Nikon D3100 vs Olympus E-450
The Nikon D3100 and the Olympus E-450 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2010 and March 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D3100) and a Four Thirds (E-450) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 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 D3100 and the Olympus E-450? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3100 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 consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the E-450 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3100 and the Olympus E-450 are of equal size. However, the E-450 is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the D3100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3100 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 compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3100) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-450).
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 D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|2.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|3.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|4.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|5.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|6.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|7.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|8.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|9.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|10.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|11.||Olympus E-600||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||535 g||500||n||Aug 2009||449|
|12.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|13.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|14.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|15.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|16.||Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699|
|17.||Sony NEX-C3||110 mm||60 mm||33 mm||225 g||400||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Note: 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-450 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the D3100, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3100 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-450 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-450 is 37 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 D3100 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-450 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 14.2MP, the D3100 offers a higher resolution than the E-450 (10MP), but the D3100 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.01μm versus 4.74μm for the E-450) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3100 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the E-450, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 15.4 inches or 58.5 x 39 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 12.3 inches or 46.8 x 31.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-450 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D3100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-450 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the D3100 provides substantially higher image quality than the E-450, with an overall score that is 11 points higher. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 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.
|2.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|11.||Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|12.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|13.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|14.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|15.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D3100 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-450 does not. The highest resolution format that the D3100 can use is 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3100 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D3100 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-450 (0.53x vs 0.46x), 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 D3100 and Olympus E-450 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|3.||Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7 / 230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D60||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|11.||Olympus E-600||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-5N||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-C3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The D3100 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-450 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-450 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D3100 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 D3100 and Olympus E-450 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D3100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Nikon D3200||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon D5100||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon D7000||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D3000||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D5000||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D40||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-600||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-5N||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-C3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the D3100 and the E-450 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3100 was replaced by the Nikon D3200, while the E-450 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3100 and the Olympus E-450? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3100:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (14.2 vs 10MP) with a 21% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.46x).
- 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 1 year and 4 months after the E-450).
Arguments in favor of 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 65g or 13 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- 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 (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 D3100 emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 D3100 and the Olympus E-450 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 D3100 or the E-450. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 D3100||5/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|2.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|3.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|4.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|5.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|6.||Nikon D3000||..||+||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|7.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|8.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|9.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|10.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||..||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|11.||Olympus E-600||..||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449|
|12.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|13.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|14.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|15.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|16.||Sony NEX-5N||3/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699|
|17.||Sony NEX-C3||3/5||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Olympus E-450
- Canon 50D vs Nikon D3100
- Canon 70D vs Nikon D3100
- Canon RP vs Nikon D3100
- Epson R-D1 vs Olympus E-450
- Leica D-LUX 6 vs Olympus E-450
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Olympus E-450
- Leica V-LUX 5 vs Olympus E-450
- Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D5500
- Nikon D3100 vs Olympus E-420
- Nikon D3100 vs Panasonic FZ150
- Olympus E-450 vs Panasonic ZS80
Specifications: Nikon D3100 vs Olympus E-450
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 D3100||Olympus E-450|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2010||March 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3100||Olympus E-450|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.1 x 15.4 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||355.74 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.8 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14.2 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3072 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.01 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.98 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 2||TruePic III+|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||67||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.5||21.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||10.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||919||512|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3100||Olympus E-450|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3100||Olympus E-450|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3100||Olympus E-450|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3100||Olympus E-450|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||550 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
124 x 96 x 75 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
|Camera Weight||505 g (17.8 oz)||440 g (15.5 oz)|
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