Leica T vs Olympus E-PL9
The Leica T (Typ 701) and the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2014 and February 2018. Both the T Typ 701 and the E-PL9 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (T Typ 701) and a Four Thirds (E-PL9) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.2 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 T||Olympus E-PL9|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Leica T mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|16.2 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-12500||ISO 200-6400 (100-25600)|
|Viewfinder optional||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.7" LCD, 1300k dots||3.0" LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|5 shutter flaps per second||8.6 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|400 shots per battery charge||350 shots per battery charge|
|134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g||117 x 68 x 39 mm, 380 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica T (Typ 701) and the Olympus PEN E-PL9? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Leica T and the Olympus E-PL9 are illustrated 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 T Typ 701 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-PL9 is available in four color-versions (black, brown, blue, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL9 is notably smaller (14 percent) than the Leica T. Moreover, the E-PL9 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the T Typ 701. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T Typ 701 nor the E-PL9 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The power pack in the T Typ 701 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Leica T»||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||Leica T|
|Olympus E-PL9«||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||13.4 oz||350||n||Feb 2018||599||Olympus E-PL9|
|Canon SL1« »||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549||Canon SL1|
|Fujifilm X-A2« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.3 oz||410||n||Jan 2015||399||Fujifilm X-A2|
|Fujifilm X-T10« »||4.6 in||3.3 in||1.6 in||13.4 oz||350||n||May 2015||799||Fujifilm X-T10|
|Leica CL« »||5.2 in||3.1 in||1.8 in||14.2 oz||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795||Leica CL|
|Leica TL2« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||14.1 oz||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||Leica TL|
|Leica X Vario« »||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.7 in||24.0 oz||450||n||Jun 2013||2,850||Leica X Vario|
|Leica X2« »||4.9 in||2.7 in||2.0 in||12.2 oz||450||n||May 2012||1,995||Leica X2|
|Olympus E-PL10« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||13.4 oz||350||n||Oct 2019||599||Olympus E-PL10|
|Olympus E-M10 III« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.0 in||14.5 oz||330||n||Aug 2017||649||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-PL8« »||4.5 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||12.6 oz||350||n||Sep 2016||549||Olympus E-PL8|
|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|
|Ricoh GR II« »||4.6 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||8.9 oz||320||n||Jun 2015||699||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony A6000« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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. The E-PL9 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 68 percent) than the T Typ 701, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica T features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL9 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL9 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the T Typ 701 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL9 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 16.2MP, the T Typ 701 offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-PL9 (15.9MP), but the T Typ 701 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL9) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-PL9 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 9 months) than the T Typ 701, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the T Typ 701 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Leica T (Typ 701) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 T||APS-C||16.2||4944||3278||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||1082||75||Leica T|
|Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL9|
|Canon SL1||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63||Canon SL1|
|Fujifilm X-A2||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A2|
|Fujifilm X-T10||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-T10|
|Leica CL||APS-C||24.1||6014||4014||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica CL|
|Leica TL2||APS-C||24.1||6014||4014||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica TL|
|Leica X Vario||APS-C||16.1||4928||3272||1080/30p||23.4||12.7||1320||78||Leica X Vario|
|Leica X2||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X2|
|Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL10|
|Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-PL8|
|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|
|Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the E-PL9 provides a better video resolution than the T Typ 701. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The T Typ 701 and the E-PL9 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. That said, the T Typ 701 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica T and Olympus E-PL9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Leica T||optional||n||3.7||1300||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica T|
|Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n||Canon SL1|
|Fujifilm X-A2||none||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A2|
|Fujifilm X-T10||2360||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-T10|
|Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Leica CL|
|Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7||1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL||optional||n||3.7||1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica TL|
|Leica X Vario||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X Vario|
|Leica X2||optional||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X2|
|Olympus E-PL10||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-PL10|
|Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-PL8||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL8|
|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|
|Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
One feature that differentiates the E-PL9 and the T Typ 701 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-PL9 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the T Typ 701 has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.The E-PL9 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 T Typ 701 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the E-PL9 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Olympus E-PL9 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the T Typ 701 and the E-PL9 write their files to SDXC cards. The E-PL9 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T Typ 701 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 T (Typ 701) and Olympus PEN E-PL9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica T||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica T|
|Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Olympus E-PL9|
|Canon SL1||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SL1|
|Fujifilm X-A2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-A2|
|Fujifilm X-T10||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-T10|
|Leica CL||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica CL|
|Leica TL2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica TL2|
|Leica TL||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica TL|
|Leica X Vario||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X Vario|
|Leica X2||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X2|
|Olympus E-PL10||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Olympus E-PL10|
|Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M10 III|
|Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-PL8|
|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|
|Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
The E-PL9 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Olympus. In contrast, the T Typ 701 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the T Typ 701 was succeeded by the Leica TL. 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? Is the Leica T better than the Olympus E-PL9 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Leica T (Typ 701):
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1300k vs 1040k dots).
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2014).
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL9:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x68mm vs 134x69mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (68 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 9 months of technical progress since the T Typ 701 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL9 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 T and the Olympus E-PL9 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the T Typ 701 or the E-PL9 perform in practice. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Leica T vs Olympus E-PL9
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 T||Olympus E-PL9|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2014||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 1850||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Leica T||Olympus E-PL9|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.2 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4944 x 3278 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.79 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.37 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-12500 ISO||200-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-25600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||75||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.0||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.7||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1082||..|
|Screen Specs||Leica T||Olympus E-PL9|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||No viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.7 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1300k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica T||Olympus E-PL9|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||8.6 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in 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 T||Olympus E-PL9|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica T||Olympus E-PL9|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
134 x 69 x 33 mm
(5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
117 x 68 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||384 g (13.5 oz)||380 g (13.4 oz)|
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