Olympus E-410 vs Sony A850
The Olympus E-410 and the Sony Alpha A850 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2007 and August 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (E-410) and a full frame (A850) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-410||Sony A850|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Four Thirds lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-1600||ISO 200-3200 (100-6400)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.5" LCD, 215k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|500 shots per battery charge||880 shots per battery charge|
|130 x 91 x 53 mm, 435 g||156 x 117 x 82 mm, 895 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-410 and the Sony Alpha A850? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-410 and the Sony A850. 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 Sony A850 is considerably larger (54 percent) than the Olympus E-410. Moreover, the A850 is substantially heavier (106 percent) than the E-410. It is noteworthy in this context that the A850 is splash and dust-proof, while the E-410 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. 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Olympus E-410»||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699||Olympus E-410|
|Sony A850«||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999||Sony A850|
|Canon XSi« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.5 oz||500||n||Jan 2008||799||Canon XSi|
|Nikon D750« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Olympus E-P3« »||4.8 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.0 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||799||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-450« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2009||499||Olympus E-450|
|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-420« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599||Olympus E-420|
|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-510« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-400« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Sep 2006||699||Olympus E-400|
|Panasonic G1« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599||Panasonic G1|
|Panasonic L10« »||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599||Panasonic L10|
|Sony A7 II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.7 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||Sony A7|
|Sony A99« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony A99|
|Sony A900« »||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999||Sony A900|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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-410 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 65 percent) than the A850, 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.
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. 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 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-410 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A850 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A850 is 283 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the E-410 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A850 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 24.4MP, the A850 offers a higher resolution than the E-410 (10MP), but the A850 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.74μm for the E-410) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A850 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 5 months) than the E-410, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A850 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A850 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.2 inch or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inch or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inch or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-410 are 18.2 x 13.7 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inch 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 Sony Alpha A850 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A850 offers substantially better image quality than the E-410 (overall score 28 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.7 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51||Olympus E-410|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79||Sony A850|
|Canon XSi||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||none||21.9||10.8||692||61||Canon XSi|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Olympus E-P3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.8||10.1||536||51||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56||Olympus E-420|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..||Olympus E-400|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53||Panasonic G1|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55||Panasonic L10|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90||Sony A7|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
|Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79||Sony A900|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-410 and the A850 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 A850 offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the E-410 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the A850 has a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-410, the Sony A850, and comparable cameras.
|Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-410|
|Sony A850||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||Y||Sony A850|
|Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Canon XSi|
|Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D750|
|Olympus E-P3||optional||n||3.0||614||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-450||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-420||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Olympus E-420|
|Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-400||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-400|
|Panasonic G1||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic G1|
|Panasonic L10||optical||n||2.5||207||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Panasonic L10|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Sony A7|
|Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||Y||Sony A99|
|Sony A900||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A900|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-410 has one, while the A850 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-410 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the A850 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
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 Sony Alpha A850 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Olympus E-410||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-410|
|Sony A850||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A850|
|Canon XSi||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon XSi|
|Nikon D750||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Olympus E-P3||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-P3|
|Olympus E-450||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-450|
|Olympus E-620||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-420||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-420|
|Olympus E-520||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-510||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-510|
|Olympus E-400||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-400|
|Panasonic G1||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic G1|
|Panasonic L10||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Panasonic L10|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7|
|Sony A99||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
|Sony A900||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A900|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A850 (unlike the E-410) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the E-410 and the A850 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-410 was replaced by the Olympus E-420, while the A850 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 Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-410 or the Sony A850 – 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.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-410:
- More compact: Is smaller (130x91mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 460g or 51 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2007).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A850:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.4 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 59%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (28 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.46x).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- 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 (922k vs 215k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
- 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 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the E-410 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A850 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 5 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-410 and the Sony A850 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 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 A850. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
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. 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. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 500D vs Sony A850
- Canon SX50 vs Sony A850
- Fujifilm XP140 vs Olympus E-410
- Leica D-LUX 5 vs Olympus E-410
- Nikon D600 vs Sony A850
- Nikon D7500 vs Olympus E-410
- Olympus E-410 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Olympus E-410 vs Panasonic S1
- Olympus E-PL5 vs Sony A850
- Panasonic FZ200 vs Sony A850
- Panasonic GX850 vs Sony A850
- Sony A850 vs Sony HX80
Specifications: Olympus E-410 vs Sony A850
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||Sony A850|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2007||August 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 1999|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-410||Sony A850|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10 Megapixels||24.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3648 x 2736 pixels||6048 x 4032 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.74 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.44 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||200-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-6400 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic III||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||51||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.0||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||494||1415|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-410||Sony A850|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-410||Sony A850|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3 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||CF or MS cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-410||Sony A850|
|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-410||Sony A850|
|Environmental Sealing||Not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||880 shots per charge|
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
156 x 117 x 82 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||435 g (15.3 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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