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Olympus E-PL1 vs Pentax K-3

The Olympus PEN E-PL1 and the Pentax K-3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2010 and October 2013. The E-PL1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the K-3 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-PL1) and an APS-C (K-3) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 24.1 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-PL1   Pentax K-3
Olympus E-PL1 Pentax K-3
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Micro Four Thirds lenses Pentax K mount lenses
12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
720/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 200-3200 ISO 100-51200
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
2.7" LCD, 230k dots 3.2" LCD, 1037k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 8.3 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Not weather sealedWeathersealed body
290 shots per battery charge560 shots per battery charge
115 x 72 x 42 mm, 334 g 131 x 100 x 77 mm, 800 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus PEN E-PL1 and the Pentax K-3? 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.

Body comparison: Olympus E-PL1 vs Pentax K-3

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL1 and the Pentax K-3. 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 E-PL1 can be obtained in four different colors (black, blue, yellow, white), while the K-3 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).

Size Olympus E-PL1 vs Pentax K-3
Compare E-PL1 versus K-3 top
Comparison E-PL1 or K-3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax K-3 is considerably larger (58 percent) than the Olympus E-PL1. Moreover, the K-3 is substantially heavier (140 percent) than the E-PL1. It is noteworthy in this context that the K-3 is splash and dust-proof, while the E-PL1 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the E-PL1 gets 290 shots out of its BLS-1 battery, while the K-3 can take 560 images on a single charge of its D-LI90 power pack.

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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-PL1» 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 11.8 oz 290 n Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
 
Pentax K-3« 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 28.2 oz 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i Pentax K-3
 
Olympus E-PL9« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 13.4 oz 350 n Feb 2018 549 i i Olympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jun 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 330 n Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P1« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
 
Pentax KP« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i i Pentax KP
 
Pentax K-70« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.9 in 24.3 oz 410 Y Jun 2016 649 i i Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 28.2 oz 720 Y Apr 2015 1,099 i i Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-5« » 5.2 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 26.8 oz 740 Y Sep 2010 1,099- i Pentax K-5
 
Sony A77« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 25.8 oz 470 Y Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 E-PL1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 54 percent) than the K-3, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-PL1 vs Pentax K-3

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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-PL1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Pentax K-3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the K-3 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-PL1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the K-3 offers a 3:2 aspect.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Olympus E-PL1 and Pentax K-3 sensor measures

With 24.1MP, the K-3 offers a higher resolution than the E-PL1 (12.2MP), but the K-3 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.90μm versus 4.29μm for the E-PL1). Yet, the K-3 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 8 months) than the E-PL1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the K-3 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Pentax K-3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the K-3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20 inch or 76.4 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16 inch or 61.1 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.3 inch or 50.9 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL1 are 20.2 x 15.1 inch or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inch or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inch or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Olympus PEN E-PL1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax K-3 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (no boost).

E-PL1 versus K-3 MP

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 K-3 offers substantially better image quality than the E-PL1 (overall score 26 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.2 bits higher color depth, 3.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-PL1» Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754Olympus E-PL1
 
Pentax K-3« APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680Pentax K-3
 
Olympus E-PL9« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Olympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654Panasonic GF2
 
Pentax KP« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i----Pentax KP
 
Pentax K-70« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i----Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.613.6110680Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-5« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/25p23.714.1116282Pentax K-5
 
Sony A77« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178Sony A77

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the K-3 provides a better video resolution than the E-PL1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-PL1 vs Pentax K-3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the K-3 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-PL1 and Pentax K-3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-PL1»- n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL1
 
Pentax K-3«optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y Pentax K-3
 
Olympus E-PL9« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6 Y Y Olympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P1« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic GF2
 
Pentax KP« »optical n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/6000s 7.0 Y Y Pentax KP
 
Pentax K-70« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/6000s 6.0 Y Y Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« »optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 n Y Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-5« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y Y Pentax K-5
 
Sony A77« »2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y Sony A77

One feature that is present on the K-3, but is missing on the E-PL1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The Pentax K-3 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The E-PL1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the K-3 uses SDXC cards. The K-3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the E-PL1 only has one slot. The K-3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the E-PL1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Olympus E-PL1 vs Pentax K-3

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 PEN E-PL1 and Pentax K-3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-PL1»Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL1
 
Pentax K-3«YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Pentax K-3
 
Olympus E-PL9« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-YOlympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-P3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-620« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P1« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic G10« »Ymono---mini2.0---Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic GF2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF2
 
Pentax KP« »YstereomonoY--2.0Y--Pentax KP
 
Pentax K-70« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Pentax K-5
 
Sony A77« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony A77

It is notable that the K-3 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The E-PL1 lacks such a headphone port.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax K-3 (unlike the E-PL1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the E-PL1 and the K-3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PL1 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL2, while the K-3 was followed by the Pentax K-3 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Pentax websites.


Review summary: Olympus E-PL1 vs Pentax K-3

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus E-PL1 better than the Pentax K-3 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More compact: Is smaller (115x72mm vs 131x100mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 466g or 58 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (54 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2010).

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Reasons to prefer the Pentax K-3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (26 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.3 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (560 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • 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.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 8 months of technical progress since the E-PL1 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the K-3 is the clear winner of the contest (23 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

E-PL1 06:23 K-3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-PL1 and the Pentax K-3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-PL1 or the K-3 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.

Expert reviews: Olympus E-PL1 vs Pentax K-3

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-PL1»86/10069/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599- i Olympus E-PL1
 
Pentax K-3«-83/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i Pentax K-3
 
Olympus E-PL9« »+-4.5/5-4/5 Feb 2018 549 i i Olympus E-PL9
 
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »83/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-PL3« »+ +72/1004.5/5-4/5 Jun 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL3
 
Olympus E-PM1« »86/10071/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2011 499- i Olympus E-PM1
 
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-P1« »+66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
 
Olympus E-P2« »+69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
 
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
 
Pentax KP« »-82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i i Pentax KP
 
Pentax K-70« »-79/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jun 2016 649 i i Pentax K-70
 
Pentax K-3 II« »--5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2015 1,099 i i Pentax K-3 II
 
Pentax K-5« »-83/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,099- i Pentax K-5
 
Sony A77« »91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus E-PL1:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax K-3:
Check Ebay offers

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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-PL1 vs Pentax K-3

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Olympus E-PL1 Pentax K-3
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Pentax K mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2010 October 2013
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 1299
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-PL1 Pentax K-3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 24.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4032 x 3024 pixels 6016 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.29 μm 3.90 μm
    Pixel Density 5.42 MP/cm2 6.56 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 200-3200 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    Image Processor Truepic V PRIME III
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 54 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.1 13.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 487 1216
    Screen Specs Olympus E-PL1 Pentax K-3
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-PL1 Pentax K-3
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000/s 1/8000/s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 8.3 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-PL1 Pentax K-3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-PL1 Pentax K-3
    Environmental SealingNot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BLS-1 power pack D-LI90 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)290 shots per charge560 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 115 x 72 x 42 mm
    (4.5 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
    131 x 100 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 334 g (11.8 oz) 800 g (28.2 oz)

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