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

Sony Alpha NEX-5

Winner
Sony Alpha NEX-5

67

vs

Olympus PEN E-PL1

41

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
Panorama
In-camera panoramas
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
40 lenses
External flash
External flash
Better lighting
Longest exposure
Long exposures
60 seconds
 
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 Significantly more lenses available 40 lenses vs 21 lenses
Help
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
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
Help
Around 30% better image quality
Movie format Higher resolution movies 1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
3D Takes 3D photos Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Startup delay Significantly less startup delay 1000 ms vs 2200 ms
Help
2.2x less delay when turning on
HDR Has in-camera HDR Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
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
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
Color depth Better color depth 22.2 bits vs 21.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.7 more bits of color
Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag 670 ms vs 820 ms
Help
Around 20% less delay when taking photos
Sensor size Larger sensor APS-C 23.4x15.6mm vs Four thirds 17.3x13.0mm
Help
More than 60% larger sensor
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
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 slightly 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 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 41
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        67 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
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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
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              0
              Light sensitivity (boost) No boost ISO Help
              Lacks boost light sensitivity
              Supports 24p No support for 24p Help
              Missing that film look
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              PEN E-PL1:11
              NEX-5:25
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              PEN E-PL1:12.2 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

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $330 with 16-50mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Canon EOS M

              Canon EOS M

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $304 body only

              $300 with 18-55mm 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

              $199 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

              $390 - $427 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Canon Rebel T3

              Canon Rebel T3

              Entry-level DSLR

              $276 - $290 body only

              $300 - $390 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Startup delay Has slightly less startup delay
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $280 - $400 with 14-42mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Shutter lag Has much less shutter lag
              External flash Doesn't support an external flash
              Startup delay Has significantly more startup delay
              Samsung NX1000

              Samsung NX1000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $330 with 20-50mm lens

              True resolution Takes significantly higher resolution photos
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Startup delay Has slightly more startup delay

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $238 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 Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $268 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

              $195 body only

              $269 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

              $442 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-PL5

              Olympus PEN E-PL5

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $500 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Built-in flash No built-in flash

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $480 - $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 A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $498 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

              $1,109 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

              $350 body only

              $450 with 16-50mm lens

              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.