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Nikon D7000 versus Olympus E-M5

The Nikon D7000 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2010 and February 2012. The D7000 is a DSLR, while the E-M5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D7000) and a Four Thirds (E-M5) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 16.1 megapixel, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D7000 vs Olympus E-M5

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D7000 and the Olympus E-M5 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the D7000 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Nikon D7000 vs Olympus E-M5
Compare D7000 versus E-M5 top
Compare D7000 and E-M5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M5 is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Nikon D7000. Moreover, the E-M5 is substantially lighter (46 percent) than the D7000. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D7000) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-M5). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-M5, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the D7000 gets 1050 shots out of its EN-EL15 battery, while the E-M5 can take 360 images on a single charge of its BLN-1 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Nikon D7000» 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i
Olympus E-M5« 4.8 in 3.5 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 360 Y Feb 2012 1,299- i
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i
Canon 7D« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i
Nikon D7500« » 5.4 in 4.1 in 2.9 in 25.4 oz 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i
Nikon D7100« » 5.4 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i
Nikon Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i
Nikon D5100« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749- i
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-M1« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i
Olympus E-P5« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 14.8 oz 330 n May 2013 999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-M5 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the D7000, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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: Nikon D7000 vs Olympus E-M5

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 Nikon D7000 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-M5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-M5 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 D7000 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-M5 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D7000 and Olympus E-M5 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the D7000 offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-M5 (15.9MP), but the D7000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 3.76μm for the E-M5) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-M5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the D7000, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

D7000 versus E-M5 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the D7000 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-M5 (overall score 9 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Nikon D7000» APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780
Olympus E-M5« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i22.812.382671
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989
Nikon D5100« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Olympus E-M1« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
Olympus E-P5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.489572

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the E-M5 provides a faster frame rate than the D7000. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Nikon is limited to 10800/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D7000 vs Olympus E-M5

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M5 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D7000 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D7000 and Olympus E-M5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Nikon D7000»optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Olympus E-M5«1440 n 3.0 610 tilting Y 4000 9.0 n Y
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 n n
Nikon D5100« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y n
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M1« »2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-P5« »- n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 9.0 Y Y

Both the D7000 and the E-M5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D7000 was replaced by the Nikon D7100, while the E-M5 was followed by the Olympus E-M5 II.

Review summary: Nikon D7000 vs Olympus E-M5

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D7000 and the Olympus E-M5? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D7000:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 610k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1050 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2010).

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Advantages of the Olympus OM-D E-M5:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 10800/24p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (122x89mm vs 132x105mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 355g or 46 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M5 comes out slightly ahead of the D7000 (11 : 10 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.

D7000 10:11 E-M5

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D7000 or the E-M5. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Nikon D7000»-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i
Olympus E-M5«HiRec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2012 1,299- i
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i
Canon 7D« »HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i
Nikon D7500« »HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i
Nikon D7100« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i
Nikon D5100« »HiRec76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749- i
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i
Nikon D300« »HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Olympus E-M1« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i
Olympus E-P5« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2013 999- i

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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