Olympus E-PL5 vs Sony A3000
The Olympus PEN E-PL5 and the Sony Alpha A3000 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and August 2013. Both the E-PL5 and the A3000 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (E-PL5) and an APS-C (A3000) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 19.8 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 PEN E-PL5 and the Sony Alpha A3000? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-PL5 and the Sony A3000 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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.
The E-PL5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the A3000 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 A3000 is considerably larger (64 percent) than the Olympus E-PL5. Moreover, the A3000 is markedly heavier (26 percent) than the E-PL5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-PL5 nor the A3000 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 Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-PL5) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A3000). Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
Concerning battery life, the E-PL5 gets 360 shots out of its BLS-5 battery, while the A3000 can take 470 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A3000 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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-PL5||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|2.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|3.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599|
|4.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|6.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|7.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|8.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|9.||Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|12.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|13.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|14.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|15.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|16.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: 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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A3000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 45 percent) than the E-PL5, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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-PL5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A3000 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A3000 is 59 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-PL5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A3000 offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 19.8MP, the A3000 offers a higher resolution than the E-PL5 (15.9MP), but the A3000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.25μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A3000 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the E-PL5, and its sensor might 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 A3000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A3000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.3 x 46.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.8 x 14.5 inches or 55.4 x 36.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.1 inches or 46.2 x 30.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL5 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus PEN E-PL5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A3000 are ISO 100 to ISO 16000 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 A3000 has a markedly higher DXO score than the E-PL5 (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 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-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|3.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1162||74|
|4.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.6||1030||73|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|6.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|7.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|8.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|9.||Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.5||12.0||717||68|
|10.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|12.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|17.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A3000 provides a faster frame rate than the E-PL5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A3000 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-3. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-PL5 and Sony A3000 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|2.||Sony A3000||202||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|3.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PL8||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y|
|12.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n|
|13.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|14.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|15.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
One feature that differentiates the E-PL5 and the A3000 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PL5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the A3000 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.The E-PL5 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A3000 does not have a selfie-screen.
The E-PL5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A3000 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The E-PL5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the A3000 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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-PL5 and Sony Alpha A3000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony A3000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the E-PL5 and the A3000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PL5 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL6, while the A3000 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-PL5 and the Sony A3000? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL5:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k 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.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x64mm vs 128x91mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 86g or 21 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A3000:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (19.8 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (45 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (11 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-PL5 comes out slightly ahead of the A3000 (10 : 9 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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-PL5 and the Sony A3000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-PL5 and the A3000 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-PL5||3/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|2.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|3.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599|
|4.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|6.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|7.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|8.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|9.||Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599|
|10.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|12.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|13.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|14.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|15.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|16.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon M100 vs Sony A3000
- Canon R6 vs Sony A3000
- Leica X Typ 113 vs Olympus E-PL5
- Nikon D5300 vs Olympus E-PL5
- Olympus E-PL5 vs Olympus E-PL6
- Olympus E-PL5 vs Panasonic LX5
- Olympus E-PL5 vs Pentax Q
- Olympus E-PL5 vs Sony A7 II
- Panasonic G5 vs Sony A3000
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Sony A3000
- Sony A3000 vs Sony A6500
- Sony A3000 vs Sony A7C
Specifications: Olympus E-PL5 vs Sony A3000
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-PL5||Sony A3000|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||August 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 329|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-PL5||Sony A3000|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.2 x 15.4 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||357.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||27.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||19.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||5456 x 3632 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||4.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||5.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 16,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VI||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||72||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3||12.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||889||1068|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-PL5||Sony A3000|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-PL5||Sony A3000|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-PL5||Sony A3000|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-PL5||Sony A3000|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
111 x 64 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
128 x 91 x 85 mm
(5.0 x 3.6 x 3.3 in)
|Camera Weight||325 g (11.5 oz)||411 g (14.5 oz)|
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