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Leica X2 vs Olympus E-PL8

The Leica X2 and the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2012 and September 2016. The X2 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PL8 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X2) and a Four Thirds (E-PL8) 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.

Headline Specifications
Leica X2
versus
Olympus E-PL8
Leica X2   Olympus E-PL8
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
36mm f/2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses
16.1 MP – APS-C sensor 15.9 MP – Four Thirds sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 200-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
2.7" LCD – 230k dots 3.0" LCD – 1037k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
no shake reductionIn-body stabilization
450 shots per battery charge350 shots per battery charge
124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g 115 x 67 x 38 mm, 357 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica X2 and the Olympus PEN E-PL8? 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

The physical size and weight of the Leica X2 and the Olympus E-PL8 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-PL8 is available in three color-versions (black, brown, white).

Size Leica X2 vs Olympus E-PL8
Compare X2 versus E-PL8 top
Comparison X2 or E-PL8 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL8 is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Leica X2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X2 nor the E-PL8 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-PL8 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-PL8 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the X2 gets 450 shots out of its BP-DC8 battery, while the E-PL8 can take 350 images on a single charge of its BLS-50 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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Sep 2016 549ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX510 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 349 g 250 n Aug 2013 249ebay.com
4.
 
Canon SX500 104 mm 70 mm 80 mm 341 g 195 n Aug 2012 329ebay.com
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 7 115 mm 66 mm 65 mm 392 g 300 n Nov 2018 1,195 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695ebay.com
7.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113 133 mm 73 mm 78 mm 486 g 350 n Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
9.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Sep 2012 699ebay.com
11.
 
Leica X1 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 n Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A 111 mm 64 mm 40 mm 299 g 230 n Mar 2013 1,099ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-PL9 117 mm 68 mm 39 mm 380 g 350 n Feb 2018 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-M10 III 122 mm 84 mm 50 mm 410 g 330 n Aug 2017 649ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649ebay.com
16.
 
Olympus E-PL7 115 mm 67 mm 38 mm 357 g 350 n Aug 2014 599ebay.com
17.
 
Olympus E-PL6 111 mm 64 mm 38 mm 325 g 360 n May 2013 599ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

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 generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 more expensive and 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-PL8 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL8 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-PL8 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica X2 and Olympus E-PL8 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the X2 offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-PL8 (15.9MP), but the X2 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL8) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-PL8 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 4 months) than the X2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Leica X2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

X2 versus E-PL8 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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
1.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none23.212.4127574
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.6103073
3.
 
Canon SX510 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/24p20.011.358645
4.
 
Canon SX500 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456720/30p19.811.149443
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 7 Four Thirds 16.8 4736 35524K/30p22.912.8100272
6.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.913.2169081
7.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.612.8149178
9.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p19.810.8-30343
11.
 
Leica X1 APS-C 12.2 4272 2856none22.611.8103769
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.413.8116480
13.
 
Olympus E-PL9 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.112.8116274
14.
 
Olympus E-M10 III Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.112.8112074
15.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
16.
 
Olympus E-PL7 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.712.487372
17.
 
Olympus E-PL6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.512.071768
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The E-PL8 indeed provides for movie recording, while the X2 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-PL8 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The X2 and the E-PL8 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 EVF 2 for the X2 and the VF-4 for the E-PL8 – are available as accessories. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica X2 and Olympus E-PL8 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
3.
 
Canon SX510none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/1600s 3.8/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX500none n3.0 / 461 fixed n 1/1600s 0.8/s Y Y
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 72764 n3.0 / 1240 fixed Y 1/4000s 11.0/s n Y
6.
 
Leica TLoptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
7.
 
Leica Toptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y Y
11.
 
Leica X1none n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix Aoptional n3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/2000s 4.0/s Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-PL9none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6/s Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-M10 III2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.6/s Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
16.
 
Olympus E-PL7optional n3.0 / 1037 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
17.
 
Olympus E-PL6optional n3.0 / 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s n Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X2 has one, while the E-PL8 does not. While the built-in flash of the X2 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The E-PL8 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 X2 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Olympus E-PL8 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.

The X2 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-PL8 uses SDXC cards. The E-PL8 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the X2 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

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 PEN E-PL8 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica X2Y- / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon SX510-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
4.
 
Canon SX500-stereo / mono---2.0---
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 7Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
6.
 
Leica TLYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Leica TYstereo / mono---2.0Y--
8.
 
Leica X Typ 113Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Leica X1Y- / ---mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix AYstereo / mono---2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-PL9Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y-Y
14.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
15.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
16.
 
Olympus E-PL7Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
17.
 
Olympus E-PL6Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the E-PL8 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the X2 does not provide wifi capability.

Both the X2 and the E-PL8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-PL8 was replaced by the Olympus E-PL9, 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 what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica X2 or the Olympus E-PL8 – 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.

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Advantages of the Leica X2:

  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PL8 requires a separate lens.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the E-PL8).
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (450 versus 350) 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 available for much longer (launched in May 2012).

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL8:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 230k dots).
  • 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 shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 4 months of technical progress since the X2 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL8 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.

X2 06:14 E-PL8

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica X2 and the Olympus E-PL8 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X2 or the E-PL8. 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 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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995ebay.com
2.
 
Olympus E-PL8........4.5/54/5 Sep 2016 549ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX510..+ +....4.5/54/5 Aug 2013 249ebay.com
4.
 
Canon SX500..+ +....4/54/5 Aug 2012 329ebay.com
5.
 
Leica D-LUX 7..........4.5/5 Nov 2018 1,195 amazon.com
6.
 
Leica TL..........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695ebay.com
7.
 
Leica T3/5......4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
8.
 
Leica X Typ 1133.5/5......3.5/54/5 Sep 2014 2,295ebay.com
9.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
10.
 
Leica D-LUX 6........4/54/5 Sep 2012 699ebay.com
11.
 
Leica X13/5....+..4/5 Sep 2009 1,995ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon Coolpix A4/5+..75/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 1,099ebay.com
13.
 
Olympus E-PL9..+....4.5/54/5 Feb 2018 599ebay.com
14.
 
Olympus E-M10 III..+5/580/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2017 649ebay.com
15.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +..80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649ebay.com
16.
 
Olympus E-PL74/5+....5/54/5 Aug 2014 599ebay.com
17.
 
Olympus E-PL6............ May 2013 599ebay.com
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.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica X2 vs Olympus E-PL8

    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-PL8
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 36mm f/2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date May 2012 September 2016
    Launch Price USD 1,995 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-PL8
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 3.76 μm
    Pixel Density 4.35 MP/cm2 7.08 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 200 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-PL8
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-PL8
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/2000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image Stabilizationno shake reductionIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-PL8
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Leica X2 Olympus E-PL8
    Battery Type BP-DC8 BLS-50
    Battery Life (CIPA)450 shots per charge350 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 69 x 52 mm
    (4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
    115 x 67 x 38 mm
    (4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 345 g (12.2 oz) 357 g (12.6 oz)
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