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Nikon D3000 versus Olympus E-450

The Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-450 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in July 2009 and March 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D3000) and a Four Thirds (E-450) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 10 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-450

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-450 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D3000 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-450
Compare D3000 versus E-450 top
Compare D3000 and E-450 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-450 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Nikon D3000. Moreover, the E-450 is markedly lighter (18 percent) than the D3000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3000 nor the E-450 are weather-sealed.

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 find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3000) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-450).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D3000» 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Olympus E-450« 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i Nikon D3400
Nikon D3100« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
Olympus E-600« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.9 oz 500 n Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
Olympus E-420« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-450 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the D3000, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-450

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3000 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-450 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-450 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 D3000 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-450 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D3000 and Olympus E-450 sensor measures

Even though the D3000 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 10 megapixel. This implies that the D3000 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 4.74μm for the E-450), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the D3000 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the E-450, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

D3000 versus E-450 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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. Of the two cameras under review, the D3000 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-450 (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Nikon D3000» APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
Olympus E-450« Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256Olympus E-450
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
Nikon D3100« » APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
Nikon D60« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
Olympus E-600« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.510.354155Olympus E-600
Olympus E-420« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451Olympus E-410
The E-450 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D3000 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-450

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3000 and the E-450 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3000, the Olympus E-450, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Nikon D3000»optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
Olympus E-450«optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-450
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
Nikon D3100« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
Nikon D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
Olympus E-600« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-600
Olympus E-420« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410

Both the D3000 and the E-450 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3000 was replaced by the Nikon D3100, while the E-450 does not have a direct successor.

Review summary: Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-450

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-450? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3000:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the E-450).

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-450:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 96g or 18 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2009).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (4 points each). 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.

D3000 04:04 E-450

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3000 or the E-450 handle or perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D3000»Rec72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Olympus E-450«--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
Nikon D3400« »Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i Nikon D3400
Nikon D3100« »HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
Nikon D5000« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D60« »80/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« »79/100HiRec4/5rev4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D40« »81/100HiRecrev5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5rev5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
Olympus E-600« »----4.5/5 Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
Olympus E-420« »85/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« »86/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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