The Samsung NX1000 and Olympus Pen E-PL3 compact system cameras are two of the latest cameras in this sector. I am comparing them here because I was lucky enough with a photographer friend to test out these two cameras for a few hours with the help of a friendly store manager.
The Samsung was fitted with a 20-50mm lens and the Olympus with a 14-42mm lens, both of these are lens kits commonly on sale with these cameras. You do see them on sale with a 17mm lens, but personally I’d go with the versatility of the variable one.
Both cameras have image stabilization, the Samsung in the lens and the Olympus in the body which we’ll come back to later.
The Samsung NX1000 boasts an impressive 20.3 Megapixels and larger APS-C CMOS Sensor, whilst the Olympus has a more modest 12.3 Megapixels, but how does this difference show in the photographic results?
Wi-Fi – The Olympus Pen E-PL3 has it!
The Olympus Pen E-PL3 does have the advantage of built in Wi-Fi which enables you to easily back up photos, plus when combined with a “smartphone” you can select “remote viewfinder”, a feature that allows you to see the camera’s viewfinder image on you phone and be able to operate the shutter remotely too, something that would be useful for taking candid shots and wildlife photography.
We started taking photos indoors to test out how they performed in low light as they both have an impressive ISO 12,800 rating.
The Olympus seemed to struggle with focusing in the very dim light, but when it finally took the shots they were very impressive and appeared to have been taken in daylight. The results from the Olympus were less impressive and there was an orange cast to the photos where the auto white balance was not quite right. So this was where the Samsung’s larger sensor really scored over the Olympus.
Olympus PEN E-PL3 14-42mm 12.3 MP Interchangeable Lens Camera with CMOS Sensor and 3x Optical Zoom (Black)
Amazon Price: $249.99
List Price: $399.00
A Winner in Image Stabilization
However out in the daylight the Olympus’ in body image stabilization proved to be a winner despite having far fewer megapixels, the photos were much crisper than the Samsung’s. This proved true even when swapping to telephoto lenses. Also the Olympus’ in body stabilization means you can use any Micro Four Thirds lens or Four Thirds lens and benefit from it. As I’ve said before megapixels aren’t
Useful Tiltable Screen
The other feature we liked on the Olympus was its tiltable screen, which when pulled away from the body allows you take high or low shots with greater ease.
Although the Samsung NX1000 didn’t have the adjustable screen, it was very clear even in bright light and the menu gave you features somewhat like a more traditional camera and was logical and easy to use.
Both cameras usually come with a clip-on flash this is not always mentioned in the case of the Samsung for some reason, although we didn’t test them expect similar results to a built in flash.
Prices for these two cameras are fluctuating, but generally the Samsung is more expensive, although not always!
Samsung NX1000 Black ~ 20.3MP Digital Camera with 20-50mm Lens
Amazon Price: $294.00
List Price: $699.99