Olympus E-3 vs Panasonic S1H
The Olympus E-3 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2007 and May 2019. The E-3 is a DSLR, while the S1H is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-3) and a full frame (S1H) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-3||Panasonic S1H|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Four Thirds lenses||Leica L mount lenses|
|10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|no Video||6K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-3,200||ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800)|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots)|
|2.5 LCD, 230k dots||3.2 LCD, 2330k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel touchscreen|
|5 shutter flaps per second||9 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|750 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|142 x 116 x 75 mm, 876 g||151 x 114 x 110 mm, 1052 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-3 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-3 and the Panasonic S1H is provided 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic S1H is somewhat larger (5 percent) than the Olympus E-3. Moreover, the S1H is markedly heavier (20 percent) than the E-3. 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the E-3 gets 750 shots out of its BLM-1 battery, while the S1H can take 400 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLJ31 power pack. The power pack in the S1H can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Olympus E-3||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.9 oz||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699|
|Panasonic S1H||5.9 in||4.5 in||4.3 in||37.1 oz||400||Y||May 2019||3,999|
|Nikon D300||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799|
|Olympus E-5||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.8 oz||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699|
|Olympus E-600||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Aug 2009||449|
|Olympus E-620||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-30||5.6 in||4.3 in||3.0 in||24.7 oz||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|Olympus E-420||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|Olympus E-520||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699|
|Olympus E-410||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-510||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|Olympus E-1||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||26.0 oz||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699|
|Panasonic S5||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.2 in||25.2 oz||440||Y||Sep 2020||1,999|
|Panasonic S1||5.9 in||4.3 in||3.8 in||35.9 oz||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|Panasonic S1R||5.9 in||4.3 in||3.8 in||35.8 oz||380||Y||Feb 2019||3,699|
|Sigma fp||4.4 in||2.8 in||1.8 in||14.9 oz||280||Y||Jul 2019||1,899|
|Sony A9 II||5.1 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||23.9 oz||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 E-3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 58 percent) than the S1H, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-3 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Panasonic S1H a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the S1H is 276 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the E-3 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the S1H offers a 3:2 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 24MP, the S1H offers a higher resolution than the E-3 (10MP), but the S1H nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.74μm for the E-3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S1H is a much more recent model (by 11 years and 7 months) than the E-3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic S1H implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S1H for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-3 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
Unlike the E-3, the S1H has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (96MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Olympus E-3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
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.
|Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|Panasonic S1H||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||6K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56|
|Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic S5||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|Panasonic S1R||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||26.4||14.1||3525||100|
|Sigma fp||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The S1H indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-3 does not. The highest resolution format that the S1H can use is 6K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the S1H has an electronic viewfinder (5760k dots), while the E-3 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the S1H has a higher magnification than the one of the E-3 (0.78x vs 0.58x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-3 and Panasonic S1H along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-3 has one, while the S1H does not. While the built-in flash of the E-3 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.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 S1H 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 Panasonic S1H 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 E-3 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the S1H uses SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
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 Olympus E-3 and Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the S1H offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-3 does not provide wifi capability.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
The S1H is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the E-3 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-3 was succeeded by the Olympus E-5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Panasonic websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-3 and the Panasonic S1H? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-3:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 176g or 17 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (58 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in October 2007).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 58%.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- 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.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 6K/30p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.58x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2330k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 5 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.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 11 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-3 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S1H is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 6 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 Olympus E-3 and the Panasonic S1H place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR 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 E-3 or the S1H 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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Olympus E-3||88/100||+ +||o||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699|
|Panasonic S1H||..||90/100||..||..||..||May 2019||3,999|
|Nikon D300||+ +||+ +||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799|
|Olympus E-5||..||75/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,699|
|Olympus E-600||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||449|
|Olympus E-620||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||o||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-30||..||71/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|Olympus E-420||85/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|Olympus E-520||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|Olympus E-410||86/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-510||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|Olympus E-1||..||+||o||o||..||Jun 2003||1,699|
|Panasonic S5||+ +||..||..||..||4.5/5||Sep 2020||1,999|
|Panasonic S1||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|Panasonic S1R||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||3,699|
|Sigma fp||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Jul 2019||1,899|
|Sony A9 II||..||90/100||5/5||..||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|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, 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 2000D vs Panasonic S1H
- Canon 77D vs Olympus E-3
- Canon G7 X Mark II vs Olympus E-3
- Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Olympus E-3
- Fujifilm X20 vs Panasonic S1H
- Fujifilm X70 vs Panasonic S1H
- Nikon D300 vs Panasonic S1H
- Nikon D6 vs Panasonic S1H
- Nikon Z6 vs Panasonic S1H
- Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-P5
- Olympus E-3 vs Panasonic G9
- Panasonic S1H vs Ricoh GR
Specifications: Olympus E-3 vs Panasonic S1H
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||Olympus E-3||Panasonic S1H|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Leica L mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2007||May 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 1,699||USD 3,999|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-3||Panasonic S1H|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.74 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.44 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||6K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic III||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||56||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.6||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.5||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||571||..|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-3||Panasonic S1H|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5760k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||2330k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-3||Panasonic S1H|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||400 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-3||Panasonic S1H|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||full HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-3||Panasonic S1H|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
142 x 116 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
151 x 114 x 110 mm
(5.9 x 4.5 x 4.3 in)
|Camera Weight||876 g (30.9 oz)||1052 g (37.1 oz)|
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