Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-5

  • Four Thirds
  • 10 megapixels
  • Four Thirds
  • 40
    Overall
  • 13
    Imaging
  • 44
    Features
  • 70
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Four Thirds
  • 12 megapixels
  • Four Thirds
  • 42
    Overall
  • 15
    Imaging
  • 64
    Features
  • 70
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-5: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

The goal of this overview is to provide a detailed comparison of two popular camera models from Semi-Pro DSLR category, introduced by Olympus. We are going to take a closer look at the technical and physical characteristics, features, and performance. The models we are going to assess and compare in this review are E-3 and E-5. Both products that we are going to review are equipped with the same type of sensor - CMOS. However, they have different resolution. Thus, Olympus E-3 comes with a 10.0 MP CMOS sensor, while the Olympus E-5 features a 12.0 MP CMOS sensor.

Now, before we can move on to our comparison, let's take a moment to look at the key characteristics of Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5.

Olympus E-3 Key Features:

  • 10.0 MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 3200
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 142 x 116 x 75 mm
  • Weight: 890 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Olympus E-1. Compare
  • Replaced by Olympus E-5. Compare

Olympus E-5 Key Features:

  • 12.0 MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 6400
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Fully Articulated Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 143 x 117 x 75 mm
  • Weight: 800 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Olympus E-3. Compare

Since Olympus E-3 has been around for some time, it was substituted by Olympus E-5.

Being a newer model, Olympus E-3 substituted Olympus E-1. Be sure to check out some of our other comparisons that may also interest you:
Olympus E-3 vs. E-1
Olympus E-1 vs. Olympus E-5

Why is Olympus E-3 a better choice than Olympus E-5

Dxo Low Light Iso 571 vs 519 Better High ISO performance

What are the key reasons to pick Olympus E-5 over Olympus E-3

Storage Slots 2 vs 1 Extra storage slot
Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP vs 10.0 MP 16.7% more pixels
Flash Range 18 vs 13 5 better flash range
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes vs No Very handy for portraits
Screen Size 3″ vs 2.5″ 0.5" larger screen
Screen Resolution 920k dots vs 230k dots 75% higher resolution screen
Weight 800 g vs 890 g 90 g lighter

Key PROs of Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5

Screen Type Fully Articulated | Fully Articulated Help viewing and changing settings easily
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Built-In Flash Yes | Yes External flash available
Image Stabilization Yes | Yes Built-in stabilization
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Environmental Sealing Yes | Yes Shoot at tough conditions

Key CONs of Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5

Touch Screen No | No No touch screen
Screen Resolution 230k dots | 920k dots Small screen resolution
Sensor Resolution 10.0 MP | 12.0 MP Small sensor resolution
Timelapse Recording No | No No timelapse recording
Continuous Shooting 5.0 fps | 5.0 fps Low continuous shooting

Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-5: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5 from the front view.

Olympus E-3
Olympus E-5
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Olympus E-3
Olympus E-5
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Olympus E-5 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 90g less than the Olympus E-3. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Thickness values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Olympus E-3 — 75 mm
Olympus E-5 — 75 mm
Min: 64 mm
Average: 75 mm
Max: 86 mm
Weight values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Olympus E-3 — 890 g
Olympus E-5 — 800 g
Min: 479 g
Average: 783 g
Max: 1074 g

Comparing Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5 by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5 any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Olympus E-3 features a 10.0 MP Four Thirds sized CMOS sensor and boasts of a TruePic III processor . Olympus E-5, in its turn, comes with a 12.0 MP Four Thirds sized CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5 by the size of their sensors.

Olympus E-3
Olympus E-5
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Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5 are identical by this indicator, as each feature a sensor of the same size. Thus, both cameras will provide the same level of control in terms of the depth of field if you use them with the same focal length and aperture.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5 Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Olympus E-3 Olympus E-5
Portrait Photography
65%
81%
Street Photography
91%
98%
Sports Photography
88%
86%
Daily Photography
98%
84%
Landscape Photography
56%
69%

Olympus E-3 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Image Stabilization

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor

Olympus E-5 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor

Olympus E-3 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Fully Articulated Screen
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large Four Thirds(17.3 x 13 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (142 x 116 x 75 mm)
  • Small Number of autofocus Points (11)

Olympus E-5 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Fully Articulated Screen
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large Four Thirds(17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (870 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (143 x 117 x 75 mm)
  • Small Number of autofocus Points (11)

Olympus E-3 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big size (142 x 116 x 75 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.0 fps)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (11)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (571)

Olympus E-5 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big size (143 x 117 x 75 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.0 fps)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (11)
  • Small Number of CrossFocus Points (11)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (519)
  • Small battery life (870 shots)

Olympus E-3 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Big weight (890 g)
  • Big size (142 x 116 x 75 mm)
  • Video is not available

Olympus E-5 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Big weight (800 g)
  • Big size (143 x 117 x 75 mm)

Olympus E-3 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Low resolution sensor (10 MP)
  • Bad Dynamic Range (10.5)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (571)

Olympus E-5 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Low resolution sensor (12 MP)
  • Bad Dynamic Range (10.5)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (519)

Comparison of Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-5: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Olympus E-3 or Olympus E-5, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-5 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Olympus E-5 deserves a higher Total Score than the Olympus E-3. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-5 Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Olympus E-3 Olympus E-5
General
Brand Olympus Olympus
Model E-3 E-5
Announced Feb 20, 2008 Feb 03, 2011
Body Type Mid-size SLR Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size Four Thirds Four Thirds
Sensor Dimensions 17.3 x 13 mm 17.3 x 13 mm
Sensor Area 224.90 mm2 224.90 mm2
Sensor Resolution 10.0 MP 12.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 4032 x 3024
Max Native ISO 3,200 6,400
Max Boosted ISO n/a n/a
Min Native ISO 100 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Four Thirds Four Thirds
Number of Lenses 45 45
Focal Length Multiplier 2x 2x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking No No
AF Selective Yes No
AF Center No No
AF Multi Area Yes No
AF Live View No Yes
AF Face Detection No Yes
AF Contrast Detection No Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 11 11
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a 11
Screen
Screen Type Fully Articulated Fully Articulated
Screen Size 2.5″ 3″
Screen Resolution 230k dots 920k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.58 0.58
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 60 s 60 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 5.0 fps 5.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization Yes Yes
Built-in Flash Yes Yes
Flash Range 13 18
Flash Modes Auto, Auto FP, Manual, Red-Eye Auto, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Fill-in
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing No Yes
WB Bracketing No Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment No Yes
Average No No
Spot No Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted No Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 56 56
DxO Color Depth 21.6 21.6
DxO Dynamic Range 10.5 10.5
DxO Low Light ISO 571 519
Video Features
Video Resolutions n/a 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Max Video Resolution 1280 x 720
Video Formats n/a Motion JPEG
Microphone Port No Yes
Headphone Port No No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity No No
HDMI No Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing Yes Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 890 g 800 g
Physical Dimensions 142 x 116 x 75 mm 143 x 117 x 75 mm
Battery Life n/a 870 shots
Battery Type n/a Battery Pack
Battery Model n/a BLM-5
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording No No
GPS
Storage Type Compact Flash (Type I or II), xD Picture Card Compact Flash (Type I or II)/SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage Slots 1 2

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