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Olympus E-450 versus Olympus E-420

The Olympus E-450 and the Olympus E-420 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2009 and March 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 10 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Olympus E-450 vs Olympus E-420

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-450 and the Olympus E-420. 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. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the E-450 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Olympus E-450 vs Olympus E-420
Compare E-450 versus E-420 top
Compare E-450 and E-420 rear

In this particular case, the Olympus E-450 and the Olympus E-420 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. Moreover, the two cameras also share the same weight. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-450 nor the E-420 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 find an overview of suitable optics 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)
Olympus E-450» 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499- i
Olympus E-420« 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599- i
Canon G12« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.9 in 14.1 oz 370 n Sep 2010 499- i
Nikon D3000« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599- i
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i
Olympus E-600« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.9 oz 500 n Aug 2009 449- i
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699- i
Olympus E-400« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Sep 2006 699- i
Olympus E-500« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599- i
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-450 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-450 vs Olympus E-420

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 more expensive and 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.

Olympus E-450 and Olympus E-420 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 10 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the E-450 and the E-420 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-450 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the E-420, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

E-450 versus E-420 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Olympus E-450» Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256
Olympus E-420« Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756
Canon G12« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
Nikon D3000« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655
Olympus E-600« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.510.354155
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451
Olympus E-400« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-----
Olympus E-500« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955
Both the E-450 and the E-420 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-450 vs Olympus E-420

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-450 and the E-420 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-450 and Olympus E-420 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Olympus E-450»optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n
Olympus E-420«optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n
Canon G12« »optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 4000 1.1 Y Y
Nikon D3000« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y
Olympus E-600« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y Y
Olympus E-410« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Olympus E-400« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Olympus E-500« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n

Both the E-450 and the E-420 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.

Review summary: Olympus E-450 vs Olympus E-420

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus E-450 better than the Olympus E-420 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-450:

  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the E-420).


Advantages of the Olympus E-420:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2008).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-450 comes out slightly ahead of the E-420 (2 : 1 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.

E-450 02:01 E-420

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-450 or the E-420. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Olympus E-450»--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i
Olympus E-420«85/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i
Canon G12« »Rec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499- i
Nikon D3000« »Rec72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5rev5/5 Feb 2009 699- i
Olympus E-600« »----4.5/5 Aug 2009 449- i
Olympus E-520« »87/100HiRec4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i
Olympus E-410« »86/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i
Olympus E-400« »85/100-4/5-4/5 Sep 2006 699- i
Olympus E-500« »76/100HiRec--- Sep 2005 599- i
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic L10« »85/100Rec3.5/5rev4/5 Aug 2007 599- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. 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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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