Nikon P950 vs Olympus E-PL9
The Nikon Coolpix P950 and the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2020 and February 2018. The P950 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 (P950) 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 P950 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 physical size and weight of the Nikon P950 and the Olympus E-PL9 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 E-PL9 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, blue, white), while the P950 is only available in black.
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 considerably smaller (48 percent) than the Nikon P950. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the P950 nor the E-PL9 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P950 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.
Concerning battery life, the P950 gets 290 shots out of its EN-EL20a battery, while the E-PL9 can take 350 images on a single charge of its BLS-50 power pack. The power pack in the P950 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 P950||140 mm||110 mm||150 mm||1005 g||290||n||Jan 2020||799||amazon.com|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon A1000||114 mm||72 mm||41 mm||330 g||250||n||Jan 2019||429||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon P1000||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299||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-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||136 mm||97 mm||131 mm||810 g||350||n||Feb 2019||899||amazon.com|
|16.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449||amazon.com|
|17.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429||amazon.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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon P950 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 P950), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the P950 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the E-PL9, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the P950 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Nikon Coolpix P950 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. 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.
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.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). 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|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||19.4||10.7||321||39|
|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-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.1||12.4||546||65|
|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. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the P950 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL9 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon P950 and Olympus E-PL9 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon P950||2359||n||3.2 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Nikon B600||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Nikon A1000||1166||n||3.0 / 1036||tilting||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Nikon B500||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4/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-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1240||swivel||Y||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/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 P950 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
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 Nikon P950 and the Olympus E-PL9 both have 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 P950 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 P950 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 P950 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 P950||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon B600||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Nikon A1000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Nikon P1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Nikon B500||-||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-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|16.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the P950 has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-PL9. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
The P950 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the E-PL9 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL9 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL10. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon P950 and the Olympus E-PL9? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix P950:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the E-PL9 requires a separate lens.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 10 months after the E-PL9).
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: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.6 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x68mm vs 140x110mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2018).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL9 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 8 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon P950 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 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 P950 or the E-PL9 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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.
|1.||Nikon P950||..||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2020||799||amazon.com|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599||ebay.com|
|3.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon A1000||..||+ +||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||429||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon P1000||..||+||3.5/5||73/100||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299||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-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699||ebay.com|
|15.||Panasonic FZ1000 II||..||..||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||899||amazon.com|
|16.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449||amazon.com|
|17.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429||amazon.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 40D vs Olympus E-PL9
- Canon SX540 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Canon T7 vs Nikon P950
- Fujifilm GFX 100S vs Nikon P950
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Nikon P950
- Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Fujifilm X70 vs Nikon P950
- Nikon D40 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Nikon P950 vs Olympus Stylus 1
- Nikon P950 vs Panasonic G100
- Olympus E-M5 III vs Olympus E-PL9
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony A900
Specifications: Nikon P950 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 P950||Olympus E-PL9|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2020||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon P950||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||4K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Screen Specs||Nikon P950||Olympus E-PL9|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||90%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon P950||Olympus E-PL9|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||8.6 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||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|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon P950||Olympus E-PL9|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon P950||Olympus E-PL9|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
140 x 110 x 150 mm
(5.5 x 4.3 x 5.9 in)
117 x 68 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||1005 g (35.5 oz)||380 g (13.4 oz)|
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