Nikon D5500 vs Olympus E-PL8
The Nikon D5500 and the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2015 and September 2016. The D5500 is a DSLR, while the E-PL8 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D5500) and a Four Thirds (E-PL8) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Nikon D5500||Olympus E-PL8|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25600||ISO 200-6400 (100-25600)|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.2" LCD, 1037k dots||3.0" LCD, 1037k dots|
|Swivel touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|5 shutter flaps per second||8 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|820 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 97 x 70 mm, 420 g||115 x 67 x 38 mm, 357 g|
Body comparison: Nikon D5500 vs Olympus E-PL8
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D5500 and the Olympus E-PL8. 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. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D5500 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL8 is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Nikon D5500. Moreover, the E-PL8 is markedly lighter (15 percent) than the D5500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D5500 nor the E-PL8 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 (D5500) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-PL8). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-PL8, 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 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, 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.
|Nikon D5500»||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||14.8 oz||820||n||Jan 2015||899||-||Nikon D5500|
|Olympus E-PL8«||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Sep 2016||549||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Canon M5« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.4 in||15.1 oz||295||n||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Nikon D3500« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||12.9 oz||1550||n||Aug 2018||429||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D500« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||30.3 oz||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D3400« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||-||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3200« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||540||n||Apr 2012||599||-||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5200« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||500||n||Nov 2012||749||-||Nikon D5200|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||13.4 oz||350||n||Feb 2018||549||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-M10 III« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.0 in||14.5 oz||330||n||Aug 2017||649||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||4.7 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||13.8 oz||320||n||Aug 2015||799||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Aug 2014||599||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Panasonic G7« »||4.9 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||14.5 oz||350||n||May 2015||649||-||Panasonic G7|
|Sony A6300« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.9 in||14.3 oz||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||-||Sony A6300|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The E-PL8 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 39 percent) than the D5500, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Nikon D5500 vs Olympus E-PL8
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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D5500 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL8 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL8 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 D5500 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL8 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24MP, the D5500 offers a higher resolution than the E-PL8 (15.9MP), but the D5500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL8) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-PL8 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the D5500, and its sensor might 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 D5500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Nikon D5500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600 The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600..
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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Nikon D5500»||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84||Nikon D5500|
|Olympus E-PL8«||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Canon M5« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77||Canon M5|
|Nikon D3500« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D500« »||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.0||14.0||1324||83||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D3400« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3200« »||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/30p||24.1||13.2||1131||81||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5200« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.2||13.9||1284||84||Nikon D5200|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-M10 III« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72||Olympus E-PL7|
|Panasonic G7« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||-||-||-||-||Panasonic G7|
|Sony A6300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the D5500 provides a higher frame rate than the E-PL8. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Nikon D5500 vs Olympus E-PL8
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D5500 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL8 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D5500 and Olympus E-PL8 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon D5500»||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5500|
|Olympus E-PL8«||-||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||4000||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL8|
|Canon M5« »||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n||Canon M5|
|Nikon D3500« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D500« »||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||n||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D3400« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3200« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5200« »||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5200|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-M10 III« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||-||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||4000||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL7|
|Panasonic G7« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||7.0||Y||n||Panasonic G7|
|Sony A6300« »||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||4000||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D5500 has one, while the E-PL8 does not. While the built-in flash of the D5500 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D5500 and the E-PL8 write their files to SDXC cards.
Connectivity comparison: Nikon D5500 vs Olympus E-PL8
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 D5500 and Olympus PEN E-PL8 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D5500»||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5500|
|Olympus E-PL8«||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Canon M5« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M5|
|Nikon D3500« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D500« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D3400« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3200« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5200« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5200|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-M10 III« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Panasonic G7« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Panasonic G7|
|Sony A6300« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
It is notable that the D5500 has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-PL8. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the D5500 and the E-PL8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5500 was replaced by the Nikon D5600, while the E-PL8 was followed by the Olympus E-PL9.
Review summary: Nikon D5500 vs Olympus E-PL8
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D5500 better than the Olympus E-PL8 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Nikon D5500:
- 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: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: Larger pixels generate images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (820 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2015).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL8:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x67mm vs 124x97mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 63g or 15 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- 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 affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (39 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 8 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D5500 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.
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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D5500 or the E-PL8. 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: Nikon D5500 vs Olympus E-PL8
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Nikon D5500»||Rec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899||-||Nikon D5500|
|Olympus E-PL8«||-||-||4.5/5||-||4/5||Sep 2016||549||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|Canon M5« »||Rec||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Nikon D3500« »||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429||Nikon D3500|
|Nikon D5600« »||-||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D500« »||HiRec||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D3400« »||Rec||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||-||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||Rec||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3200« »||HiRec||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599||-||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5200« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2012||749||-||Nikon D5200|
|Olympus E-PL9« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||-||4/5||Feb 2018||549||Olympus E-PL9|
|Olympus E-M10 III« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||HiRec||80/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||799||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-PL7« »||Rec||-||5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599||-||Olympus E-PL7|
|Panasonic G7« »||HiRec||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2015||649||-||Panasonic G7|
|Sony A6300« »||Rec||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999||-||Sony A6300|
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.
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Specifications: Nikon D5500 vs Olympus E-PL8
|Camera Model||Nikon D5500||Olympus E-PL8|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2015||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 899||USD 549|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 15.6 mm|
|MP Resolution||24 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Size||3.91 μm||3.76 μm|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||200-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-25600 ISO|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Battery Type||EN-EL14a power pack||BLS-50 power pack|
|Battery Life||820 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
124 x 97 x 70 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in)
115 x 67 x 38 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||420 g (14.8 oz)||357 g (12.6 oz)|
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