Leica TL vs Olympus E-PL5
The Leica TL and the Olympus PEN E-PL5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2016 and September 2012. Both the TL and the E-PL5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (TL) and a Four Thirds (E-PL5) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 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 TL||Olympus E-PL5|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Leica T mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-12500||ISO 200-25600|
|Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|3.7" LCD, 1230k dots||3.0" LCD, 460k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|5 shutter flaps per second||8 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|400 shots per battery charge||360 shots per battery charge|
|134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 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 TL 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.
The physical size and weight of the Leica TL and the Olympus E-PL5 are illustrated 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the E-PL5 is also available in three color-versions, but different ones (black, silver, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL5 is notably smaller (23 percent) than the Leica TL. Moreover, the E-PL5 is markedly lighter (15 percent) than the TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the E-PL5 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 TL 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 TL»||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695||Leica TL|
|Olympus E-PL5«||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.5 oz||360||n||Sep 2012||599||Olympus E-PL5|
|Fujifilm X70« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.7 in||12.0 oz||330||n||Jan 2016||799||Fujifilm X70|
|Fujifilm X-A10« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.7 oz||410||n||Dec 2016||399||Fujifilm X-A10|
|Fujifilm X-E2S« »||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Jan 2016||699||Fujifilm X-E2S|
|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|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1« »||5.5 in||3.2 in||1.7 in||15.9 oz||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699||Fujifilm X-Pro1|
|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 T« »||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850||Leica T|
|Leica X2« »||4.9 in||2.7 in||2.0 in||12.2 oz||450||n||May 2012||1,995||Leica X2|
|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|
|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-PL5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 65 percent) than the TL, 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.
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 TL features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL5 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 TL has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL5 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 16.1MP, the TL offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-PL5 (15.9MP), but the TL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL5) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the TL is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 1 month) than the E-PL5, 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 TL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Leica TL has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL5 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
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 TL||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica TL|
|Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72||Olympus E-PL5|
|Fujifilm X70||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X70|
|Fujifilm X-A10||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A10|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E2S|
|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|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/24p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-Pro1|
|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 T||APS-C||16.2||4944||3278||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||1082||75||Leica T|
|Leica X2||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X2|
|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|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The TL 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 Visoflex (Typ 020) for the TL and the VF-3 for the E-PL5 – are available as accessories. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica TL and Olympus E-PL5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Leica TL||optional||n||3.7||1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica TL|
|Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y||Olympus E-PL5|
|Fujifilm X70||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X70|
|Fujifilm X-A10||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A10|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||2360||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-E2S|
|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|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||1440||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||n||n||Fujifilm X-Pro1|
|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 T||optional||n||3.7||1300||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica T|
|Leica X2||optional||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X2|
|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|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The TL has one, while the E-PL5 does not. While the built-in flash of the TL 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 TL does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the TL 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 TL 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 TL and Olympus PEN E-PL5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Leica TL||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica TL|
|Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-PL5|
|Fujifilm X70||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X70|
|Fujifilm X-A10||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-A10|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-E2S|
|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|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X-Pro1|
|Leica CL||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||none||Y||-||-||Leica CL|
|Leica TL2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica TL2|
|Leica T||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||Y||-||-||Leica T|
|Leica X2||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X2|
|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|
It is notable that the TL offers wifi support, while the E-PL5 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the TL and the E-PL5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-PL5 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL6, while the TL was followed by the Leica TL2. 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 TL better than the Olympus E-PL5 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Leica TL:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging 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.
- 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 (1230k vs 460k dots).
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 1 month of technical progress since the E-PL5 launch.
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL5:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x64mm vs 134x69mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 59g or 15 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the TL emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 10 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 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 TL and the Olympus E-PL5 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 TL or the E-PL5 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 TL 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 TL||Olympus E-PL5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2016||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1695||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Leica TL||Olympus E-PL5|
|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||16.1 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3264 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-12500 ISO||200-25600 ISO|
|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 TL||Olympus E-PL5|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.7 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica TL||Olympus E-PL5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||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 TL||Olympus E-PL5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Leica TL||Olympus E-PL5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||360 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)
111 x 64 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||384 g (13.5 oz)||325 g (11.5 oz)|
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