Olympus E-300 vs Samsung NX500
The Olympus Evolt E-300 and the Samsung NX500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2004 and February 2015. The E-300 is a DSLR, while the NX500 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-300) and an APS-C (NX500) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 8 megapixels, whereas the Samsung provides 28 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-300||Samsung NX500|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Four Thirds lenses||Samsung NX mount lenses|
|8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||28 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-400 (100-1600)||ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|1.8" LCD, 134k dots||3.0" LCD, 1036k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting touchscreen|
|2.5 shutter flaps per second||9 shutter flaps per second|
|750 shots per battery charge||370 shots per battery charge|
|147 x 85 x 64 mm, 624 g||120 x 64 x 43 mm, 287 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Evolt E-300 and the Samsung NX500? 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 physical size and weight of the Olympus E-300 and the Samsung NX500 are illustrated 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 Samsung NX500 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Olympus E-300. Moreover, the NX500 is substantially lighter (54 percent) than the E-300. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-300 nor the NX500 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. 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.
The power pack in the NX500 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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-300»||5.8 in||3.3 in||2.5 in||22.0 oz||750||n||Sep 2004||799||Olympus E-300|
|Samsung NX500«||4.7 in||2.5 in||1.7 in||10.1 oz||370||n||Feb 2015||799||Samsung NX500|
|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|
|Nikon D5600« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D5500« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||14.8 oz||820||n||Jan 2015||899||Nikon D5500|
|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-520« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699||Olympus E-520|
|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|
|Ricoh GR II« »||4.6 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||8.9 oz||320||n||Jun 2015||699||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony A5100« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-300 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Samsung NX500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NX500 is 64 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the E-300 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the NX500 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 28MP, the NX500 offers a higher resolution than the E-300 (8MP), but the NX500 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.63μm versus 5.30μm for the E-300). Yet, the NX500 is a much more recent model (by 10 years and 4 months) than the E-300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the NX500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Samsung NX500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NX500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 32.4 x 21.6 inch or 82.3 x 54.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 25.9 x 17.3 inch or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 21.6 x 14.4 inch or 54.9 x 36.6 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 NX500 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
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 Samsung NX500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-300|
|Samsung NX500||APS-C||28.0||6480||4320||4K/30p||24.8||13.9||1379||87||Samsung NX500|
|Canon XT||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||none||21.8||10.8||637||60||Canon XT|
|Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Leica Digilux 3|
|Nikon D5600||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D5500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1438||84||Nikon D5500|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-400|
|Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-1|
|Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony A5100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The NX500 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-300 does not. The highest resolution format that the NX500 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-300 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the NX500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-300, the Samsung NX500, and comparable cameras.
|Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8||134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Olympus E-300|
|Samsung NX500||none||n||3.0||1036||tilting||Y||1/6000s||9.0||Y||n||Samsung NX500|
|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|
|Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5500|
|Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y||Olympus E-520|
|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|
|Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony A5100||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The NX500 has a touchscreen, while the E-300 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The NX500 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.
The Samsung NX500 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-300 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the NX500 uses SDXC cards. The E-300 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the NX500 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 Evolt E-300 and Samsung NX500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-300||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-300|
|Samsung NX500||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Samsung NX500|
|Canon XT||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XT|
|Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Leica Digilux 3|
|Nikon D5600||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D5500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5500|
|Olympus E-620||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-330||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-330|
|Olympus E-400||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-400|
|Olympus E-500||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-500|
|Olympus E-1||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-1|
|Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Ricoh GR II|
|Sony A5100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5100|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
It is notable that the NX500 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-300 does not offer wifi capability.
Both the E-300 and the NX500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-300 was replaced by the Olympus E-330, while the NX500 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 Samsung websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-300 or the Samsung NX500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-300:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 370) on a single battery charge.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2004).
Reasons to prefer the Samsung NX500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (28 vs 8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 91%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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 4K/30p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- 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 (1036k vs 134k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x64mm vs 147x85mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 337g or 54 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More modern: Reflects 10 years and 4 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the NX500 is the clear winner of the contest (23 : 5 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-300 and the Samsung NX500 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-300 or the NX500 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.
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.
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. 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D vs Olympus E-300
- Canon 550D vs Samsung NX500
- Canon D60 vs Olympus E-300
- Fujifilm X-A10 vs Samsung NX500
- Leica M-E Typ 240 vs Olympus E-300
- Leica V-LUX 1 vs Samsung NX500
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Samsung NX500
- Olympus E-300 vs Pentax MX-1
- Olympus E-PL6 vs Samsung NX500
- Panasonic FZ330 vs Samsung NX500
- Panasonic LF1 vs Samsung NX500
- Ricoh GR III vs Samsung NX500
Specifications: Olympus E-300 vs Samsung NX500
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||Samsung NX500|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Samsung NX mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2004||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-300||Samsung NX500|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||368.95 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8 Megapixels||28 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3264 x 2448 pixels||6480 x 4320 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.30 μm||3.63 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.55 MP/cm2||7.59 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-400 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-1600 ISO||100-51200 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic||DRIMe Vs|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||87|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1379|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-300||Samsung NX500|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||134k dots||1036k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-300||Samsung NX500|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/6000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.5 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|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-300||Samsung NX500|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-300||Samsung NX500|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
147 x 85 x 64 mm
(5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
120 x 64 x 43 mm
(4.7 x 2.5 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||624 g (22.0 oz)||287 g (10.1 oz)|
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