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Nikon D2X vs Olympus E-5

The Nikon D2X and the Olympus E-5 are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2004 and September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D2X) and a Four Thirds (E-5) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12.2 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D2X versus Olympus E-5
Nikon D2X Olympus E-5
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-800 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-6,400
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 235k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
3800 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1252 g 142 x 117 x 75 mm, 873 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D2X 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D2X and the Olympus E-5 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D2X vs Olympus E-5
Compare D2X versus E-5 top
Comparison D2X or E-5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-5 is considerably smaller (30 percent) than the Nikon D2X. Moreover, the E-5 is markedly lighter (30 percent) than the D2X. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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 (D2X) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-5).

Concerning battery life, the D2X gets 3800 shots out of its EN-EL4a battery, while the E-5 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-5 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D2X has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the E-5, Olympus provides the HLD-4 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D2X 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
 
Olympus E-5 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.8 oz 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699i
 
Nikon D3S 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199i
 
Nikon D300S 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D3 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
 
Nikon D300 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D2Xs 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
 
Nikon D200 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
 
Nikon D2H 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 37.7 oz 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499i
 
Nikon D1H 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499i
 
Nikon D1X 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
 
Nikon D1 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499i
 
Olympus E-30 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-520 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699i
 
Olympus E-3 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.9 oz 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699i
 
Olympus E-510 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799i
 
Olympus E-1 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 26.0 oz 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 66 percent) than the D2X, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D2X features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-5 is 40 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 D2X has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-5 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Nikon D2X and Olympus E-5 sensor measures

Even though the D2X has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12.2 megapixels. This implies that the D2X has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.52μm versus 4.29μm for the E-5), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the E-5 is much more recent (by 5 years and 11 months) than the D2X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Nikon D2X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-5 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

D2X versus E-5 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
 
Olympus E-5 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
 
Nikon D2H APS-C 4.0 2464 1632none18.910.035240
 
Nikon D1H APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
 
Olympus E-3 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.610.557156
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
 
Olympus E-1 Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920none........

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The E-5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D2X does not. The highest resolution format that the E-5 can use is 720/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D2X 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the E-5 has a higher magnification than the one of the D2X (0.58x vs 0.57x), 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 D2X and Olympus E-5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Olympus E-5optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D2Hoptical Y 2.5 211 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 n n
 
Nikon D1Hoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n
 
Nikon D1optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
 
Olympus E-3optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-1optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n

One feature that differentiates the E-5 and the D2X is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D2X 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 D2X does not have a selfie-screen.

The D2X 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 D2X only has one slot.

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Connectivity comparison

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 D2X and Olympus E-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Nikon D2XY-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-5Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3SYstereo---mini2.0---
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D2HY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D1HY-----FW---
 
Nikon D1XY-----FW---
 
Nikon D1Y-----FW---
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-3Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-1Y-----2.0---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the D2X and the E-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2X was replaced by the Nikon D2Xs, 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.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Nikon D2X better than the Olympus E-5 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Nikon D2X:

  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (3800 versus 750) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2004).

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-5:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.57x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 235k 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.
  • More compact: Is smaller (142x117mm vs 158x150mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 379g or 30 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (66 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D2X launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-5 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 3 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.

D2X 03:13 E-5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D2X 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D2X and the E-5 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D2X..+ +..o.. Sep 2004 4,999i
 
Olympus E-5..75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699i
 
Nikon D3S..89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199i
 
Nikon D300S+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D3..+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
 
Nikon D300+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D2Xs......o.. Jun 2006 4,699i
 
Nikon D200+ ++ +o5/5.. Nov 2005 1,699i
 
Nikon D2H..+ +..o.. Jul 2003 3,499i
 
Nikon D1H..+ +..o.. Feb 2001 4,499i
 
Nikon D1X..+ +..o.. Feb 2001 5,999i
 
Nikon D1..+ +...... Jun 1999 5,499i
 
Olympus E-30..71/1004.5/5..4/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
 
Olympus E-52087/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
 
Olympus E-388/100+ +oo4/5 Oct 2007 1,699i
 
Olympus E-51089/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
 
Olympus E-1..+oo.. Jun 2003 1,699i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D2X:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-5:
Check Ebay offers

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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D2X 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D2X Olympus E-5
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2004 September 2010
    Launch Price USD 4,999 USD 1,699
    Sensor Specs Nikon D2X Olympus E-5
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.7 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 372.09 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.52 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 800 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 21.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.9 10.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 476 519
    Screen Specs Nikon D2X Olympus E-5
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x 0.58x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 235k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D2X Olympus E-5
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations150 000 actuations
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D2X Olympus E-5
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D2X Olympus E-5
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL4a BLM-5
    Battery Life (CIPA)3800 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    142 x 117 x 75 mm
    (5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 1252 g (44.2 oz) 873 g (30.8 oz)

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