Nikon D3300 vs Olympus E-M5
The Nikon D3300 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2014 and February 2012. The D3300 is a DSLR, while the E-M5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D3300) and a Four Thirds (E-M5) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 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 D3300 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5? 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 physical size and weight of the Nikon D3300 and the Olympus E-M5 are illustrated 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3300 can be obtained in three different colors (black, grey, red), while the E-M5 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M5 is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Nikon D3300. Moreover, the E-M5 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the D3300. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-M5 is splash and dust-proof, while the D3300 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 (D3300) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-M5). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-M5, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|2.||Olympus E-M5||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|3.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|4.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|5.||Nikon D3500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||365 g||1550||n||Aug 2018||429|
|6.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|7.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|8.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|9.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|10.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|11.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|15.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|16.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|17.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 D3300 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 62 percent) than the E-M5, 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.
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. 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 D3300 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-M5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-M5 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 D3300 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-M5 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 24MP, the D3300 offers a higher resolution than the E-M5 (15.9MP), but the D3300 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.76μm for the E-M5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3300 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the E-M5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3300 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3300 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3300 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-M5 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D3300 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 D3300 provides substantially higher image quality than the E-M5, with an overall score that is 11 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|15.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|16.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the D3300 provides a higher frame rate than the E-M5. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M5 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D3300 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinder in the E-M5 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D3300 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the E-M5 has a higher magnification (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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3300, the Olympus E-M5, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-M5||1440||n||3.0 / 610||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon 200D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D3500||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-M1||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D3300 has one, while the E-M5 does not. While the built-in flash of the D3300 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D3300 and the E-M5 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 D3300 and Olympus OM-D E-M5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-M5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 200D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Nikon D3500||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|6.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|8.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D7200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Nikon D5300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D3200||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-M1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the D3300 has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-M5. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the D3300 and the E-M5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-M5 was replaced by the Olympus E-M5 II, while the D3300 was followed by the Nikon D3400. 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 is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3300 and the Olympus E-M5? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3300:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP) with a 25% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 610k dots).
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (700 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (62 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 10 months after the E-M5).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus OM-D E-M5:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- 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 0.57x).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (122x89mm vs 124x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- 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.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2012).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D3300 comes out slightly ahead of the E-M5 (13 : 12 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 D3300 and the Olympus E-M5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3300 or the E-M5 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 why hands-on reviews by experts 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], 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 D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|2.||Olympus E-M5||4/5||+ +||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|3.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|4.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|5.||Nikon D3500||..||..||4/5||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429|
|6.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|7.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|8.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|9.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|10.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|11.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|12.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||4.5/5||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|13.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|15.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|16.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|17.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 7D II vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon G16 vs Nikon D3300
- Canon M50 Mark II vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon R vs Nikon D3300
- Canon T100 vs Olympus E-M5
- Fujifilm GFX 100 vs Nikon D3300
- Fujifilm X-E3 vs Nikon D3300
- Nikon D3300 vs Nikon W150
- Nikon D3300 vs Sony HX99
- Nikon D4 vs Olympus E-M5
- Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic G95
Specifications: Nikon D3300 vs Olympus E-M5
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 D3300||Olympus E-M5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2014||February 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3300||Olympus E-M5|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||82||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.3||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.8||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1385||826|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3300||Olympus E-M5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||610k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3300||Olympus E-M5|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3300||Olympus E-M5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3300||Olympus E-M5|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||700 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
124 x 98 x 76 mm
(4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
122 x 89 x 43 mm
(4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||430 g (15.2 oz)||425 g (15.0 oz)|
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