Sony NEX-C3 vs Olympus E-P3 – JPEG Test

Sony NEX-C3 vs Olympus E-P3 – JPEG Test

Uggg. I’ve been sick for the last two days so I have been in my house, huddled up in my blanket and bored out of my mind. Trying to beat whatever this is that is attacking my system. While I sit here at my desk in my Pajamas I decided I would post some snaps I took a few days ago that compared the Sony NEX-C3 and Olympus E-P3 and I will only use JPEG this one. I have heard by many NEX users that the NEX-C3 has better JPEG output than the older NEX-3 and 5 so why not put it up against the camera company that is known for their out of camera JPEG quality, Olympus.

These are just boring snaps and I was not even going to post them as I took them due to my own curiosity. Maybe some of you may find it interesting. I used the 16mm 2.8 on the C3 as it is a 24mm equivalent. The Olympus had the 12mm which is also a 24mm equivalent. Same aperture on all shots, 2.8.

One thing to keep in mind is the NEX-C3 is $599 with the 16m lens. The E-P3 is $1700 with the 12mm lens. Usability of the E-P3 is superior in my opinion but thats a huge price gap. Let’s see how they did.

The E-P3 – OOC JPEG. Click image to see the larger size with 100% crop.

NEX-C3 – Again, click for larger. This is right Out of camera, even the odd color shift. The Olympus did not get the color right either, but it was much closer.

Again, OOC JPEG – Click it for larger and 100% crop – 1st – E-P3

Now the NEX-C3. Up close is where the 16mm shows its softness. The 18-55 zoom is sharper than  the 16mm up close. 

E-P3 – no crop this time but do click it for larger view. The color is right on this one…

The NEX is a bit cooler in its output…

So there you go! Again, this was just a JPEG test. Why bother you may ask? Well, when I was in Las Vegas last week I saw no less than 13 NEX shooters. MOST were moms, tourists, and even a few teens. I’d bet just about anything they are shooting JPEG with their cameras. MANY people who buy these little NEX cameras at best buy are people who are upgrading from a P&S and many have no idea what RAW is. So this is for the JPEG shooters out there. Also, it doesn’t really say much as the Sony 16mm lens is mediocre and compared to the Olympus 12mm it falls short. I’m still waiting for Lightroom/Photoshop support for the E-P3 so I can see how the RAW files hold up.

I am happy that Sony is releasing the Zeiss 24 but at the same time, they need MORE high quality lenses for all of us camera crazy “enthusiasts”. Olympus is on the right track. Oh, and I should have my 45 1.8 any time now, so that review will be coming soon!

One more thing! There may be some changes to the site in the next week or so. I am working on making some changes so it may look different over the next few days as I test out different things and features. Ok, now I am off to drink down my NyQuil and get some more rest. Until next time!

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  1. “MANY people who buy these little NEX cameras at best buy are people who are upgrading from a P&S” That would be me and it was a good investment on my part but I’ve learned that RAW format is not my enemy but a great asset that can help me learn.

  2. Strangely, I love the NEX C3 colors for the above pictures this time. The green leaves are greener than EP3. However, the colors that we like may very well depend on that the kind of shots and subjects that we are taking. Would appreciate if you could compare the skin tone and auto white balance in both of these cameras near soon and did a comparison between these both cameras. Thanks.

  3. You don’t need to pixel peep to see the lousy quality of the Sony lens in the second picture. Look at the texture and detail of the boards in the fence.

    With the Sony 16mm the picture is a blurry mess.

  4. Steve, No offense, I’m a lurker on your website but rarely comment. I am so NOT IN LOVE with these Sony Nex cameras. I don’t care for them and wouldn’t care if Sony sank ship, seriously! I love the micro four thirds system and shoot with Panasonic lenses and cameras. I want an Olympus EP3. I think you should stick and dedicate yourself to Micro Four Thirds, but that’s just my personal opinion and I have to be honest!

    • No offense taken Nate! BUT! I am a writer of a camera and lens review blog so sticking and dedicating myself to one system is impossible. 🙂 This IS my job.

      I write about the coolest and hottest gear that I LIKE and what I think the readers would like. I prefer small, high quality, and easy to use and operate. I like to use the gear that has the most promise and potential.

      I bought my E-P3 and 12mm and love it. I also love my M9P and 50mm. I also may enjoy the NEX-7 as it seems like a killer camera. The NEX C3 and 5N do not excite me do to the control scheme so I’ll be using my Leica and Olympus until the NEX-7 comes along and I will be doing long term testing of that camera. Until then I will be reviewing other new things like the Ricoh A12 M mount for the GXR system, the Pentax Q and a few other surprises. I will also review the NEX 5N but will not be keeping it. I only keep what I REALLY think is worth it. M9, X100, E-P3….maybe NEX-7 & 24 1.8!


  5. I think it’s a good point that many shoot jpeg, but, at the same time, those that shoot jpeg aren’t as likely to zoom into the picture 100% to check quality for comparison sake.

  6. 1st pic goes to the Oly, the other 2 I prefer the NEX C3. Surreal colors? Who cares, leica’s signature has nothing to do with real color. I agree with most, Sony has a winner with the NEX7 now they need to keep it current for a good 2 years and release Great lenses during that period (sign with Zeiss), then it will be time for all of us to change the can.

  7. I couldn’t agree more with you, Steve. I prefer the Olympus sharpness, but the Sony sensor. Sony needs t get off their asses and produce lenses that beat the competition. I love the Sony sensor, but the lenses just aren’t there like other companies. I love the Olympus ergonomics and cool factor, but wish it had the Sony’s sensor. Ugh. I don’t know what the solution is, maybe to get the Zeiss lens? I would really like it if Sony would wake up. Stop making cameras, and start making the lenses to mate with the lovely sensor. Olympus got it right in lenses and coo factor.

  8. Get well! Looking forward to seeing you review the Nex-7… since that seems the camera that sets the bar for compacts at the moment.

  9. The EP-3 pics may be a little sharper – due to the lens quality, but the overall pictures seem more interesting from the NEX. I think the quality is adequate for both, but I enjoy the look of the longer lens on the NEX with the decreased depth of field

  10. Hope you feel better Steve! I’ve got a cold too right now, and summer colds suck so much.

  11. Interesting comparison. The Oly is sharper, and the Oly processing is better, but the bokeh on the Sony shows off the advantage of the bigger sensor. (The 16mm does not produce particularly good bokeh, but to me it looks clearly better than the EP3.)

    I would be interested to hear your opinion.

    To me, bokeh is one of the only reasons to get a Sony over an MFT.

  12. Hi Steve,

    Hope you get better soon. It’s a pig being sick.

    I much prefer the Oly pics to the Sony ones. Not sure you’ll like that given that you seem to be transitioning from Oly to Sony, with the NEX-7, but it’s all subjective, right?

    Anyway, will be rushing home today because my latest Pany lens arrived today. The new 25mm f1.4. Can’t wait to try it out.

  13. Steve,

    I’m curious to know – what is on your wish list for high quality E-mount lenses? Get well soon.

  14. Hey steve, hpe u get better soon. I thi k comparing jpgs are just as necessary as raws, even as a photo nut, I do shoot jpegs often, when I just want out of camera result for a quick turn around. Great work. I’m eager for that sexy Nex7 now, will see what ur thoughts on it are first.

      • I’m looking forward to that review. It’s taken some getting used to, but I just got back from a family vacation with my NEX-5 and am really happy with the shots I got. One of the big draws of the NEX series for me is their great performance at high iso relative to m43. I’m worried that the high pixel count in the NEX-7 is going to hurt it in the upper iso range. That seems to be their only real advantage to me — the m43 cameras seem great at low iso and they’re clearly winning in the battle to amass a roster of high quality lenses.

      • 3 more primes through the end of 2012… Zeiss, which should be good, but expensive, and then a Sony 50mm and a longer prime next year. Seems crazy that they will have more bodies on the market than lenses, most of which disappoint.

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