Nikon B500 vs Olympus E-PL9
The Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and February 2018. The B500 is a fixed lens compact, while the E-PL9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (B500) and a Four Thirds (E-PL9) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix B500 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon B500 and the Olympus E-PL9. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), 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 (11 percent) than the Nikon B500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the B500 nor the E-PL9 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the B500 has a lens built in, whereas the E-PL9 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-PL9 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X100F||127 mm||75 mm||52 mm||469 g||390||n||Jan 2017||1,299||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-PL10||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Oct 2019||599||amazon.com|
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic FZ82||130 mm||94 mm||119 mm||616 g||330||n||Jan 2017||399||amazon.com|
|16.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony H200||123 mm||83 mm||87 mm||530 g||240||n||Jan 2013||249||ebay.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 obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The B500 was launched at a lower price than the E-PL9, despite having a lens built in. 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 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 Nikon B500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Olympus E-PL9 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL9 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Even though the E-PL9 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This implies that the E-PL9 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 1.33μm for the B500), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the E-PL9 is much more recent (by 2 years) than the B500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the B500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Nikon Coolpix B500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. 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.
In terms of underlying technology, the B500 is build around a BSI-CMOS sensor, while the E-PL9 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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.
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1162||74|
|10.||Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.3||13.1||1324||76|
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1120||74|
|12.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.6||1030||73|
|13.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|14.||Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.5||12.0||717||68|
|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 can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the E-PL9 provides a better video resolution than the B500. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The B500 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. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon B500 and Olympus E-PL9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon B500||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm X100F||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Fujifilm X70||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon B600||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon L840||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-PL10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-PL8||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Panasonic FZ82||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony HX80||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony H200||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/1500s||0.8/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The E-PL9 has a touchscreen, while the B500 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.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 B500 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 B500 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 B500 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 Nikon Coolpix B500 and Olympus PEN E-PL9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon B500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Fujifilm X100F||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Fujifilm X70||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Nikon B600||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Nikon L840||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Olympus E-PL10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic FZ82||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Sony HX80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony H200||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the E-PL9 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The B500 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Both the B500 and the E-PL9 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The B500 was replaced by the Nikon B600, while the E-PL9 was followed by the Olympus E-PL10. Further information on the features and operation of the B500 and E-PL9 can be found, respectively, in the Nikon B500 Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus E-PL9 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon B500 and the Olympus E-PL9? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix B500:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PL9 requires a separate lens.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2016).
Advantages of the Olympus PEN E-PL9:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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 (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- 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 (8.6 vs 7.4 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 flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x68mm vs 114x78mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years of technical progress since the B500 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL9 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 6 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 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 Nikon B500 and the Olympus E-PL9 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom 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 B500 or the E-PL9 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
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 (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.
|1.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Fujifilm X100F||5/5||+||3.9/5||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,299||ebay.com|
|4.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299||ebay.com|
|10.||Olympus E-PL10||..||..||4/5||77/100||..||4/5||Oct 2019||599||amazon.com|
|11.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic FZ82||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399||amazon.com|
|16.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony H200||..||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
- Canon 200D vs Nikon B500
- Canon 800D vs Olympus E-PL9
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon D50
- Nikon B500 vs Olympus E-410
- Nikon B500 vs Panasonic S1H
- Nikon B500 vs Sony A6600
- Nikon B500 vs Sony A7R
- Nikon D60 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Nikon Z50 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Panasonic GH5 II
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony A6300
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony HX99
Specifications: Nikon B500 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||Nikon B500||Olympus E-PL9|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||22.5-900mm f/3.0-6.5||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon B500||Olympus E-PL9|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 6,400 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Nikon B500||Olympus E-PL9|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon B500||Olympus E-PL9|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7.4 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-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon B500||Olympus E-PL9|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon B500||Olympus E-PL9|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||600 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
114 x 78 x 95 mm
(4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
117 x 68 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||541 g (19.1 oz)||380 g (13.4 oz)|
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