Olympus E-410 vs E-PL5
The Olympus E-410 and the Olympus PEN E-PL5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2007 and September 2012. The E-410 is a DSLR, while the E-PL5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-410 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the E-PL5 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 E-410 and the Olympus PEN E-PL5? 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-410 and the Olympus E-PL5 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the E-410 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 Olympus E-PL5 is considerably smaller (40 percent) than the Olympus E-410. Moreover, the E-PL5 is markedly lighter (25 percent) than the E-410. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-410 nor the E-PL5 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-410) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-PL5). Mirrorless cameras, such as the E-PL5, 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. 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-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|2.||Olympus E-PL5||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|3.||Canon 450D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|4.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|5.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|6.||Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599|
|7.||Olympus Stylus 1||116 mm||87 mm||57 mm||402 g||410||n||Oct 2013||699|
|8.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|9.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|11.||Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|12.||Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|13.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|14.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|15.||Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|16.||Panasonic G1||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
|17.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-PL5 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the E-410, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. 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.
Technology-wise, the E-PL5 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic VI) than the E-410 (TruePic III), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-PL5 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the E-410. This megapixels advantage translates into a 26 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-PL5 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 4.74μm for the E-410). However, it should be noted that the E-PL5 is much more recent (by 5 years and 6 months) than the E-410, 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-PL5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-PL5 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-410 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-410 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL5 are ISO 200 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the E-PL5 offers substantially better image quality than the E-410 (overall score 21 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 2.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|2.||Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|4.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|5.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|6.||Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Olympus Stylus 1||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.7||11.6||179||51|
|8.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|9.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|10.||Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|11.||Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|12.||Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|13.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|14.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|15.||Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|17.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The E-PL5 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-410 does not. The highest resolution format that the E-PL5 can use is 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-410 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the E-PL5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-3. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-410, the Olympus E-PL5, and comparable cameras.
|7.||Olympus Stylus 1||1440||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||7.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-410 has one, while the E-PL5 does not. While the built-in flash of the E-410 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The E-PL5 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-410 does not have a selfie-screen.
The E-410 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the E-PL5 uses SDXC cards. The E-410 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the E-PL5 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-410 and Olympus PEN E-PL5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|7.||Olympus Stylus 1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
Both the E-410 and the E-PL5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-410 was replaced by the Olympus E-420, while the E-PL5 was followed by the Olympus E-PL6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-410 or the Olympus E-PL5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-410:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- 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 March 2007).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus PEN E-PL5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (21 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic VI vs TruePic III).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p 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 (460k vs 215k 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 burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x64mm vs 130x91mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 110g or 25 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 6 months of technical progress since the E-410 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-PL5 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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-410 and the Olympus E-PL5 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-410 or the E-PL5. 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-410||..||86/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|2.||Olympus E-PL5||3/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|3.||Canon 450D||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|4.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|5.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|6.||Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599|
|7.||Olympus Stylus 1||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||699|
|8.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|9.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|10.||Olympus E-450||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|11.||Olympus E-620||3/5||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|12.||Olympus E-420||..||85/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|13.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|14.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|15.||Olympus E-400||..||85/100||..||4/5||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|16.||Panasonic G1||..||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|17.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Olympus E-410 vs Olympus E-PL5
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-410||Olympus E-PL5|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2007||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-410||Olympus E-PL5|
|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||10 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.74 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.44 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic III||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||51||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.0||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||494||889|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-410||Olympus E-PL5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-410||Olympus E-PL5|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-410||Olympus E-PL5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-410||Olympus E-PL5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
111 x 64 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.5 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||435 g (15.3 oz)||325 g (11.5 oz)|
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