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Olympus E-420 vs E-600

The Olympus E-420 and the Olympus E-600 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2008 and August 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-420 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the E-600 provides 12.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-420   Olympus E-600
Olympus E-420 Olympus E-600
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-3200
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.7" LCD, 215k dots 2.7" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.5 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
130 x 91 x 53 mm, 440 g 130 x 94 x 60 mm, 535 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-420 and the Olympus E-600? 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.

Body comparison: Olympus E-420 vs E-600

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-420 and the Olympus E-600 is provided 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-420 vs Olympus E-600
Compare E-420 versus E-600 top
Comparison E-420 or E-600 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-600 is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Olympus E-420. Moreover, the E-600 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the E-420. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-420 nor the E-600 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-420» 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-600« 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.9 oz 500 n Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
 
Nikon D3000« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-450« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-400« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
 
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The E-600 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the E-420, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-420 vs E-600

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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-600 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic III+) than the E-420 (TruePic III), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Olympus E-420 and Olympus E-600 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-600 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the E-420. This megapixels advantage translates into a 11 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-600 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 4.74μm for the E-420). However, it should be noted that the E-600 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the E-420, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-600 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-600 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inch or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inch or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inch or 34.1 x 25.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-420 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-420 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-600 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

E-420 versus E-600 MP

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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-420» Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-600« Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.510.354155Olympus E-600
 
Nikon D3000« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-450« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.210.044252Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-400« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-----Olympus E-400
 
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
Both the E-420 and the E-600 offer Live View, so that they make it possible to use the rear screen for framing. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-420 vs E-600

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-420 and the E-600 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the E-600 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-420 (0.48x 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-420, the Olympus E-600, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-420»optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-600«optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-600
 
Nikon D3000« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
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-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-400« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-400
 
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10

One feature that differentiates the E-600 and the E-420 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-600 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the E-420 has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

The E-600 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-420 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-420 and the E-600 write their files to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

 

Connectivity comparison: Olympus E-420 vs E-600

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-420 and Olympus E-600 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-420»Y-----2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-600«Y-----2.0---Olympus E-600
 
Nikon D3000« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-450« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-520« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-400« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-400
 
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10

Both the E-420 and the E-600 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Olympus. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.


Review summary: Olympus E-420 vs E-600

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-420 or the Olympus E-600 – 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 E-420:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 95g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2008).


Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-600:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic III+ vs TruePic III).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.48x vs 0.46x).
  • More flexible LCD: Has 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.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-600 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 2 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.

E-420 02:09 E-600

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-420 and the Olympus E-600 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 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-420 or the E-600 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Olympus E-420 vs E-600

This is why expert reviews are important. 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-420»85/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-600«----4.5/5 Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
 
Nikon D3000« »+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D60« »80/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D40X« »79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-450« »--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-520« »87/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« »86/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« »89/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-400« »85/100-4/5-4/5 Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
 
Panasonic L10« »85/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus E-420:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-600:
Check Ebay offers

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.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-420 vs Olympus E-600

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Olympus E-420 Olympus E-600
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date March 2008 August 2009
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 449
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-420 Olympus E-600
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.74 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 4.44 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic III TruePic III+
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 21.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.4 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 527 541
    Screen Specs Olympus E-420 Olympus E-600
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.46x 0.48x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7 inch 2.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 215k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-420 Olympus E-600
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XD cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-420 Olympus E-600
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-420 Olympus E-600
    Battery Type BLS-1 power pack BLS-1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 91 x 53 mm
    (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
    130 x 94 x 60 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
    Camera Weight 440 g (15.5 oz) 535 g (18.9 oz)

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