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Olympus E-1 versus Olympus E-620

The Olympus E-1 and the Olympus E-620 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2003 and February 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-1 has a resolution of 4.9 megapixel, whereas the E-620 provides 12.2 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: Olympus E-1 vs Olympus E-620

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-1 and the Olympus E-620. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the E-1 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Olympus E-1 vs Olympus E-620
Compare E-1 versus E-620 top
Compare E-1 and E-620 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-620 is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Olympus E-1. Moreover, the E-620 is markedly lighter (29 percent) than the E-1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-1 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-620 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the E-1 gets 750 shots out of its BLM-1 battery, while the E-620 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-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)
Olympus E-1» 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 26.0 oz 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699- i
Olympus E-620« 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i
Canon 6D Mark II« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i
Leica Digilux 3« » 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499- i
Nikon D500« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i
Olympus E-5« » 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.8 oz 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699- i
Olympus E-600« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.9 oz 500 n Aug 2009 449- i
Olympus E-420« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599- i
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699- i
Olympus E-510« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799- i
Olympus E-3« » 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.9 oz 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699- i
Olympus E-330« » 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999- i
Olympus E-300« » 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799- 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-620 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 59 percent) than the E-1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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: Olympus E-1 vs Olympus E-620

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 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Olympus E-1 and Olympus E-620 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-620 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixel, compared with 4.9 MP of the E-1. This megapixel advantage translates into a 58 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-620 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 6.78μm for the E-1). However, it should be noted that the E-620 is much more recent (by 5 years and 8 months) than the E-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

E-1 versus E-620 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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 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
Olympus E-1» Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920-----
Olympus E-620« Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
Leica Digilux 3« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780
Olympus E-5« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956
Olympus E-600« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.510.354155
Olympus E-420« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451
Olympus E-510« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.210.044252
Olympus E-3« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.610.557156
Olympus E-330« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----
Olympus E-300« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----
The E-620 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The E-1 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-1 vs Olympus E-620

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-1 and the E-620 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-1, the Olympus E-620, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, 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
Olympus E-1»optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n
Olympus E-620«optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n
Leica Digilux 3« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Olympus E-5« »optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y
Olympus E-600« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y
Olympus E-420« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y
Olympus E-410« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Olympus E-510« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y Y
Olympus E-3« »optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y
Olympus E-330« »optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 4000 3.0 Y n
Olympus E-300« »optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n

Both the E-1 and the E-620 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-1 was replaced by the Olympus E-3, while the E-620 was followed by the Olympus E-600.

Review summary: Olympus E-1 vs Olympus E-620

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-1 or the Olympus E-620 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-1:

  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2003).


Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-620:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 4.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 58%.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 134k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (130x94mm vs 141x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 217g or 29 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (59 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 8 months of technical progress since the E-1 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-620 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 4 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.

E-1 04:11 E-620

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-1 or the E-620. 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 expert reviews 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 full reviews are available 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)
Olympus E-1»-Recrevrev- Jun 2003 1,699- i
Olympus E-620«88/10072/1004.5/5rev5/5 Feb 2009 699- i
Canon 6D Mark II« »Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i
Leica Digilux 3« »----- Sep 2006 1,499- i
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i
Olympus E-5« »-75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699- i
Olympus E-600« »----4.5/5 Aug 2009 449- i
Olympus E-420« »85/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i
Olympus E-410« »86/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i
Olympus E-510« »89/100HiRec3.5/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 799- i
Olympus E-3« »88/100HiRecrevrev4/5 Oct 2007 1,699- i
Olympus E-330« »-Recrev3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i
Olympus E-300« »-Recrevrev4.5/5 Sep 2004 799- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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.

 

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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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