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Olympus PEN E-P3

              Olympus PEN E-P3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $649 body only

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Screen type Has an OLED screen
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $348 body only

              $290 with 14-42mm lens

              Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen
              Shutter lag Less shutter lag
              Size Slightly larger
              Thickness Thicker
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $390 body only

              $428 - $518 with 14-42mm lens

              Screen resolution Significantly higher resolution screen
              Image stabilization Image stabilization
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $320 body only

              $450 - $509 with 14-42mm lens

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Screen flips out Has a flip-out screen
              Battery life Shorter battery life
              Size Larger
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $488 body only

              $570 with 14-42mm lens

              HDR Has in-camera HDR
              Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Size Larger

              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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