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Leica X2 vs Olympus E-500

The Leica X2 and the Olympus Evolt E-500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2012 and September 2005. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X2) and a Four Thirds (E-500) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica X2 versus Olympus E-500
Leica X2 Olympus E-500
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
36mm f/2.8 Four Thirds lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 100-400 (100 - 1,600)
Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
450 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g 130 x 95 x 66 mm, 479 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X2 and the Olympus Evolt E-500? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica X2 and the Olympus E-500 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-500 is only available in black.

Size Leica X2 vs Olympus E-500
Compare X2 versus E-500 top
Comparison X2 or E-500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-500 is considerably larger (44 percent) than the Leica X2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X2 nor the E-500 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 has a lens built in, whereas the E-500 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-500 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X2 gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the E-500 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599i
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249i
 
Canon SX500 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 341 g 195 n Aug 2012 329i
 
Leica D-LUX 7 115 mm 66 mm 65 mm 392 g 300 n Nov 2018 1,195 i
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995i
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-400 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699i
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 X2 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-500 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-500 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 X2 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-500 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica X2 and Olympus E-500 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X2 offers a higher resolution than the E-500 (8MP), but the X2 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500). However, the X2 is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 7 months) than the E-500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Leica X2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.6 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-500 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-500 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

X2 versus E-500 MP

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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p........
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p........
 
Leica D-LUX 7 Four Thirds 16.8 4736 35524K/30p........
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p........
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none........
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
Neither the X2 nor the E-500 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-500 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica X2 and Olympus E-500 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Canon SX510none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8 Y Y
 
Canon SX500none n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8 Y Y
 
Leica D-LUX 72764 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 1/4000s 11.0 n Y
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
 
Leica X1none n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n

The X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-500 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the X2 only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison

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 X2 and Olympus Evolt E-500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
 
Canon SX510-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon SX500-stereomono---2.0---
 
Leica D-LUX 7Ystereomono--micro2.0Y-Y
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Leica X1Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereomono---2.0---
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-400Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---

Both the X2 and the E-500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the X2 does not have a direct successor. 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.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Leica X2 and the Olympus E-500? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Leica X2:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.1 vs 8MP) with a 45% higher linear resolution.
  • 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 (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the E-500 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 130x95mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-500).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-500 launch.

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Advantages of the Olympus Evolt E-500:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 450) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2005).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X2 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 6 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.

X2 12:06 E-500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X2 and the Olympus E-500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera and Best DSLR 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 X2 or the E-500 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.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Leica X2....3/5..4/5 May 2012 1,995i
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599i
 
Canon SX510+ +..4.5/5..4/5 Aug 2013 249i
 
Canon SX500+ +..4/5..4/5 Aug 2012 329i
 
Leica D-LUX 7........4.5/5 Nov 2018 1,195 i
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
 
Leica T....4/5..4/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
 
Leica X Typ 113....3.5/5..4/5 Sep 2014 2,295i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Leica D-LUX 6....4/5..4/5 Sep 2012 699i
 
Leica X1..+....4/5 Sep 2009 1,995i
 
Nikon Coolpix A+75/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099i
 
Olympus E-41086/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
 
Olympus E-51089/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-40085/100..4/5..4/5 Sep 2006 699i
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Leica X2:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-500:
Check Ebay offers

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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Leica X2 vs Olympus E-500

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica X2 Olympus E-500
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 36mm f/2.8 Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 September 2005
    Launch Price USD 1,995 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 100 - 400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 1,600 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-500
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.45x
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-500
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-500
    Battery Type BP-DC8 BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    130 x 95 x 66 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 345 g (12.2 oz) 479 g (16.9 oz)

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