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Olympus E-30 versus Olympus E-5

The Olympus E-30 and the Olympus E-5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2008 and September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12.2 megapixel. 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-30 vs Olympus E-5

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-30 and the Olympus E-5 is provided 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 – the E-30 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Olympus E-30 vs Olympus E-5
Compare E-30 versus E-5 top
Compare E-30 and E-5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-5 is notably larger (8 percent) than the Olympus E-30. Moreover, the E-5 is markedly heavier (25 percent) than the E-30. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-5 is splash and dust-proof, while the E-30 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.

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)
Camera
Model
Olympus E-30» 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299- i Olympus E-30
Olympus E-5« 142 mm 117 mm 75 mm 873 g 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
Olympus E-P2« » 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-P1« » 121 mm 70 mm 36 mm 355 g 300 n Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-620« » 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
Olympus E-450« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
Olympus E-600« » 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 n Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
Olympus E-420« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« » 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510« » 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
Olympus E-3« » 142 mm 116 mm 75 mm 876 g 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3

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-30 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 24 percent) than the E-5, 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: Olympus E-30 vs Olympus E-5

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. 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.

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-30 and Olympus E-5 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12.2 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the E-30 and the E-5 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the E-30, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

E-30 versus E-5 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. 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
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Olympus E-30» Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.453055Olympus E-30
Olympus E-5« Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956Olympus E-5
Olympus E-P2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-P1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
Olympus E-450« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256Olympus E-450
Olympus E-600« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.510.354155Olympus E-600
Olympus E-420« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.210.044252Olympus E-510
Olympus E-3« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.610.557156Olympus E-3

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The E-5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-30 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-5 can use is 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-30 vs Olympus E-5

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-30 and the E-5 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-30, the Olympus E-5, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
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
Camera
Model
Olympus E-30»optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-30
Olympus E-5«optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-5
Olympus E-P2« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-P1« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
Olympus E-450« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-450
Olympus E-600« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-600
Olympus E-420« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-510
Olympus E-3« »optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-3

Both the E-30 and the E-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Olympus.

Review summary: Olympus E-30 vs Olympus E-5

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-30 and the Olympus E-5? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-30:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 172g or 20 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (24 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2008).


Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-5:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 10 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-5 emerges as the winner of the match-up (5 : 3 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.

E-30 03:05 E-5

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the E-30 and the E-5 in practical situations. 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
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Olympus E-30»-71/1004.5/5-4/5 Nov 2008 1,299- i Olympus E-30
Olympus E-5«-75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
Olympus E-P2« »Rec69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799- i Olympus E-P2
Olympus E-P1« »Rec66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799- i Olympus E-P1
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5rev5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
Olympus E-450« »--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
Olympus E-600« »----4.5/5 Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
Olympus E-420« »85/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
Olympus E-410« »86/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
Olympus E-510« »89/100HiRec3.5/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
Olympus E-3« »88/100HiRecrevrev4/5 Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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