Updated (August, 2011): Compare the Olympus PEN E-PL2 vs Sony NEX-5N

Sony Alpha NEX-5

Winner
Sony Alpha NEX-5

65

vs

Olympus PEN E-PL1

40

Olympus PEN E-PL1

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Screen resolution
High resolution screen
920k dots
Startup delay
Almost no delay when powering up
1000 ms startup delay
Screen flips out
Flip-out screen
Great for movies
3D
Takes 3D photos
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
40 lenses
Longest exposure
Long exposures
60 seconds
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed
 
Differences | Recommendations | Cast your vote | 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
Lens availability More lenses available 40 lenses vs 21 lenses
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More than 90% more lenses available
Built-in flash Built-in flash Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Longest exposure Longer exposures 60s vs 30s
Help
2x longer exposures
Lowest price Slightly cheaper $399.99 vs $498.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $98 cheaper (around 20% less)
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Learn more about
the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5

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Screen resolution Much higher resolution screen 920k dots vs 230k dots
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4x higher resolution screen
Dynamic range More dynamic range 12.2 EV vs 10.1 EV
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2.1 f-stops more dynamic range
Overall image quality Significantly better image quality 69.0 vs 54.0
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Around 30% better image quality
Movie format Higher resolution movies 1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
3D Takes 3D photos Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
HDR Has in-camera HDR Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Startup delay Significantly less startup delay 1000 ms vs 2200 ms
Help
2.2x less delay when turning on
Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO 796 ISO vs 487 ISO
Help
The NEX-5 has a slight edge (0.7 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
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
Screen size Larger screen 3.0" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag 670 ms vs 820 ms
Help
Around 20% less delay when taking photos
Color depth Better color depth 22.2 bits vs 21.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.7 more bits of color
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
Sensor size Larger sensor APS-C 23.4x15.6mm vs Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
Help
More than 60% larger sensor
Battery life Longer battery life 330 shots vs 290 shots
Help
More than 10% more shots per battery charge
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
Fastest shutter speed Much faster max shutter speed 1/4000s vs 1/2000s
Help
2x faster max shutter speed
Focus points Slightly more focus points 25 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Size Smaller 111x59x38 mm vs 115x72x42 mm
Help
Around 30% smaller
Weight Lighter 287 g vs 334 g
Help
More than 10% lighter
Thickness Slightly thinner 1.5" vs 1.7"
Help
Around 10% thinner
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-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL1 40
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      Color
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        65 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
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              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Fastest shutter speed Slow max shutter speed Help
              PEN E-PL1:1/2000s
              NEX-5:1/4000s
              Shutter lag Significant shutter lag Help
              PEN E-PL1:820 ms
              NEX-5:670 ms
              Light sensitivity (boost) No boost ISO Help
              Lacks boost light sensitivity
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              0
              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-PL1:12.2 MP
              NEX-5:14 MP
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              PEN E-PL1:11
              NEX-5:25
              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

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $640 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Startup delay Has significantly more startup delay
              Canon EOS M

              Canon EOS M

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $304 body only

              $311 - $400 with 22mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Shutter lag Has slightly more shutter lag
              Lens availability Slightly fewer lenses available
              Nikon 1 J1

              Nikon 1 J1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $239 - $597 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
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $278 body only

              $380 - $427 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $249 - $400 with 14-42mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Shutter lag Has much less shutter lag
              Fujifilm Finepix X10

              Fujifilm Finepix X10

              Pro digicam

              $323 - $591

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Thickness Is thicker
              Size Is slightly larger
              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $329 - $567 body only

              $477 with 18-55mm lens

              Low light performance Is slightly less noisy at high ISO
              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $449 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Movie format Higher resolution movies
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality
              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $470 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Built-in flash No built-in flash
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $243 - $649 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Movie format Higher resolution movies
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality
              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $209 body only

              $236 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-PL2

              Olympus PEN E-PL2

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $380 - $479 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

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $399 - $748 body only

              $500 - $779 with 16-50mm lens

              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

              $489 with 18-55mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Thinner
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $438 - $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 NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,074 body only

              $1,200 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Lowest price Significantly more expensive
              Sony Alpha NEX-3N

              Sony Alpha NEX-3N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $370 body only

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay

              appearance

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Sony Alpha NEX-5

              discussion

              Olympus PEN E-PL1
              PEN E-PL1
              Olympus

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              Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Alpha NEX-5
              Sony

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              Showing 1 comments

              Guest (2:32 AM, August 23, 2011)
              The E-PL1 has two forms of continuous focus in video mode, Continuous Focus and Continuous Focus with Tracking. This should be corrected in the specs. The option isn't available using the quick button, one has to use the dial to switch to video, then the autofocus features work.