Updated (February 2010): Compare the Olympus PEN E-PL1 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A380

Sony Alpha DSLR-A380 vs Olympus PEN E-PL1

Winner
Sony Alpha DSLR-A380

36

Olympus PEN E-PL1

30

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha DSLR-A380

Almost no delay when powering up
Startup delay
600 ms startup delay
Great color depth
Color depth
22.6 bits
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
11.8 EV
Barely any delay taking photos
Shutter lag
198 ms shutter lag
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Sensor type
CMOS Sensor
Better in low light
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed

Items often bought with the Sony DSLR-A380 or Olympus PEN E-PL1

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 Sony Alpha DSLR-A380.

differences

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL1

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Autofocus
Video autofocus
Contrast detection vs None
Help
Automatically focuses shooting video
Size
Smaller
115×72×42 mm vs 128×97×71 mm
Help
2.5x smaller
Movie format
Shoots movies
720p @ 30fps vs None
Help
Shoots HD (720p) video as well as still pictures
Sensor type
Has a CMOS-family sensor
CMOS vs CCD
Help
CMOS-family sensors often produce better quality images
Thickness
Thinner
1.7" vs 2.8"
Help
More than 40% thinner
Weight
Lighter
334 g vs 519 g
Help
Around 40% lighter
Lowest price
Cheaper
$253.23 vs $851.57
Help
The best price we've seen is $598 cheaper (3.4x less)
Longest exposure
Longer exposures
60s vs 30s
Help
2x longer exposures
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Learn more about
the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Advantages of the Sony DSLR-A380

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Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
198 ms vs 820 ms
Help
4.1x less delay when taking photos
Overall image quality
Better image quality
67.0 vs 54.0
Help
More than 20% better image quality
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
11.8 EV vs 10.1 EV
Help
3.4 f-stops more dynamic range
Startup delay
Much less startup delay
600 ms vs 2200 ms
Help
3.7x less delay when turning on
Color depth
Better color depth
22.6 bits vs 21.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1.1 more bits of color
Storage slots
Has more storage slots
2 vs 1
Help
More slots allows storing more images without switching memory cards
Battery life
Longer battery life
500 shots vs 290 shots
Help
More than 70% more shots per battery charge
Viewfinder
Has a viewfinder
Pentamirror vs None
Help
A viewfinder can help save battery life by keeping the screen turned off
True resolution
Slightly higher true resolution
14 MP vs 12.2 MP
Help
Capture around 20% more detail in your photos
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
126 lenses vs 108 lenses
Help
Around 20% more lenses available
Low light performance
Slightly lower noise at high ISO
614 ISO vs 487 ISO
Help
The DSLR-A380 has a slight edge (0.3 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Fastest shutter speed
Significantly faster max shutter speed
1/4000s vs 1/2000s
Help
2x faster max shutter speed
Sony Alpha DSLR-A380 Learn more about
the Sony DSLR-A380
vs

recommendations

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

Snapsort Recommends
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL1 30
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      Color
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        vs
        36 Sony Alpha DSLR-A380 Sony Alpha DSLR-A380
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              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths
              Interchangeable lenses Both support interchangeable lenses, which is uncommon in cameras similar to these Help
              Many lenses to choose from
              Supports RAW Supports RAW Help
              Better editing
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Common Weaknesses
              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
              Light sensitivity (boost) No boost ISO Help
              Lacks boost light sensitivity
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              230k dots
              Screen size Very small screens Help
              2.7"
              Low light performance Above average noise at high ISO Help
              PEN E-PL1487 ISO
              DSLR-A380614 ISO
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              PEN E-PL13 fps
              DSLR-A3802.5 fps
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              PEN E-PL110.1 EV
              DSLR-A38011.8 EV
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Movie format One shoots movies Help
              PEN E-PL1720p @ 30fps
              DSLR-A380None

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $289 body only

              $349 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Movie format Records higher quality movies
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $394 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Screen size Significantly larger screen
              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

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $199 body only

              $270 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              3D Takes 3D photos
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $591 body only

              $230 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              3D Takes 3D photos
              Color depth Worse color depth
              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
              3D Takes 3D photos
              Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor
              Built-in flash No built-in flash

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A380 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A350

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A350

              Entry-level DSLR

              Screen flips out Has a flip-out screen
              Battery life Longer battery life
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $263 body only

              $358 with 18-55mm lens

              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Movie format Shoots movies
              Image stabilization No image stabilization
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Sony CyberShot DSC-H200

              Sony CyberShot DSC-H200

              Super zoom

              Screen size Significantly larger screen
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Interchangeable lenses Built-in lens only
              Sony SLT-A37

              Sony SLT-A37

              Entry-level DSLR

              $550 with 18-55mm lens

              Autofocus Video autofocus
              3D Takes 3D photos
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Screen size Smaller screen
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A290

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A290

              Entry-level DSLR

              Autofocus Faster autofocus
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              Live view No live view
              Size Larger

              appearance

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Sony Alpha DSLR-A380
              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Sony Alpha DSLR-A380
              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Sony Alpha DSLR-A380

              discussion

              Olympus PEN E-PL1
              PEN E-PL1
              Olympus

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              Sony Alpha DSLR-A380
              Alpha DSLR-A380
              Sony

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