• APS-C 369.7mm2
  • 14.2 megapixels
  •  
  • 4/3 224.9mm2
  • 16.1 megapixels
  • ISO 200 - 25,600

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Differences

Sony NEX-5 advantages over Olympus E-M1

  • Larger sensor
    APS-C vs 4/3
    More sensor area. Bigger is (generally) better.
  • Bigger pixels
    ~ 5.16 vs 3.75 microns
    Better low-light and dynamic range (all else equal)
  • In-camera panoramas
    Yes vs No
    Stitches multiple shots into a panoramic photo
  • Thinner
    40 mm vs 63 mm
    Thinner
  • Has anti-aliasing filter
    Filter vs No Filter
    Reduces unsightly moiré in photos

Olympus E-M1 advantages over Sony NEX-5

  • Lens selection
    Excellent vs Good
    Better lens selection gives you more options
  • Focus peaking
    Peaker vs Non-peaker
    Your camera will highlight what's in focus
  • Eye-level viewfinder
    Eye-level vs Rear display only
    You'll be able to frame photos even when the sun is out
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
    Yes vs No
    Reduces the effects of camera shake at slower shutter speeds
  • Touchscreen
    Touch vs No touch
    Interact with your camera just like your smartphone
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
    Wi-Fi vs None
    Share your photos wirelessly
  • On-sensor phase detect
    Yes vs No
    Usually improves live view and video AF performance
  • External Mic Jack
    Jack vs No jack
    Improved sound fidelity when shooting video
  • Higher max flash sync
    1/320 vs 1/160 sec
    Reduce the effect of ambient light in flash shots
  • Newer
    5 years vs 8 years old
    Newer cameras often support more advanced features
  • Shoots 1080p video
    Yes vs No
    You'll want this if you shoot video
  • Less shutter lag
    0.14 vs 0.44 sec
    Focus and take a photo quickly (wide angle)
  • Lacks anti-aliasing filter
    No Filter vs Filter
    Enjoy sharper photos
  • Longer exposure
    60 vs 30 sec
    Long exposures for night shots
  • Faster JPEG shooting
    9.9 fps vs 2.7 fps
    Faster JPEG shooting (burst mode)
  • Faster shutter
    1/16000 vs 1/4000 sec
    Shoot wide open in bright light
  • Higher extended ISO
    25600 vs 12800 ISO
    Higher extended ISO can give more low-light flexibility

Similarities

Common Strengths

  • Tiltable Screen
    Both provide
    Tilt the screen for shooting flexbility
  • HDMI out
    Both provide
    Use HDMI output to monitor or review video
  • Hot shoe
    Both provide
    Off-camera flashes open new possibilities
  • Bulb shutter
    Both provide
    Hold the shutter open manually for long exposures

Common Weaknesses

  • Built-in Bluetooth
    Neither provide
    Always-on wireless connectivity
  • Built-in GPS
    Neither provide
    Geotag your photos
  • Internal flash
    Neither provide
    Useful in a pinch for fill flash
  • Top deck display
    Neither provide
    Check settings with a screen on top of the camera
  • Dual card slots
    Neither provide
    Gives you more storage flexibility
  • Headphone jack
    Neither provide
    Monitor audio recording while you shoot video
  • Slow-motion videos
    Neither provide
    Shoot slow-motion videos

User reviews

Buy From

Review Excerpt

  • Exceptional rugged, weather-proof, professional build; Lightning fast contrast-detect AF, and phase-detect AF that makes Four Thirds lenses far more responsive; Tons of useful physical controls with immense customizability; Arguably the best image quality of any Micro Four Thirds camera we've tested to date; Large, sharp, high-resolution electronic viewfinder; Advanced Wi-Fi capabilities, including remote control shooting in PASM exposure modes.

  • Bigger and heavier than many other compact system cameras; Most expensive Micro Four Thirds camera on the market to date; Menu system and customization options have a steep learning curve; No optical low-pass filter means greater risk of moire; No built-in flash.

The Competition

Compared to Olympus E-M5

Sony NEX-5
Olympus E-M5
  • $700
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels
  • $799
  • 4/3
  • Lens selection
  • Eye-level viewfinder
Olympus E-M1
Olympus E-M5
  • $1099
  • 4/3
  • Focus peaking
  • Fast startup
  • $799
  • 4/3
  • Less expensive
  • Thinner

Compared to Sony NEX-3

Sony NEX-5
Sony NEX-3
  • $700
  • APS-C
  • $600
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
Olympus E-M1
Sony NEX-3
  • $1099
  • 4/3
  • Lens selection
  • Focus peaking
  • $600
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels

Compared to Samsung NX100

Sony NEX-5
Samsung NX100
  • $700
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • In-camera panoramas
  • $799
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Longer stills battery life
Olympus E-M1
Samsung NX100
  • $1099
  • 4/3
  • Lens selection
  • Focus peaking
  • $799
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels

Compared to Sony NEX-C3

Sony NEX-5
Sony NEX-C3
  • $700
  • APS-C
  • Bigger JPEG buffer
  • $559
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Higher effective ISO
Olympus E-M1
Sony NEX-C3
  • $1099
  • 4/3
  • Lens selection
  • Focus peaking
  • $559
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels

Compared to Panasonic GH3

Sony NEX-5
Panasonic GH3
  • $700
  • APS-C
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels
  • $823
  • 4/3
  • Lens selection
  • Tilt-swivel screen
Olympus E-M1
Panasonic GH3
  • $1099
  • 4/3
  • Focus peaking
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • $823
  • 4/3
  • Less expensive
  • Tilt-swivel screen
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