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Sony Alpha NEX-3, Alpha NEX-5, Olympus EPL-1, Samsung NX10: key differences

The Sony Alpha NEX cameras join an expanding class of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that contains a wide range of models, from entry-level to relatively advanced. Their nearest competitors are the recently released Samsung NX10, and Olympus' third Micro Four Thirds offering, the pared-down E-PL1. The E-PL1 is the only camera in this company that doesn't feature an APS-C format sensor, but despite this, it is bulkier than the NEX-3. The Samsung NX is, like the NEX-3, impressively small given the size of its sensor, but a little larger due to its built-in EVF and DSLR styling. The EPL-1 can be used with Olympus' excellent clip-on EVF, but there is (for now, at least) no provision for using an EVF with the NEX-3.

None of these are big cameras but Sony has succeeded in the seemingly impossible - squeezing an APS-C sized sensor and large, articulated screen into a body that is significantly smaller than the competition. Once you include the grip and the lens mount that stick forward from the wafer-thin body, the size advantage is reduced but it's still a tiny camera by any real-world measure and Sony must be applauded for an astonishing piece of engineering.

NEX advantages over EPL-1:

  • Small size
  • Larger format sensor
  • Control dial for changing fundamental exposure settings (as opposed to buttons)
  • Higher resolution LCD screen (921k dots)
  • Screen can be tilted up to 80 degrees and 45 degrees downwards
  • Faster continuous shooting (albeit with focus locked)
  • Greater resolution sensor, higher maximum ISO (12,800 in PASM modes)

NEX advantages over NX10:

  • Smaller size
  • Tilting screen
  • Faster continuous shooting (albeit with focus locked)
  • Dedicated video recording button
  • Provision for external microphone (via accessory socket)
  • Higher maximum ISO setting (in PASM modes)

EPL-1 advantages over NEX:

  • Built-in flash
  • Flash hot shoe
  • Optional EVF
  • Plenty of buttons for key settings
  • Lots of customization options
  • In-camera raw conversion

NX10 advantages over NEX:

  • Built-in EVF
  • Conventional flash hot shoe
  • Bright, high-contrast OLED screen
 



Sony NEX-3 Sony NEX-5
Olympus E-PL1
Samsung NX10
Sensor
 • APS-C type HD CMOS
 • 14.2 million total pixels
 • 14.2 million effective pixels
 • RGB (Primary) color filter array
 • 4/3 type MOS ('Live MOS sensor')
 • 13.1 million total pixels
 • 12.3 million effective pixels
 • RGB (Primary) color filter array
 • APS-C type CMOS
 • 15.1 million total pixels
 • 14.6 million effective pixels
 • RGB (Primary) color filter array
Image stabilization
 • Lens dependant
 • In body (claimed 3 stops)
 • Lens dependent
Battery life
(CIPA)*
 • 330 shots
 • 290 shots
 • 400 shots (Samsung's tests)
Video mode
 • MP4:
1280 x 720, 30fps
640 x 480,
30fps
• AVCHD:
1920 x 1080i, 60/50fps**

• MP4:
1440 x 1080p, 30/25fps
**
 • Motion JPEG:
1280 x 720, 30fps
640 x 480, 30fps
 • H.264 MP4:
1280 x 720, 30fps
640 x 480, 30fps
320 x 240, 30fps
Audio
 • Stereo (external mic optional)
 • Mono (stereo via adapter)
 • Mono
Movie REC button?
 • Yes
 • Yes
 • Yes
LCD screen
 • 3.0"
 • 921,000 dots
 • 2.7"
 • 230,000 dots
 • 3.0" Active Matrix OLED
 • 614,000 dots
Viewfinder
 • Optional optical FDA-SV1 (for 16mm pancake lens )
 • Optional EVF
 • 1.15x magnification
 • 1,440k dots
 • 100% FOV
 • Built-in EVF
 • 0.86x magnification
 • 921k dots
 • 100% FOV
Metering modes
 • 49-segment
 • Center-Weighted Average
 • Spot
 
 • Digital ESP
 • Center-Weighted Average
 • Spot (1%)
 • Highlight based spot
 • Shadow based spot
 • 247-zone
 • Center-Weighted
 • Spot
Flash
 • Yes, supplied (not built-in)
(GN. 7.0 at ISO 100)
 • Yes (GN. 7.0 at ISO 100)
 • Wireless flash control
 • Yes (GN.11 at ISO 100)
Remote control?
 • No
 • Optional IR
 • No
 • Optional wired remote
Orientation sensor
 • Yes
 • No
 • Yes
Connectors
 • USB 2.0 (High Speed)
 • HDMI
 • USB 2.0 (High Speed)
 • Video output (PAL / NTSC)
 • HDMI
 • USB 2.0 (High Speed)
 • Video output (PAL / NTSC)
 • HDMI
Dimensions
117 x 62 x 33mm
111 x 59 x 38mm
115 mm x 72 mm x 42 mm
123 × 87× 39.8mm
Weight (body only)
Approx. 239 g
(8.4 oz)
Approx. 229g
(8.2 oz)
Approx. 298 g (10.5 oz)
Approx. 353g (12.45 oz)

* CIPA battery test methodology uses the kit lens, uses flash for 50% of the shots and has IS turned on where appropriate.
** Frame rate depends on camera region (50fps for PAL, 60fps for NTSC)

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Comments

Total comments: 2
prossi
By prossi (6 days ago)

Silver award...really?

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Rowland Scherman
By Rowland Scherman (3 months ago)

Sony NEX-5TL?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 2