Nikon D100 vs Olympus E-5
The Nikon D100 and the Olympus E-5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2002 and September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D100) and a Four Thirds (E-5) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D100 and the Olympus E-5? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D100 and the Olympus E-5. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D100 and the Olympus E-5 are of equal size. However, the E-5 is markedly heavier (12 percent) than the D100. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-5 is splash and dust-proof, while the D100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D100) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-5).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Nikon D100||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999|
|2.||Olympus E-5||142 mm||117 mm||75 mm||873 g||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699|
|3.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|4.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|5.||Nikon D300||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799|
|6.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|7.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|8.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|9.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|10.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
|11.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|12.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999|
|13.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|14.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|15.||Olympus E-3||142 mm||116 mm||75 mm||876 g||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699|
|16.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|17.||Olympus E-1||141 mm||104 mm||81 mm||738 g||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The E-5 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the D100, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D100 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-5 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D100 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-5 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-5 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D100. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). However, it should be noted that the E-5 is much more recent (by 8 years and 6 months) than the D100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D100 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 200-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-5 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56|
|13.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|14.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|15.||Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|16.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|17.||Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The E-5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D100 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-5 can use is 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D100 and the E-5 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the E-5 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D100 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the E-5 has a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D100 and Olympus E-5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
One feature that differentiates the E-5 and the D100 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D100 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.The E-5 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D100 does not have a selfie-screen.
The D100 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-5 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D100 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D100 and Olympus E-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-5 (unlike the D100) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D100 and the E-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D100 was replaced by the Nikon D200, while the E-5 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D100 or the Olympus E-5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D100:
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 93g or 11 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).
Advantages of the Olympus E-5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.53x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 118k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D100 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-5 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D100 and the Olympus E-5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D100 or the E-5. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D100||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||1,999|
|2.||Olympus E-5||4/5||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,699|
|3.||Canon 10D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|4.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|5.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799|
|6.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|7.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|8.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|9.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|10.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|11.||Nikon D70||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|12.||Nikon D1X||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999|
|13.||Olympus E-30||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|14.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|15.||Olympus E-3||..||88/100||+ +||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699|
|16.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|17.||Olympus E-1||..||..||+||o||..||Jun 2003||1,699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Nikon D100 vs Olympus E-5
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D100||Olympus E-5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2002||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 1,999||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D100||Olympus E-5|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 800 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 1,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||519|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D100||Olympus E-5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D100||Olympus E-5|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||50 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D100||Olympus E-5|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D100||Olympus E-5|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
144 x 116 x 81 mm
(5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
142 x 117 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||780 g (27.5 oz)||873 g (30.8 oz)|
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