Olympus E-30 vs Panasonic GH2
The Olympus E-30 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2008 and September 2010. The E-30 is a DSLR, while the GH2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-30||Panasonic GH2|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-3,200||ISO 160-12,800|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (1534k dots)|
|2.7 LCD, 230k dots||3.0 LCD, 460k dots|
|Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|750 shots per battery charge||330 shots per battery charge|
|142 x 108 x 75 mm, 701 g||124 x 90 x 76 mm, 442 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-30 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-30 and the Panasonic GH2. 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 GH2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-30 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 Panasonic GH2 is notably smaller (27 percent) than the Olympus E-30. Moreover, the GH2 is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the E-30. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-30 nor the GH2 are weather-sealed.
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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-30) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GH2). Mirrorless cameras, such as the GH2, 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.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|Olympus E-30||5.6 in||4.3 in||3.0 in||24.7 oz||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299|
|Panasonic GH2||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|Olympus E-450||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|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-P1||4.8 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||12.5 oz||300||n||Jun 2009||799|
|Olympus E-P2||4.8 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||12.5 oz||300||n||Nov 2009||799|
|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-3||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.9 oz||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699|
|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|
|Panasonic GM5||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|Panasonic GM1||3.9 in||2.2 in||1.2 in||7.2 oz||230||n||Oct 2013||749|
|Panasonic GX7||4.8 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||14.2 oz||350||n||Aug 2013||999|
|Panasonic GF1||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||13.6 oz||380||n||Sep 2009||749|
|Panasonic GH1||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||899|
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 obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The GH2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 31 percent) than the E-30, 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GH2 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the E-30. This megapixels advantage translates into a 14 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GH2 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 4.29μm for the E-30). However, it should be noted that the GH2 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 that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic GH2 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GH2 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-30 are 20.2 x 15.1 inches or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inches or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inches or 34.1 x 25.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus E-30 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the GH2 has a markedly higher DXO score than the E-30 (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.1 bits lower color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||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-P1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.4||536||55|
|Olympus E-P2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.4||505||56|
|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-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|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|
|Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|Panasonic GM1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|Panasonic GX7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The GH2 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-30 does not. The highest resolution format that the GH2 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GH2 has an electronic viewfinder (1534k dots), while the E-30 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 viewfinder in the GH2 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-30 (98%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the GH2 has a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-30 and Panasonic GH2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
One feature that is present on the E-30, but is missing on the GH2 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.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 E-30 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the GH2 uses SDXC cards. The E-30 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the GH2 only has one slot.
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-30 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
Both the E-30 and the GH2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH2 was replaced by the Panasonic GH3, while the E-30 does not have a direct successor. 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus E-30 better than the Panasonic GH2 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus E-30:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2008).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 14%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 98%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.51x).
- 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 (460k vs 230k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (124x90mm vs 142x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 259g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (31 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 10 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH2 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 8 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. 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-30 and the Panasonic GH2 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 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 E-30 or the GH2 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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 (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-30||..||71/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299|
|Panasonic GH2||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|Olympus E-450||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|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-P1||+||66/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2009||799|
|Olympus E-P2||+||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2009||799|
|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-3||88/100||+ +||o||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699|
|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|
|Panasonic GM5||+||77/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|Panasonic GM1||+||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749|
|Panasonic GX7||+||79/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999|
|Panasonic GF1||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749|
|Panasonic GH1||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899|
|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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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.
- Leica M Typ 240 vs Olympus E-30
- Nikon 1 V1 vs Panasonic GH2
- Nikon B600 vs Olympus E-30
- Nikon B700 vs Olympus E-30
- Nikon D2X vs Olympus E-30
- Nikon D7200 vs Panasonic GH2
- Nikon D750 vs Olympus E-30
- Olympus E-30 vs Pentax K-70
- Olympus E-30 vs Sony A77 II
- Olympus E-30 vs Sony RX0 II
- Panasonic GH2 vs Sigma fp
- Panasonic GH2 vs Sony A99
Specifications: Olympus E-30 vs Panasonic GH2
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-30||Panasonic GH2|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2008||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-30||Panasonic GH2|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4032 x 3024 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.29 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.42 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic III+||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||55||60|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.3||21.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.4||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||530||655|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-30||Panasonic GH2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1534k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.7inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-30||Panasonic GH2|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-30||Panasonic GH2|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-30||Panasonic GH2|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
142 x 108 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.3 x 3.0 in)
124 x 90 x 76 mm
(4.9 x 3.5 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||701 g (24.7 oz)||442 g (15.6 oz)|
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