Leica D-LUX 5 vs Olympus E-PL5
The Leica D-LUX 5 and the Olympus PEN E-PL5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and September 2012. The D-LUX 5 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PL5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (D-LUX 5) and a Four Thirds (E-PL5) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Leica D-LUX 5||Olympus E-PL5|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|24-90mm f/2.0-3.3||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|10 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor||15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|720/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 80-3200 (80-12800)||ISO 200-25600|
|Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 460k dots||3.0" LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting touchscreen|
|2.5 shutter flaps per second||8 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|400 shots per battery charge||360 shots per battery charge|
|110 x 65 x 43 mm, 271 g||111 x 64 x 38 mm, 325 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Olympus PEN E-PL5? 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 Leica D-LUX 5 and the Olympus E-PL5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the D-LUX 5 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 Leica D-LUX 5 and the Olympus E-PL5 are of equal size. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D-LUX 5 nor the E-PL5 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the D-LUX 5 has a lens built in, whereas the E-PL5 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-PL5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Leica D-LUX 5»||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Sep 2010||699||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Olympus E-PL5«||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus E-PL5|
|Canon G7 X Mark II« »||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G7 X« »||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699||Canon G7 X|
|Fujifilm X10« »||4.6 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||12.3 oz||270||n||Sep 2011||599||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica D-LUX 6« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Sep 2012||699||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica V-LUX 3« »||4.9 in||3.2 in||3.7 in||19.0 oz||410||n||Dec 2011||949||Leica V-LUX 3|
|Leica V-LUX 2« »||4.9 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||18.3 oz||410||n||Sep 2010||849||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica X1« »||4.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.8 oz||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995||Leica X1|
|Leica V-LUX 1« »||5.6 in||3.4 in||5.6 in||25.9 oz||360||n||Sep 2006||849||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Olympus E-M10 II« »||4.7 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||13.8 oz||320||n||Aug 2015||649||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10« »||4.7 in||3.2 in||1.8 in||14.0 oz||320||n||Jan 2014||699||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL6« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||May 2013||599||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PM2« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||499||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus E-PL3« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||599||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus XZ-1« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.7 oz||320||n||Jan 2011||499||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic LX5« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499||Panasonic LX5|
|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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica D-LUX 5 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Olympus E-PL5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL5 is 389 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3. The D-LUX 5 has the particularity of featuring a switch that allows to toggle between multiple aspect ratios, while maintaining the same field of view and full image resolution.
With 15.9MP, the E-PL5 offers a higher resolution than the D-LUX 5 (10MP), but the E-PL5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 2.14μm for the D-LUX 5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the E-PL5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the D-LUX 5, 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 Olympus E-PL5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-PL5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica D-LUX 5 are 18.2 x 13.7 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inch or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Leica D-LUX 5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL5 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica D-LUX 5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||..||..||..||..||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72||Olympus E-PL5|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71||Canon G7 X|
|Fujifilm X10||2/3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/30p||20.5||11.3||245||50||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica D-LUX 6||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 3|
|Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica X1||APS-C||12.2||4272||2856||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X1|
|Leica V-LUX 1||1/1.8||10.0||3648||2736||480/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus XZ-1||1/1.7||10.1||3664||2752||720/30p||18.8||10.4||117||34||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic LX5||1/1.7||10.0||3648||2736||720/60p||19.6||10.8||132||41||Panasonic LX5|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the E-PL5 provides a better video resolution than the D-LUX 5. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Leica is limited to 720/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D-LUX 5 and the E-PL5 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. However, optional viewfinders – the EVF1 for the D-LUX 5 and the VF-3 for the E-PL5 – are available as accessories. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica D-LUX 5, the Olympus E-PL5, and comparable cameras.
|Leica D-LUX 5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL5|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y||Canon G7 X|
|Fujifilm X10||optical||n||2.8||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica D-LUX 6||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 3|
|Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica X1||none||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||n||Leica X1|
|Leica V-LUX 1||235||n||2.0||207||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus E-PL3||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||Y||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus XZ-1||optional||n||3.0||614||fixed||n||1/2000s||2.0||Y||Y||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic LX5||optional||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||Y||Panasonic LX5|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D-LUX 5 has one, while the E-PL5 does not. While the built-in flash of the D-LUX 5 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The E-PL5 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D-LUX 5 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D-LUX 5 and the E-PL5 write their files to SDXC cards. The E-PL5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D-LUX 5 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 Leica D-LUX 5 and Olympus PEN E-PL5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica D-LUX 5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 5|
|Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL5|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X Mark II|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X|
|Fujifilm X10||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X10|
|Leica D-LUX 6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica D-LUX 6|
|Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 3|
|Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 2|
|Leica X1||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X1|
|Leica V-LUX 1||Y||mono||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica V-LUX 1|
|Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 II|
|Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10|
|Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL6|
|Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PM2|
|Olympus E-PL3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL3|
|Olympus XZ-1||Y||mono||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus XZ-1|
|Panasonic LX5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic LX5|
Both the D-LUX 5 and the E-PL5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D-LUX 5 was replaced by the Leica D-LUX 6, while the E-PL5 was followed by the Olympus E-PL6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica D-LUX 5 or the Olympus E-PL5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Leica D-LUX 5:
- Flexible image proportions: Has a multi-aspect sensor that allows for alternative image shapes.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PL5 requires a separate lens.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-PL5).
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2010).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/60p).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- 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 flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-PL5 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica D-LUX 5 and the Olympus E-PL5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D-LUX 5 or the E-PL5 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon G5 X vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Canon M3 vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Fujifilm X-E2S vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Hasselblad X1D II vs Olympus E-PL5
- Kodak S-1 vs Olympus E-PL5
- Leica CL vs Leica D-LUX 5
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Panasonic L10
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Panasonic TZ90
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Sony A58
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Sony NEX-3
- Olympus E-PL5 vs Panasonic LX100
- Olympus E-PL5 vs Sony A850
Specifications: Leica D-LUX 5 vs Olympus E-PL5
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||Leica D-LUX 5||Olympus E-PL5|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-90mm f/2.0-3.3||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2010||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Olympus E-PL5|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.85 x 5.89 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||46.2365 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.8 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.14 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||21.59 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||720/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80-3200 ISO||200-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80-12800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||889|
|Screen Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Olympus E-PL5|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||460k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Olympus E-PL5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Olympus E-PL5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica D-LUX 5||Olympus E-PL5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
110 x 65 x 43 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
111 x 64 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||271 g (9.6 oz)||325 g (11.5 oz)|
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