Olympus E-620 vs Sony NEX-C3
The Olympus E-620 and the Sony Alpha NEX-C3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2009 and June 2011. The E-620 is a DSLR, while the NEX-C3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-620) and an APS-C (NEX-C3) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 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 Olympus E-620 and the Sony Alpha NEX-C3? 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 Olympus E-620 and the Sony NEX-C3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The NEX-C3 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, pink), while the E-620 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 Sony NEX-C3 is considerably smaller (46 percent) than the Olympus E-620. Moreover, the NEX-C3 is substantially lighter (57 percent) than the E-620. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-620 nor the NEX-C3 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 Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-620) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (NEX-C3). Mirrorless cameras, such as the NEX-C3, 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. 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.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony NEX-C3||110 mm||60 mm||33 mm||225 g||400||n||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-600||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||535 g||500||n||Aug 2009||449||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus E-P1||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Jun 2009||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-P2||121 mm||70 mm||36 mm||355 g||300||n||Nov 2009||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699||ebay.com|
|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 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 NEX-C3 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the E-620, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 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. 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 Olympus E-620 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony NEX-C3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NEX-C3 is 62 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-620 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the NEX-C3 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16MP, the NEX-C3 offers a higher resolution than the E-620 (12.2MP), but the NEX-C3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.78μm versus 4.29μm for the E-620) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the NEX-C3 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 3 months) than the E-620, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony NEX-C3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NEX-C3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.4 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.9 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.6 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-620 are 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus E-620 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-C3 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many 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 NEX-C3 offers substantially better image quality than the E-620 (overall score 18 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.4 bits higher color depth, 1.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|3.||Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|4.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|5.||Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|6.||Olympus E-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|7.||Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|8.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|9.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|10.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|11.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|12.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The NEX-C3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-620 does not. The highest resolution format that the NEX-C3 can use is 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-620 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the NEX-C3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the NEX-C3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-SV1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-620 and Sony NEX-C3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony NEX-C3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||n|
|3.||Olympus E-PL1||optional||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|5.||Olympus E-600||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-P1||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-P2||optional||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|10.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony NEX-F3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||n|
|15.||Sony NEX-5N||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-620 has one, while the NEX-C3 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-620 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.
The E-620 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the NEX-C3 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The E-620 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the NEX-C3 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 Olympus E-620 and Sony Alpha NEX-C3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony NEX-C3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Olympus E-PL1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-600||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-P1||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-P2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony NEX-F3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony NEX-5N||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the E-620 and the NEX-C3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-620 was replaced by the Olympus E-600, while the NEX-C3 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the E-620 and NEX-C3 can be found, respectively, in the Olympus E-620 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony NEX-C3 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-620 and the Sony NEX-C3? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-620:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2009).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-C3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 17%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (18 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.4 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.9 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x60mm vs 130x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 296g or 57 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 3 months of technical progress since the E-620 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-C3 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 7 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. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Olympus E-620 and the Sony NEX-C3 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-620 and the NEX-C3 in practical situations. 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.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony NEX-C3||3/5||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Olympus E-PL1||..||86/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599||ebay.com|
|4.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499||ebay.com|
|5.||Olympus E-600||..||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449||ebay.com|
|6.||Olympus E-P1||..||+||..||66/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799||ebay.com|
|7.||Olympus E-P2||3/5||+||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799||ebay.com|
|8.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|11.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony NEX-5N||3/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||3/5||+ +||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||699||ebay.com|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Sony NEX-C3
- Canon 5DS R vs Sony NEX-C3
- Canon 760D vs Olympus E-620
- Canon SX60 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Fujifilm X-E3 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Fujifilm X-H1 vs Olympus E-620
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Olympus E-620
- Nikon D100 vs Sony NEX-C3
- Nikon D2X vs Sony NEX-C3
- Nikon P900 vs Olympus E-620
- Olympus E-620 vs Pentax 645Z
- Olympus E-620 vs Sony A77
Specifications: Olympus E-620 vs Sony NEX-C3
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||Olympus E-620||Sony NEX-C3|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2009||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-620||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4032 x 3024 pixels||4912 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.29 μm||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.42 MP/cm2||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic III+||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||55||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.3||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.3||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||536||1083|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-620||Sony NEX-C3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-620||Sony NEX-C3|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||5.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-620||Sony NEX-C3|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-620||Sony NEX-C3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
130 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
110 x 60 x 33 mm
(4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||521 g (18.4 oz)||225 g (7.9 oz)|
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