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Olympus E-5 versus Leica CL

The Olympus E-5 and the Leica CL (Typ 7323) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2010 and November 2017. The E-5 is a DSLR, while the CL is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (E-5) and an APS-C (CL) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the Leica provides 24.1 MP. 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-5 vs Leica CL

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-5 and the Leica CL is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the E-5 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Olympus E-5 vs Leica CL
Compare E-5 versus CL top
Compare E-5 and CL rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica CL is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Olympus E-5. Moreover, the CL is substantially lighter (54 percent) than the E-5. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-5 is splash and dust resistant, while the CL 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 the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the E-5 gets 750 shots out of its BLM-5 battery, while the CL can take 220 images on a single charge of its BP-DC12 power pack.

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-5» 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.8 oz 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699- i
Leica CL« 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i i
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
Fujifilm X-E3« » 4.8 in 2.9 in 1.7 in 11.9 oz 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i
Fujifilm X-A3« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399 i i
Leica C-LUX« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 370 n Jun 2018 1,049 i i
Leica TL2« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i
Olympus E-P2« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Nov 2009 799- i
Olympus E-P1« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 12.5 oz 300 n Jun 2009 799- i
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i
Olympus E-450« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499- 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-30« » 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299- i
Olympus E-3« » 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.9 oz 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699- i
Olympus E-1« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 26.0 oz 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699- 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-5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 39 percent) than the CL, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-5 vs Leica CL

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus E-5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Leica CL an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the CL is 65 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the E-5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the CL offers a 3:2 aspect.

Olympus E-5 and Leica CL sensor measures

With 24.1MP, the CL offers a higher resolution than the E-5 (12.2MP), but the CL has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 4.29μm for the E-5). Yet, the CL is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 2 months) than the E-5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the CL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

E-5 versus CL MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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"). 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-5» Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956
Leica CL« APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----
Fujifilm X-A3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Leica C-LUX« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----
Leica TL2« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651
Olympus E-P2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.450556
Olympus E-P1« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.453655
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655
Olympus E-450« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256
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-30« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.453055
Olympus E-3« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.610.557156
Olympus E-1« » Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920-----

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the CL provides a better video resolution than the E-5. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-5 vs Leica CL

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the CL has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the E-5 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-5, the Leica CL, and comparable 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-5»optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y
Leica CL«2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 10.0 n n
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n
Fujifilm X-A3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Leica C-LUX« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y
Leica TL2« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 4000 7.0 n n
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 4000 3.0 Y Y
Olympus E-P2« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y
Olympus E-P1« »- n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 n Y
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 4000 4.0 Y Y
Olympus E-450« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n
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-30« »optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y
Olympus E-3« »optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y
Olympus E-1« »optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n

The CL is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the E-5 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the E-5 from Olympus.

Review summary: Olympus E-5 vs Leica CL

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-5 or the Leica CL – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-5:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (39 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2010).

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Advantages of the Leica CL (Typ 7323):

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/30p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (131x78mm vs 142x117mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 470g or 54 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 2 months of technical progress since the E-5 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the CL is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 9 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.

E-5 09:13 CL

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-5 or the CL. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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-5»-75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699- i
Leica CL«----4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i i
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i
Fujifilm X-A3« »-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399 i i
Leica C-LUX« »----- Jun 2018 1,049 i i
Leica TL2« »--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i
Olympus E-P2« »Rec69/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2009 799- i
Olympus E-P1« »Rec66/1004/54/54.5/5 Jun 2009 799- i
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5rev5/5 Feb 2009 699- i
Olympus E-450« »--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- 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-30« »-71/1004.5/5-4/5 Nov 2008 1,299- i
Olympus E-3« »88/100HiRecrevrev4/5 Oct 2007 1,699- i
Olympus E-1« »-Recrevrev- Jun 2003 1,699- i

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

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. 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 cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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