Updated (August, 2011): Compare the Olympus PEN E-PL2 vs Sony NEX-7

Sony Alpha NEX-5

Winner
Sony Alpha NEX-5

61

vs

Olympus PEN E-PL1

38

Olympus PEN E-PL1

Runner-up
     

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

High resolution screen
Screen resolution
920k dots
Almost no delay when powering up
Startup delay
1000 ms startup delay
Flip-out screen
Screen flips out
Great for movies
In-camera HDR
HDR
Combines multiple exposures
 

Reasons to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL1

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Longest exposure
Long exposures
60 seconds
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
External flash not needed
 

differences

Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL1

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Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift vs None
Help
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
Much 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
Help
4x higher resolution screen
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.2 EV vs 10.1 EV
Help
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
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
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
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
Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 30fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video
Screen size
Larger screen
3.0" vs 2.7"
Help
More than 10% larger screen
Startup delay
Significantly less startup delay
1000 ms vs 2200 ms
Help
2.2x less delay when turning on
Color depth
Better color depth
22.2 bits vs 21.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.7 more bits of color
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
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
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
Size
Smaller
111x59x38 mm vs 115x72x42 mm
Help
Around 30% smaller
Focus points
Slightly more focus points
25 vs 11
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
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
Weight
Lighter
287 g vs 334 g
Help
More than 10% lighter
Thickness
Thinner
1.5" vs 1.7"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Lowest price
Slightly cheaper
$398.00 vs $549.95
Help
The best price we've seen is $152 cheaper (around 30% less)
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 38
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        61 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
        Retailer
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              similarities

              Compared to recent mirrorless cameras

              Common Strengths
              Sensor cleaning Self cleaning sensors Help
              Avoids dust in your photos
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Common Weaknesses
              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
              Focus points Few focus points Help
              PEN E-PL1:11
              NEX-5:25
              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
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $400 body only

              $320 - $430 with 16-50mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $272 body only

              $390 - $409 with 18-55mm lens

              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Nikon 1 J1

              Nikon 1 J1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $225 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 D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $309 - $527 body only

              $389 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

              Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $133 body only

              $280 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

              Olympus PEN E-PL1 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Olympus PEN E-PM1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality
              Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3

              Olympus PEN E-PL3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $424 body only

              $286 with 14-42mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Panorama Can create panoramas in-camera
              Color depth Worse color depth
              Overall image quality Slightly worse image quality
              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Olympus PEN E-P1

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $243 body only

              $323 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

              $448 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

              $407 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

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $298 - $600 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-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $299 - $689 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $641 body only

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,199 body only

              $815 with 18-200mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Heavier
              Sony Alpha A6000

              Sony Alpha A6000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $448 body only

              $598 - $600 with 16-50mm lens

              Image stabilization Image stabilization
              Viewfinder Has a viewfinder
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Size Larger

              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

              Report a correction
              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.