Olympus E-330 vs Panasonic GH2
The Olympus Evolt E-330 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2006 and September 2010. The E-330 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 7.4 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Evolt E-330 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-330 and the Panasonic GH2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GH2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-330 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 (8 percent) than the Olympus E-330. Moreover, the GH2 is markedly lighter (31 percent) than the E-330. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-330 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-330) 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|2.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|3.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|5.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|6.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|7.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|8.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|9.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|10.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|11.||Panasonic GM5||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|12.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|13.||Panasonic GH3||133 mm||93 mm||82 mm||550 g||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|15.||Panasonic GH1||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||n||Mar 2009||899|
|16.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|17.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 GH2 was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the E-330 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.
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. 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 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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GH2 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 7.4 MP of the E-330. This megapixels advantage translates into a 47 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 5.51μm for the E-330). However, it should be noted that the GH2 is much more recent (by 4 years and 7 months) than the E-330, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that 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-330 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus Evolt E-330 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|7.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|8.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|12.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|13.||Panasonic GH3||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|15.||Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|16.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|17.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The GH2 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-330 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-330 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-330 (95%), 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 0.47x), 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-330 and Panasonic GH2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
The E-330 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the GH2 uses SDXC cards. The E-330 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 Evolt E-330 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the E-330 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-330 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 is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-330 or the Panasonic GH2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus Evolt E-330:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 330) 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 January 2006).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 47%.
- 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 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.47x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 215k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a 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.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 195g or 31 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the E-330 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH2 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 4 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-330 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-330 or the GH2. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Olympus E-330||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999|
|2.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|3.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|4.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|5.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|6.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|7.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|8.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|9.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|10.||Olympus E-300||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|11.||Panasonic GM5||3.5/5||+||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|12.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|13.||Panasonic GH3||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299|
|14.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|15.||Panasonic GH1||..||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899|
|16.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|17.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Olympus E-330 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-330||Panasonic GH2|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2006||September 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 999||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-330||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||7.4 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3136 x 2352 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 400 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||TruePic||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||60|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||655|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-330||Panasonic GH2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1534k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-330||Panasonic GH2|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|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-330||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-330||Panasonic GH2|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
140 x 87 x 72 mm
(5.5 x 3.4 x 2.8 in)
124 x 90 x 76 mm
(4.9 x 3.5 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||637 g (22.5 oz)||442 g (15.6 oz)|
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