Olympus E-300 vs E-5
The Olympus Evolt E-300 and the Olympus E-5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2004 and September 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-300 has a resolution of 8 megapixels, whereas the E-5 provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-300||Olympus E-5|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Four Thirds lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|no Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 100-400 (100-1600)||ISO 100-6400|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|1.8" LCD, 134k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|2.5 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|750 shots per battery charge||750 shots per battery charge|
|147 x 85 x 64 mm, 624 g||142 x 117 x 75 mm, 873 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Evolt E-300 and the Olympus E-5? 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.
Body comparison: Olympus E-300 vs E-5
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-300 and the Olympus E-5. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures 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 Olympus E-5 is notably larger (33 percent) than the Olympus E-300. Moreover, the E-5 is substantially heavier (40 percent) than the E-300. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-5 is splash and dust-proof, while the E-300 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 compare the optics available in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Olympus E-300»||5.8 in||3.3 in||2.5 in||22.0 oz||750||n||Sep 2004||799||-||Olympus E-300|
|Olympus E-5«||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.8 oz||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699||-||Olympus E-5|
|Canon XT« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||19.0 oz||400||n||Feb 2005||899||-||Canon XT|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||5.7 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||-||Leica Digilux 3|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||-||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-30« »||5.6 in||4.3 in||3.0 in||24.7 oz||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||-||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-520« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699||-||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-3« »||5.6 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||30.9 oz||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699||-||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-410« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699||-||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799||-||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-330« »||5.5 in||3.4 in||2.8 in||22.5 oz||750||n||Jan 2006||999||-||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-400« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Sep 2006||699||-||Olympus E-400|
|Olympus E-500« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.6 in||16.9 oz||750||n||Sep 2005||599||-||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-1« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||26.0 oz||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699||-||Olympus E-1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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-300 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 53 percent) than the E-5, 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-300 vs E-5
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 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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, the E-5 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic V+) than the E-300 (TruePic), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-5 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 8 MP of the E-300. This megapixels advantage translates into a 24 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-5 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 5.30μm for the E-300). However, it should be noted that the E-5 is much more recent (by 5 years and 11 months) than the E-300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inch or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inch or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inch or 34.1 x 25.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-300 are 16.3 x 12.2 inch or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inch or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inch or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus Evolt E-300 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 400, which can be extended to ISO 100-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-5 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
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-300»||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||-||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-300|
|Olympus E-5«||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56||Olympus E-5|
|Canon XT« »||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||-||21.8||10.8||637||60||Canon XT|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||-||-||-||-||-||Leica Digilux 3|
|Olympus E-620« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.3||10.3||536||55||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-30« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.3||10.4||530||55||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-520« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.4||10.4||548||55||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-3« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.6||10.5||571||56||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-410« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.1||10.0||494||51||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.2||10.0||442||52||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-330« »||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||-||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-400« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-400|
|Olympus E-500« »||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||-||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-1« »||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||-||-||-||-||-||Olympus E-1|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The E-5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-300 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-5 can use is 720/30p.
Feature comparison: Olympus E-300 vs E-5
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-300 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 viewfinder in the E-5 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-300 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the E-5 has a higher magnification (0.575x vs 0.5x), 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-300 and Olympus E-5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Olympus E-300»||optical||n||1.8||134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Olympus E-300|
|Olympus E-5«||optical||Y||3.0||920||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-5|
|Canon XT« »||optical||n||1.8||115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon XT|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Leica Digilux 3|
|Olympus E-620« »||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-30« »||optical||Y||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-520« »||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-3« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-410« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-330« »||optical||n||2.5||215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-400« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-400|
|Olympus E-500« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-1« »||optical||Y||1.8||134||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||n||n||Olympus E-1|
One feature that differentiates the E-5 and the E-300 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the E-300 has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.The E-5 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the E-300 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-300 and the E-5 write their files to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
Connectivity comparison: Olympus E-300 vs E-5
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 Evolt E-300 and Olympus E-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-300»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-300|
|Olympus E-5«||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-5|
|Canon XT« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XT|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Leica Digilux 3|
|Olympus E-620« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-30« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-520« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-3« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-410« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-330« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-400« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-400|
|Olympus E-500« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-1« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-1|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-5 (unlike the E-300) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the E-300 and the E-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-300 was replaced by the Olympus E-330, while the E-5 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 website.
Review summary: Olympus E-300 vs E-5
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-300 and the Olympus E-5? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-300:
- More compact: Is smaller (147x85mm vs 142x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 249g or 29 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2004).
Advantages of the Olympus E-5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 24%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic V+ vs TruePic).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 720/30p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.575x vs 0.5x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 134k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-5 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 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. 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-300 and the Olympus E-5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing 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-300 or the E-5 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.
Expert reviews: Olympus E-300 vs E-5
This is where reviews by experts come in. 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-300»||-||+||o||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||-||Olympus E-300|
|Olympus E-5«||-||75/100||4/5||-||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,699||-||Olympus E-5|
|Canon XT« »||80/100||+ +||o||o||-||Feb 2005||899||-||Canon XT|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||-||-||-||-||-||Sep 2006||1,499||-||Leica Digilux 3|
|Olympus E-620« »||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||o||5/5||Feb 2009||699||-||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-30« »||-||71/100||4.5/5||-||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299||-||Olympus E-30|
|Olympus E-520« »||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699||-||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-3« »||88/100||+ +||o||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699||-||Olympus E-3|
|Olympus E-410« »||86/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699||-||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510« »||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799||-||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-330« »||-||+||o||3.5/5||-||Jan 2006||999||-||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-400« »||85/100||-||4/5||-||4/5||Sep 2006||699||-||Olympus E-400|
|Olympus E-500« »||76/100||+ +||-||-||-||Sep 2005||599||-||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-1« »||-||+||o||o||-||Jun 2003||1,699||-||Olympus E-1|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.|
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. 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 1D Mark II vs Olympus E-5
- Canon 4000D vs Olympus E-5
- Canon R vs Olympus E-5
- Fujifilm X-T3 vs Olympus E-300
- Nikon D7000 vs Olympus E-5
- Olympus E-300 vs Sony A7R III
- Olympus E-300 vs Sony NEX-6
- Olympus E-5 vs Olympus E-500
- Olympus E-5 vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Olympus E-5 vs Sony A58
- Olympus E-5 vs Sony A6000
- Olympus E-5 vs Sony A7R III
Specifications: Olympus E-300 vs Olympus E-5
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-300||Olympus E-5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2004||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 1699|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-300||Olympus E-5|
|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||8 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3264 x 2448 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.55 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-400 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-1600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||TruePic||TruePic V+|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||519|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-300||Olympus E-5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||134k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-300||Olympus E-5|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-300||Olympus E-5|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-300||Olympus E-5|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||BLM-1 power pack||BLM-5 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
147 x 85 x 64 mm
(5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
142 x 117 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||624 g (22.0 oz)||873 g (30.8 oz)|
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