Nikon D3400 vs Olympus E-1
The Nikon D3400 and the Olympus E-1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2016 and June 2003. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D3400) and a Four Thirds (E-1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 4.9 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 D3400 and the Olympus E-1? 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 D3400 and the Olympus E-1 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3400 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the E-1 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 Olympus E-1 is notably larger (21 percent) than the Nikon D3400. Moreover, the E-1 is substantially heavier (66 percent) than the D3400. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-1 is splash and dust-proof, while the D3400 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 (D3400) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-1).
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|2.||Olympus E-1||141 mm||104 mm||81 mm||738 g||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699|
|3.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|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 D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|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 D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|11.||Nikon D5300||125 mm||98 mm||76 mm||480 g||600||n||Oct 2013||799|
|12.||Nikon D3200||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|13.||Nikon D5200||129 mm||98 mm||78 mm||555 g||500||n||Nov 2012||749|
|14.||Olympus E-5||142 mm||117 mm||75 mm||873 g||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699|
|15.||Olympus E-3||142 mm||116 mm||75 mm||876 g||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699|
|16.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|17.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|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 D3400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 71 percent) than the E-1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3400 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-1 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 D3400 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24MP, the D3400 offers a higher resolution than the E-1 (4.9MP), but the D3400 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 6.78μm for the E-1). However, the D3400 is a much more recent model (by 13 years and 1 month) than the E-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D3400 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3400 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-1 are 12.8 x 9.6 inches or 32.5 x 24.4 cm for good quality, 10.2 x 7.7 inches or 26 x 19.5 cm for very good quality, and 8.5 x 6.4 inches or 21.7 x 16.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D3400 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 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-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56|
|15.||Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|16.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|17.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D3400 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-1 does not. The highest resolution format that the D3400 can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3400 and the E-1 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-1 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D3400 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the D3400 has a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.48x), 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 D3400 and Olympus E-1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-1||optical||Y||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||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 D500||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||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 D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D5200||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|14.||Olympus E-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-3||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|17.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D3400 has one, while the E-1 does not. While the built-in flash of the D3400 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The D3400 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-1 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-1 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D3400 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 D3400 and Olympus E-1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|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 D500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||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 D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D5300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D3200||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D5200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-5||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-3||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-1 (unlike the D3400) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D3400 and the E-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-1 was replaced by the Olympus E-3, while the D3400 was followed by the Nikon D3500. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3400 or the Olympus E-1 – 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 D3400:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 4.9MP) with a 125% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.48x).
- 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 (921k vs 134k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x98mm vs 141x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 293g or 40 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 750) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (71 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 13 years and 1 month of technical progress since the E-1 launch.
Advantages of the Olympus E-1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2003).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3400 is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 7 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 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 D3400 and the Olympus E-1 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3400 or the E-1 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 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 D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|2.||Olympus E-1||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jun 2003||1,699|
|3.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|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 D500||5/5||+ +||4.7/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|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 D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|11.||Nikon D5300||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799|
|12.||Nikon D3200||5/5||+ +||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|13.||Nikon D5200||4/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749|
|14.||Olympus E-5||4/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,699|
|15.||Olympus E-3||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699|
|16.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|17.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 1200D vs Olympus E-1
- Canon G1 X vs Nikon D3400
- Canon SX70 vs Nikon D3400
- Canon XT vs Nikon D3400
- Nikon D200 vs Olympus E-1
- Nikon D3400 vs Olympus E-P5
- Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic GH3
- Nikon D3400 vs Panasonic ZS70
- Nikon D3S vs Olympus E-1
- Olympus E-1 vs Sony HX80
- Olympus E-1 vs Sony NEX-5R
- Olympus E-1 vs Sony RX100 VI
Specifications: Nikon D3400 vs Olympus E-1
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 D3400||Olympus E-1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2016||June 2003|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3400||Olympus E-1|
|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||4.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||2560 x 1920 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||6.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||2.19 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||TruePic|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||86||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.8||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.9||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1192||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3400||Olympus E-1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||1.8inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||134k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3400||Olympus E-1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3400||Olympus E-1|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3400||Olympus E-1|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
124 x 98 x 76 mm
(4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
141 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||445 g (15.7 oz)||738 g (26.0 oz)|
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