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Olympus E-P5 versus Nikon D3400

The Olympus PEN E-P5 and the Nikon D3400 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2013 and August 2016. The E-P5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D3400 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-P5) and an APS-C (D3400) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 24 MP. 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-P5 vs Nikon D3400

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-P5 and the Nikon D3400. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures 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-P5 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Olympus E-P5 vs Nikon D3400
Compare E-P5 versus D3400 top
Compare E-P5 and D3400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3400 is considerably larger (44 percent) than the Olympus E-P5. Moreover, the D3400 is markedly heavier (6 percent) than the E-P5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-P5 nor the D3400 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 find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-P5) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3400). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Olympus E-P5, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the E-P5 gets 330 shots out of its BLN-1 battery, while the D3400 can take 1200 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

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
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Olympus E-P5» 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 14.8 oz 330 n May 2013 999- i
Nikon D3400« 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499 i i
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D5500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3300« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599- i
Olympus PEN-F« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.5 in 15.1 oz 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-PL7« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 12.6 oz 350 n Aug 2014 599- i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-M1« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i
Olympus E-PM2« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 499- i
Olympus E-PL5« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 599- i
Olympus E-M5« » 4.8 in 3.5 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299- i
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i

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 D3400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the E-P5, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-P5 vs Nikon D3400

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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-P5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Nikon D3400 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D3400 is 63 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-P5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D3400 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Olympus E-P5 and Nikon D3400 sensor measures

With 24MP, the D3400 offers a higher resolution than the E-P5 (15.9MP), but the D3400 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.76μm for the E-P5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3400 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 3 months) than the E-P5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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.

E-P5 versus D3400 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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 D3400 offers substantially better image quality than the E-P5 (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Olympus E-P5» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572
Nikon D3400« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
Nikon D3200« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Olympus E-PL7« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Olympus E-M1« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
Olympus E-PM2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.293272
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972
Olympus E-M5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D3400 provides a faster frame rate than the E-P5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-P5 vs Nikon D3400

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D3400 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-P5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-P5, the Nikon D3400, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Olympus E-P5»- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 9.0 Y Y
Nikon D3400«optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D3200« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-PL7« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M1« »2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-PM2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 4000 8.0 n Y
Olympus E-M5« »1440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 4000 9.0 n Y
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 4000 3.0 Y Y
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y

The D3400 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the E-P5 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-P5 was succeeded by the ...

Review summary: Olympus E-P5 vs Nikon D3400

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-P5 and the Nikon D3400? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-P5:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x69mm vs 124x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2013).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3400:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 330) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the E-P5 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3400 comes out slightly ahead of the E-P5 (11 : 10 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.

E-P5 10:11 D3400

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-P5 or the D3400. 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 full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Olympus E-P5»HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999- i
Nikon D3400«Rec76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499 i i
Canon SL2« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i
Nikon D5500« »Rec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i
Nikon D3300« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i
Nikon D3200« »HiRec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-PL7« »Rec-5/54.5/54/5 Aug 2014 599- i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-M1« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i
Olympus E-PM2« »-77/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i
Olympus E-PL5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i
Olympus E-M5« »HiRec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299- i
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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