Olympus E-400 vs Sony RX100
The Olympus E-400 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2006 and June 2012. The E-400 is a DSLR, while the RX100 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-400) and an one-inch (RX100) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 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 E-400 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100? 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-400 and the Sony RX100 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size 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 Sony RX100 is considerably smaller (50 percent) than the Olympus E-400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-400 nor the RX100 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 has a lens built in, whereas the E-400 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the E-400 and their specifications in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the E-400 gets 500 shots out of its BLS-1 battery, while the RX100 can take 330 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|2.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Nikon D40X||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||122 mm||69 mm||34 mm||369 g||330||n||Jun 2011||799|
|7.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|8.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|9.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|10.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|11.||Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|12.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|13.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|14.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|16.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||102 mm||58 mm||38 mm||281 g||350||n||Jun 2013||749|
|Note: 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 RX100 was launched at a lower price than the E-400, despite having a lens built in. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-400 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony RX100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 is 48 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 2.7. The sensor in the E-400 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX100 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the E-400. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 4.74μm for the E-400). However, it should be noted that the RX100 is much more recent (by 5 years and 8 months) than the E-400, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-400 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus E-400 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|4.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51|
|7.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|8.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|9.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|10.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|11.||Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|12.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.7||10.3||45||51|
|14.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.5||12.4||483||67|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The RX100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-400 does not. The highest resolution format that the RX100 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-400 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-400 and Sony RX100 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-400||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Sony RX100||none||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0 / 614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-PL2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|9.||Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|11.||Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5 / 207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The E-400 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the RX100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The E-400 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the RX100 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-400 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-400||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Nikon D40X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-PL2||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-450||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-620||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-420||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-410||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic L10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the E-400 has a hotshoe, while the RX100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the E-400 and the RX100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-400 was replaced by the Olympus E-410, while the RX100 was followed by the Sony RX100 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-400 or the Sony RX100 – 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 E-400:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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 2006).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- 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 (1229k vs 215k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the E-400 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 130x91mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the E-400).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 8 months of technical progress since the E-400 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 7 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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-400 and the Sony RX100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom 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-400 or the RX100 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 why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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-400||..||85/100||..||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|2.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|5.||Nikon D40X||..||79/100||..||+ +||4/5||4/5||Mar 2007||729|
|6.||Olympus E-P3||..||83/100||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2011||799|
|7.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|8.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|9.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||..||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|10.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|11.||Olympus E-410||..||86/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|12.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|13.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|14.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||..||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|15.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|16.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX100 II||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes 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-400
- Canon 1D X Mark III vs Sony RX100
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Sony RX100
- Canon SL2 vs Sony RX100
- Canon T7 vs Sony RX100
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Olympus E-400
- Leica X Vario vs Olympus E-400
- Nikon D1 vs Olympus E-400
- Nikon D600 vs Olympus E-400
- Olympus E-400 vs Sony RX0 II
- Olympus E-PL6 vs Sony RX100
- Panasonic GF2 vs Sony RX100
Specifications: Olympus E-400 vs Sony RX100
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-400||Sony RX100|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||28-100mm f/1.8-4.9|
|Launch Date||September 2006||June 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 649|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-400||Sony RX100|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.74 μm||2.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.44 MP/cm2||17.18 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||66|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||390|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-400||Sony RX100|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-400||Sony RX100|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-400||Sony RX100|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-400||Sony RX100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||435 g (15.3 oz)||240 g (8.5 oz)|
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