Olympus E-3 versus Nikon D200
The Olympus E-3 and the Nikon D200 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2007 and November 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (E-3) and an APS-C (D200) 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: Olympus E-3 vs Nikon D200
The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-3 and the Nikon D200 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth 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 E-3 – represents 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-3 and the Nikon D200are of equal size. However, the D200 is markedly heavier (5 percent) than the E-3. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
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 Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-3) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D200).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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|
|Olympus E-3»||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.9 oz||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699||-|
|Nikon D200«||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||-|
|Nikon D500« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||30.3 oz||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|Nikon D300S« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||-|
|Nikon D300« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||-|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||-|
|Nikon D2X« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999||-|
|Olympus E-5« »||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.8 oz||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-600« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Aug 2009||449||-|
|Olympus E-420« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599||-|
|Olympus E-520« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699||-|
|Olympus E-30« »||5.6 in||4.3 in||3.0 in||24.7 oz||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||-|
|Olympus E-410« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699||-|
|Olympus E-510« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799||-|
|Olympus E-1« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||26.0 oz||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699||-|
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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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.
Sensor comparison: Olympus E-3 vs Nikon D200
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Nikon D200 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D200 is 66 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the E-3 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D200 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Even though the D200 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 10 megapixel. This implies that the D200 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 4.74μm for the E-3), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the E-3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the D200, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 consideration, the D200 has a markedly higher DXO score than the E-3 (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and -0 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.
|Olympus E-3»||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|Nikon D500« »||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.0||14.0||1324||83|
|Nikon D300S« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.5||12.2||787||70|
|Nikon D300« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.1||12.0||679||67|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.2||10.9||489||59|
|Nikon D2X« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.1||10.9||476||59|
|Olympus E-5« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56|
|Olympus E-620« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-600« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|Olympus E-420« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|Olympus E-520« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|Olympus E-30« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|Olympus E-410« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Olympus E-510« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|Olympus E-1« »||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||-||-||-||-||-|
Feature comparison: Olympus E-3 vs Nikon D200
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-3 and the D200 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-3 and Nikon D200 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Nikon D500« »||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||n|
|Nikon D300S« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||7.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D300« »||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
|Nikon D2X« »||optical||Y||2.5||235||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
|Olympus E-5« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||swivel||n||8000||5.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-620« »||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||4000||4.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-600« »||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||4000||4.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-420« »||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||4000||3.5||Y||n|
|Olympus E-520« »||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||4000||3.5||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-30« »||optical||Y||2.7||230||swivel||n||8000||5.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-410« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Olympus E-510« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-1« »||optical||Y||1.8||134||fixed||n||4000||3.0||n||n|
Both the E-3 and the D200 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D200 was replaced by the Nikon D300, while the E-3 was followed by the Olympus E-5.
Review summary: Olympus E-3 vs Nikon D200
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-3 and the Nikon D200? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus E-3:
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 11 months after the D200).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D200:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2005).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-3 comes out slightly ahead of the D200 (4 : 3 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-3 or the D200. 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.
|Olympus E-3»||88/100||HiRec||rev||rev||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699||-|
|Nikon D200«||HiRec||HiRec||rev||5/5||-||Nov 2005||1,699||-|
|Nikon D500« »||HiRec||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|Nikon D300S« »||HiRec||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799||-|
|Nikon D300« »||HiRec||HiRec||5/5||rev||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799||-|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||-||-||-||rev||-||Jun 2006||4,699||-|
|Nikon D2X« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Sep 2004||4,999||-|
|Olympus E-5« »||-||75/100||4/5||-||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,699||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||rev||5/5||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-600« »||-||-||-||-||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449||-|
|Olympus E-420« »||85/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599||-|
|Olympus E-520« »||87/100||HiRec||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699||-|
|Olympus E-30« »||-||71/100||4.5/5||-||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299||-|
|Olympus E-410« »||86/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699||-|
|Olympus E-510« »||89/100||HiRec||3.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799||-|
|Olympus E-1« »||-||Rec||rev||rev||-||Jun 2003||1,699||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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